Thursday, 27 November 2014

Playlist: Thanksgiving Meets Country

Hopefully everyone is having a good Thanksgiving today and if not, well here's ten country songs that are all about being thankful so fingers crossed they'll put you in the right mood. From turkey to tailgates, click play and you'll be all set for the rest of the day. Whether it's Jake Owen reminding you to be grateful for what you have or Carrie Underwood spreading the joy of hometowns, this is the ultimate playlist for Thanksgiving Day.

Wednesday, 26 November 2014

Sara Evans // Put My Heart Down

When it comes to Sara Evans' new single Put My Heart Down, the country starlet has been firing on all cylinders, and with a placement of the track on TV show Nashville already in her back pocket, there's evidently been a real push from Evans to get back to the top of the charts.

The second single from the powerhouse vocalist is lifted from her seventh studio album Slow Me Down, as a follow-up to the record's top 20 lead track of the same name. The mid-tempo track has all the musical arrangements of an upbeat love song but the lyrics actually spell out the dangers of a toxic relationship.

Put My Heart Down is anchored in the genre of country, but there's definitely a hint of airy pop in the mix too, something that will garner fans from across the board. There's no ignoring the fact that Evans faces some pretty stiff competition from her male counterparts at the top end of the charts, but with such a radio friendly single, who knows what could happen.

First Listen: Love and Theft // Whiskey On My Breath

Stephen Barker-Liles and Eric Gunderson, also known as country duo Love and Theft, won't be dropping their third studio album, Whiskey On My Breath, until early next year, so for now we're being treated to the record's lead single of the same name.

Love and Theft have had quite the run of success over the past few years with lead singles. Runaway from their debut effort World Wide Open reached the top ten while Angel Eyes from their self-titled second album claimed the top spot on the charts. However, the duo have never released a lead single quite like their current one.

Whiskey On My Breath is the pair's most mature sounding song to date, as it tackles the themes of alcoholism and faith. The pair have been wise to distance themselves from the ticking time bomb that is bro-country, instead opting for a stripped back, harmony rich track that tells a beautiful story of real life hurt and pain. By the sounds of it, Love and Theft have evolved into fully fledged country songwriters and performers on their forthcoming record, a release I very much look forward to hearing in full.

Josh Turner // Lay Low

With an upcoming album in the pipeline and a fourth child added to his brood a few months ago, it's a bit of a surprise to see that Josh Turner actually found time to shoot the music video for his new single Lay Low.

The track was written by Ross Copperman, Tony Martin and Mark Nesler and is Turner's first release to country radio since 2012. Now, we could spend all day talking about the rise of bro-country and its relentless popularity but it looks like the South Carolina crooner isn't interested in added his record to the mix. Lay Low is a cinematic composition of pure country, with the homegrown lyrics and a classic melody to boot. Turner's vocals have never sounded as crisp or clear on his latest release, something we've come to expect from the hit maker by now.

Tuesday, 25 November 2014

Video: Jake Owen // What We Ain't Got

We're used to seeing Jake Owen rocking sunglasses and a beer in most of his music videos, but the country star has taken a sobering turn with the harrowing video for his new single What We Ain't Got. The low-key video features Owen and songwriter Travis Meadows alongside several individuals who are facing real life struggles of their own, as revealed at the clip's close.

What We Ain't Got is lifted from the Florida native's fourth studio album Days Of Gold, with its predecessor, Beachin', hitting the top spot on the country charts earlier this year. The release of this captivating video could be just what's in order to send this single soaring to the top spot too.

Willie Nelson & Sister Bobbie // Who'll Buy My Memories

As someone who wasn't even born at the time, I was surprised to learn that in 1990 Willie Nelson faced the wrath of the IRS over a substantial tax debt that left him with nothing more than crippling money woes and his favourite guitar, nicknamed Trigger.

Fast forward to now, with Trigger under his arm and an outstanding career behind him, Willie Nelson has released a reworked version of Who'll Buy My Memories alongside his sister and band member Bobbie Nelson. The track is an intimate portrayal of Nelson's unique style of timing and pleasantly weathered vocals that are no doubt soothing for the soul. The sparse guitar riffs and tinkling piano notes only enhance the raw talent that Nelson exudes when he performs.

Who'll Buy My Memories is the first track to drop from the siblings' forthcoming album December Day, the first record in a series of releases dubbed as Willie's Stash. After several decades on the road together, it's clear that money isn't what motivates either Nelson to perform, but instead an enduring love for music and a familial bond that we can't help but fall for.

Monday, 24 November 2014

Kenny Chesney // Christmas In Blue Chair Bay

With December rapidly approaching, the Christmas spirit is slowly creeping its way into our hearts and the charts if Kenny Chesney has anything to say. The country veteran has released his first seasonal tune since 2003 with his new single Christmas In Blue Chair Bay.

Due to a rum business in Barbados, Chesney likes to spend the holiday season down in the Caribbean where it's all about unwinding and relaxing. Thanks to Buddy Cannon's on point production and Chesney's equally stellar vocal performance, the pair manage to bottle the essence of Christmas in the islands and give us all a bit of respite from the harsh weather outside. The soothing track is one to keep on constant spin over the next month, I promise you won't regret it.