All posts by Kyle3194

Variety Beat’s 10 Artists to Watch in 2018!

In 2017 we got to see a few of our artists from 18 Artists to Obsess Over in 2017 breakout in a huge way. Luke Combs had not one, but two #1 songs as well as a fully sold out headliner tour. Carly Pearce signed her first record deal early in the year and got her first #1 with her debut single, “Every Little Thing.” As 2017 has come to a close, we look out into the future of the bright stars looking to breakout in 2018.

Josh Dorr

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Dorr released his debut EP, Sundancer, back in November of this year, which featured five tracks. Dorr has been in the country music scene for some time now, which included him teaming up with Fender for a tour back in 2015. Dorr’s crisp and distinctive voice separates him from the rest of the pack. Dorr’s EP features the song “Ready or Not,”  which was co-written along with Ryan Hurd. Look for Dorr to make a huge impact in 2018.

Notable Songs: “Ready or Not,” “I Need a Highway” and “Before the Summer Dies”

Walker McGuire

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Walker McGuire have recently been making a big splash in the country music world. The duo comprises of members Jordan Walker and Johnny McGuire, who signed to Wheelhouse Records back in late 2016. Their debut single, “Til Tomorrow,” was released back in April of this year and cracked the top 50 on the Country Airplay Charts. Walker McGuire have opened for artists such as Old Dominion and Kane Brown. Walker McGuire are defining their own sound and it is a sound that has not been heard by any recent duos. In early 2018, be on the lookout for Walker McGuire’s debut EP.

Notable Songs: “Til Tomorrow,” “Mysteries of the World” and “Lost”

Taylor Acorn

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Acorn just recently signed with Play It Again in November of this year. Acorn is a Lynchburg, Virginia native, who previously released three singles independently. Acorn just released her debut EP titled, Put It In a Song on November 17th. The EP features Acorn’s infectious title track “Put It In a Song.” Acorn has opened for artists such as Scotty McCreery and Parmalee. Acorn brings a fresh voice with intelligent songwriting that will attract fans from all over. Be on the lookout for Acorn to gain more traction in the upcoming year.

Notable Songs: “Put It In a Song,” “Same” and “Something Tonight”

High Valley

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High Valley is a brother duo with members Brad Rempel and Curtis Rempel who are Alberta, Canada natives. High Valley has had major success in the Canadian market with numerous top 10 songs like “I Be U Be” reaching the #1 spot. Today, High Valley is currently signed with Atlantic Records and are making a major impact in the US market. High Valley’s style takes some of the traditional elements of country music and blends it with a modern spin. High Valley have recently just finished their first headline tour with Sirius XM The Highway and are looking for an even more successful 2018.

Notable Songs: “Make You Mine,” “The Only” and “She’s With Me”

Mike Ryan

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Ryan is a San Antonio, Texas native and has been having a successful career in the Texas music scene with multiple #1 singles on the Texas Music Chart. Ryan has been featured as a “Highway Find” on Sirius XM’s The Highway with his song “Sad Song.” Ryan released his third studio album titled, Blink You’ll Miss It, which features the lead single “New Hometown.” Ryan is an avid touring artist playing over 100 shows per year, securing him a devoted fan following. Ryan’s voice is pure and the epitome of the what country music is, look for Ryan to have breakout success in this upcoming year.

Notable Songs: “New Hometown,”Damn Good Goodbye” and “Other Side of the Radio”

Smithfield

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Smithfield is made up of members Jennifer Fiedler and Trey Smith, who happen to be childhood friends. Fiedler and Smith did not foresee themselves forming the duo, as they both ventured into their own solo careers before rekindling just a few years ago. Today, Smithfield is one of the hottest duos in the Nashville music scene. Smithfield’s latest single, “When You’re Gone,”  has been featured on Sirus XM’s The Highway along with their previous single “Hey Whiskey.” Smithfield also went on the road back this past year on The Highway Finds tour with Steve Moakler. Smithfield is currently working on new music which is slated for release in the new year.

Check out our interview with them!

