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!
Pick: “Don’t Let Her”
Songwriters: Andrew DeRoberts, Walker Hayes, Shane McAnally
“This month I’m listening to Walker Hayes’ “Don’t Let Her” on repeat. The personal and sentimental song is such a special testament to Hayes’ sweet relationship with his wife, Laney. Through each line, he highlights all of the quirky attributes that make Laney, Laney. Although the lyrics are specific, the intention behind them is so universal that almost anybody can relate. I love the idea of your significant other picking up on all of the little things about you, that you might not even realize are peculiar.
The song is structured as a letter to the person who might take his place if something were to ever happen, ending the note with “And if she ever misses me, please, don’t let her.” Stings right?! I love a good song with a chilling hook that you truly don’t see coming.
I’ve been a big fan of Walker Hayes for a few years now. I love his unique songwriting and performance style and this song perfectly captures that.”
Christina Bosch, Managing Editor
Pick: “Head Over Heels” – Runaway June
Songwriters: Hannah Mulholland, Naomi Cooke, Jennifer Wayne, Tommy Cecil, Jared Mullins
“I just love the girl power vibe that Runaway June gives with every song and their confident attitudes. During our interview this past weekend the ladies talked about the song saying: “Part of our music is supposed to be out there to heal people and to say I’ve been in that same situation too, it’s okay, it’s going to be okay.” The track is about standing up for yourself and finally learning to say no to the one person you’ve always said yes to. The clever wordplay, great harmonies, and catchy tempo
“These ain’t my late night, lace-up, black leather shoes / these my downtown, dance around, waitin’ on you / these ain’t my lonely, cab ride, one-night thrills / these ain’t my you get drunk, call me up, and head over heels”
Their current single “Buy My Own Drinks” has reached the top 20 on the charts, making it the first song in 14 years by a female band to enter the top 20. As exciting as that is, we hope that this girl group filled with incredible talent break their own boundaries and continue to prove that women aren’t always singing love songs about a man and can continue to pioneer the way for women on the radio.”
Dylan Bestler, Contributing Writer
Pick: “Southern Drawl” – Jon Langston
Songwriters: Ross Copperman, Jon Nite, Rhett Akins
When Luke Bryan posted his Sunset Repeat tour teaser photo, I had no idea who was behind Cole Swindell. Once I found out who he was, I felt obligated to look him up and I instantly fell in love with his music. Jon Langston has a bunch of fire tracks, such as “Right Girl Wrong Time”, “Prob’ly At a Bar”, “Dance Tonight” and my favorite “Southern Drawl”.
Although new to me, this song is from his 2015 self-titled EP. It wasn’t love at first sight for Langston when he met the girl in this song; it was love at first word. In this simple, yet extremely catchy song, Langston sings about how attracted he is to this girl’s southern accent.
My heart beats fast when you talk slow / Slower than a sunset in Tupelo / And if you’re sayin’ anything at all / I’ll stand right here and fall / For your southern drawl.
Jeremy Chua, Contributing Writer
Pick: “No Stone Unturned” – Randy Houser
Songwriters: Dallas Davidson, Randy Houser
Kelly Cunningham, Contributing Writer
Pick: “I Like Where This Is Going” – Cale Dodds
Songwriters: busbee, Cale Dodds, Nicolle Gaylon
Julia Grubbs, Contributing Writer
Pick: “Bones” – Carson Beyer
Songwriters: Carson Beyer, Luke Rice, Sergio Sanchez
“This month’s pick is a rising artist from my hometown in Paducah, KY, Carson Beyer. With an Eric Church vibe, compelling lyrics, and a strong beat, “Bones” has a driving rock to it. Dedicated to his late grandfather, Beyer tells of not really knowing the man but feeling that his legacy lives on through him. He is still heavily influenced by the character of his grandfather and working to live up to his name. Besides the heavy yet inspiring lyrics, the guitar and gritty vocals make this song have everything you could want in a country song.
“Something in these bones, in the ground below / Tell ya where I’m from, tell ya where I’ll go / These bones, buried six feet under / West Kentucky dirt it’s no damn wonder / Got a lot to learn, plenty room to grow / Into these bones”
With several songs that can stand alone as singles, a solid control of his voice, and a look to make some girls swoon, Carson Beyer should be on your list of artists to watch.”
