This month’s staff picks include Kenton Bryant, Lauren Duski, Muscadine Bloodline, George Strait, and Florida Georgia Line.
Annie: “Following My Broken Heart” by Kenton Bryant
I’m completely loving the newest from Kenton Bryant, “Following My Broken Heart,” and not just because he was a wonderful guest the last time we were out at George Dickel for The Hang (watch here). It’s a nostalgic and heartbreak-laden song that reminds me a bit of the early 2000’s alt-rock ballads courtesy of the Goo Goo Dolls or Matchbox Twenty. The clincher for me is his use of swiftly poignant imagery like: “There’s a jukebox full of memories in the back of my mind / By the maybe-she’s-coming-back neon sign / I keep ’em both going / Following my broken heart” or lines like “I’ll end up at the same old, nothing new, missing you seat at the bar.”
Natalie: “Montgomery” by Muscadine Bloodline
To put it simply, this is a jam. A refreshing take on the “heartbreak highway” motif (shout-out to the duo and their co-writers, Ian Fitchuk and Sarah Buxton), the hard-hitting guitars offer just enough angst to reach catharsis without overwhelming the lyrics or driving away fans of Muscadine Bloodline’s more lighthearted fare (see 2018 release “Can’t Tell You No”). 10/10 would recommend “Montgomery” for your next road trip—high volume required, broken heart optional.
Lydia: ” Runnin’ (To You) by Lauren Duski
If the name Lauren Duski sounds familiar, perhaps you know her as the runner-up on Blake Shelton’s team during the 12th season of The Voice. “Runnin’ (To You)” is one of five tracks on her Midwestern Girl EP, released last month. The song is a mid-tempo love song that quickly builds with the chorus. Duski’s unique sound is strong and fierce, with a little bit of Sarah McLachlan. I have no doubt that her mature vocals and solid songwriting will allow her to quickly emerge as one of Nashville’s rising stars.
Key Lyrics: “Couldn’t have planned it, still don’t understand it, but / I was on my way / I didn’t have a clue / All the time I was running / I was running to you”.
Markus: “God and Country Music” by George Strait
George Strait is back, and apparently in top form. “God and Country Music” is a touching ode to the genre, tapping into its universality and ability to touch on various aspects of humanity. The song’s religious overtones don’t feel heavy-handed, and are instead incorporated (quite poignantly) into the metaphor. The production hits all the right notes—it’s distinctly country, and allows the anthem-hymn hybrid nature of the songwriting to shine. The hook is nicely interwoven into a gorgeous melody, while Strait is as good as he’s ever been vocally. It’s a stunning track, and one that serves as a nice reminder of just how talented he is, and what he means to country music as a whole.
Amanda: “Can’t Hide Red” by Florida Georgia Line
On their latest album, Can’t Say I Ain’t Country, FGL teamed up with Jason Aldean for this country-rock monstrosity that will no doubt be taking over before we know it. “Can’t Hide Red” has arena- and amphitheater-size jam stamped all over it, making it a surefire #1 hit as soon it debuts at radio. Of course, could we really expect anything less from two of the biggest acts in country music?