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




Stephanie Wagner, Founder

Pick: “Be A Bro” – Avenue Beat
Songwriters: Sam Backoff, Sami Bearden, Savana Santos, Summer Overstreet 

This month I chose Avenue Beat’s “Be A Bro”. The spunky, fun track is a refreshingly upbeat song reminding all girls of the ‘girl code’.

“Life is tough enough, ya gotta show a little love // sometimes I mess it up, but here’s what I know // If you hold a sister down, it’ll all come back around // so – be a bro, know the girl code”

An anthem for female empowerment, “Be A Bro” combines Avenue Beat’s unique sound and sassy flair making this the perfect track to bop along to.


Christina Bosch, Managing Editor 

Pick: “Craving California” – Jill and Kate
Songwriters: Jill Pickering, Kate Rapier

I truly feel like Jill and Kate speak to my soul with their music, their voices and harmonies always get me hooked no matter what they are singing about. In this case, they are missing a place (California) that I’ve never even been to, but their delivery and the lyrics make me miss it too.

What’s actually funny is the city they are singing about being lonely and rainy, Nashville, is a city that I am constantly craving to visit. They personify a state, by eliciting memories of a past relationship and mention the sunshine state’s most beautiful attributes, while reminiscing about the good in that relationship.

I’ve been listening to the song a ton since it was released last week and I will always love supporting Jill and Kate because they genuinely create music that I love.


Lucie Bernheim, Contributing Writer

Pick: “Time Machine” – Kelleigh Bannen
Songwriters: Kelleigh Bannem, Mark Trussell

Kelleigh Bannen does it all- she’s a singer, songwriter, podcast and radio host. She put on the singer/songwriter hat to release debut album Favorite Colors this fall, and one of the standout tracks is the reminiscent “Time Machine”.

The melody starts up simple but sweet. It almost sounds far away, like she’s cruising down an easy backroad. The chorus is when she really starts to drive. She picks the pace up a little, belting and almost pressing hard on the gas.

“It might be a melody/It might be a song on an old six-string” she sings on the chorus. “Who says there’s no such thing/ if you ask me/ There’s all kind of time machines”. It’s nostalgic, specific, and universal all at the same time. Her album is without a doubt one of the best releases of the year.

Dylan Bestler, Contributing Writer

Pick: “Hawaii On Me” – Chris Janson
Songwriters: Chris Janson, Kelly Roland, Will Nance

A lot of Chris Janson songs are upbeat and present the scene of a good time, like in songs “Power of Positive Drinkin’”, “Fix a Drink” and “Good Vibes”. However, we see him show his sensitive side in songs such as “Holdin’ Her”, “Drunk Girl” and this one, “Hawaii on Me”. In this track, Janson discusses what he wants his family to do with his money when he passes away.

My favorite lines in the song are: Now, don’t spend my money / on a box in a hole / That might be my body / but that ain’t my soul. It’s an interesting way to look at the situation. A dead corpse does not benefit from having a fancy casket. Watching their loved ones from the sky enjoy a nice trip to a tropical island in their memory is much more satisfying.

What appears to be his children join him for the final chorus to end this emotionally moving song. The track ends with an “I love you dad” from the kids and it’s super cute. I think I “aww”ed out loud after hearing it.



Kristina Callahan, Contributing Writer

Pick: “club” – Kelsea Ballerini
Songwriters: Jimmy Robbins, Nicolle Galyon, Kelsea Ballerini

When I first heard this song, my first thought was how it wasn’t what I expected at all. When you see the title, you assume it’ll be about going out to a club with your friends but it’s almost the exact opposite.

