New Music Monday: Judah & the Lion- Sweet Tennessee EP

If you know me personally or you’ve seen anything I’ve posted on Twitter for the past, oh, two months or so, you know that I’m living in Nashville, Tennessee for the summer. I don’t care if this sounds cheesy– living in Music City, even for just a few months, has literally been one of my biggest dreams come true. Why? I’m surrounded by music. Good music. AWESOME music. All the time. I can honestly say that every single day I discover a new sound or new artists that I fall in love with.

One of those artists is Judah & the Lion. A few weeks ago, my friend Kate convinced me and a few other friends to go and see them play at an event hosted by Nashville’s independent radio station, Lightning 100. The band was INCREDIBLE. Seriously, the place was packed, and I couldn’t even see the stage from where I was sitting on top of the back of a booth at the Tin Roof. Their live performance was this super-energetic mix of folk and old-fashioned bluegrass jam.


Earlier this year, Judah & the Lion released a six-song EP, Sweet Tennessee. I bought the EP after hearing their set at Tin Roof, and it’s been on repeat everywhere I go ever since. Maybe their EP isn’t necessarily a “brand new” release, but for the purposes of blogging, it’s new to me, and completely worth attention. My favorite two tracks on the EP are “Hesitate” and “Southern Ground,” but truly, every song has its undeniably wonderful moments.

Here’s a video of Judah & the Lion playing “Southern Ground” live at Nashville’s 12th and Porter in April. Be prepared to tap your feet uncontrollably as soon as you hit play…

And as if their sound isn’t enough to have going for them, their attitudes are in the right place as well. The band was hanging out after the show, so I got the chance to chat with a few of them and they were very friendly, and humble despite their obvious talent. So here’s to hoping that these guys get all the attention they deserve in the awesome future they have ahead of them. And here’s also to hoping they come to Athens, Georgia to play a show in the near future… (pretty please!)

Find Sweet Tennessee on iTunes and stream it on Spotify. You won’t regret it.


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New Music Monday: Keith Urban- Little Bit of Everything

Happy Monday from Music City, y’all!

One night last week I was conversing with a friend about spotting famous people in Nashville, and she mentioned that she saw Keith Urban pretty often in the area she lives in. And in completely perfect timing, Keith sang his brand new single “Little Bit of Everything” on the American Idol finale the very next night.

It feels very summery, and it’s definitely catchy. I mean, I’m not really sure if Keith can ever go wrong, so I’m not surprised. Click here to watch the video of the performance on the American Idol Season 12 finale Thursday night.

Here’s to hoping this post will bring me a little good luck, and I’ll run into Keith and Nicole next time I’m in Green Hills… now wouldn’t THAT be great timing? 🙂

You can download “Little Bit of Everything” on iTunes here or stream it on Spotify here. Enjoy!

Keep talkin’ twangy!


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New Music Monday: The Pistol Annies- Hush Hush

It’s somewhat of a Southern tradition to keep quiet about your problems and make everyone believe your family is perfectly wonderful, especially at church. The Pistol Annies nailed that notion in their newest single, “Hush Hush.”

The Annies’ new album was released on May 7th, and this is the first single from it. As I sat in my room last night in Nashville (yes indeed, I live here now!), I saw the music video and just smiled. It’s hilariously accurate… enjoy!


Happy Monday! You can stream the Pistol Annies’ new album, Annie Up, on Spotify here and find it on iTunes here.

Keep talkin’ twangy!


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Album Review: Kacey Musgraves’ Same Trailer Different Park

The first time I heard Kacey Musgraves’ name, my supervisor at 106.1 WNGC was adding it to the night playlist. I didn’t have a clue who she was, and I’d never heard her debut single, “Merry Go ‘Round.” But, as soon as I did hear that first single of hers, I was hooked.

Her first album was released on March 19th, and I’ve had it on repeat ever since. Lately I’ve been using Spotify quite often, and it took me probably only one stream all the way through the album to recognize that it was definitely worth the buy on iTunes.

“Merry Go ‘Round” is a new perspective on small-town life, and boy is it honest and true. One-horse towns tend to be romanticized often in country music, but Kacey tells it like it is– teenage pregnancy, drugs, and trailer parks. The album title comes from a line in this song: “Same hurt in every heart; same trailer, different park.” The music video is also worth a watch:

But that first single isn’t the only gem on this record– in fact, they’re all wonderful. Kacey herself has a writing credit on every song on the album, and though she shares credit with other big names in country songwriting, her honesty is the common thread of this album.

