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





Stephanie Wagner, Founder

Pick: “Home to Me” – Ross Ellis
Songwriters: Emma-Lee, Karen Kosowski, Ross Ellis

A song I’ve found myself listening to a lot lately is Ross Ellis’ “Home To Me”. The song came out a few months ago and it’s one that I can’t seem to get out of my head. It’s got relatable lyrics of missing home, but knowing home will always be there. Sometimes in a world where it seems like everything is constantly changing, it’s comforting to know that coming back home will always feel the same. Matched with a groovy rhythm this is a song to sing out loud with the windows down.

“Ridin’ around town // Roll with the homies // Roll the windows down // Where everybody knows me // It don’t matter how much I’ve changed // ‘Cuz this place gonna stay the same // Shoot a little pool down at the lane // And throwing back Crowns ’til nobody’s standing // It don’t matter how much I leave // It’s always gonna be // Always gonna be home to me // Home to me, home to me”


Christina Bosch, Managing Editor 

Pick: “Neon Moon” – Kacey Musgraves (Brooks & Dunn Coverage)
Songwriters: Ronnie Dunn

I recently re-fell in love with the entire REBOOT album, where one of my favorite bands, Brooks and Dunn reimagined their biggest hits with today’s biggest country artists. Simply put, Kacey Musgraves takes this classic country broken heart ballad and takes it to a new level, highlighting her crystal clear voice and the impeccable story.

“If you lose your one and only, there’s always room here for the lonely to watch your broken dreams dance in and out of the beams of the neon moon”

You can’t listen to this song and not see the entire scenes play out, a smoke-filled barroom filled with people who are trying to forget a past relationship. It’s one of my favorite songs and I am so thrilled that Kacey Musgraves put her own spin on it.


Lucie Bernheim, Contributing Writer

Pick: “Light Years” – Rachel Reinert
Songwriters: Rosi Golan, David Nash, Rachel Reinert

Rachel Reinert’s solo debut Into The Blue was released just as the world began to change indefinitely. Although not the way she planned the release, the closing track “Light Years” signifies so much of what everyone has been going through these last 8 months. The song is like a stream of consciousness about coming to terms with life and trying to find calm in the chaos. “I could fill suitcases with my past, but there’s no more space so/Here come the light years,” she sings over dreamy harmonies on the chorus. It’s difficult to find hope in these times, and as Reinert sings on the bridge, “it’s hard not to be afraid”, but in times like these, it feels like being hopeful is our only option.


Dylan Bestler, Contributing Writer


Songwriters: Michael Hardy, Jake Mitchell, Smith Ahnquist, Nick Donley

 I think it is safe to say I’m obsessed with HARDY at this point. When I hear this song, I picture a bunch of people at a bar, arms locked, singing along to this country-boy anthem. HARDY’s songwriting skills are poetic and this track is a great representation of that as he uses a bunch of alliteration, repetition, rhyme schemes, and imagery. There is too much gold in here to even pick out my favorite lines and phrases. My favorite songs are generally ones I can relate to and ironically, I cannot relate to this one at all; I don’t fish, hunt, own a truck, chew tobacco or go to church but it doesn’t stop me from enjoying the hell out of this song.

You can blame it on my pedigree / but I can’t help my heredity / I’m unapologetically country as hell


Kristina Callahan, Contributing Writer

Pick: “Better Than That” – Matt Stell
Songwriters: Joe Fox, Matt Stell, Phil Barton

I’ve been a huge fan of Matt Stell since “Prayed for You” came out and have probably listened to his current single “Everywhere but On” no less than 75 times so it’s no surprise I am loving this new song “Better Than That.” Stell sings from the perspective of an onlooker at a bar that sees a woman with what he thinks, is the wrong guy and he knows her “better than that.”

You ain’t a shot of Jager from a stranger at a dive bar // His hands all on your body on the dance floor // Try’n first kiss you up against the wall // I know you better than that / It ain’t the move, ain’t what you do // He don’t know the first thing about you // I know you better than that // Yeah, I know you better than that
Stell’s lyrics have been one of the reasons I love his songs. They’re relatable and so catchy. I can’t wait to hear his new EP coming out later this month.


Erin Crosby, Contributing Writer

Pick: “I Called Mama” – Tim McGraw
Songwriters: Jimmy Yeary, Lance Miller, Marv Green

Tim McGraw’s “I Called Mama” is one of those songs that sneak up on you. Truthfully, I didn’t have an opinion on it for the first few weeks of it being released to radio. I was even leaning towards not liking it. Lately, though, I crave the sweet tone of the iconic “Live Like You Were Dying” singer on such sentimental lyrics to play through my car speakers.

The message behind this single is true and speaks to everyone for different reasons. Whether you lost someone suddenly, miss your mom or feel homesick, “I Called Mama” runs true. It’s a story-telling production in which the accompaniment is almost irrelevant in discussion (no offense to the instrumentalists or producers). McGraw’s words are enough to gain the necessary traffic and attention for the undiluted emotions present.