Molly Holmberg, Contributing Writer
Pick: “Sometimes Love” – George Strait
Songwriters: Bubba Strait, Dean Dillon, George Strait
George Strait never ceases to amaze me at his ability to create such timeless songs. His latest album is no different, filled with his traditional sound and songs that touch the everyday person. “Sometimes Love” is the 6th song off the Honky Tonk Time Machine and I was hooked the first time I heard it. “She was a sometimes love / But sometimes love hangs around a little too long.” The sweet and romantic words make for a ballad that spans lifetimes. Out of all the songs Strait has released throughout the years, this one definitely takes a Top 10 spot.
Abby Kaye-Phillips, Contributing Writer
Pick: “More Hearts Than Mine” – Ingrid Andress
Songwriters: Derrick Southerland, Ingrid Andress, Sam Ellis
Songwriters: Jordan Brooker, Luke Combs
Tricia Murdy, Contributing Writer
Pick: “Catch” – Brett Young
Songwriters: Brett Young, Ross Copperman, Ashley Gorley
“Catch” is the newest single off Brett Young’s sophomore album “Ticket to L.A.” and it is just as catchy – no pun intended – of a tune as anything else he’s released. The song is about going out with his buddies with no intention of having a late night or meeting someone – until he sees this woman show up. He planned to “catch a buzz, catch a game, catch up with the boys, the same old thing.” Now after he’s seen her, “trying to catch my breath”, “catch your eye, catch your name, catch a spark and start a flame”. It really makes you relive excitement and butterflies you feel the first time you encounter someone that sparks your interest. It’s those chance encounters of meeting someone when you had no plans for that or it was the last thing on your mind and they sometimes end up being such a fateful and wonderful experience. This tune is sure to hit #1 on the charts in no time!”
Nicole Piering, Contributing Writer
Pick: “All My Friends Are Drunk” – Rodney Atkins
Songwriters: Jimmy Yeary, Lee Thomas Miller, Monty Criswell
When it comes to country artists who consistently release good music, but manage to fly under the radar, Rodney Atkins is a prime example. Having had huge hits with songs like “Watching You,” “These Are My People,” and “Farmer’s Daughter,” Atkins should be a superstar. However, rather than resting on his laurels and dialing it in, he continues to release fantastic music. Last month, he released his stellar Caught Up in the Country album, and while the whole album is solid, “All My Friends are Drunk” immediately jumped out as a stand out track. I’ve been listening to it nonstop since the album’s release and it’s such a clever take on a guy dealing with a breakup. On the track, the protagonist goes out with friends to get over a girl, but all of his friends get drunk. In their drunken state, they forget why they went out in the first place, while Atkins is the sober one. “The wheels are falling off / I’m missing you like hell,” He sings. “I’m sober as a judge / I could use a little help / But all my friends are drunk.”
Sarah Schonmann, Contributing Writer
Pick: “Dear Rodeo” – Cody Johnson
Songwriters: Dan Couch, Cody Johnson
“Texan rodeo star turned country sensation Cody Johnson takes a country ballad turn on “Dear Rodeo.” Focused on the loss of something that once defined Johnson its a story of growth as a person in just a four-minute song. “And I’ll do it all again even though we both know / I’d still have to let you go” I love this song because of its unconventional way of looking at a country ballad. Johnson lets go of the rodeo through the way of his lyrics; starting and ending with “Dear Rodeo” much like a letter.
This song reminds me of different circumstances people would have to endure to achieve their dreams by letting something (of equal or more importance) go. Especially at this point in my life, this song contributes much meaning to me. Taking risks to follow a dream by letting certain things go really resonates with me, and I think it is an important message for people to hear.
While Johnson lets go of the rodeo dream to strive for other things, he acknowledges that this isn’t easy to do, “And I’ll do it all again even though we both know / I’d still have to let you go.” Letting go of one dream in pursuit of another is not an easy task to do that is shown in “Dear Rodeo.” In this song, Cody Johnson spins the heartbreak of a typical country ballad through the loss of his rodeo career to pursue other musical endeavors.”
Nicole Sellati, Contributing Writer
Pick: “Better Luck Next Time” – Kelsea Ballerini
Songwriters: Darius Coleman
“I know this song was just released last night but I am already in love with it. I was so excited to watch Kelsea’s episode of NBC’s Songland, to see which of the 4 songs she would pick to record. This show has such a cool concept and for the song, she chose we watched the track transform from R&B to a country banger right in front of our eyes. What I love about this song is that it is different from her other tracks allowing her to show off a different side of her along with showcasing her incredible vocals. The songwriter’s lyrics were also so relatable, making it the perfect song to jam out to. I hope to see her perform this song on her next tour.