Meet Country Duo Smithfield + Watch An Acoustic Performance of “When You’re Gone”

Notable Songs: “Hey Whiskey,” “You Don’t Know” and “Good Ol’ Days”

Bailey Bryan

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Bryan was just recently inducted as a member of CMT’s Next Women of Country class of 2018 and is looking for a breakout year. Bryan released her debut EP, So Far, earlier in 2017. Bryan also had her first tour exposure when she hit the road with Dan + Shay on their Obsessed Tour. Bryan has also hit the road with Chris Lane on his Take Back Home Tour in the last quarter of this year. Bryan is looking to set herself apart with her distinctive vocals and lyrical style, with hopes of breaking out in 2018.

Check out our photo gallery of Bailey Bryan at Route 91!

Notable Songs: “Own It,” “Hard Drive Home” and “Life Goes On”

Brandon Lay

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Lay is a Jackson, Tennessee native and has been starting to make an impact in the industry. Lay signed with EMI Records back in early 2016 and he released his debut single, Speakers, Bleachers and Preachers,” in the summer of 2017. Lay has opened for Old Dominion and is slated to open for Kenny Chesney starting in April of 2018. Lay likes to describe his style as a cross between eighties country and nineties rock, clearly defining his own sound. Lay is currently working on his debut album, in hopes to release it in the near future.

Notable Songs: “Speakers, Bleachers and Preachers,” “Let It” and “Wilder Horses”

Jordan Davis

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Davis is a Shreveport, LA native who moved to Nashville after being influenced from his brother to take the chance. A few years late, Davis signed with UMG Nashville and is currently working on his debut album. Davis released his debut single, “Singles You Up,” in May of 2017. “Singles You Up” has flown up the charts and is currently on it’s way to the top 20 of the airplay charts, with no signs of slowing down. Davis recently finished opening for Kip Moore on his “Please the Fifth Tour” late this year and is looking to keep the momentum going into 2018.

Notable Songs: “Singles You Up,” “Slow Dance in a Parking Lot” and “Take It From Me”

Abby Anderson

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At only 20 years old, Anderson has already begun to burst onto the scene in 2017. Anderson signed a record deal with Black River Entertainment back in February of this year. Anderson released her debut single, “This Feeling,” this past September. Anderson also had the opportunity to open for Kelsea Ballerini and she is currently working on her debut album. Anderson also was inducted to CMT’s Next Women of Country for 2018 and is looking to build off of this success.

Notable Song: “This Feeling”

Spotify Playlist of the Artists Featured

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Take A Trip Back to the “Wild West” with Runway June

Country music trio, Runaway June, have just recently released their latest song “Wild West.” Naomi CookeHannah Mulholland and Jennifer Wayne formed the trio after a write together that was formed out of chance and now are a part of Wheelhouse Records.

 

 

Runaway June’s debut single “Lipstick” had a successful run on country radio (making the top 25) and they are looking forward to release their debut album in the upcoming future.

Wow what a night Wichita!!!! We are in such a high!!!!!!!! #LoveMeLikeTheWildWest

A post shared by Runaway June (@runawayjuneofficial) on

 

“Wild West” Song Review

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“Wild West” is a love song that pays homage to the late John Wayne, who just happens to be Wayne’s grandfather. Wayne has always wanted to write a song that included her grandfather and the rest is history. “Wild West” is an organic love song that draws connections to western times when lovers would ride off into the sunset on horseback. The western imagery is prevalent throughout the song with the lyrics describing older times:

Love me like the wild, wild, wild west / Ride me off in the sunset / Outlaws making a run for it / Well come on boy, be my cowboy / Keep me by your side all night / Hold me tight / Like a pearl-handle .45 / And just let me be the whiskey on your breath / Love me like the wild, wild, wild, west

 

