What We’re Listening To: June 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 June picks. Then be sure to give our Spotify account a follow and listen to our favorite tracks!





Stephanie Wagner, Founder

Pick: “Would Have Loved Her” – Chris Bandi
Songwriters: Chris Bandi, Zach Kale

This month I chose Chris Bandi’s “Would Have Loved Her” off his recently released debut EP. When I say I’m listening to this song on repeat, I mean literally I’ve got it looped all day long. I fell in love with the concept of the song even before hearing it and once it was officially released I was immediately hooked. Much like the song I chose last month, this is another piano-led ballad, but the heartfelt tearjerking lyrics are truly what drew me in. The song starts with the singer speaking to his late father, talking about meeting a girl he wishes his Dad could have met and he knows he would have loved her.

“She’s from a small town just like you // She’s got a smile that could light up the room // She’s pretty as a hallelujah // But don’t let it fool ya / ‘Cause she’ll dance when she drinks // And she’ll say what she thinks // She makes me a better man like you did // I miss you and wish you could just meet each other // ‘Cause I bet you would’ve loved her”

As the song progresses, each line moves through the phases of falling in love, getting married, and having a baby of his own, circling back to the idea that the late father would love her. From start to finish it’s an all-around beautiful song that truly deserves to be heard.


Christina Bosch, Managing Editor 

Pick: “Never Will” – Ashley McBryde
Songwriters: Ashley McBryde, Blue Foley, Chris Harris, Christian Sancho, Matt Helmkamp, Victor Hill

One of the most authentic creators in the country genre is Ashley McBryde. Her powerful voice carries over some of the truest lyrics ever written, and she has a way of recording and releasing music that is so specific to her story and yet, I always find a way to relate.

“Never Will” the title track of her latest full-length project, tells the tale of looking back proudly of never giving up, never giving in to the people who didn’t believe in you. In McBryde’s case, it probably is a reflection of her early years in the music business, in my case, it’s following a determination and a dream.

The lyrics in the bridge are the perfect kick in the ass that the CMA New Artist of the Year winner is known for and inspire dreamers everywhere: “Money and fame, it’ll go to your head if you get it / They never did understand all the reasons we did it / I can call out the names and the faces of the people who said it / Oh, but honestly, I just don’t want ’em to get any credit” 

Her entire sophomore album is a masterpiece, each song tells the truth about life and I constantly listen in awe of her talent.


Lucie Bernheim, Contributing Writer

Pick: “Love Me Now” – Josh Kerr
Songwriters: Josh Kerr, Tom Douglas

My friends and I have loved watching movies over Zoom during quarantine, and one of the movies we watched was “Perks of Being a Wallflower”. So much moved me about the movie; besides longing for my time at high school to end as it did in the final scene, it started a conversation amongst my friend group: what would our tunnel song be? The song that we turned up to listen to so freely while driving down the highway, feeling forever young in that moment?
“Love Me Now” by Josh Kerr isn’t that song, although he has plenty of epic songs that could be. “Love Me Now” is the coming of age movie. It’s about high school, graduation, youth, hurting, moving on, and evolving into a better version of yourself. “I admit I’m kind of broken, but I’ll heal,” Kerr sings honestly on the second verse. It’s not the song they play in the beginning or at the end, it’s the song that sits perfectly in the middle. You’ve changed, and you know you have, but there’s still so much life you’ve yet to live and experience. There is something so poignant about the delivery of this song. It’s cinematic and thoughtful, equal parts due to Kerr and Douglas’ writing, Kerr’s flawless production, and the vulnerability in his voice. When I think about finishing high school, I think about how much I have evolved since freshman year. Walking in 14 and leaving 18 is a huge difference, and as Kerr says, “Candles at both ends burning / Baby don’t the world keep turning”.

Dylan Bestler, Contributing Writer

Pick: “Worldwide Beautiful” – Kane Brown
Songwriters: Kane Brown, Jordan Schmidt, Ryan Hurd, Shy Carter

In a time when everyone is fighting each other on all different issues, I find comfort in songs that talk about unity. If we all stop judging individuals based on their skin color, uniform, political view, etc. and come together as a nation, the world would be a better place to live in. This is the message Kane is trying to get across in this song. I know I am so greatly influenced by music and hope this song reaches and impacts those who, like Kane says, have unmovable hearts.

“We ain’t that different from each other / From one to another, I look around and see worldwide beautiful”


Kristina Callahan, Contributing Writer

Pick: “We Do” – Kenny Chesney
Songwriters: Kenny Chesney, Craig Wiseman, David Garcia, Scooter Carusoe

Everyone has a summer anthem and after listening to this Kenny Chesney song about 500 times, it’s safe to say this is mine. The first song off his Here and Now album, it’s one of those songs that’ll bring a smile to your face every time you hear it. When I close my eyes, I see myself tailgating at MetLife Stadium before his 2018 concert and it brings back so many great memories.

Yeah, we laugh and we love // And we can’t get enough // As loud as we’re livin’, man / We still turn it up // We’re amplified, come alive // Side by side // No matter where it goes // You know we’re here for the ride// Who gets to roll like we do? // We do // // Yeah, who wants to rock like we do? // We do // Yeah, who ain’t gonna stop, man, no matter what? // And who gets to live like we do? // We do

Everyone is still bummed about the Chillaxifcation tour being postponed until 2021 but this song and this entire album give me hope that next year’s version of the tour will be even better, even if we have to wait another year for it.


