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.
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 Illinois – Brett Eldredge
I’ve been meaning to feature this album since it came out in September. Even though his voice is very recognizable, Eldredge wasn’t really someone who was on my radar that much. I liked a few songs from his debut album, but he didn’t stick with me, and I listen to enough music that that’s an important factor. With his new sophomore album, I feel like we get much more genuine personality and there is a really good balance of the types of songs that are on it. I am loving the stripped down version of the single “Drunk on Your Love” above (original HERE), and also enjoying “You Can’t Stop Me” ft. Thomas Rhett, “Wanna Be That Song“and “Fire“
2. Favorite New(ish) Collaboration Back Home – Owl City ft. Jake Owen Listen HERE
When I saw this in a playlist of new music on Spotify, I clicked out of pure curiosity. I never would have imagined putting these two voices together. I’ve never been much of an Owl City fan and I like Jake Owen, though sometimes he can be a little too much for me. Coincidentally, I’ve actually seen both Owl City and Jake Owen in concert.
I LOVE this song. It’s sweet and simple, and I enjoyed the contrast in their voices, especially in the harmonies. And really, I’m a sucker for any song that is an anthem for small towns, the country and anything that reminds me of home.
3. Favorite New (to me) Artist or Band Chris Stapleton
I am all about finding new artists and there is a special place in my heart for outlaw country and red dirt music, but I get kind of annoyed when people insist that anything else labeled “country” is trash. OK, maybe we need new labels, but I do enjoy a lot of the new acts from the last few years. Anyway, when Chris Stapleton was nominated for CMA New Artist of the Year, people were beside themselves and carrying on as if the guy was an unsung legend, though surprisingly, I had never heard of him. I never got around to listening until his performance at the award show with Justin Timberlake blew up the internet. Holy crap, I regress. I totally understand the fuss now. That performance, shared above, as well as the performance of Timberlake’s “Drink You Away” immediately after, was amazing. I’m definitely a fan now. Off his new album I’m also really liking “Traveler“, “Fire Away“, “Nobody to Blame“, and “When the Stars Come Out.”
4. Jam I Have On Repeat Lush Life – Zara Larsson
If you ever wonder what jamming out in your bedroom in front of the mirror with your hairbrush looks like, I’m pretty sure this music video is a great example. At first I thought the song was kind of flat, but over the past week on my walk to and from work I found myself pushing repeat. Don’t know how long that will last, but right now its my jam.
6. Favorite Spotify List New Boots – Spotify
Always something new to listen too. It’s fun to think back to when so many of my favorite artists, country and not country, were just at the start of their careers.
7. #SoulMusic I’m obsessing Over Speaking of Truth (Orchestrated) – Lelah
I heard this on a TV show a few weeks ago and instantly pulled up the Shazam app on my phone to figure out what it was. I guess you could say its a bit indie but I LOVE the artists voice blended with the instruments. This is a song that I would LOVE to see used in a dance routine.
9. Current Beat That Makes Me Want to Dance…in the Car…Jamming With the Windows Down America’s Sweetheart – Elle King Listen HERE
I have mixed feelings about this artists debut single, “Exes and Ohs,” but this song caught my attention right away. It’s an edgy anthem, and GREAT to jam out to in the car. I keep waiting for it to get old for me, but it hasn’t happened so far.
10. Taking Me Down Memory Lane Eyes Open – Taylor Swift
I often identify songs that I think would make a great track on a soundtrack for books that I read, so I really enjoy seeing how the real soundtracks are interpreted when those books become movies. (For example, all opinions aside on the Twilight movies and books, I still LOVE each of the soundtracks.) I was really disappointed when I learned that the last installment of the The Hunger Games, Mockingjay Part 2 was not going to have its own. Overall, I think the first movie’s soundtrack was my favorite and although the other Taylor Swift track got all of the attention, this one above was one of my favorites.
11. Work, Work It Out Bitch Better Have My Money – Rihanna
Grandma, you probably don’t want to listen to this one. I’ve always been a big Rihanna fan and I love turning this one up with I’m working out. I’ve also become with watching dance videos from this studio featured in the video above. I think because I did dance growing up, I might appreciate their talent even more. Seriously, not in a million years would I have ever been that good.
12. Making Me Want To Fall In Love I’ll Be Your Man – Zac Brown Band Listen HERE
Zac Brown Band has one of those sounds and music personalities that remind why I love music. They have carved out their own special spot in the music industry and you can rely on the fact that they will never disappoint you. This one above off of their new (awesome) album is adorable and makes me tear up almost every time. Of course I then found this video that shares the meaning behind the song and how it was recorded, and I did indeed, tear up.
