Jordan Davis proves his staying power on his memorable debut album, Home State, out March 23. The Shreveport, Louisiana, native worked with producer Paul DiGiovanni for the 12-song collection, which blends slick production and thoughtful lyrics for a diverse project. All 12 tracks on Home State are co-written by Davis and as a result, the listener gets to know the inner-workings of the singer. Standout ballads like “Slow Dance In a Parking Lot” and “Leaving New Orleans” highlight his sentimental side while “Take It From Me,” “More Than I Know” and debut single “Singles You Up” showcase his undeniable country swagger.
The album kicks off with the infectious “Take It From Me,” where Davis tells a girl they should ditch the after party and instead do their own thing. The polished production and rhythmic singing style featured on “Take It From Me” make it an instant party anthem. Later, on “Selfish,” he cleverly explains how he wants to stay in bed all day and keep his girl to himself despite her already made plans. His smooth singing style coupled with John Mayer-inspired guitar parts and seductive beats, further gets his point across.
The captivating beats continue on “More Than I Know,” penned by Davis, DiGiovanni and Blair Daly. With hand-clapped rhythms and Davis’ soulful vocals, the listener is immediately drawn in as he sings of a woman he just can’t get enough of. “When it comes to you, I don’t know what I got into / You love like a wildfire / Light me up like a live wire / But I can’t get enough / You kiss like a hurricane / Off the tracks like a runaway train / But I think I’ll try my luck,” he sings.
Relationships aren’t always easy and this struggle can be heard on “Tough to Tie Down” as Davis sings of a woman who’s “good at lovin’ and better at leavin’.” While he has a tough time getting the woman to commit, he sings of how he’ll keep pursuing and loving her “as long as this world keeps spinning ’round.” A sweet sentiment, he continues the thoughtfulness on the romantic “Slow Dance In a Parking Lot.” On the enchanting ballad, Davis’ vivid storytelling sets the scene as he spins his lady around by the Walmart sign in a deserted parking lot. As a rent-a-cop drives around, Garth Brooks’ “She’s Every Woman” plays from the car stereo speakers. “Making the most of whatever we’ve got / Even if it’s just a slow dance in a parking lot,” he sings.
While at times Davis’ rhythmic singing style brings to mind Sam Hunt, the Louisiana native sets himself apart within his standout songwriting and unique storytelling. This is perhaps best seen on album closer, “Leaving New Orleans,” with a picturesque description of the city that helped mold his diverse sound. As he sings of the need to leave New Orleans because everywhere he goes he’s reminded of his ex, Davis’ vivid details of the popular city put the listener in the song. Meanwhile, light horn accompaniment adequately pays tribute to The Big Easy. Overall a standout debut that highlights Davis’ ability as both a vocalist and a songwriter, Home Statemarries big sounds and production with the vulnerability of his lyrics for a truly enjoyable listen.
Luke Bryan quit making Spring Break EPs, but he’s certainly not done with warm, beachside memories. “Sunrise, Sunburn, Sunset” is a definitive piece of summer nostalgia. The song finds Bryan and a few buddies enjoying free lodging at a lake house when a girl rolls up with some friends and the group become better acquainted. There’s little to think about during this three-and-a-half-minute earworm — while the singer has never been one to wrap his intentions in layers of poetic metaphor, the action here is as clear as Where’s Spot? If great summer songs were meant to be easy, then Bryan’s “Sunrise, Sunburn, Sunset” will be an all-timer. The song’s chorus sticks like wet sand and each verse recalls one’s own dalliance with a less-than-hesitant lover. Expect this song to burn brightly this summer.
Midland transport listeners back in time in the throwback video for their new single, “Burn Out.” Filmed in one take at Billy Bob’s in Forth Worth, Texas, “Burn Out” has the reigning ACM New Vocal Group of the Year performing in the middle of a dance floor at the famous honkytonk as a couple’s relationship dissolves around them.