“It Is What It Is” is an obvious continuation of the raw statement of fact she gave in “Merry Go ‘Round,” and the rest of the album continues with its realizations and messages about life, sans any semblance of a sugar coating. “Blowin’ Smoke” and “Stupid” are particularly catchy and upbeat songs about talking smack over cigarettes and looking like a fool because of love, respectively. “Follow Your Arrow” is a peppy song with a positive message encouraging the listener to do what their heart desires and not care what people think of your actions.

“My House” follows suit with a picture of a life on the road where happiness is the people you’re with. She makes it obvious that friends and relationships are far more important than a fancy house: “No matter where we go, we’ll never be alone. Anywhere beside you is the place that I’ll call home.”

One song I can’t get enough of is “Step Off.” The sound of the song is relaxed and content, but the music itself almost has some sass to it. I almost don’t want to say this for fear of putting Taylor Swift and Kacey Musgraves on the same plane when they’re very different artists… but this song is almost a more direct version of Taylor’s “Mean.” It’s a song for those people who can’t stand to see you succeed, and as a college kid trying to figure out how to make a name for myself in a highly competitive world, I can completely relate to “Step Off” and its warning to eternal pessimists who want nothing more than to undermine everyone but themselves.

“Silver Lining” speaks to the fact that rewards don’t come without risk and hard work, and “I Miss You” is a testament of exactly what can come of risking comfort for success. “I Miss You” is a nostalgic tune about someone who was left behind in a rise to success. Even though leaving a familiar life to chase a dream can be incredibly rewarding, especially for someone as talented Kacey Musgraves, it still requires sacrificing, and sometimes that brings the bittersweet reality of a fading friendship or relationship.

“Keep It to Yourself,” “Back on the Map,” and “Dandelion” are the more personal tracks on this album. “Dandelion” is a sad comparison between a weedy flower and a relationship that always leaves a painful mark. “Keep It to Yourself” tells the story of someone who’s ready to move on after a love broke their heart, but its tune has just enough of a mellow sadness to still carry a little bit of sadness toward that ended relationship. “Back on the Map” first looks back on a past mistake, then has a hopeful tone to it as Kacey sings about looking for someone to pull her out of a low period and help her get back on her feet emotionally.  Overall, I love this album. As a songwriter myself, I respect Kacey’s ability to be honest and still write something that sticks in a listener’s mind. She’s previously written for other artists, and in fact, she penned “Mama’s Broken Heart,” which is on Miranda Lambert’s album Four the Record, and it’s at the top of the charts at the time of this post. Kacey’s version of the song is a little less “in-your-face” than Miranda’s, but it definitely deserves to be heard, even though it isn’t on Same Trailer Different Park.

The honesty of these songs is a big draw for me personally, as is the acoustic-driven, occasionally folk-rock influenced sound sprinkled throughout Same Trailer Different Park. With a debut album as humble and excellent as this, I can’t wait to see what the future holds for Kacey Musgraves.

You can stream “Same Trailer, Different Park” on Spotify here, or buy the album on iTunes here. You can also find Kacey on Twitter or Facebook to keep up with what she’s doing.

Keep talkin’ twangy!


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New Music Monday- Ashley Monroe’s New Album

To continue on my little “traditional country” kick, I looked into Ashley Monroe’s new album, Like a Rose.

Ashley is a member of The Pistol Annie’s, and her voice contributes wonderfully to the group’s sound, but her solo music has a fantastic sound as well. I am SO in love with her sound. It’s old-timey, but not outdated. She uses a perfect amount of musical elements to add some old-fashioned flair.

Here’s the video for the title track:


If you enjoy this song, you can find Ashley’s new album Like a Rose on iTunes here.

Keep talkin’ twangy!


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New Music Monday- Brad Paisley: Southern Comfort Zone

I saw Brad Paisley live in concert several weeks ago, but I’ve been so insanely busy that I never found the time to write a review for his incredible show. To make up for my lack of a review, I wanted to feature Brad’s rockin’ new song, “Southern Comfort Zone” this week!

I am a Southern girl through and through, and as soon as the song began, the voice-over tributes to all things Southern made me tear up with pride, especially Andy Griffith’s voice. I found the lyrics to be relatable to my transition to college– when I got here, I realized just how many different cultures are present in the world outside of my semi-rural Georgia bubble. I absolutely love that Brad chooses to convey complete respect and even awe– not ignorant hatred– for those who have been raised in a different culture than his own.

