Morgan Leigh Garner and Courtney Dashe are the two women behind the new fiery duo, Hadley Park. This isn't your typical duo: the name 'Hadley Park' comes from the names of their two daughters, born four days apart. They're motivated by their children and encouraged by their husbands, and they've got a lot of life experience to draw from for their music. In their music, you won't hear songs about puppy love or growing up: you'll hear life lessons, stories of real life, and some fun, poppy jams for the heck of it.
Brooke Eden just released a new EP, titled Welcome to the Weekend. The songs cover all the different parts of the weekend, beginning on a Friday night with "Diamonds" and ending on "Sunday Mornin'". The EP is cleverly set up, and for the most part well done.
2016 seems like it's been the year of the songwriter, with many prominent songwriters in Nashville finally releasing music under their own name. Alyssa Bonagura is the most recent addition to the list. She completely wrote and co-wrote her record. It was recorded live at Petti Sound in Nashville, and was co-produced by Bonagura and Mark Petaccia. She also plays on the album, with the songs featuring her on acoustic guitar, piano, ukelele, and 5 other instruments.
If you loved British country duo Ward Thomas for their traditional country sound, you may be disappointed with their new record. On their debut, From Where We Stand, the duo told their stories in a delightfully country way. It was one of the most traditional mainstream country records of 2014, and gained Ward Thomas many fans. While hints of that old sound show up here and there on their sophomore effort, Cartwheels is more pop-country than anything Ward Thomas has done before.
"But here's the simple truth, do what you dare to do."
Lane sings this lyric on the opening track of her newest self-titled EP, titled "Lightning." This lyric is not only a good lesson for everyone, but it's also something that has become more and more apparent in Lane's music. Lane dares to experiment with different sounds, and different kinds of songs. She dares to be vulnerable and she dares to be positive, and she dares to be country as much as she dares to be pop. Lane is all about spreading sunshine, but on this EP, she's also all about spreading originality.
Organic is a word that used to be associated with country music. That older, more rootsy country music was often based on simple instruments: the mandolin, the acoustic guitar, the banjo, and the fiddle. Today, that word can no longer be associated with a lot of country music. Radio country, for the most part, is based on a pop beat, often teamed with computerized drums and synthesizers. But this new trio, Post Monroe is bringing that organic quality back into country music.
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.
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.
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.
If you've paid any attention to the radio over the last few years, you've heard a song written by Caitlyn Smith. In country music, she wrote the debut hits of two The Voice winners: Cassadee Pope and Danielle Bradbery. She also wrote some songs for country legends, including "Tacoma" for Garth Brooks and "You Can't Make Old Friends" for Kenny Rogers and Dolly Parton. She also wrote Meghan Trainor's No. 1 hit "Like I'm Going To Lose You." And that's only a few songs out of an extensive list of songs she's written.