Alexa Ebner, Contributing Writer

Pick: Feeling Things – Ingrid Andress
Songwriters: Ingrid Andress, Jason Wu, Trey Campbell

Ingrid Andress never disappoints with an emotional song that makes you want to pour a glass of wine and eat a tub of ice cream on the couch. This new song, featured on the new artist’s Lady Like Deluxe Album that she released this month, is an addition to the album that I am very excited about. The singer-songwriter has a way with words and the raw honesty within them shows her humanity. This song sheds light on a perspective of loneliness that people don’t often talk about. It explores the idea of whether it’s better to feel nothing at all or put yourself out there and potentially get hurt. Ultimately, Andress reveals that she is ready to ‘fall, bleed, and sting’ in order to put herself out there again and ‘feel things’. Andress declares confidently that the pain and struggles of finding love and happiness are worth it and she’s ready to face the scary unknown, as she beautifully sings “Cause I miss, I miss feeling things.” A lyric that speaks to me is, “I watch the parades go by, but I’m not in ’em.” The artist uses a clever play on the long-time popular saying “If you’re not in the parade, you’re watching it”, as a metaphor for her feelings. Andress describes this realization that she doesn’t feel a fulfillment in her life that she watches others experience, which is what leads her to the conclusion that it’s more important to put yourself out there, even though there will always be a fear of getting hurt.


Julia Grubbs, Contributing Writer

Pick: Next To You – Little Big Town
Songwriters: Hillary Reynolds, Michael Jade, Trevor Jarvis

I don’t even know how I came across this song, but I heard it on my Google Home and immediately thought, I need to know what this is. Little Big Town definitely has some deep-feeling songs out there; “Girl Crush” was in one of the shows I performed in, and it got you every time. But this one just hit different. With a slight indie vibe that transitions into beautiful harmonies and a steady slow beat, “Next To You” uses pauses and a light backing to convey the true emotion that sparked this song.

 Don’t you know, You’re the fire in my bones, You’re my heart and my home, oh / And I know, I don’t say it enough, I’ve been down on my luck, My love / But I’ll be fine in the morning, Next to you

It isn’t until three minutes in that it really builds and let’s go. With some of the strong emotions we’ve all been feeling lately, no matter if it has to do with another person or not, this song seems to capture it all, with an eventual strong release of energy and liberation from any chains holding you back. I can’t wait to listen to the rest of Nightfall.


Molly Holmberg, Contributing Writer

Pick: Long Haul – Ian Munsick
Songwriters: Dave Villa, Ian Munsick, Jamie Kennedy

I first discovered Ian Munsick through fellow country singer, Jenna Paulette, sharing his song on her Instagram story. I am always open to listening to new artists and something about his single cover and the song name “Long Haul” made me head over to Spotify right away to take a listen. Let me tell you, I have been listening to his songs on repeat. “Long Haul” is a ballad that paints the picture of a relationship where he is giving his love to last. Lyrically, it speaks from the heart and with the metaphors and symbolism, well get ready for this song pull on your heart strings.
Long as I know that it’s you and me / Time don’t matter at all / Girl, I’m in it for the long haul”.
If you get the chance to watch the music video as well, I strongly encourage that! The landscapes of Wyoming bring the song to life even more.


Abby Kaye-Phillips, Contributing Writer

Pick: Hallelujah – Carrie Underwood featuring John Legend
Songwriters: Toby Gad, John Stephens

Carrie Underwood’s entire Christmas album is pure perfection but the first time I heard this duet with John Legend I had chills up and down my entire body. The gorgeous ballad is my favorite on the project and the swelling melody, gorgeous harmonies, and beautiful lyrics will give you all the feels too. The duet was recorded virtually due to the pandemic, but I’m crossing all my fingers and toes that one day we will get to hear Underwood and Legend sing it together live!

“Let the world stand still, the church bells ring / Silent night as the angels sing / Hallelujah, Hallelujah / Let the magic warm the moonlit air / Hear the choirs join in singing everywhere / Hallelujah, Hallelujah”


Erica Zisman, Contributing Writer

Pick: “Missing One” – Jameson Rodgers
Songwriters: Hunter Phelps, Jameson Rodgers, Smith Ahnquist

This month my pick is Jameson Rodgers song “Missing One.” Honestly, it is a song I often forget about until it comes up on my shuffle or playlists. I always remember in that instance how much I love it, and continue to play it on repeat. The song is truly a lyrical masterpiece. It has everything I love in country songs, solid vocals, even better story-telling, and witty and unexpected lyrics.

“I had ever Eagles record / Center console, in a stack / When we split up, she still had Desperado / And I never asked for it back / So I’m missing one”

Rodgers’ current radio single “Some Girls” is currently rising on the charts, and I would love to see him get the success he deserves. With that being said, if you are unfamiliar with “Missing One,” I suggest you download it immediately. Trigger warning for anyone going through a break-up!


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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