Saturday, 20 December 2014

Cole Swindell // Kiss

With a current headlining tour of the same name, Cole Swindell released his five song EP Down Home Sessions last month as a follow up to his well received eponymous debut album. In conjunction with My Country Nation, the Warner Bros. recording artist released a live music video for EP track Kiss.

The Chillin' It hit maker reminds us why he continues to reign at the top of the charts with his latest offering to fans, putting his country twang to good use on Kiss. While the record is purely promotional, all of the tracks on his Down Home Sessions EP have enough merit to be released as bona fide singles that would no doubt attract heavy rotation on country airwaves.

It's absolutely critical that successful new artists don't leave their fans waiting too long between projects, something Cole Swindell seems to have recognised and attended to with his enjoyable EP that will certainly tide us over until his sophomore album drops.

Friday, 19 December 2014

First Listen: Rachele Lynae // Whole Lotta Nothin'

Rachele Lynae makes us yearn for summer sunshine with her latest release to country radio, Whole Lotta Nothin'. The country newcomer hopes to climb the charts and into the heart of audiences with her brand of honest country.

Whole Lotta Nothin' bounces with sprightly lyrics and easy-listen vocals that shine with infectious beach vibes. The Momentum recording artist might just be the female equivalent of Jake Owen with her current single. Rachele Lynae doesn't pull any gimmicks with her new record, rebutting over the top production and instead choosing to focus her efforts on cutting a solid track. The lead single from a yet unnamed forthcoming project was penned by Lynae alongside Hannah Bethel and David Myhre, and looks set to hit country radio next month.

By the time Christmas has rolled through, most of us will be done and dusted with the cold weather and looking forward to the sunshine and good times that summer offers, something Rachele Lynae hopes to soundtrack with Whole Lotta Nothin'.

Craig Wayne Boyd // My Baby's Got A Smile On Her Face

From Danielle Bradbery to RaeLynn, The Voice and Blake Shelton have a habit of churning out fledgling country stars to the Nashville scene each year. Craig Wayne Boyd looks set to follow the trend, with the reality show winner releasing his debut country single My Baby's Got A Smile On Her Face earlier this week.

While it's not clear how the Texas native wants to promote the track, it might be the case that Boyd plans to let his talent do the talking for the straight-up rock infused single. The upbeat ballad captures the essence of a passionate relationship and wraps it in Boyd's smooth vocal tone that rings with unadulterated twang. The Team Blake singer injects a well-needed splash of traditional country back onto country airwaves with his simple yet enjoyable first release My Baby's Got A Smile On Her Face.

Despite reality singing competitions being the perfect platform to initially spread the word about your music, I just hope Craig Wayne Boyd doesn't slip into the void like so many of his peers do when the show comes to an end. It would be a real shame for country to lose a genuinely talented artist like Boyd.

Thursday, 18 December 2014

Country Christmas Playlist 2014

With only eight more sleeps until Christmas day arrives, what better time to get the festive tunes spinning? Every year, some of the biggest names in country music get their holiday spirit on and turn their hand to seasonal singles. To ensure you have more time for getting drunk and wrapping presents, here's all of this year's Christmas tracks in one handy place.

Wednesday, 17 December 2014

First Listen: Frankie Ballard // Young & Crazy

With his first two singles from 2014 album Sunshine & Whiskey hitting the top spot, Frankie Ballard hopes to make it a hat-trick with his third offering to country radio, Young & Crazy.

The Warner Bros. recording artist cranks up the party on his forthcoming release, reminding us all to live every day to the fullest and to go a little crazy when we can. While certainly appealing to the bro-country audience, Ballard has found the perfect niche between what both critics and country fans alike will enjoy. His endearing vocals lend a sense of authenticity to the track, setting it apart from the clout of country releases that hit radio every week.

Frankie Ballard certainly isn't your average country artist, successfully managing to produce likeable country that rattles with an edge of southern rock. I have a feeling that the Michigan native has another hit on his hands with Young & Crazy.

Tuesday, 16 December 2014

First Listen: Little Big Town // Girl Crush

2014 has been very good to Little Big Town, from their Grand Ole Opry invitation to their top five record Pain Killer, the four-piece outfit have blasted into the stratosphere of country success, cementing themselves as household names.

While the fun-loving Day Drinking was chosen as their current record's lead single, the band opted for something more subtle and sleek for their follow-up release. Girl Crush is a slow-paced number filled with luscious lead vocals courtesy of Karen Fairchild and haunting guitar driven melodies. Many will see Little Big Town's single choice as a risky one for country airwaves, but there's no denying that Girl Crush is a solid song that brims with originality and uniqueness.

Little Big Town may be six albums into their career, but that hasn't stopped them from sounding as fresh as ever, and continually changing the country landscape as their sound evolves.

The Band Perry // Gentle On My Mind

Following their performance of Glen Campbell's 1967 hit single Gentle On My Mind at this year's CMA Awards, The Band Perry have released the track as their next record with a beautifully shot music video in tow.

The respectful nod to Glen Campbell shows a softer side to The Band Perry, with their frantic energy refocused into a banjo-centric cover that remains faithful to the original. The cover was recorded by the trio as a celebration of Campbell's distinguished career and featured in a documentary that follows his final tour in light of his Alzheimer's diagnosis in 2011. Kimberly Perry leads her brothers in the splendid rendition of Gentle On My Mind, infusing her blissful twang with the coarser harmonies of siblings Reid and Neil.

The track's cinematic visual starring Shelley Hennig and Alexander Ludwig alongside The Band Perry themselves, captures the spirit of the song perfectly, portraying a wandering figure that can't forget the love he left behind. It's hard to think of a more respectful tribute to a country legend like Glen Campbell.