Lydia: “Blessed” by Lewis Brice
With “Blessed” Lewis Brice reflects on how lucky we truly are even with the simplest of things. A good family, a faithful partner, the ability to do the job you love. When you put the most important things in perspective you really can see just how blessed you are. The sentimental lyrics take on even greater meaning with the song’s accompanying video. “Taking life on in these beat-up boots / Forging my own path / Found a good girl I can hold on to / Yeah, she’s always got my back / Doin’ my best to be a better man / And still talk to God / I don’t have much but what I have is more than enough / I’m blessed / Got everything I need / I’m blessed / Got love all around me / When times get tough I tell myself it’s ok / I’m gonna be alright / I’m blessed / Got another day to breathe / I’m blessed / Good healthy family / Remind myself that each and every day I’m blessed.”
Annie: “That’s On Me” by Jake Owen
The Apple Music Editor’s notes for Jake Owen’s Greetings From… Jake describes the album simply: “Sunny, feel-good tunes to keep the party going.” And while songs like the Kid-Rock-featuring “Grass is Always Greener” may fit that bill, “That’s On Me” is a hidden gem on the record. Written by Matt Dragstrem, Benjy Davis, and Laura Veltz, the song is sweet and delivers a nice dose of romance, with clever lyrics that set the scene in a novel way.
Markus: “Man That Hung the Moon” by Brantley Gilbert
A poignant, touching reflection on faith and fatherhood, Brantley Gilbert has once again effectively blended religion into a broader personal profile. Claiming that he will have achieved true parental success when his kids realize that it is not he, but rather God that “hung the moon,” Gilbert not only details the initial magic of parenthood but lays out with great intricacy a deeper level of reflection on his love for his children. Backed by a sparse arrangement and a raw performance, Gilbert hit an absolute home run with a track that ranks among his finest work to-date.
Natalie: “The Smoke and the Stars” by Jason Hawk Harris
Listen slow and listen loud. And then listen again, extra carefully, because the lyrical treasures here are gorgeous and abundant. The opening track on Harris’ forthcoming debut album Love & the Dark, this song depicts true love as a light at the end of the tunnel, the saving grace of the narrator’s battle against both worldly evils and personal demons. Underneath the searing production that builds to an exhilarating high-voltage conclusion, Harris injects the track with so much raw emotion and showcases such stunning poetic prowess that I had goosebumps for a solid hour. It’s an effortless blend of romance, angst, grit that creates an utterly enthralling preview of what’s to come.