This month’s favorites include Dierks Bentley, The Brummies, John Prine, Erik Dylan, Wild Feathers, Kacey Musgraves, and Tyler Farr.
Lydia: “Living” by Dierks Bentley
I’m so excited for the forthcoming Dierks Bentley album (The Mountain, out June 8), and based on what I’ve heard so far I won’t be disappointed. “Living” is the latest track released, and it’s an inspiring piece with a pretty simple yet important message. Life goes by so quickly, and most of the time we are simply living it. This song reminds you to not just live life, but make a conscious effort to enjoy it, because as we are so often reminded that important times, people and memories don’t last forever.
The lyrics perfectly put its message into perspective: “Some days you’re just breathing, just trying to break even / Sometimes your hearts pounding out of your chest, and sometimes it’s just beating / Some days you just forget, what all you’ve been given / Yeah some days you just get by, and some days you’re alive / And some days you’re living.”
Natalie: “Drive Away” by The Brummies feat. Kacey Musgraves
This dreamboat of a song waltzed its way onto my favorites list a few weeks ago, just before The Brummies’ album Eternal Reach was released, and now it’s in heavy rotation. The whole album is excellent indie-folk-pop with strong Nashville roots (check out “Lovers Do,” “Do It Tomorrow” and “Norway” ASAP), but I can’t get enough of the Kacey-coated vocals on this track. The lyrics’ convey a picture of urgent messages and covert escape plans, with production that gains both momentum and buoyancy from the weightless harmonies and sparkling electric guitar.
Zack: “When I Get To Heaven” by John Prine
I hope I’m half as cheery when I’m John Prine’s current age, because his new album, The Tree Of Forgiveness is an absolute blast. Most songs that reference growing older discuss a fear of death, but Prine just might be the only artist to think beyond that. Backed by saloon-style piano, Prine lays out his plans for what he’s going to do in heaven. Starting a rock and roll band and connecting people through love and music are high on his list, and if that doesn’t put a smile on your face, I don’t know what will.
Annie: “13th Floor” by Erik Dylan
This entire album is a personal pick, and worthy of repeated listens (we named the title track Demo of the Week in 2016)
but my on-loop-all-day is “13th Floor,” available now as an instant download when you pre-order Baseball on the Moon
. The song may be one of the most creative ways of portraying loss and regret I’ve ever heard. The imagery expertly conveys the out-of-the-box idea, anchored in Dylan’s sturdy, expressive vocal. Key Lyrics: “There’s a Bob Dylan song and a 12 dollar bottle of wine / There’s a heart letting go in the glow of the red tail lights / There’s hope on 12 and light on 14, elevator says ain’t nothing in between / Superstitious stuff / But there’s a lot of bad damn luck / On the 13th floor
Preorder on iTunes here.
Emily: “Big Sky” by The Wild Feathers
”Big Sky” by up-and-comers The Wild Feathers is like a big breath of cool mountain air. Fitting in with the popular 70s Western trend, this song transports you from the pavement and city pressure to wide open skies with an invigorated spirit. The best part? The Wild Feathers’s crystal-clear harmonies, which are reminiscent of groups like The Allman Brothers and The Eagles. Good vibes only. Key Lyrics: “Reason to believe again / There’s still a paradise / The closest thing to heaven that you’ll find / Headin’ for the big sky.”
Markus: Golden Hour by Kacey Musgraves
What Kacey Musgraves has given us isn’t perhaps her most lyrically potent project, nor her most country, but it may just be her most interesting and most enjoyable. Musgraves takes a solid set of songs, and wraps them with an airy, engaging production that adds an atmospheric touch to each recording. Her vocals are first-class, offering both an outstanding emotional evocation and excellent technical delivery.
Each song – while perhaps not as thematically out-of-the-box as her past work – is written with care, and with a level of cleverness and intelligence that allows for Musgraves’ perspective to shine. From the hook-laden “Lonely Weekend” to the melancholic “Space Cowboy” and the reflective “Oh, What a World,” Golden Hour finds Musgraves pushing herself artistically, and therefore delivering what may just be her most enjoyable project to-date, as well as one that may go on to define her career.
Amanda: “Love By the Moon” by Tyler Farr
If you’re looking for this year’s new summer anthem, look no further than Tyler Farr’s latest single, “Love By the Moon.” Written by Ross Ellis Lipsey, James McNair, and Chris Stevens, this feel good, windows down jam is all about working through the day so you can enjoy the night with your significant other. Farr’s signature gravelly vocals are highlighted by the stellar production work of the musical Yoda himself, Kristian Bush, who is producing the singer’s upcoming album.