Our favorites for the month of February include CJ Solar, Kassi Ashton, Tiera, Eric Church, and Chris Stapleton.
Lydia: “Airplane” by CJ Solar
This is a total jam. I’m talking the kind you are belting out the lyrics to and don’t even care when the guy next to you at the stop light looks at you like you’re crazy. CJ Solar’s smoldering, Southern rock sound slowly builds into the contagious chorus. It’s a sultry, clever love song which he co-wrote with Westin Davis and Rick Huckaby. I, for one, am looking forward to rocking out to this one at a future CJ Solar live show.
“Every time we move it in real close / Sparks start to fly, raging out of control / We got this dot on the map ablaze / Girl I bet you could see it from an airplane / We got two hearts on fire / Breathing higher and higher / From ashes to embers to full on flames / Girl I bet you could see it from an airplane.”
Emily: “Second One to Know” by Chris Stapleton
Sometimes the best songs are the tracks that never become singles. One of these hidden gems is “Second One to Know” by Chris Stapleton, found on From A Room: Vol. 1. This song is a JAM. The bluesy guitar riff is just delicious, and it’s the ideal pairing for Stapleton’s raw, gravelly vocals. The power-charged chords stretch to the furthest edges of staying on beat, and are so laid back and “jam band-esque” that it’s catchy beyond belief. This song is one that you’ll turn up loud and hit repeat on over and over again.
Key lyrics: Don’t put my love on your back burner / Never let anything that hot get cold / And if you ever change your mind / Want to leave my love behind / Just let me be the second one to know
Amanda: “Wake Up Call” by Tiera
Confidence and independence are at the core of “Wake Up Call,” the debut single from bright, new country music artist Tiera. Recorded at the legendary FAME Studios in Muscle Shoals, Alabama, the fun, upbeat song was released earlier this month. If you listen beneath the surface of this song, it’s clear that it’s about breaking free from all people and things that try to hold us down.
In the midst of all the testosterone on country radio right now, it’s refreshing to hear someone like Tiera who is unquestionably a vibrant female voice in country music. Her sweet, sassy southern harmonies, reminiscent of a more sensitive version of Miranda Lambert, and her candid yet playful songwriting style in the realm of Kelsea Ballerini make her an artist everyone will want to know now before it’s only a matter of time and she catches wind like the superstar she’s destined to be.
Natalie: “Save the Last Dance For Me” by Eric Church
I totally slept on 61 Days in Church and only recently discovered the treasure trove of stellar covers on this live album. Church puts his own spin on “I Want You to Want Me,” “Lookin’ Out My Back Door,” “Ramblin’ Man” and “American Woman,” among many others. My personal favorite is “Save the Last Dance For Me” – partly because of The Wedding Date highlight reel that plays in my head whenever I hear it, but mostly because Church effortlessly transforms this black-tie-gala number into a relatively subdued performance that somehow feels like a natural choice among his rocking setlist staples like “Springsteen” and “Chattanooga Lucy.”
Annie: “California, Missouri” by Kassi Ashton
Kassi Ashton is dipped in soul and drenched in swagger, both down-home and shimmery. On her debut “California, Missouri” she effortlessly marries country sentiments and Winehouse-esque grit. From the title on, the duality of her feelings for her hometown of California, Missouri (yes, really) are expertly expressed, making it both a love song and a lament.