Jeremy Chua, Contributing Writer

Pick: “Soldier” – Craig Morgan
Songwriters: Gavin DeGraw

This is a track off Craig Morgan’s latest album, God, Family, Country, and a cover of Gavin DeGraw’s original song. Morgan’s rendition kicks an emotional punch, in a good way. It’s an undeniable feel-good anthem with uplifting lyrics like “I’ll get it if you need it / I’ll search if you don’t see it / If you’re thirsty, I’ll be your rain / If you get hurt, I’ll take your pain.” Also, I love that Morgan and producer/writer Phil O’Donnell enlisted a choir of vocalists to do the background vocals. There’s something special when you hear the soulful “oooo’s” and soaring echoes of certain words in the song! If you need a good pick-me-up, especially during this time, take a listen. You’ll have it on repeat after, I’m sure!


Alexa Ebner, Contributing Writer

Pick: “Church in a Chevy” – Jordan Davis
Songwriters: Jordan Davis, Josh Jenkins, Matt Jenkins

I cannot stop listening to “Church in a Chevy” by Jordan Davis. This song is featured on his self-titled EP, released in May. From the very first listen, this is the type of song where you feel the deep emotion flood throughout your entire body as each lyric is sung. I love Davis’ music for the refreshing energy, but this mid-tempo ballad shows us a different side to the singer.

He raises the idea one does not have to attend church in order to practice their own personal form of religion. For Davis, the cathartic act of driving in a car is a mode for personal growth and self-discovery. The song is filled with vivid imagery, making one feel very connected to the message. At the close of the chorus, Davis sings, “Amazing grace came flooding through the windshield / felt some broken parts of me start to heal”. Everyone can relate to feeling that healing is personal to everyone, and can happen at any time and in any place.


Julia Grubbs, Contributing Writer

Pick: “Hard To Forget” – Sam Hunt
Songwriters: Shane McAnally, Ashley Gorley, Audrey Grisham, Josh Osborne, Luke Laird, Mary Jean Shurtz, Russ Hall, Sam Hunt

I have always been a fan of Sam Hunt, from his very beginning to songs you’ve never heard of. My aunt is friends with his aunt, so I basically feel like I know him, and have heard stories about watching him grow up doing small shows in his hometown. This song does him justice with his constant talk-singing and the unforgettable catchy beats. We were waiting for new music, and this does not disappoint. The opening is such a cool modern twist on an old song banjo vibe, and a bit different from some of his others. It’s another perfect song for the summer to drive with the windows down, or in my case, the top down. Everyone always talks about playing hard to get, but they never mention playing hard to forget. A little more lighthearted than his “Break Up In A Small Town”, but with the same themes, you can jam while maybe feeling a little bitter about a breakup. This will be on my playlist for a while.


Molly Holmberg, Contributing Writer

Pick: “Make Em Wanna Change” – Adam Sanders
Songwriters: Adam Craig, Adam Sanders, Dallas Wilson

This month I have been listening to Adam Sanders’ new song “Make Em Wanna Change”. While you may not know him as a singer, yet, you definitely know his songs including Cole Swindell’s “Ain’t Worth The Whiskey” and Dustin Lynch’s “Hell of a Night”. Sanders’ ability to write honest songs is what has kept me inching to hear everything he puts out. In his latest, he explains how some relationships, some people, just have something about them that makes you want to become a better person. With an upbeat tempo, a catchy chorus, and lyrics that you can instantly apply to your life, I see Sanders’ new song doing very well in the coming months.
“Yeah ’cause guys like me just need a girl like you to make ’em wanna change,”


Pick: “Break. Up. Drunk” – Chase Rice
Songwriters: Chase Rice, Hunter Phelps, Jordan Schmidt

My June pick is “Break. Up. Drunk.” by Chase Rice. I chose this song because it’s not your typical sad song. Rice took a sad situation and put an upbeat twist on it.  It’s the perfect song to dance to this summer whether you are going through a breakup or not.
Pick: “What Could’ve Been” – Gone West
Songwriters: Colbie Caillat, Danelle Reeves, Jamie Kenney, Jason Reeves, Justin Kawika Young
It’s hard to find a breakup song that feels unique from what’s already out there, especially in country music, but this track does it for me. Between the perfect harmonies, the simple arrangement, and the poignant lyrics, it checks every box. I have always been a Colbie Caillat fan but I think she and her new bandmates fit perfectly in the country genre. The story in the song is so relatable to listeners but told in a way that feels new and different. I’m so excited to follow this group as they continue to release new music!
“‘Cause we left blood the on the tracks / Sweat on the saddle / Fire in the hills / A bullet in the barrel / Words never said in a story that didn’t end / Looks like you’re on the mend and I’m on the bottle / We folded our hands with money on the table / Tried moving on but I keep coming back again, hmm / To what could’ve been”


Erica Zisman, Contributing Writer

Pick: “Show Me Around” – Carly Pearce
Songwriters: —

A lot of songs this month have hit me hard in the best possible away. My favorite thing about music is when a song can make me feel something and Carly Pearce’s unreleased “Show Me Around” did just that for me. Although it has not yet been released, Pearce blew me away with her tribute to her late friend and phenomenal producer/songwriter busbee. I cannot fully articulate how much the lyrics touched me.

I hope you know you left your mark on this world / I swear I’d give anything on this earth to see your face, but for now I’ll wait.”

I often think about the “afterlife,” and the only thing I know for certain is I hope my loved ones are the first people I see. Although it can feel like a taboo or morbid subject, “Show Me Around” somehow evokes pain and hope in the most beautiful of ways. I look forward to hopefully adding this song to my music library one day.


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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