The video for “Burn Out” is inspired in part by the 1980 film Urban Cowboy, which starred John Travolta as Bud and Debra Winger as Sissy. In “Burn Out,” a bartender is confronted by an ex who apologizes after cheating on her. Still not taking the hint that things are over, he continues to heckle her throughout her shift. All the while, Midland’s Mark Wystrach looks on.
“The scene is inspired by the movie,” Midland’s Jess Carson explains in a behind-the-scenes video. “There’s a bad guy and there’s a good guy. The good guy is Mark.”
The video was directed by TK McKamy and Midland’s Cameron Duddy. It was filmed in one continuous shot, showing Midland in the center of the dance floor as couples two-step around them. Mid-set, the bartender and her ex get into a fight on the dance floor and after the man is escorted out of the venue, Wystrach lightens the mood as he walks up to serenade her.
“Burn Out” was written by Midland with Shane McAnally and Josh Osborne. It is the group’s third single from their debut album, On the Rocks, released last year.
Sturgill Simpson and the Head and the Heart are among the artists scheduled to perform at Willie Nelson’s annual Fourth of July Picnic at the Circuit of the Americas in Austin, Texas.
Joining the 2018 lineup are Ryan Bingham, Edie Brickell & New Bohemians, Margo Price, Jamestown Revival, The Wild Feathers, Lukas Nelson & Promise of the Real, Asleep at the Wheel, Particle Kid, Johnny Bush, David Allan Coe, Ray Wylie Hubbard, Billy Joe Shaver, Folk Uke and Raelyn Nelson Band.
The day-long event will culminate with a performance by Willie Nelson & Family. Tickets go on sale Friday (March 9) through Ticketmaster.
Nelson’s next album, Last Man Standing, arrives April 27.
George Strait isn’t known as the “King of Country” for no reason. The influential, iconic and legendary hitmaker has had such an impressive career, and even at 66 years old, he’s still going strong. Strait was born on May 18, 1952, in a town called Poteet, Texas. His Texas influence has been visible throughout his storied career, which began in 1981 with the release of “Unwound.” The following year the singer released the Straight from the Heart album, which included his first No. 1 hit, “Fool Hearted Memory.”
You Think You Know George Strait?
Country music is a wide genre and that’s OK I don’t even know what genre this record is but I know it’s me
There is something about the way Ashley Monroe delivers a song that makes you fall head first into every note. Her television debut of “Hands on You” on Late Night with Seth Meyers on Monday (May 14) sucked viewers in. The seductive and sensual masterpiece is off Monroe’s brand new album Sparrow, which perfectly serves as a representation of the woman Monroe has grown into being both personally and professionally. “Country music is a wide genre, and that’s OK,” Monroe says of her new project. “I don’t even know what genre this record is, but I know it’s me.”
Monroe heads to the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum on June 9 to participate as part of their popular Songwriter Session series. During the appearance, Monroe will not only sing songs from the new album, including “Hands on You,” but also be interviewed about her songwriting philosophies. The other thing that has Monroe on everyone’s radar is the likely possibility of her joining forces again with her Pistol Annies bandmates Miranda Lambert and Angaleena Presley. In March,the trio whet fans’ appetites with a mini-reunion at a Kentucky stop on Lambert’s Livin’ Like Hippies Tour. The group — radio songs include “Hell on Heels” and “Takin’ Pills” — have been dropping many a hint that they just might be about to release new music.
Shy Carter, Matthew McGinn and Lindsay Rimes wrote “Heaven,” a romantic song that Brown released as the fourth single from his self-titled debut album. Brown’s previous single, “What Ifs,” gave him his first-ever No. 1 hit when he recorded it as a duet with Lauren Alaina, and “Heaven” currently resides at No. 2 on Billboard‘s Country Airplay chart.
Brown’s recording mingles a finger-snapping slow jam with traditional country instruments. Home Free put their own unique stamp on the song, retaining the overall feel, but stripping away the instrumentation in favor of their signature smooth harmony blend.
“We often get asked how we choose which songs we want to put our stamp on, and it always comes back to finding something that inspires each one of us, whether it be something sonically or lyrically,” Home Free bass singer Tim Foust says in a press release. “Kane’s voice is so unique and he’s definitely one of our favorite new artists in the genre, so this felt like a perfect fit.”