The musical sound of this song is certainly not typical of Brad Paisley’s signature feel, but nonetheless, I definitely don’t hate it. It has a driving, almost pop-rock beat to it, especially when the chorus kicks up with a prominent cymbal part. It does, however, have a swanky guitar interlude– I’m convinced that a Paisley song simply can’t be without one!

Just as he did in “This Is Country Music,” Brad Paisley has managed to honor a culture in “Southern Comfort Zone” that is very close to my heart, and I will always admire him as a songwriter for that ability.

If you haven’t listened to the song all the way through, I encourage you to watch the official lyric video and pay special attention to the lyrics as well as the extra voices lending some extra southern heart to this tune.

Keep talkin’ twangy!


New Music Monday- Bucky Covington: Good Guys

In light of Keith Urban’s acceptance of a position as a judge on American Idol (read about it on Taste of Country here!), I thought it would only be fitting to honor an American Idol veteran this week!

Bucky Covington’s single “I Wanna Be That Feeling” was released in December, but I’ve only recently heard it on the radio. His album, Good Guys, was released last Tuesday, and to me, it sounds more pop and rock bent than his past releases, but it’s still solid even though it lacks some of the traditional sound that we heard from songs such as “A Different World.” One of my personal favorites from the new album is “A Father’s Love (The Only Way He Knew How)” simply because it’s sweet and relatable.

If you enjoy the video for “I Wanna Be That Feeling,” then be sure to check out the People Country playlist for the month of September (find it here) to download “Drinking Side of Country” from Good Guys as well as several other current songs from country artists… all for free!

Keep talkin’ twangy!


New Music Monday- Darius Rucker

I saw Darius Rucker with Lady Antebellum and Thompson Square twice this year, and I think it’s safe to say I’m becoming a fan. I heard his latest single, “True Believers” on the radio for the first time this weekend, and it’s got that sincere appreciation of life that’s becoming Darius’ signature theme, in my opinion. The song paints a picture of everything that the people in a relationship– specifically in a marriage– go through to get where they are, and he’s definitely showing serious respect for marriage as the union of two souls. I love that he chooses to acknowledge that a husband and wife are one before God.

Musically, the song has Darius’ typical upbeat, bright sound that compliments his voice nicely. I have a feeling it’s another one to add to his growing list of heartfelt hits.

There isn’t yet a video for this song, but I really love his video for “This,” particularly because it was filmed in one of my favorite venues… none other than the Ryman Auditorium in Nashville! Until the rest of Darius’ new album comes out, go here to find “True Believers” on iTunes.

Keep talkin’ twangy!


New Music Monday- Dustin Lynch’s Debut Album

Dustin Lynch’s debut album came out last Tuesday, the same day as JT Hodges’ debut album. I knew I wanted to blog about both, so this week it’s Dustin’s turn in the spotlight!

I’ll be honest and say that I haven’t yet heard anything from the new album other than “Cowboys and Angels,” but that song has easily stayed on my list of top ten favorites for this summer. I especially like the acoustic version I’ve heard a few times; in fact I may like it better than the slightly amped up radio version because it lets real talent shine through. Dustin’s voice has a unique sound that you don’t expect, and I can’t wait to explore the rest of the album and discover some more favorites.

With that being said, go check out Dustin’s new album on iTunes here, and relish in the lovely, perfectly-stripped-down, acoustic version of “Cowboys and Angels.”

Keep talkin’ twangy!


New Music Tuesday- JT Hodges’ Debut Album

I realize that it’s not actually “New Music Monday” because today is Tuesday, but I wanted to wait so I could post about JT Hodges’ new album, which came out TODAY! I’ve mentioned JT’s music in a previous post, and I’m pumped that his whole album is finally out.

“Goodbyes Made You Mine” has been one of my favorite current country songs since I first heard it, and I’ve seen the video for “Hunt You Down” several times on TV. Since giving the album a good listen, “Right About Now” is standing out to me as another potential favorite. I’m also loving the almost rockabilly vibes on “Rather Be Wrong Than Lonely.”

As if I wasn’t already excited about the album release, I was pleasantly surprised to see that it’s currently $6.99 on iTunes! Check it out on iTunes here, and while you’re at it, enjoy JT’s video for “Hunt You Down.”

Keep talkin’ twangy!