What We’re Listening To: July Picks
NYCountry Swag’s “What We’re Listening To” playlist highlights the wide range of our team’s favorite songs and artists when it comes to the country music genre. At the end of the day, we are all fans first with a passion for country music and are eager to share with you all what we’ve got on repeat each month.
Find below each of our team member’s favorite songs and why in our July picks. Then be sure to give our Spotify account a follow and listen to our favorite tracks!
Pick: “Field Party” – Kassi Ashton
Songwriters: Luke Laird, Kassi Ashton
“This month I am listening to Kassi Ashton’s “Field Party”.
Not only does the song have such a fun beat, but it’s also the perfect anthem to vibe along to all summer long. Ashton puts to rest the idea that she may have moved on from her hometown by claiming in the lyrics, “Did y’all think I forgot just where I was born and raised? // Well I didn’t // And I’m sorry // Just when big city lights get to clouding up my mind // you can find me, you will find me, at a field party“
I love the idea Ashton illustrates here, that no matter how long it’s been since you’ve gone back home, it doesn’t change you. You’re always going to go back and enjoy those moments and things that raised you and made you the person that you are.”
Christina Bosch, Managing Editor
Pick: “Man That Hung The Moon” – Brantley Gilbert
Songwriters: Brantley Gilbert
Brantley Gilbert has been known as country’s bad boy, his rough exterior complete with chains and tattoos lends perfectly to his songs like “Kick It In The Sticks” and “If You Want A Bad Boy”. However, my pick this month, “Man That Hung The Moon” showcases his softer side, which has always been evident on album cuts, like “My Faith In You” or “Three Feet of Water”. The latest release from the new dad who is raising his son Barrett and get ready to welcome a daughter in September is a tearjerker and completely floored me, as a new mom.
Gilbert has never been afraid to sing about his faith and “Man That Hung The Moon” is a love letter to his children, knowing that although we as parents will be there to guide them and protect them, one day they’ll realize that they’ll need more and if we do our job right as parents, they’ll know where to turn when things get tough.
And one day you’ll realize I’ve lost my cape, I can’t fly And I’m only human / And you’ll need more than me but you’ll know to hit your knees / If I’ve done my job right you’ll know where to find / The Man who really hung the moon, who really made the sky / Yeah the sun rises and sets inside of His eyes / And it won’t be long until He calls us home / And we’ll all be running to the Man that hung the moon”
Dylan Bestler, Contributing Writer
Pick: “SIGNED, SOBER YOU” – HARDY
Songwriters: Michael Hardy, Jordan Schmidt, Ben Burgess
A very underrated aspect of concerts is discovering new artists. I always feel bad when the opening acts come on and there aren’t a lot of people in the stands so I listen to their songs beforehand so I am prepared. HARDY will open up for Florida Georgia Line on their Can’t Say I Ain’t Country Tour and I will be there early, singing along to songs like “REDNECKER”, “THIS OLE BOY” and this one “SIGNED, SOBER YOU”.
“SIGNED, SOBER YOU” is about a guy who comes back from the bar at night, drunk as can be. He knows before he goes out to leave a note on his fridge that tells him not to call his ex and instead eat pizza and watch Dumb and Dumber. It’s always tempting, especially when a little under the influence, to revert to the past and reach out to an old significant other but sober-HARDY was smart enough to leave drunk-HARDY a bit of advice. This song is a good reminder to those going through a breakup that nothing good comes from dwelling on the past. If you’re going to Jones Beach on July 20th, make sure you get there in time to watch HARDY’s set!
“There’s healing in the lonely / Sit back, kick off your boots / And you’ll thank me in the morning / Like you always do / Signed, sober you”
Jeremy Chua, Contributing Writer
Pick: “Something People Say” – Rachel Wammack
Songwriters: Derrick Southerland, Rachel Wammack, Sam Ellis
“Maybe our words are just an umbrella for the rain.” This song aches in the best way possible. Stripped down to just Rachel Wammack’s stunning vocals and the keys, this stirring tune narrates a post-breakup story and the undeniable grip it has on one’s heart. More than that, the writers bring light to how, sometimes we use words merely for an intended effect, instead of voicing out the truth or how we feel really feel. Personally, “Something People Say” thrust me into a ruminative state as I pondered on my life, love gained and lost, and the times I’ve said “love you” or “I’m good” just to mask how I genuinely feel. Take a listen to it, but consider yourself warned: this song will hit you with, as the kids call it, “all the feels.”