With Cooke at the forefront, her vocals are a blast from the past etching the setting of the song with Mulholland and Wayne providing the echoing harmonies that leaves listeners in a trance. The backing track includes the traditional steel guitar with a fiddle, that perfectly sets the mood of the song and paints the picture that Runaway June sets to create with their lyrics with every stroke of the brush. What is then formed is a masterful piece of art that will have listeners playing the song over and over again. The imagery of the wild west is continued throughout the song:

I wanna feel like we jumped a train to Santa Fe / Like we’re desperadoes, making our getaway / Wanna hideaway on some prairie / Underneath the blanket of stars / And just get lost in your arms

“Wild West” concludes with, “Baby you could steal my heart like Jesse James or go out guns blazing just like old John Wayne.” Overall, “Wild West” is a song that listeners all around will be able to connect with and will be able to feel the emotion throughout. “Wild West” offers a little something for every type of listener, old and young. There is something undeniably special about Runaway June, with vocals that have not been heard in many years, offering a fresh voice to the modern country music scene. Runaway June is forging their sound and presence that will propel them to the top of the charts in the near future. Runway June is a force to be reckoned with and will continue on creating a lot of noise, only intensifying in sound as time goes on.

Watch Runaway June Perform “Wild West”

Kalie Shorr ‘Slingshots’ Into 2017 With Her Brand New EP

Back in 2016, Kalie Shorr released her debut EP that was crowdfunded last year and is looking to breakthrough in 2017. Shorr had a successful 2016 with her debut single, “Fight Like A Girl,” which received significant airplay on Sirius XM’s The Highway. Shorr was also featured as a Highway Find and earned a spot to play at the CMA Music Festival Kick Off Concert during CMA Fest in 2016. Shorr is currently playing every Monday night at Song Suffragettes along with other female songwriters in Nashville. Today, Shorr has just released her second EP titled, Slingshot, which features Shorr’s undeniable talent along with songs that listeners will be playing over and over.

Slingshot EP Review

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Slingshot features two singles; “Fight Like A Girl” and “He’s Just Not That Into You,” along with three new songs. The first new song on the EP is titled, “Nothin’ New.” Shorr co-wrote the song with Emily Landis and Lacy Green in a unique way. Back in the summer of 2016, the three were randomly paired up during a Song Suffragettes event with YouTube, where they had to write a song with one another under a time crunch. What came from this was a raw and emotional song about a breakup that just always seems to linger around no matter what you try to do. The chorus echos these thoughts into song form:

Since the beginning / Since the world started spinning / It’s just a matter of fact / Girls want boys that don’t want them back / I’m just being honest, don’t matter what you call it / The sun still shines the sky’s still blue / You don’t want me and I love you / But that ain’t nothing new

Watch The “He’s Just Not That Into You” Music Video

 

Shorr’s strong vocals tie together the lyrics with the meaning behind the song, which will leave listeners with everlasting impression. The next song on the EP is titled, “Love Like That,” which Shorr co-wrote with Jason Afable and Eric Mallon. The song is inspired from an old relationship Shorr had back in high school where the guy was totally clueless on what it means to love someone. This leaves Shorr with the question, where did you learn to love like that?

Where you learn to break apart, somebody’s heart / Take the piece you want right off / Where you learn to make them fall and never call / Only want to get yours and get lost

 

The song is not one of those sad breakup songs, but one about that one (or many) relationships where the guy doesn’t seem to understand the relationship. The song itself is upbeat and is not meant to be a dreary song, but instead questions the guy’s understanding of love and who taught him how to express it. It is a song that many will be able to connect with and can share similar stories.

The final song on the EP is titled, “Odds Are.” This song is the most country-pop infused track on the EP, but it is done in a way where the lyrics and message are still authentic. The chorus explains:

The odds are that we probably will be alright / I doubt we gonna be alright / I doubt we gonna be alright tonight / The odds are that we will probably be alright / I doubt we gonna be alright / I doubt we gonna be alright for another night

 

“Odds Are” you will be blaring this song through the speakers every chance you get, singing along with Shorr to the best of your ability. The clever lyrics describe situations of high-odds like being struck by lightning or a meteorite and explaining that even if the situation that you are in seams grim, odds are it will be alright. The song showcases Shorr’s dynamic vocal versatility to be able to sing any type of song without sacrificing any of her talent and what is born is a pop track transformed into a country song.