13. Guilty Listen of The Week/ Favorite Cover Torn – One Direction (Original by Natalie Imbruglia)
Go ahead and judge me. I don’t care, I’ve explained listening to One Direction before. Before I saw this video I didn’t know that this was actually one of the songs they covered when they were on X-Factor. It’s a pretty common song to cover, but it seemed far enough out of their wheelhouse that couldn’t help but check it out. It’s different, and I still think I like it better as a female solo, but I did enjoy their version.
14. Song I Originally Loved But Now Is Overplayed Here – Alessia Cara Listen HERE
I wouldn’t say I ever loved it, but it was catchy and different when it first came out. Now it’s just really gets on my nerves. Definitely over it.
15. Popular Song Making My Ears Bleed My House – Flo Rida Listen HERE
I can’t handle this song. Flo Rida just needs to stop. Yes, I jammed in my teeny-bopper years to “Low” and a few other songs, and still would if they came on the radio, but I’m pretty sure this one is killing brain cells and you can’t even dance to ti.
16. Country Pick It Don’t Hurt Like It Used To – Billy Currington Listen HERE
Considering this song has been on my favorites list for most of 2015, I’m not sure why it hasn’t been mentioned in one of my blog posts yet. Billy Currington is another artists that has been around a while now and in my opinion, still doesn’t get enough attention for his talent. His voice is rich, and his sound choice and sound is always strong.
These song could fit under quite a few categories include my selections for #SoulMusic and song on repeat. For me it just has one of those smooth addicting sounds, and the lyrics stand out to me as something a bit different than what I’ve been hearing recently. I haven’t listened to anything else by this new artist yet but this particular song was perfect for his vocals.
BONUS: My Voice Picks, Week 7 – 11
We’re in the second week of live playoffs and honestly, it stresses me out. It’s so hard to choose! The contestants are just now starting to really settle into their own styles and becoming comfortable, so there are so many that still stand out. While song choice is still a big factor is what performances I like, I am finally starting to pick favorites based on wanting to hear more from them regardless of what they are singing.
One of those was that I love the “fascination that country music has with singing about summer.”
It’s romantic, care free and fun. There’s a reason that authors and song writers alike, can pull so much from those themes. Every summer I make a playlist that is a mix of my favorite new hits from that season and old ones that are always a staple in my summer adventures. There are honestly a million different ways that I could categorize a summertime music playlist. But this time around I am making it simple. Today’s Friday Jam Session features a few favorites that are specifically about summer and a few others that I consider staples on my summertime playlists. For me, that means most of them are country songs because that’s what best describes my perfect summer. But hey that’s just me. What songs describe your summer?
Oh and because work came first last Friday, today’s list is a double-feature.
Summertime by Kenny Chesney
The King of Summertime has built his entire career around his own theme of beach bum country jams. This song never gets old.
Drunk On You by Luke Bryan
As reigning Entertainer of the Year, Luke is the biggest thing in pop country music right now and has given summer tunes his own flair. I think a pretty strong argument could be made for this being one of the biggest songs on the radio in summer 2012.
Runnin’ Out of Moonlight by Randy Houser
Summer nights. Enough said.
Ocean Avenue by Yellowcard
No this is not country and no, it is not about summer at all. But let’s go back to the summer when my best friends and I were 16, and our driver licenses’ were hardly broken in. THIS was our favorite song to belt out at the top of our lungs with the windows rolled down going down good ol’ 395 HWY. And years later it still remains on my summer playlist.
Barefoot Blue Jean Night by Jake Owen
Besides being a great summer song, for some reason that we’ve never actually been able to determine, this was the song that my AFA team labeled as ours. Regardless of the reason, because of them it will never be skipped and always have a special place in my heart.
That Summer by Garth Brooks
I spent a long time when I was younger liking this song before I actually realized what it was about. Whoops. Oh well, now that I do, I still love it.
Road Trippin’ by Josh Abbott Band
What’s summer without a road trip, long weekends or Boone’s Farm?
Night Train by Jason Aldean
I’m a very critical, and conditional Aldean fan. But I do really like this one off his most recent album.
Brighter Than The Sun by Colbie Caillat
Another non-country, favorite from Summer 2012. Normally not a huge Colbie Caillat fan, but this one is fun, catchy and meets the shades on, car windows down criteria.
Fishin’ in the Dark by Nitty Gritty Dirt Band
Hearing the first few chords to this, is the only introduction it really needs. Let’s put it this way. There are two things that I am sure of… 1.) Without this song, I’d bet that country music and summertime just wouldn’t be the same 2.) We can’t be friends if you don’t like it.