Julia Grubbs, Contributing Writer
Pick: “Crushin’ It” – Brad Paisley
Songwriters: Brad Paisley, Kelley Lovelace, Lee Thomas Miller
“Now I know this song came out in 2014, but as I was back in Kentucky the past two weeks driving around in my mom’s convertible, this just seemed like the perfect song to play. It’s giving you those beach vibes you want, whether you’re actually on the beach or not, and the sound of that cold beer cracking open. I’m trying to make the most of this hot summer, and a good throwback like this one is the ideal jam with guitar solos, catchy lyrics, and a little drawl in the voice. This is one that you don’t always think of when you remember your old favorites, but it always comes in handy when I don’t know what to listen to. So whether you’re familiar or not, use the summer to bring this one back out.”
Autumn Haile, Contributing Writer
Pick: “Keith” – Kaylee Bell
Songwriters: Kaylee Bell, Phil Barton, Lindsay Rimes
“Any fan of Keith Urban will find themselves lost in their own memories when they listen to Kaylee Bell’s new single, “Keith.” The summer-infused single is one of my favorite songs of the season because it feels like sunshine personified in melody. The New Zealand country artists creates something of a modernized version of Taylor Swift’s “Tim McGraw” — connecting melody to memories in a way we can all relate to. My favorite part though, the way she weaves different Keith Urban song lyrics and titles into the chorus and verses so effortlessly. For a country music fan that basically grew up on Keith Urban, this song connects me to my own memories of his music in such a unique way. It doesn’t hurt that you can turn it on and get an instant dose of summertime vibes.”
“I know most days go by / it wasn’t wasted time / had a little bit of everything / making memories of you and me”
Molly Holmberg, Contributing Writer
Pick: “Country Radio” – Aaron Watson
Songwriters: Aaron Watson
“With Aaron Watson’s newest album, Red Bandana out, I have been listening to many songs over and over again. One song stood out in particular and I did not even notice that it was my most played off the album. “Country Radio” is a sweet love song Watson wrote in dedication to his parents. He shared in an Instagram post leading up to its release that he has fond memories of his parents making their little house full of heart and soul while dancing to the on the radio.
“Walking out holding hands / Turn the Opry on and waltz across the floor / They kept dancing all night even it the signal got weak”
Watson recently performed it at the Opry just a couple of weeks ago, so if you are looking for a video to bring you to tears, his performance of this song will do it.”
Abby Kaye-Phillips, Contributing Writer
Pick: “Notice” – Thomas Rhett
Songwriters: Ashley Gorley, Jesse Frasure, Sean Douglas, Thomas Rhett
One of my favorite things about TR is that the love songs he writes for his wife, Lauren are so personal and yet so relatable at the same time. We all want to be loved by someone who notices all the little things that make us who we are, and his new song “Notice” does just that. The melody of the song is simple and smooth, but the lyrics beautifully paint the way he sees his wife. Talk about relationship goals!!
“You think that I don’t notice / How you brush your hair out of your green eyes / The way you blush when you drink red wine / The way you smile when you try to bend the truth / You think that I don’t notice / All the songs you sing underneath your breath / You still tear up at a beach sunset / And you dance just like you’re the only one in the room /You think that I don’t notice, but I do”
Songwriters: Cole Swindell, Josh Kear
“Drinkin’ Hours” is my July Pick because it is the perfect song to listen to after a hard week at work. The song shares the perfect message about how we shouldn’t have to worry about work on the weekend. Instead, we need to just have fun and enjoy ourselves with our loved ones.
I had the opportunity to hear “Drinkin’ Hours” at Swindell’s VIP event on the Sunset Repeat Tour. The singer-songwriter actually listened with us, and it was awesome to see how excited he was to share the song with his fans. It was by far the coolest moment I’ve experienced at a concert and something I’ll never forget. I’m glad that it was the first song he released from his new EP coming out later this year.
