Carissa Leigh will release her brand new EP titled The Blackbird EP today, Monday April 28th. The four track debut, which includes her current single “Bad Boy,” was produced by Tone Def (Green Day, Santana). Carissa co-wrote all of the songs along with several well known songwriters, including Brian White (Rascal Flatts) and Clay Mills (Darius Rucker).
The tracks range from fun rockin' songs, like "Bad Boy," to emotional ballads. It is on these where Carissa’s vocals really shine, especially “Not The Same Girl” which is about finding the strength to not take back the person who continually hurts you. This time, instead of breaking apart after the hurt, she’s become stronger. “Baby I’m not the same girl who would let you off so easy, just let you back into my world, believing anything you tell me.”
Discovering, from a friend of a friend, that her husband is cheating is the story behind the sad “Cant Come Back From That.” In many relationships, there is that line that gets crossed where a person cannot simply apologize and expect everything to be okay. “How you went too far and you lost my heart, you can’t come back from that.” You'll believe every word she sings in this one.
Overall, "Man Enough" has a shadowy atmosphere, where the melody sets the scene for the story the lyrics tell. It is a mid tempo song in which she gives a potential suitor a "shot of the truth" telling him that she knows the games guys play and she's too smart to fall for them. "'Cause I've been around the block a time or two and I ain't got the time for guys like you."
The EP is available at digital retailers.
For more information on Carissa Leigh, visit her official website.
Mitch Rossell, originally from Chattanooga, Tennessee, made the move to Nashville in 2009 when he graduated from college. In 2011, he performed with Eric Church and is currently a regular in Music City’s most popular establishments, such as Tootsies and Third and Lindsley. On April 15th, he released his album I Got Dressed Up For This.
I Got Dressed Up For This is a collection of twelve thoughtfully crafted songs ranging from ballads to country rockers that will make you think, feel, dance and even chuckle. Overall the sound is contemporary country, but it most definitely does not forget its roots with plenty of twang, pedal steel, banjo and fiddle present throughout the record. Thematically, Mitch covers heartbreak, love, family and religion all delivered by a voice that is clear; with a gentle, soothing emotive quality that makes the lyrics he sings believable.
Not many people would start off their album with a portion of the Our Father, but Mitch makes that brave choice with "God, Girls and Football." The song reminisces about the simpler times earlier in one's life when things revolved around God and going to church (salvation), girls (temptation) and football.
"Today's The Day" could easily fit nicely on any Brad Paisley record. It is a humorous song about one’s wedding day told from the male perspective. He sings about hanging back and letting his bride soak up the spotlight because "today's her day, but tonight's my night."
The emotional, touching ballad, "A Soldiers Memoir," looks at what a soldier faces when he returns home; how he may look the same, but if his mama saw inside of him it would "scare her to death."
The romantic ballad "Any Girl" is about being that guy that would never stay around too long, never change his ways or fall too far for just any girl, but the girl he is with now is "not any girl."
"Up To Something" reminds us that our story is constantly being written so we may have to experience rough patches in life to find the silver lining and that even when you're down to nothing "God's up to something."
In "Every Part of Me," he may be undecided about whether to drive a Cadillac or a truck, but he definitely knows that every part of him loves every part of her.
The sadness is palpable on "Piece of Heaven" a ballad about the dissolution of a relationship due to the fact that he could never love himself or let himself be present. “You can’t hold a piece of Heaven if you keep dragging it through hell.”
The fun, relatable, "Seemed Like A Good Idea," has him looking back on things that seemed like good ideas at the time, from drag racing to fighting to getting caught with the boss’s daughter in the storeroom closet.
"Wishful Drinkin" and "Seeing Her" both deal with heartbreak. In the latter, he sings about not knowing "what pushes the knife in further, seeing her without me or seeing her with him." In the former, he is wishing to reunite with an ex. "It ain't just a buzz that's coming on.....with every sip I take it's got me thinking you're coming back girl, you're coming back girl, but that's just wishful drinking."
