Category Archives: Review

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



“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”


Kelleigh Bannen Releases The Most Powerful and Honest Single of the Year “Church Clothes” – Listen

The thing about Variety Beat is, we don’t review every single that gets released. (Praise be to the powerhouse outlets that have that capability.) Instead, we bring you the music that touches us most, the artists we connect with because we believe they can make a difference in your life, like they’ve made a difference in ours. Kelleigh Bannen is not just another amazing artist/singer/songwriter. She’s an amazing human being and that is why we champion her music. She’s the type of person you wish you had in your life, a person you would be proud to know. A person who isn’t afraid to be vulnerable and honest, a person who takes risks even if it’s not the safe route, because she believes in the power of music and it’s healing capabilities.

Several years ago, Bannen came across a song called “Church Clothes” written by GRAMMY award-winning songwriter Liz Rose and Nicolle Galyon. It’s a song filled with so much vulnerability and something that makes people uncomfortable to talk about in the “church scene.” The song follows the storyline of a couple struggling to stay together, a couple that no longer communicates, that fights all the time, but they show up to church on Sundays, just like they’re supposed to and put on their Sunday best.


The lyrics have so much power in them because they come from such a broken place. They ask the questions, what would people think if they knew what was really happening? That’s a real fear when people are going through a hard time, possibly heading towards a divorce. What is everyone going to think? On the outside, people can look so happy, have it all put together, and yet on the inside they are crying out for help, for love, for someone who understands what they are going through.

That’s what this song does. It offers an understanding for others who don’t have it all together, who don’t have the perfect marriage, who have been through or are going through things that others would look down upon. It takes courage and bravery to open up about what’s really happening and this song gives people that courage. To say “I’m not alone, other people are also going through this.” It’s something so difficult and painful, but it can hurt a little less if you can be honest about what’s going on.

Bannen brings that vulnerability out when she sings the words as if she’s lived them. There are pauses in each line that allow us to feel the pain she’s singing about. It’s difficult to say the words, because it’s difficult to live them.

A pressed shirt, you tuck it in / You tie your tie, tie it again / I put a little curl in my hair / Pink on my cheeks, barely there / A proper skirt, hits at the knee / A good sweater in wintergreen / You shake the keys, downstairs / I hit the lights, not a minute to spare / Slip a five in the bible for the offering plate / What a beautiful picture we both make

You drive, I look out the window / It’s not right but nobody says so / We walk in and head to the same pew / And hold hands, just like we’re supposed to / But last night you slept on the sofa / And these days I don’t even know ya / We fight like hell but nobody knows / When we’re wearing our church clothes

We stand up we sing a hymn / We say a prayer for other friends / We’re turning to the book of John / And I’m thinking how I can’t go on / But we smile and we give it our Sunday best / If we’re lost couldn’t tell by the way we’re dressed

You drive, I look out the window / It’s not right but nobody says so / We walk in, I head to the bedroom / But you don’t, you do what you want to / Like last week when you packed a suitcase / And came close to getting your own place / Oh that’s the stuff that nobody knows / When we’re wearing our church clothes

Oh we don’t speak / Don’t touch as if nobody’s watching us / Lord knows we’ve got it down / What would they say if we gave up

You drive, I look out the window / It’s not right but nobody says so / We walk in like we’ve never been so close / Miles apart but careful that it don’t show / When we’re wearing our church clothes


This song has the power to change lives and bring healing to so many. We hope it touches you as much as it has touched us over the years. It doesn’t have to be about your own life, it could be about parents, a couple you know… your neighbor. It doesn’t even have to be about a relationship, but about that brokenness of feeling so judged and feeling like you must have it all together, you have to make others think your life is perfect.

There’s not a lot of music out there that truly brings that kind of healing and the opportunity to face what’s really happening in life. This song does that in more. Don’t be afraid to tell someone you know is hurting about “Church Clothes.” Let the healing begin.

Download “Church Clothes” on iTunes,

The music video for “Church Clothes” will premiere on Saturday, March 11 on CMT’s Hot 20 Countdown!



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



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


“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


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

Brooke Eden Announces New Single “Act Like You Don’t” + ‘Welcome to the Weekend’ Tour!

Brooke Eden has had a very busy 2016, with Eden making her Grand Ole Opry debut and releasing her debut EP, Welcome to the Weekend. Eden is looking to have an even bigger 2017 and is kicking things off releasing her brand new single, “Act Like You Don’t.” Upon Eden’s EP release, “Act Like You Don’t” has become a fan favorite, with close to 5 million streams on Spotify . One listen through the song and you will instantly see what all the buzz about. Eden possess one of the most jaw-dropping voices in the country music world, paired with a bubbly personality, fans around are instantly drawn to her music.



“Act Like You Don’t” is a song that deserves to be played on country radio, simply because it’s not only a song that helped Eden heal, but a song that will resonate with so many others, males and females included. It’s a break up song that isn’t a ballad or a slow song that will make the listener sad. Instead, it will give the strength needed to push through that break up, words and a beat that the listener can shout out, dance to and write down to remember when they are having moments of weakness.

We can’t take all these ups and downs / This back and forth / Oh, space is what we need / So I boxed up your things / Put ’em on your porch / The nights, they hurt like hell / I know just how you feel / But when I hear from you / It’s like salt in the wounds / And I need to heal / So when you want to have a late night drive by/ Drunk dial my phone around midnight / Say you miss me waking up by your side / Act like you don’t, like you don’t / Let’s play a little game and pretend / Like you don’t know where I go on the weekends / When you want to show up with your friends / Act like you don’t, like you don’t

When Eden comes for that bridge she turns a break up song into something beautiful, something healing, empowering and powerful. It’s not just another single or just another break up song, it’s a song that needs to be heard because it has no bounds. It’s not restricted to genres or genders. It speaks to everyone and everyone needs a little more healing, empowerment and strength in their life.



Directed by Ford Fairchild, the lyrics of “Act Like You Don’t” pour across the pages of Eden’s diary. The video gives fans an intimate look at Eden writing a heartfelt message to an ex-boyfriend in the wake of a painful breakup:

I know we both get lonely, but if you ever loved me, /
And you still do… I need you to /
Act like you don’t.

Be sure to request “Act Like You Don’t” at your local radio stations and watch the lyric video below!


Along with the brand new single, Eden has also announced her Welcome to the Weekend Tour that will begin in the Spring. A few of the dates can be seen below, along with additional dates announced soon.

3/2 – Portland, ME – Port City Music Hall *
3/3 – Uncasville, CT – Mohegan Sun Wolf Den *
3/4 – Buffalo, NY – The Venu *
4/7 – Peoria, IL – Peoria Civic Center
4/8 – Ft. Lauderdale, FL – Tortuga Music Festival
4/28 – San Diego, CA – Moonshine Beach *
4/29 – Indio, CA – Stagecoach Festival
5/6 – New London, CT – Connecticut College Amphitheater

* Denotes headlining show date