 

Altogether, Shorr’s latest EP is one that will bring in new fans with her unforgettable sound and lyrical quality that sets her a part from other artists. Shorr’s personality shines through each and every song, which allows them to more easily connect with fans. Shorr’s vocals are also top-notch and noticeably different from anyone else, creating her own unique sound with her personal twist on each song. Shorr, for sure, will be on everyone’s playlist and music libraries and keep them wanting more and she is well on her way on making 2017 her biggest year yet. Be sure to keep up with Shorr on social media and be on the look out for when she is in an area near you.

Purchase Slingshot on iTunes

Kalie Shorr – Slingshot EP

Song Suffragettes’ Lena Stone Releases Debut Single “Nervous” – Listen!

Lena Stone has been living in Nashville for a few years and her debut single, “Nervous” is now here. Stone is originally from Massachusetts and decided to take the plunge and move to Nashville at the age of 18. Stone is one of the co-anchors of Song Suffragettes, which is a weekly show that showcases some of the most talented female songwriters in Nashville. In June of 2014, Stone signed her first publishing deal with The Song Factory. Stone has also written with many fellow songwriters and achieved independent success as one of the co-writers on Kalie Shorr‘s “Fight Like A Girl.” Today, Stone is releasing her debut single and looking to release her debut EP in the near future.

“Nervous” Song Review

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“Nervous” is a flirtatious song all about how a girl can make a guy nervous. It is about the beginnings of a relationship where you are still getting a feel for one another and figuring one another out. Stone expresses her idea of what this could be and the thought behind it. The song’s first verse opens up with:

When I bought this dress I’m wearing / I knew I’d catch you staring / And it’s cute how you’re trying not to / I sit down way too close / And pretend like I don’t know / I’m driving you out of your mind

The song expresses the fun side to a relationship where the girl is purposely trying to make the guy nervous and the guy’s reaction to those actions. The chorus blissfully describes this scenario:

I love making you nervous / Making you sweat, making you guess / If it’s all on purpose / Brushing your leg, stealing your breath / Watching your eyes light up, getting your tongue tied up / Boy I know it’s working / I love making you nervous

WATCH LENA STONE PERFORM “NERVOUS” 

Stone’s vocals pop through the playful lyrics and it’s instantly stuck in your head. She has the ability to string you along the story of the song and a clear picture of what is being described. Stone’s voice is also one that will have you belting out lyric after lyric before you know it. Stone has one of the most encapsulating voices in the Nashville scene that has the pop sound while having the soothing country flare. “Nervous” also features a catchy backtrack that perfectly captures the upbeat lyrics and feelings described throughout the song. It makes the listener begin to feel what this feeling is described by Stone and leaves them wanting more. Your repeat button will be working overtime with this song.

“Nervous” has the potential to be a major breakthrough hit for Stone for good reason. It offers a different take on a romantically based song that is heard on the airwaves today. Stone’s voice paired with her raw songwriting talent, is the beginning inner workings of what separates a good artist from a superstar artist. Be sure to keep an eye on future releases from Stone in the near future.

 

Purchase “Nervous” on iTunes!

Nervous – Single by Lena Stone

Interview: Sarah Darling Talks About Her New Album ‘Dream Country’

It has been a few years since Sarah Darling‘s last album, but she is now set to release her long overdue album, Dream Country, on February 10th. Darling has been in the country music scene for many years with multiple appearances at the famed Grand Ole Opry. Darling has released several albums, garnering over a half million downloads worldwide, with two #1 videos on CMT and GAC. Darling has opened for artists such as Carrie Underwood and Kacey Musgraves, among others.

