I don’t know why, but warmer weather always put me in the mood for country music and so when the weather starts transitioning from spring to summer, I always find myself looking for new country music to add to my playlists.
Now before all of you country purists see this list and get all worked up… ya’ll just cool your jets.
I am admittedly a purist (*also see snobby) about a lot of things, but when it comes to country music I pretty much am a fan of all of it.
I think George is the king, I was born and raised in the 90’s and Kris Kristofferson’s “The Austin Sessions” is one of my all-time favorite albums. Until streaming became a thing, I owned every Kenny Chesney album to date, I did one of my high school AP English Language and Comp projects on Johnny Cash and I spent every extra penny I had in college (and then some) going to every red dirt and Texas country concert that came to town. My point is that I don’t think country music has just one sound, and I think some of the styles that have become popular in the last decade or so have a place too, and I personally like quite a bit of it. So if you don’t like it, don’t listen to it. Problem solved.
So now that we have that out of the way… I have been adding to and loving this playlist of recent country releases over the whole past month. For the most part, quite a bit of it was released in 2018, but there are a some from 2017 that I didn’t find until just recently. But if its from a relatively new artist, chances are it took a while for the song to pick up and hitting its stride just in time for summer isn’t a bad thing.
Hope you enjoy it! Let me know what’s new that you’ve been jamming to!
Also, wishing everyone a fun, safe holiday weekend! This always feels like the unofficial start of summer, but it is also important to remember that this weekend is a time to honor and remember those who aren’t with us anymore, and especially those who fought and continue to fight for our freedom.
If you ask me what my all around favorite music genre is, anyone who knows me well, know that it’s country. But if you were to ask me what my favorite “music mood” was, I think many more of you would be surprised (Or are just confused by what I just said LOL).
Making playlists is something I’ve been doing for a LONG time. From the beginning when I had an iTunes in middle school I started created playlists and mixed CDs, all revolving around different themes, events and moods. I actually still have a lot of my old mixed CDs in my car and like to pop them in every once in a while for a fun throwback. Anyway, above all, my favorite “music mood” is by far what I’ve always personally called “soul music.” I know that I should probably find a different name, because traditionally “soul music” is associated with jazz, gospel and the blues, but the label has just always stuck with me. So what I am referring to is essentially slower, laid back music, often with a single instrument. Most often, this music isn’t your really passionate love songs or really sad songs, but more of a lighter dose of either of those, or just a bit more lighthearted. And it is always best listened to on a cozy rainy day, or a relaxing, warm sunny day.
When I decided that this was going to be an upcoming feature playlist, it was way too long (hundreds of songs), so I started picking through over the past couple of weeks, and then separated that into two lists. I followed my usual rule and tried to focus on including a big variety of artists, instead of multiple songs from the same artists. Which is SO HARD, considering some of my favorites, like Vance Joy, could have whole albums on here. I’ll also say that, for the most part, I don’t really put country music on a playlist like this. In my mind, that is a different kind of playlist.
The first list that I am saving for later features my all-time favorite self-proclaimed “Soul Music,”… all songs that are permanently on repeat. But today’s post is still pretty great, and since we’ve been having quite a few warm spring rainy days where I live recently, labeling this as my “Rainy Days” playlist was perfect.
I am headed to London late next week for a long girls weekend with one of my college besties, Brandi, so I thought it would be fun to throw together a playlist that focused on British artists. Which, in hindsight, was a bit easier said than done. Other than The Beatles and The Rolling Stones, I didn’t have too many expectations of what would be included, but as I started to dive into my saved music as well as exploring other playlists on Spotify, I discovered that I should have been more specific, and just focused on one era and genre. There were so many artists and bands that I forgot or never realized originated from the UK!
So, my list is a bit eclectic, ranging from the “British Invasion” to current music. To keep the playlist from being too long, I did decide to limit it to artists and bands that were only from England, not from Ireland (sorry U2) or Scotland. However, please don’t go fact checking on me… I’m sure I messed up at least one or two 🙂
Alright, let me know what obvious favorites I missed!
I’ve said many times before that my taste in music stretches far and wide. But if I had to listen to only on genre of music for the rest of my life, it would be country music. And if I had to be more specific, I would choose 90’s country music (followed closely by outlaw country and Texas/red dirt country).
I can’t help it. It is what I was raised on, and honestly, I think it played a large part in why I love good storytelling.