“I already know it ain’t worth it in the morning / And yeah I like the high, I just don’t like payin’ for it / I’m stressin’ over conversations / But now that’s anxiety that I’m erasin’ /Cause lately / I don’t wanna go to the club / I don’t wanna watch everybody around me try to hook up / And say stuff they don’t mean / And get drunk and get cheap / So what’s wrong with me /Cause I don’t wanna go to the club”

I’d imagine deciding to go out on Saturday night or stay in is a battle almost everyone faces from time to time—it’s a weekly struggle for me so this song is literally my life in three minutes. Besides the catchy chorus, this song is just incredibly relatable. I’m just really enjoying Kelsea Ballerini’s new songs for her third studio album. She can go from singing about wanting to stay in on one song then about wanting to show your true self in another. I can’t wait to hear what else she has in store for us in 2020.


Erin Crosby, Contributing Writer

Pick: “I Don’t Love You” – Lindsay Ell
Songwriters: Adam Hambrick, Melissa Fuller, Neil Medley

This single checks all the boxes of any successful break-up song. It’s a conversational piece that narrates details of this relationship that is seemingly difficult to move on from. The chorus is where the melody picks up and Lindsay Ell showcases her musical ability; solidifying her place as an upcoming female country artist. The instrumental aspect of the song is soft, allowing the lyrics to stand out which allows the piece to act more like a story with the listeners on the edge of their seats, waiting for what will come next.


Alexa Ebner, Contributing Writer

Pick: “Wish For The World” – Ryan Hurd
Songwriters: Aaron Eshuis, Joe Clemmons, Ryan Hurd

I’ve been a huge fan of Ryan Hurd and could not wait to listen when he released his new EP, Platonic. One of my favorite songs on the EP is “Wish for the World”, which I have not stopped listening to this month! The song has an incredibly sweet message and can boost any mood. Hurd sings about how he wishes everyone would enjoy life’s moments and stop sweating the small stuff. He opens the song encouraging people to make more time for the simple pleasures in life.

“If I could make a wish for the world / There’d be one more cup of coffee / In the morning when you wake up / Just to soak the morning in”

The overarching message and spin that he puts on the song is that letting love into your life is what’s most important and leads to true joy.

“When it really comes down to it / If just one wish could come true / I wish everyone could find someone to love like I love you”

This song has a very ‘feel-good’ sound and I love hearing him sing about his wife, Maren Morris!

Julia Grubbs, Contributing Writer 

Pick: “Where You Are” – Tenille Townes
Songwriters: Daniel Tashian, Keelan Donovan, Tenille Townes

Tenille has been killing it recently, with her single, “Somebody’s Daughter” playing on so many playlists, and I came across this song again, not quite realizing it was her. With the raw emotion wringing through her voice, I think this melody is so interesting and catchy while remaining a strong, powerful, artistic song. Recently on tour with Dierks Bentley, this female powerhouse has everything you want out of country, with the essence and sound of an indie singer-songwriter. I definitely will continue to replay this song, especially when I feel the need to express some emotions.


Autumn Haile, Contributing Writer

Pick: “Damn You For Breaking My Heart” – Caitlyn Smith
Songwriters: Caitlyn Smith, Gordie Sampson, Rollie Gaalswyck

There’s nothing like a beautiful heartbreak song. On Caitlyn Smith’s “Damn You For Breaking My Heart,” the singer, songwriter, and musician continue a streak of emotionally intense tracks that make you want to weep. She combines the energy of Florence Welsh with the songwriting prowess of every great Nashville name for a single that rattles your bones and touches your heart on a soul level. For anyone that has ever experienced the reverberations of heartbreak, and the way it ripples through every moment of your life, this is a must-listen. For that reason alone, it’s on the top of my new release list.


Nicole Piering, Contributing Writer

Pick: “The Thing That Wrecks You” – Lady Antebellum feat. Little Big Town
Songwriters: Daniel Tashian, Kate York, Tenille Townes

My song of the month pick is “The Thing That Wrecks You” by Lady Antebellum and Little Big Town, from Lady A’s new album, Ocean. There’s just something ethereal and magical about the seven voices harmonizing together that I can’t get enough of. The track has been on repeat since I first heard it, and I’d love to see more collaborations between the two groups. I’ve always been a sucker for male and female harmonies, and both Lady A and Little Big Town are unmatched in that department, so it’s only fitting that together, “The Thing That Wrecks You” is pure magic.