"Pawpaw’s Song" is a tender ode to all that he learned about life from his Pawpaw while sitting at the base of his recliner.
Drums, guitar and fiddle merge seamlessly on the rockingest track, "Whoever Thought of Whiskey" a tune in which he wonders about the inventors of such things from pistols and double wides to cell phones and whiskey. "But whoever brewed that first batch of 90 proof, must have loved somebody like you."
In addition to the twelve tracks, there is an acoustic version of "A Soldier's Memoir" as well as a monologue at the end in which Mitch tells you his journey to get to where he is today. Both require listening.
I Got Dressed Up For This is an album full of songs that belong on country radio. Definitely seek it out.
For more information visit Mitch's official website
“Wanted Me Gone” is the second single from Josh Thompson’s recent release Turn It Up.
The single was written by Josh along with Brad and Brett Warren. “Wanted Me Gone” is a fun, and at times funny, song that will have you grooving from the first note. The song, which has a definite twangy country/southern rock sound, tells the story of a guy whose girl “wanted him gone,” but is now crying because she’s all alone--while he’s in “heaven every weekend.”
The sing along at the end feels like a giant “so long” to the women out there who wanted their fellas gone, but soon regret it.
“I put the good in front of bye y’all
Put a hole in the drywall
Put the pedal to the firewall and I was gone
Met the boys at the starlight
Tried to drink a hundred Bud Lights
Lost count around midnight
But you got what you wanted baby”
The single is currently available for download.
Just the Rain” is the latest single from Lonestar’s album Life As We Know It.
“Just the Rain” is a beautiful ballad with lyrics that speak of loss. The emotional weight of the song is felt by the combination of the piano, violin, and pedal steel while Richie’s vocals are tender and touching.
“'Cause I can feel you all on my skin.
But to them, it's only the wind.
And I can feel the warmth of your touch, but to them it's just another noon day sun.
I know how bad you want to be here now, when I look up and see those tear drops coming down.
I look around and think "what a shame, they think it's just the rain".
“Just the Rain” would be a welcome addition to country radio. Hopefully, it will find a place there.
Well, I almost lost faith in Tim McGraw with “Lookin’ For That Girl,” but his new song has firmly restored it.
Tim’s new single, “Meanwhile Back at Mama’s” debuted at the ACM Awards last week. The single was written by Jaren Johnston of The Cadillac Three and Tom Douglas. It features lovely harmonies from Faith Hill about halfway through the track (when in the lyrics, he meets “a girl.”)
The beauty of the song lies in the story the lyrics tell, the sentiments felt in Tim’s delivery and the simplicity of the production.
The lyrics tell the story via vivid images of what a man living in the fast paced world of today misses about his small town. By the conclusion of the song, he heads back to the town he grew up to buy mama’s house, which is for sale.
“Cause meanwhile back at Mama's
The porch light's on, come on in if you wanna
Supper's on the stove and beer's in the fridge
Red sun sinkin' out low on the ridge,
Games on the tube and Daddy smokes cigarettes
Whiskey keeps his whistle wet
Funny the things you thought you'd never miss,
In a world gone crazy as this
Oh I miss yeah a little dirt on the road, I miss corn growin' in a row
I miss being somebody everybody knows there everybody knows everybody
I miss those small town roots, walkin' around in muddy boots
The sound of rain on an old tin roof
It's time we head on back”
Every once in awhile you become exposed to an artist who is new to you and immediately connect to the music. Such is the case with the music of Michaela Anne. Admittedly, a week ago I had never heard of this young country classicist, however, Michaela Anne has been building her name on the Americana circuit playing shows throughout the country, performing at the Telluride Bluegrass Festival, Merlefest, SXSW, WDVX's Blue Plate Special, and the Folk Alliance International.
Her new album, Ease My Mind, will be released on Georgia June Records on April 8th.