Home Free rose to fame in 2013 after winning the fourth season of The Sing-Off . The vocal group recently launched the second leg of their Timeless Tour, which runs into early summer to promote their 2017 album of the same name.
When a country music fan needs a good cry, these 15 unbelievably sad songs are the prescription. Breakup songs, abuse songs and songs about death that try to be poignant but still leave us crying make up this week’s episode of This List. The most popular suggestion comes from a late legend, while ballads from Tim McGraw and Martina McBride move the conversation into the 1990s. More contemporary songs from Lee Brice, Luke Bryan and Cole Swindell are included to prove that no generation has been saved the delightful misery of crying because of country radio. The body count is high across this list of sad country songs, but each death is met with dignity and courage, or at least respect. Blake Shelton mourns his mother. Brad Paisley and Alison Krauss describe lovers that lose their way. George Jones sings of a man finding harmony only when he closes his eyes for the very last time. Together, the 15 songs make a playlist we won’t recommend for anyone, but when clipped together the pain is an oft-needed reminder of how good it feels when the sun is shining. Watch this week’s episode of This List.
Luke Combs surprised fans with a studio version of “Beautiful Crazy” on May 4. The song will be featured on his upcoming deluxe album, This One’s for You Too and was a hit from the get-go, landing almost immediately at No. 1 on iTunes’ All-Genre Songs Chart.
“Beautiful Crazy” originally caught fire in 2016, when Combs posted a video shot on an iPhone showing him performing the song acoustically to his Facebook page. The video quickly racked up more than 3 million views, and the song found its way into becoming a staple in Combs’ live shows. Combs’ new project will consist of the gold-certified album, accompanied by five brand-new tracks including “Beautiful Crazy.” The set will drop June 1.
The burgeoning country star will spend the summer with Jason Aldean and Lauren Alaina on Aldean’s 2018 High Noon Neon Tour, launching May 10 and continuing through the end of September. He’s also booked for a set time at Country Jam Colorado in Grand Junction this summer.
Maddie & Tae have returned with “Friends Don’t,” their first new single since signing with Mercury Nashville. The song, which details the back and forth two people often have in a budding relationship, is the first release from the duo’s upcoming concept record. In an interview with Sounds Like Nashville, Maddie Marlow and Taylor Dye explain that “Friends Don’t” is the beginning of the story from their forthcoming project.
“It’s in the context of a relationship where it starts out in that are we just friends, are we going to make a move? The gray area that happens to all of us unfortunately,” Marlow explains of their sophomore album. “Then it goes into the falling in love phase, everything’s great, rainbows and butterflies, and then it goes into the heartbreak phase where the girl gets her heart broken and everything she knew is not what it is anymore.”
Maddie & Tae assure that the album will have a happy ending, explaining that the final four songs on the record will be redemptive where the girl gets her power back and puts the pieces together.
“The whole story is the good, the bad, the ugly, but the girl wins in the end,” Marlow adds. “We told our story of the past couple years through the context of a relationship.”
The duo found themselves without a label when Dot Records closed in February 2017. Much of the album has been written over the past year and reflects the struggles Maddie & Tae faced following the loss of their record label home. As Dye explains, “Friends Don’t” was written in the middle of that process in September of last year and was inspired by Marlow’s younger sister.
“My younger sister was calling me one day and telling me about this situation with this guy she was interested in but she wasn’t sure if it was a friend thing. She was like, ‘He had taken me to a couple nice restaurants and he bought me a gift,’” Marlow recalls with a laugh. “I was like, ‘Friends don’t do any of those things. That is not just a friend thing.’ They ended up dating afterward. When she called me and told me that I was like, ‘We gotta write this song!’”
Maddie & Tae penned “Friends Don’t” with Justin Ebach and Jon Nite and say they wanted to make the song as relatable and in the moment as possible, so people could insert their own story into it. They promise their sophomore album will do much of the same.