Pick: “So Pretty” – Jenny Tolman
Songwriters: Jenny Tolman, Mark Sanders, Sophie Sanders
Woman to woman songs in country music are some of my favorites (think LBT’s “Girl Crush”) and “So Pretty” is my new obsession. The beautiful ballad tells the story of a girl who meets her ex’s new beau for the first time. We’ve all been there, and usually, you prepare by convincing yourself that she’s going to be horrible. If she’s ugly or rude then it’s easy to hate her, and not be jealous. But what happens when she’s the opposite? I dare you to listen to this chorus and not get chills!
“I wish you weren’t so pretty / Wish you weren’t so sweet / Wish he didn’t need you / Like he didn’t need me / I wish I hated you / Like I wanted to / But you turned out to be, so pretty”
Pick: “Blue Collar Boys” – Luke Combs
Songwriters: Derrick Moody, Erik Dylan, Luke Combs, Ray Fulcher
I chose this song because as a wife to a blue-collar worker it’s nice to see them get the recognition they deserve, especially for the long hours they endure. My husband works a different shift each week and while I may never get used to it, this song makes me appreciate what he does for us, even more than I already have.
Pick: “Every Little Bit Helps” – Luke Combs
Songwriters: Chase McGill, James McNair, Luke Combs
It would be an understatement to say I’m OBSESSED with Luke Combs’ new album, but then again who isn’t right now. When it first came out and I shamelessly listened to it on loop for the next few hours, “Every Little Bit Helps” really stuck out to me from the first listen.
This song reminds me so much of “When it Rains it Pours” and “Beer Never Broke my Heart” in the way that it’s the type of song that can instantly put you in a great mood every time you hear it and have the entire room singing along. I feel like it’s definitely a song everyone can relate to- not just strictly in relationships but broken friendships and different negative situations- for everyone there’s been a time where we can’t seem to get our mind off of something. This song makes me want to let go of all of the negative energy, have a great time with the people I love and let loose, because even though it may not make everything perfect, or get you all the way over it, as he says, “Every little bit helps!”

Shanna Vitaliano, Contributing Writer

Pick: “1, 2 Many” – Luke Combs
Songwriters: Dan Isbell, Drew Parker, Luke Combs, Tyler King

Just like the rest of the country music world, I can’t get enough of Luke Comb’s new albumWhat You See Is What You Getso for my song of the month I had to go with one of my favorite tracks on the album, “1, 2 Many.”  Legends Brooks and Dunn join Combs for this honky tonkin’ good time drinking song that is incredibly fun to listen to. “1, 2 Many” could easily be the next bar anthem to get the crowd going, with the catchy and clever chorus, “About half-past 10, I’m half-past tipsy/ And quarter to 12, man I done had plenty/The countdown’s on when the first beer hits me/5-4-3-2-1, too many.”  You’ll definitely want to raise the volume when you hear this song!

Erica Zisman, Contributing Writer

Pick: “Better Together” – Luke Combs
Songwriters: Dan Isbell, Luke Combs, Randy Montana

I normally like to choose songs by rising artists for this feature, but this month I had to pick a song off Luke Combs’ sophomore record What You See Is What You Get. Each song is deserving of this playlist, but my current favorite is the heartfelt “Better Together.” As usual, I gravitate towards one of the more lyrically-driven, emotive song off the record. Although the track is simple in the nature, the expression of love is undeniable. It is always incredible to me, when an artist can string together words to express an emotion, especially one as pure as love for your partner.

“Some things just go better together and probably always will / Like a cup of coffee and a sunrise, Sunday drives and time to kill / What’s the point of this ol’ guitar if it ain’t got no strings / Or pourin’ your heart into a song that you ain’t gonna sing / It’s a match made up in heaven, like good ol’ boys and beer / And me, as long as you’re right here.”

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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