Ease My Mind is an album that creates an atmosphere for the listener; whether she is singing about the joys of relationships, the drawbacks of them or forging one's own path, the songs make you feel. The appeal of the clean and simply produced album is twofold. The songs are insightful, emotional stories delivered by an ethereal, clear, and honest, voice that draws you in and holds you there for the duration of the record.
The perfect introduction to the album is the opening song, “Lift Me Up,” a song about not hiding her voice and being able to “sing form the top of my lungs each day, in my own way.”
The pedal steel lends both a melancholy, yet hopeful feel to “Is This What Mama Meant;” a song that speaks to the work it takes to keep a worthwhile relationship going. “It’s hard for me and you/but that don’t make our love untrue.”
Filled with banjo and harmonica, “When You Wanted Me” finds her post-breakup knowing eventually, she’ll be fine.
“The Haunting” will leave you feeling just that. In it, she cheats, but expresses that one night should not be enough to undo all of the happiness they shared, then pleads “I wont stray ever again if you’ll just take me back.”
The tables are turned in the sassy “I Ain’t For You” and she wants him to pay for what he has done. “Get down on those knees and pray.”
In “Ease My Mind,” she wants the one she loves to put her worries about the relationship to rest while in “Travellin’ With You” she wants to leave, take risks and forge her own way, but worries what that would do to him.
Other highlights include “Black and Gray” and “Anymore.”
There is no doubt that the collection of songs on Ease My Mind will do just that, as well as touch your soul and satisfy your need for good, honest music.
The album will be available April 8th.
For more information visit her official website.
The “Mona Lisa” did not land as far as I would have liked it to on the charts (#1 would have made me happy), but no sense dwelling on the negative when we have the positive: Brad Paisley released his new single, “River Bank,” to country radio today.
“River Bank,” written by Brad along with Kelley Lovelace, has everything you would expect in a Brad Paisley song. There are cleverly written, humorous lyrics, a catchy hook and the guitar playing that only Brad can do. In “River Bank,” a guy wonders what he would do if he struck it rich, while at the same time he knows he’d be okay if he didn’t, because he’s pretty lucky as is.
“River Bank” is a twangy, funky bright spot in a sea of repetitiveness on country radio. And at 2:50, the song lasts just long enough so that you can play it on repeat until you’re able to sing along.
“You know even if our ship came in
And this is all we got
It ain’t like we really need a million dollar yacht
We got an inner tube
We got a trailer hitch
We’re near the river and far from rich
But we have got each other and gas in the tank
We’re laughing all the way to the river bank”
Brad will debut "River Bank" live on the ACMs on Sunday April 6th.
Rachele Lynae will release her self titled debut album on April 22nd. The project, produced by Jamie O’Neal, is being released on O'Neal's own Momentum Label Group. The album contains twelve tracks, including “Touch The Stars,” which can be heard as a Highway Find on Sirius XM’s The Highway.
Rachele had a hand in writing all of the songs on the record. The songs, clever, emotional, and insightful, tell stories from the female perspective on topics such as relationships, revenge and religion. Throughout the record, Rachele's mature, strong voice shows a versatility and a naturalness, whether she is singing the country rockers or the ballads.
“Words In Red” is a song that speaks about growing up “knee deep in holy water, baptized as a rebel daughter.” She sings about being raised not to go down wrong roads and if she ever needs guidance, she simply needs to read the “words in red.” “Clean” is about returning home and feeling renewed both physically, emotionally and spiritually. Both songs are respectful, not preachy.
“Cigarette,” reminiscent of Miranda Lambert, is about wishing you could quit a love that isn’t good for you, but “feels too good to just forget”. The relationship is compared to a cigarette, “quick to light and slow to burn, so’s the pain that brings the hurt.”
“Sometimes You Fly” is a ballad about letting your guard down, taking that leap of faith and falling in love, while the string and piano filled “Done Is Done” is about realizing that you are “strong enough to make it” on your own after the demise of a relationship.