This was by far the hardest playlist so far to keep under a certain number. I could have easily created this long of a playlist with just a small handful of my favorite 90’s country artists, but there were also quite a few single hits that I could not overlook. So I limited myself to 1-2 songs per artists and for the most part, kept it to upbeat songs, though there were a few slow songs that snuck in. I also did quite a bit of double checking to make sure that the songs featured really were from albums that came out between 1990 to 1999. I had so much fun picking through these albums, since so many of them we had a home growing up.
And just so no one yells at me… I am well aware that there is no Garth Brooks on this list, but his music is not on Spotify.
I hope you enjoy this one as much as I enjoyed putting it together! Happy Friday!
First, it’s not Friday. But last Friday, my Wi-fi was down all day due to a crazy wind storm we had and this Friday I have a different post that I want to specifically post on that date. But hey, I definitely jam out other days of the week, so really, it works. #rebelyell
Second, I’m fully aware that it is a bit dramatic to create and share a playlist titled “Post Break Up,” but hey, unfortunately most of us need a playlist like this at point or another. You are welcome.
I’ve been adding songs to this list over the past couple of weeks and it was MUCH harder to keep it under a reasonable number than I thought it would be, which was silly to think because all artists have at least a handful of break up songs to their name. And really, I could have just made the list with only country songs… or only Taylor Swift songs.
So is this list a bit cheesy? Yes, because there was no way I was leaving Dolly out of it. And it is definitely full of angst (my teenage self would be so proud). But it is pretty well-rounded — meaning it covers every stage of a break up and quite a few different situations. So please note, I obviously don’t personally relate to every single song, quite a few are just songs that I enjoy and love to jam out to regardless of what they are about. Enjoy!
p.s. There are a few songs that are explicit, just FYI, if that’s not your thing. #sorrymom
This week’s Jam Session is all about songs that motivate me, some that are upbeat that you can workout to and others that are slow and maybe more calming and uplifting. Both typically have positive messages. I’ve said a few times lately that my attitude just hasn’t been the best and so music is definitely one of my main go-to’s to help change my mood or help me get through things. This list is fun because there is a good mix of newer songs that have been on my radar lately, and a few of them are older, and are some of my all-time favorite songs to help motivate me and change my outlook. There is also a really good mix of genres, which is just a reminder and how vast my music taste is.
A few playlist notes…
If you played high school sports in the late 2000’s you’ll probably agree with me on Eminem’s “Lose Yourself,” and I couldn’t count the amount of times that my sister and I rapped through the whole thing on the way to school. Speaking of high school, I included an early Taylor song, which really takes me back! I tried to not duplicate any of the artists, but my favorite Christian rock band, NEEDTOBREATHE, snuck in there with two songs, because to be honest, almost all of their music motivates me. There are three songs that have the word “Arrow” in the title, though they could not be more different. Ed Sheeran is one of my all-time favorite artists, but I was a bit surprised that I managed to still include him on this list. I don’t know if I’ve ever considered any of his other music to be particularly motivating, but this one definitely hits that point. I hadn’t heard Pink’s song until the Grammy’s this year and am still think back about the impact of her very simple performance. Hope you enjoy this week’s playlist!
I am SO EXCITED to bring back this series. Blogging is such a fun hobby for me and a way to both journal my life and exercise my writing skills outside of work, so in 2018 one of my goals is to blog more regularly. Friday Jam Sessions used to be some of my regular posts, but how I was doing them at the time — choosing one song to highlight for a bunch of different categories and writing a review for each — were just so time consuming so I eventually got out of the habit of doing them. But music and discovering new artists and tunes is still one of my favorite things and I missed sharing these posts. So now that I’ve become loyal to Spotify a few years ago, I am going to switch things up and share playlists I build on there around different themes. This is much easier for me to do because I listen to Spotify almost all day, everyday, regardless if I am at work, in the car or at home. And I’ve always had the habit of sorting songs into playlists based on moods or themes as I go. So right now I am aiming to get one of these posts up about every other week or so. Let me know if there is any particular theme you want me to feature!
To start us out, I decided to look back at 2017 and feature my favorite 10 full albums that were released that year. My music tastes stretch far and wide, but not surprisingly, artists that came out with full albums that I listened to over and over to, were almost all artists that I consider some of my all-time favorites. I decided to put three songs from every album on the playlist, which was NOT EASY. I should also note that Chris Stapleton technically came out with TWO new albums this year (because he’s amazing) but I counted them as one in this list…and still included three songs from each.