I’ve been a fan of Cole Swindell from when he released “Chillin’ It” back in 2013 and have loved watching his career grow from being Luke Bryan’s merchandise guy to not only opening for Bryan but also he has grown into a headliner. It’s always great to see his career continuing to thrive and new music coming out.”
Tricia Murdy, Contributing Writer
Pick: “Can’t Have Nothin’ Nice” -Hudson Valley
Songwriters: Sarah Owens, Sherrie Austin, Will Rambeaux
“Hudson Valley is a new country band formed in Nashville by 4 individuals – 2 who hail from upstate New York – hence the name. The band’s lead singer, Sarah Owens, is a kick ass songwriting female with an incredible voice. Her husband Richie is on the drums with Andrew Kosek on bass and Matt Farinelli on guitar. “Can’t Have Nothin’ Nice” is their first single off their album Seven. If you haven’t heard of this band yet, you definitely need to check them out. They’ve been playing the bar scene in Nashville for the last year. This whole album is full of great tracks, but this one is definitely a favorite and so catchy. Anyone can relate to that relationship where there are so many great aspects, but the relationship is still just inevitably doomed from all the negative. And sometimes there’s really no coming back from that. “This love is going to kill us. It’s too much on our hearts as we lay here in the wreckage of this broken paradise.” With those kinds of lyrics, you would think it’s a ballad. But it’s an upbeat and rocking tune you could dance to! It’s definitely one you’re going to want to add to your playlist.”
Nicole Piering, Contributing Writer
Pick: “Ain’t Always the Cowboy” – Jon Pardi
Songwriters: Brandon Kinney, Josh Thompson
In country music, cowboys are usually portrayed as drifters and leavers, unable to fully commit to relationships and love. However, Jon Pardi has brilliantly flipped the narrative on “Ain’t Always the Cowboy.” The song is the story of a cowboy who’s being left by the woman he loves, as she’s the “restless, running, searching for something” one in the relationship.
Admittedly, I’ve been sleeping on how fantastic an artist Pardi truly is, and this song is just a solid reminder of that. Written by Brandon Kinney and Josh Thompson, the song continues to show Pardi as one of the genre’s greatest purveyors of traditional country music, and it’s truly a must-add to any country fan’s current playlist.
Sarah Schonmann, Contributing Writer
Pick: “Almost” – Thomas Rhett
Songwriters: Amy Wadge, Ashley Gorley, Jesse Frasure, Thomas Rhett
“Thomas Rhett’s new album Center Point Road has been an essential listen for me this month. From the upbeat pieces on this album to the slower ballads, Rhett has given fans an incredible album. Specifically, the song “Almost” highlights events in one’s life that have not worked out, however, led to even greater things. He sings of these circumstances when singing about his wife, “I almost didn’t kiss that girl, turned out to be my wife/ Guess someone else had something else in mind”. Fans can really relate to situations that may not have gone their way but brought them to something better. Rhett also relates this to his faith when he thanks God for the “almost” of his life throughout the chorus.
Particularly the lyrics that stand out to me as a Thomas Rhett fan are “For the doors that opened / For ones that slam closed”. These lyrics really resonate with me because while many people will thank for new opportunities and opened doors appreciating closed doors is also equally important. Rhett’s music new and old is a country music fan’s staple in their playlist. But he definitely brings something special to fans in his album Center Point Road and new track “Almost.”
Christine Sellers, Contributing Writer
Pick: “Graveyard” – Kelsea Ballerini
Songwriters: Kelsea Ballerini
“All the KB3 teasers Kelsea Ballerini has been sharing on social media lately have prompted me to re-listen to her last album, Unapologetically. Her song, “Graveyard” instantly stood out the first time I heard the album, and now almost two years later, it’s still one of my favorites. There’s such an emotional depth to the storytelling—it’s definitely not your “typical” breakup song—and the lyrics are incredibly sharp. (One of my favorites is: “You put on a show so nobody knows your hands and your shoes are dirty / I guess you don’t need a shovel to dig a grave”). Ballerini has grown so much as an artist from her debut album, The First Time to Unapologetically and I can’t wait to hear how much she’s continued to grow both personally and lyrically on KB3.”