“Everything about your love was one-sided / Didn’t cover it up or disguise it / You used my dream against me to tie me / To you”
Christine Sellers, Contributing Writer
Pick: “Summer Fever” – Little Big Town
Songwriters: Jesse Frasure, Cary Barlowe, Karen Fairchild, Sam Romans
“It’s not summer quite yet, but with the weather warming up, I’m looking forward to my favorite season that much more. This song is so carefree and fun and it makes me want to dance every time I hear it. Whether it’s a more serious song (like “Your Side of the Bed”) or a bright, up-tempo one like this, Little Big Town always has such tight harmonies and really draw on their strength as a group. I also think that this song gives off a similar vibe to their 2012 track, “Pontoon” in that it’s all about relaxing and having a good time with your friends. A good country bop for sure.”
Julia Singer, Contributing Writer
Pick: “The Bones” – Maren Morris
Songwriters: Jimmy Robbins, Laura Veltz, Maren Morris
“Since 2016, Maren Morris has been providing country music with a new and fresh sound. Her second album, GIRL, is full of amazing songs, but my personal favorite and a song I cannot stop listening to has got to be “The Bones.” This sweet yet simple song describes a relationship that is willing to survive through thick and thin.
“When there ain’t a crack in the foundation / Baby, I know any storm we’re facing / Will blow right over while we stay put / The house don’t fall when the bones are good”
Morris’ effortless vocals and songwriting shine through in this song and make it one I can listen to over and over again. With so many stereotypical sad love songs infiltrating country music, it is refreshing to hear a song like “The Bones,” which gives listeners a sense of hope and security when it comes to love.”
Jaclyn Tracy, Contributing Writer
Pick: “Even Though I’m Leaving” – Luke Combs
Songwriters: Luke Combs, Ray Fulcher, Wyatt Durette
I’m a huge Luke Combs fan and made sure to listen to his EP, The Prequel as soon as it was released. I’m a huge fan of ‘Beer Never Broke My Heart’, and the feel-good, light-hearted vibes that it gives off, but after hearing “Even Though I’m Leaving”, I was left so emotional. He tells such a powerful story that can move you after just one listen whether you have a personal connection to it or not. The meaningfulness and feelings that this song left me with is a major reason why I love country music, and brought me back to the first country songs I listened to that genuinely moved me, which is why this is hands down my June pick!”
Shanna Vitaliano, Contributing Writer
Pick: “Southbound” – Carrie Underwood
Songwriters: Carrie Underwood, David Garcia, Joshua Miller
Carrie Underwood has done it again, giving her fans another chart-topping single from her sixth studio album Cry Pretty. For this month, I knew I had to choose Underwood’s latest party anthem “Southbound.” It is the ultimate summer song – very upbeat and makes you want to be by a body of water enjoying life with friends. Hearing “Southbound” gets me excited for the warmer weather, and the overall fun of the summer months. The lively, easy going song has catchy lyrics like, “And those redneck margaritas are two for one at that old marina” and “Tan lines and gas station cheap sunglasses/They’re coming here from all around/To get a little southbound, unwound, Tennessee Honey kinda buzz…” It is definitely a song you can play loud in the car on the way to a concert, to the beach, or while hanging out with your friends after a long week of work!
Erica Zisman, Contributing Writer
Pick: “So You Go” – Old Dominion
Songwriters: Andrew Dorff, Brad Tursi, Matthew Ramsey, Trevor Rosen
This month I’m loving Old Dominion. Admittedly, I underestimated how talented the men of Old Dominion are until I went to their sold-out New York City show. I’ve been loving their new songs, so I decided to give their previous records a chance, as I was only familiar with their radio singles. Their song “So You Go,” from their album Happy Endings stuck out to me.
The track features cleverly woven together lyrics, killer instrumentals, and catchy wordplay; some of my favorite parts of a solid song. Old Dominion’s, Ramsey, Tursi, and Rosen’s talents as songwriters is truly incredible to me. “So You Go” is one of those songs that have a beginning, a middle, and an end, telling a complete story, which I always appreciate in music. It’s a hidden gem on their record.
I can’t wait to see what Old Dominion has in store for us with their new album and only hope to feel even more connected to their beautiful voices and genius songwriting.
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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