Growing up, I always listened to very diverse music from Adult Alternative, Country, Pop, Rap, Rock, etc. Except for “thank u, next” by Ariana Grande, “Lover” by Taylor Swift, and “Jesus Is King” by Kanye West, the country genre stole my heart in 2019 and I could talk for hours about my love for the genre.
This may come as a shock, but my top two Country Albums of 2019 are “GIRL” by Maren Morris and “HIXTAPE: Vol. 1” by Hardy.
When I heard “My Church” in early 2016, I fell in love with Maren Morris’ sound and her sophomore album “GIRL” was highly anticipated. It’s hard for me to like every song on an album because of how I tear apart every song, but this album beat my test. The album was released on March 8, 2019, and by the time I attended her Ryman Auditorium performance on March 13th, I knew every single word. When the album was released, my favorite songs off the album were “All My Favorite People (feat. Brothers Osborne)”, “Gold Love”, and “Good Woman”, but after reading the words and hearing the story behind “To Hell & Back”, it quickly rose to my favorite songs of all-time list. Maren continues to blow my mind.
I surprised myself with my second choice probably as much as I’ve surprised you. At first, I thought Hardy was just a hick, but I would come to realize that he writes some damn good songs. I got to experience seeing Hardy live at CMA Fest in 2019 at the Chevy Breakout Stage. It was a cold, rainy day and as he started to sing “4×4”, I saw the crowd light up. Unfortunately, Hardy’s set was cut short due to lightning in the area, but it kept me wanting more. “HIXTAPE: Vol. 1” was released in September and it brought me a mix of some of my favorite artists singing together. “One Beer (HARDY feat. Lauren Alaina, Devin Dawson)” gets me in my feels, while “Redneck Tendencies (HARDY feat. Trace Adkins, Joe Diffie)” makes me feel like the redneck that I wish I was.
I can’t forget about all of the amazing EPs that were released this year. My “Most Valuable EP” of 2019 is “If I Was a Cowboy” by Stephanie Quayle. I love getting the opportunity to work with Stephanie and the Rebel Engine Entertainment team. On New Years, I saw a post that said, “Put your liked songs on shuffle and whichever song plays first describes what your 2020 will be like.” When I hit shuffle, the song “Second Rodeo” came on. It is my favorite song on the EP and I believe 2020 is my second chance.
Go check out the “If I Was a Cowboy” EP and stream Stephanie’s latest single, “Whatcha Drinkin ‘Bout”.
Artists across all genres continue to blow my mind with their new releases. I am excited to see what 2020 brings for the music industry.