“Party Til The Cows Come Home,” “Out On The Floor” and “Sticky Summer Lovin’” are fun up tempo, good time songs that will leave you wanting to dance, sing along and "just let go.”
“Two For One Special” is a clever song about two women who are going to give their cheating boyfriend “a wild night, but not the kind he likes.”
The ballad “Old Fashioned Love,” which closes out the album, finds her wondering whether a certain type of love still exists. “I’m not asking for the world/Or the stars up above/ Just someone strong enough/With an honest touch.”
1. Touch The Stars (Rachele Lynae / Danick Dupelle/ Patricia Conroy)
2. Words In Red (Rachele Lynae / Kyle Stallons)
3. Cigarette (Rachele Lynae / Katelynn Beckett)
4. Sometimes You Fly (Rachele Lynae /Luke Sheets)
5. Party Til The Cows Come Home (Rachele Lynae /Jamie O'Neal /Stephanie Bentley /Jimmy Murphy)
6. Fishin' For Something (Rachele Lynae/Hannah Bethel)
7. Clean (Rachele Lynae /Justin Halpin)
8. Out On The Floor (Rachele Lynae /Jimmy Murphy /Jamie O'Neal)
9. Sticky Summer Lovin (Rachele Lynae / Jamie O'Neal / Hannah Bethel)
10. Done Is Done (Rachele Lynae /Luke Sheets)
11. Two For One Special (Rachele Lynae / Jamie O'Neal / Shaye Smith)
12. Old Fashioned Love (Rachele Lynae /Josh Holiday)
Rachele Lynae is definitely an artist who is one to watch. Mark the date and make sure to pick up her album when it releases on April 22nd.
For more information visit Rachele’s official website.
You can purchase the album here
Sunshine and whiskey-two of my favorite things. They also just happen to be the title of Frankie Ballards’s new single. “Sunshine and Whiskey,” from the album of the same name, is the follow up to Ballard’s first ever #1 on country radio, “Helluva Life.”
“Sunshine and Whiskey” was written by Luke Laird and Jaren Johnston of The Cadillac Three (whose influence on the track is heard straight from the get go). The single is an ode to a kiss; comparing its effects to the biggest star in the sky and that intoxicating beverage. The track combines rock, soul, and country into a funky, breezy, slice of summer fun while Frankie’s gravely voice delivers the lyrics with the perfect mix of humor (DWK might just become the hot new acronym), swagger and sexiness.
“You hit me like fire, shot me like a bullet
Burned me up and down, no way to cool it
But every time you kiss me it's like sunshine and whiskey
It's like a bottle of Jack straight to the head
One shot, two shot, copper tone red
Every time you kiss me it's like sunshine and whiskey”
An early contender for song of the summer, “Sunshine and Whiskey” goes down as smooth as a double of your favorite brand on ice.
The single is available at retailers everywhere.
For whatever reason, being a female in country music today has its challenges. But if there is a female artist who stands to break through as the next chart topper, my bet is on Leah Turner.
We were introduced to Leah with her Top 40 debut single, "Take The Keys." Now, she returns with the follow up, "Pull Me Back."
Leah's voice is distinct: smoky, strong and emotive, spunky even, but in "Pull Me Back," we hear a more vulnerable side. The song, which Leah co-wrote with Jon Nite and Jimmy Robbins, is about struggling with pushing yourself away from someone because you don't want to get hurt again, yet at the same time, wanting that person to pull you back because "at the end of the day I still love you."
The push and pull can also be felt in the melody, from the sensitive mandolin to the thumping drumbeat of the chorus where the listener can really sense what she experiences and feels.
"Feels like there's miles and miles between us in this bed
We're lying back to back a half inch from the edge
I feel you reach across my legs
I wanna wake up, make up, but I'm not ready yet
Even when I push you away, want you to pull me back"
Hopefully country radio listeners will be "pulled back" to this single, embrace it and make it a hit.
The single is available for download at digital retailers. Take a listen below.
Leah will supporting Brad Paisley on tour beginning in May.
For more information visit her official website.