The summer of 2016 has been full of amazing country releases, and it's been incredibly overwhelming along with exciting. As the summer comes to a close, here are five amazing tracks you may have missed!
Kelsea Ballerini is best known for her fun, flirty pop country songs that top the charts, and that's made a lot of critics and country music fans write her off as someone with not much talent. Her newest single, "Peter Pan" shows a lot more of her stellar songwriting than the two No. 1s before it did, but it's still strictly pop country, and die hard country fans aren't always in favor of that. It's not fair to Ballerini, because although maybe "Dibs" isn't Grammy-worthy, she has talent, and a lot of it.
Singer/songwriter Stevie Jewel is the definition of badass, and her new single "Bad Habit" only further proves that statement. Premiering exclusively on Queens of Country, you can listen to her new single here before it hits iTunes tomorrow! (Preorder).
Lockwood Barr is a standout Americana performer and artist, but not just because of her powerful vocals. She has a specific perspective and writes songs that are completely unique. She doesn't often write about topics that are seen as the more mainstream topics in music; rather, she approaches love and heartbreak in new and different ways, along with using other influences to write songs about other topics. But every song on this record is relatable and about real life.
The simplest songs are sometimes the best, as Ashley Monroe proves with "Has Anybody Ever Told You." The love song is a classic country song, and sounds as if it was written in a different decade. With the simple hook, "has anybody ever told you, they'd be lucky just to know you," this song stuns in a way that not many country songs are able to these days. Monroe recently pointed out, when talking about the track, that this song says things that everyone wants to be told, but not many people are. It's about a flawless love, something that people crave.
If you know anything about country music songwriters right now, you've heard of Lori McKenna. The writer of "Humble & Kind," co-writer of "Girl Crush," McKenna has had an amazing year: she won a CMA and a Grammy for "Girl Crush," and with this new album, she released the best album of her career. She's finally getting more recognition, and now most people consider her one of the best songwriters in Nashville, a title that she's deserved for years. If you're still not convinced of her talent, take a listen to this record. It'll change your mind.
Mississippi-born singer/songwriter Jordyn Mallory released her debut EP to iTunes in May, led by the infectious summer-themed "Boat Friend." Jordyn took some time to talk to me about the making of the EP and the inspiration behind each track.
Country singer April Kry is known for her big, bold voice, and her new cover of the Maren Morris hit just reiterates the power of her voice. But she also countrifies the pop-heavy pop-country track, and gives the song a whole new sound and twang not present on Morris's version. Throughout the video, Kry is as energetic and infectious as her voice, showing off her strong stage presence and amazing performing skills.
Olivia Lane just turned 25, and although it may seem like she has it all figured out, she admits she doesn't. The second track on her new EP, "Quarter Life Crisis" is the most autobiographical song on this EP, according to her. "Once you graduate school, and when you're in reality and real life, there are no grades anymore," Lane said. "You're not trying to get an A+ in reality. So it's sort of an adjustment for those six months to basically two years after you graduate school and you're like, 'what do I want to do with my life?' The more adults I'm hanging out with, it's like, you know what, the only conclusion that I've got is that no one has it figured out."
In popular music, there can be a lot of sameness. The same rhymes, the same chords, the same lyrical themes. The most interesting songs are the songs that aren't predictable. After listening to as many songs as I have, it's pretty easy to predict rhyming patterns and what the singer is going to do with their voice. But when you listen to a song where it's completely different, it's an incredible experience. With Katie Perkins's brand new single "Take My Hand," the production and the lyrics both fall into this category.
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