Ed Sheeran // Divide
Maren Morris // HERO
Chris Stapleton // From a Room Vol. 1 and 2
Logan Mize // Come Back Road
Harry Styles // Harry Styles
The Greatest Showman Soundtrack
Aaron Watson // Vaquero
Taylor Swift // reputation
Turnpike Troubadours // A Long Way From Your Heart
Halsey // hopeless fountain kingdom
A few playlist notes…
Halsey was a bit of a surprise to me because I don’t recall really liking much from her first album, but I really liked her sophomore album this year. Harry Styles’ freshman solo album solidified that his talents stretch far beyond his work with One Direction and I spent most of 2017 demanding that my friends listen to it. I was over the moon that Logan Mize finally gave us a new full album and proceeded to reminisce about all of his concerts I went to in college. My obsession with Ed Sheeran continues to know no limits and after discovering Maren Morris when her original EP came out a few years ago I have to remind myself that she’s still considered a new artist. After listening to him a bit in college, Aaron Watson shot up my list when I finally caught one of his concerts back in September and was kicking myself for having missed out on more of his music for so long. Maybe its because we’re the same age and I feel like I’ve grown up with her, but I’m still a shameless fan of Taylor, and after being a little concerned about LWYMMD as the first single off the new album, the rest of it was everything that it should be. Turnpike Troubadours has such a distinct sound, and I finally made it to one of their concerts for the first time, which only solidified my love for their music. Chris Stapleton’s sound continues to memorize me and I will never be able to wrap my mind around the fact that he spent so many years writing for other people before making it on his own. I FINALLY saw him live in concert this past year, and he is even so much better live — if that is possible. Finally, I couldn’t not mention the album that seems like everyone can’t stop talking about, and that is The Greatest Showman soundtrack. The movie was SO GOOD and the soundtrack has been on loop in my car for weeks. I think I know every word to every song by now.
I am sure that I forgot or overlooked a few albums, but I did have these others on my list when I was planning this post, so I suppose they deserve honorable mention.
Little Big Town // The Breaker
Thomas Rhett // Life Changes
Old Dominion // Happy Endings
Grace VanderWaal // Just The Beginning
Demi Lovato // Tell Me You Love Me
And these are artists with albums coming in 2018 that are on my radar so far that I am looking forward to.
I love music. My taste is very diverse — continually being shaped by an unique combination of people, places and experiences. I never try to pawn myself off as someone who “knows music,” because I have too much respect for those who do. I did dance and took piano lessons growing up, but trust me, you do NOT want to hear me sing. But music is a topic that I never tire of and I love swapping recommendations. Please join in and share your own picks! View past posts HERE. ********
1.Favorite New(ish) Album Untamed – CAM
Friends, I think Cam is the real deal.
I would say it is probably pretty hard to be women in country music, but I really do not think that this is an artist that is going fade away after an album or two. After a short jaunt in contemporary pop, her country debut single “Burning House” was one of the biggest songs on 2015 and its almost a crime that it took me until this past month to check out her whole album. “Hungover on Heartache” is currently my favorite jam off of the record, but I also really like the title track “Untamed,” as well as “Mayday” and “Cold in California.”
Plus by now, I think it goes without saying that I LOVE her hair.
2. Favorite New(ish) Collaboration I’ll Be The Moon by Dierks Bentley ft. Maren Morris
Let’s start off by saying that I have been raving about Maren Morris for months now, and I am just so happy that people are finally starting to know who I am talking about.
ANYWAY… let’s focus a little less on what the song is about and just appreciate how pretty that harmony is. Dierks has a lot of fun songs, but his voice was meant for sexy, soulful tunes. I still remember when he came to my county fair right after his debut album came out. He has always been a staple favorite since then and I would LOVE to see him in concert again someday.
3. Favorite New (to me) Artist or Band Brothers Osborne
This song has been stuck in my head and on my regular playlists for a few months now, so I guess it was about time these guys made it onto a blog post. They have a solid country sound, and are almost a bit folksy at times. Other than their single, I really like “21 Summer” (quickly becoming a new favorite), “American Crazy,”“Rum” and “Down Home.” They are playing on tour nearby in August with Miranda Lambert and Kip Moore, and I am REALLY hoping that I can make it work to go.