Danielle Tornatore, Contributing Writer
Pick: “Now You Know” – Jon Langston
Songwriters: Brad Clawson, Brock Berryhill, Jon Langston
“Jon Langston is one of my absolute favorite artists. There is not a single song of his I dislike, which is why I wasn’t shocked that I loved his newest single right off the bat. It has such a rock and roll vibe and fun lyrics which I love. I was lucky enough to see him perform it live this past weekend at Jones Beach when he opened up the Sunset Repeat Tour. I jammed out with my best friends and had the absolute best time and it only made me love the song and him even more!”
Jaclyn Tracy, Contributing Writer
Pick: “Dumbest Thing” – Lacy Cavalier
Songwriters: Erik Belz, Grant Terry, Lacy Cavalier
“I had never heard of Lacy Cavalier before this month and I can honestly say I was obsessed with her sound as soon as I listened to her new EP k i’m done. I feel like she is an artist I can definitely identify with, being that she is only 22 years old and grew up at the same time that I did, and her lyrics are so relatable to my current life. “Dumbest Thing” is a song that I sent in a group chat of my best friends as soon as I listened to it because I knew that a bunch of us have completely felt exactly the way she is singing about.
I love how instead of trying to tell a traditional country love story she is honest and tells a very accurate story of what many girls go through! She is a brand new female artist who is killing it in a male-dominated industry and I am here for it. Her EP will definitely be on repeat for me this whole month and for months to come, and I hope that she pairs this song with a music video because I think it could definitely be a great story to show visually, and I know many who would love to see it!”
Shanna Vitaliano, Contributing Writer
Pick: “Redneck Love Song” – Morgan Wallen
Songwriters: David Garcia, Hillary Lindsey, Josh Miller, Michael Hardy
“For this month’s pick, I had to go with Morgan Wallen’s “Redneck Love Song.” Wallen has been releasing hit after hit, making him one of the hottest new country artists around. I think all of his songs from his album If I Know Me are great, but this is one track I can’t stop listening to. Wallen puts a country twist on a love song and makes it fun and light-hearted (especially with his awesome twang). He sure knows how to smooth talk his way into a girl’s heart with his doting lyrics.
I love the descriptive comparisons about the way he feels for his significant other in the chorus, “My tractor’s green, my pasture’s greener/My tea is sweet but honey, you’re sweeter/My road is dirt, your heart is gold/I’m a man of few words but baby here it goes/My neck is red, my collar’s blue/And I love you.” It is the perfect play on words to describe a simple outlook on life and love. I am looking forward to seeing Wallen on tour with Florida Georiga Line, and there is no better time to play his song and album because they’re coming to Jones Beach this Saturday, July 20th!
Erica Zisman, Contributing Writer
Pick: “The Weather (Grandpa’s Song)” – Lauren Duski
Songwriters: Brandon Hood, Lauren Duski, Liz Rose
“Months after the release of Lauren Duski’s debut EP Midwestern Girl, I am still reeling from her song, “The Weather (Grandpa’s Song),” and finally had the courage to pick it as my song of the month. The deeply personal track is Duski’s honest and vulnerable experience dealing with grief from losing her grandmother, as well as, struggling to understand and deal with her grandfather’s own grief. The story is one that is often untold in both songs and literature, but I think it’s an important one to share.
The tune allows fans to form a personal connection to Duski. Anyone who has ever experienced a loss of any kind can find some peace and acceptance through the lyrics of this ballad. As someone who is extremely close to my grandparents, I related to the songstress’ experiences so intensely, and I’m positive that others will too.
Although this song isn’t going to pump you up, it will make you confront your demons, think, and aid you in emotional healing, which is so important. Duski and her song “The Weather (Grandpa’s Song)” deserve to be highlighted for its poignant message and exquisite vocals. Her openness is refreshing, and I can’t wait to see what other special songs she shares with the world in the future.”
Listen to our picks on our “What We’re Listening To” playlist on Spotify and be sure to give it a follow, so you can catch our monthly updates.
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