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Dream Country takes listeners on a journey through aspirations, with songs about the stars, dreams and romance. Each track on the album blissfully describes an emotion or experience with Darling’s soothing voice, backed by a cinematic sound. Songs like Halley’s Comet has a very special undertone with comparisons to the free-spirited and awe-inspiring Halley’s Comet. The song takes you on a journey through the past, where Darling experiences her doubts and wonders where her life will take her. The lyrics describe Darling’s feelings and all the magical parts of life brought upon by gazing at Halley’s Comet.

Listen to Sarah Darling’s “Halley’s Comet”

Continuing with the dreamy theme of the stars, Starry Eyes, is a letter to your younger self with advice on how to deal with the struggles of life. The lyrics describe the sense of hope and light through the darkness of bad experiences. It is a life lesson to never give up on yourself and to keep on pushing through. Darling pleads for this younger self to “keep those Starry Eyes” and to always keep that twinkle in their eye, to become one of the brightest stars of the world.

Dream Country takes a step back from the modern country limelight with simple backing tracks and elegant guitar strums, piano, violin and various other instruments. The entire album plays like a symphony to one’s journey through all of life’s hardships and greatest treasures. Darling’s voice perfectly encompasses this overall tone of the album with each note enchanting the listener, leaving them in a dream-like state to fully take in each and every lyric. Overall, Dream Country, is a solid album that captures the spirit of dreamers everywhere and brings them on an unforgettable journey among the stars.

We had the chance to interview Darling about her latest release, check out the interview below!

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Variety Beat: How did you come up with the title, Dream Country?

 
Sarah Darling: While I was recording the record, I actually came up with the title.  I had a friend pop over to the studio to listen to the first cuts, and I remember him telling me it sounded country, cinematic.  Then the term “Dream Country” came out of my mouth and it stuck ever since.  It’s a world I’ve created.

VB: What are some of your inspirations behind the songs on this album? 
 
SD: I’m very much inspired by traveling to places and beauty.  A lot of the tunes on my album capture the wide open spaces which have always been close to my heart.  I grew up in small town Iowa, where I had lots of room to dream.  I think this subject floats through Dream Country quite a bit.  I almost feel like I’m a travel songwriter! 

VB: Typically, how are these songs written and what was it like working with different songwriters?
 
SD: Working with each songwriter is completely different every time.  I find that I write my best work with my close friends.  I think there’s an openness and honesty that pops out.   For example, I wrote the track “Montmartre” about my love affair with Paris with my best friend Jenn Bostic.   Writing with her is like a girls night out with wine but bonus, we write a song! My other favorite writing process was “Where Cowboys Ride.” I wrote it with Zach Runquist.  We both adore Wyoming, and literally wrote a song looking at images of golden fields and wide open skies.  It’s a mixed bag but that’s what’s amazing about being a songwriter. 

VB: How does this album differ than your past work?
 
SD: It’s a lot different from my past work I would say.  There was a lot more creative freedom and exploring while making this project. I had always dreamed about making a string heavy record and I did it! I wanted the tracks to tell a story to the listener.  I also experimented crossing over into other genres which was fun.  

VB: How has your musical influences or style changed with this new album?
 
SD: Not much has changed as far as influences go, but I almost feel like the pool just got bigger.  There’s a big appreciation for so many types of music.  I love seeing Chris Stapleton add his thing to country music! I love anyone who inspires me. 

VB: What separates this album apart from other albums that are currently out?
 
SD: I haven’t heard anything like it, and that’s great from my stand point. It’s country mixed with dreaminess with a dash of strings. I did me, and it happened to be different.  I think this is good advice for any artist.  Always be yourself in what you do. 

VB: What do you hope listeners take away from this album?
 
SD: I hope listeners dream a littler bigger and shine a little brighter.  It’s really encouraging and I hope everyone gets to experience that.  It was therapeutic for me when writing it! 

VB: What are some of your future plans? (Tour, radio, next single)
 
SD: I will be touring like crazy this year both in the US and UK which is fun.  My next single takes you to the West.  That’s my only hint! I also have some gorgeous videos I’ll be releasing all this year from my travels abroad.  Can’t wait. 
Dream Country is available Febraury 10, 2017. Pre-order here.
Tracklisting:
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