4. Jam I Have On Repeat
Keeping Your Head Up – Birdy
Birdy goes into the same category as artists like Sia and Vance Joy, who could sing the alphabet and I would still be obsessed with them. I want to feature every single song these artists have. If you think I’m exaggerating when I put songs into this category, DON’T. I literally mean that at one point I have clicked the repeat button on Spotify multiple times. I love that this particular song of hers is a bit more upbeat than some of my other favorites and I love the lyrics. It’s great in the car and is also on my running playlist.
6. Favorite Spotify List “Legendary”
The playlist description says: “The best of the best. Classics that define the word Legendary are all in this playlist.”
I mean with the Stones, Beatles, CCR, Fleetwood Mac and Queen — just to name a few — I would say this is a pretty solid jam session.
7. #SoulMusic I’m obsessing Over Start a Riot – BANNERS
I heard this on a TV show a while ago and immediately knew it would eventually find its way into this category. I love the artist’s scratchy voice and there is a softness to the song, that pulls on a lot of different emotions #closethipster. I’m a sucker for live acoustic versions, but this one is a bit rough, so I’d encourage you to listen to both.
9. Current Beat That Makes Me Want to Dance…in the Car…Jamming With the Windows Down Wild Things by Alessia Cara
It is funny, how you can hate one from an artist and be obsessed with another. That is how I feel about “Here” (which is REALLY annoying) and this new single. It throws me off a bit that this girl is so young, but this “anthem-like” song is quirky, catchy and has such a rich sound — which I think ties back to the lyrics themselves. It sounds great in the car and obviously has also found a spot on my workout playlist.
10. An Oldie, But a Goodie Today I Started Loving You Again by Merle Haggard
Friends, music lost a legend last week. I listen to a lot of different kinds of music, but my love for it is rooted in riding shotgun with my Dad and in early morning AM radio stations that would play the outlaws and classics. I was never cut out to be a musician of any kind, but I sometimes wonder if that music was one of the things that helped develop my love for good storytelling. Haggard was one of the best, and certainly influenced so many of the generation of artists to follow him. If I had to choose I would probably say that the song above is my favorite of his, but of course I love other hits like “Mama Tried,”“Workin’ Man Blues,” and “Fightin’ Side of Me,” just to name a few.
11. Work, Work It Out Castle by Halsey
If you have already discovered this song, it is probably because you joined everyone and their mom in using the Shazam app when you heard it on the “The Huntsman: Winter’s War” movie trailer. I am sure that I was not the only one. I have not completely made up my mind on Halsey as a new artist, but this song is SO GOOD. With a dramatic flair and so many layers to its sound, I am dying to see someone choreograph a dance routine to this. (Or can I be 16 again please?) It might be a bit different for what normally goes on workout playlists, but trust me, it works.
12. Making Me Want To Fall In Love Ophelia by The Lumineers
The Lumineers were an instant favorite when their debut album came out. Their entire production is so simple, but unique, and their new single has a light-hearted and sweet melody that I’ve had on repeat lately. Plus the video is just cute.
13. Guilty Listen of The Week Friends by Blake Shelton
I do not actually feel guilty about this one, it just seemed like the right place to put it since it is kind of silly. I LOVE Blake Shelton and this video and song have been cracking me up since my sister shared it last week. I think it is great when artists lend their voice to fun, kid-friendly projects like this.
14. Favorite New(ish) Cover/Remix Stay by Thirty Seconds to Mars (Original by Rihanna)
The BBC Radio 1 Live Lounge is my favorite go-to on YouTube for live performances and great covers. This particular cover is actually 2 or 3 years old, but I was showing someone this YouTube channel the other day and it made me think of it. Of all of the covers they feature, this one is probably my favorite. I am a fan of most of Rihanna’s music, but I never really cared for her original version of this song. But Jared Leto man, his version is so good, it is wrong. It really should have been his band’s song to begin with.
I’ve found that most people have pretty strong feelings about Meghan Trainor. You either get her or your can’t stand her. Don’t get me wrong her music can get a bit obnoxious after a while, but I generally like her. But this song…people, it’s some level above annoying.
However, can we take a moment to appreciate her hair. If I wasn’t super snobby about the fact that I’ve never colored my hair, I would go to that color in a heartbeat.
16. Country Pick Dear Music by Bart Crow Band
A country love song to country music?
I didn’t know I needed this song, until I stumbled across it, and now it will probably end up being one of my all-time favorites. I didn’t know that Bart Crow put out a new album last year, so I am excited to check that out. “Wear My Ring” is one of my all-time favorite two-stepping songs, so they are always solid staple when it comes to red dirt music.