Middle of March and Mother Nature’s finally decided to give us snow? Although, there have been empty promises all winter long, so I’m not holding my breath it will actually happen. At least for those counting the days, spring is just two days away – that’s good news, right?
Let’s start off with a band I’ve truly been enjoying, especially since some of their music reminds me of another favorite artist, Jimmy Buffet. Before these guys hit the big time on country radio, they were a hard-touring outfit with a large following on the same jam-band circuit that adores Dave Matthews Band and Widespread Panic.
They make that connection crystal clear with this song, the third single from their new album – it’s all about escaping, losing oneself in the idea of worry-free island life even when you can’t physically be there. The song features the band’s perfect harmonies and exotic rhythms. And since it’s being released right at the end of winter, the song will be at its hottest when summer arrives and everyone is slumming it at the lake, trying to escape the daily grind.
Here’s Zac Brown Band with “Jump Right In”:
Next up is one of my all-time favorite artists whose new album is being released on April 9th. (I can’t wait!) He wasn’t kidding when he said he was working to push himself places never gone before on his upcoming album.
The second verse is most effective in painting a picture of bittersweet summer love: “Before you know it it’s all gonna stop / They’ll be rolling up windows and putting up tops / Need a cold wind blowing the leaves through the air and you won’t find a tan line anywhere.”
He stretches himself vocally, going for notes late in the song that he typically stays away from. As a producer, he and his team add a few effects and techniques that separate this song from anything else he’s recorded. Nothing feels gimmicky. That’s something I’ve always loved about this artist.
Like so many of his recent singles, this track not only feels good, it feels important. Here’s Brad Paisley with “Beat This Summer”:
Next up is a trio I stumbled across recently – they’re an American country music trio consisting of a father, son and daughter. In 2011, they wrote the singles for The Band Perry (and co-wrote with The Band Perry on some album cuts), Wynonna Judd, Sara Evans, and Highway 101. They then signed to Arista Nashville and began working on their debut album.
Just this past December they released this song as their debut single. It may be an American spirit story wrapped up in a love song, but in lyrics like “we’re a little unusual, we are American beautiful,” there’s a window into the unlikely story of a group whose musical journey has been anything but typical.
There’s a heartland theme that runs throughout their music, which seems only natural for a family from rural Atwood, Illinois, where their 1700-acre farm has offered home and livelihood – and, at times, school, playground, and even birthplace – across seven generations. Their working farm has raised corn, soybeans, cows, and kids (there are 10 kids, yo!), so their debut album is very much a reflection of them.
On or off stage, they have a disarming quality – friendly, engaging, gracious, unassuming, and fun to be around, they share the candor and sometimes merciless teasing of family. While they’ll be the first to say that it can be unusual to see two generations of family living and working so closely together, they’ll also say they love doing it – and they hope that it might be a positive inspiration to others.
Give a listen to The Henningsens with “American Beautiful”:
Last, but certainly not least, is another new (to me) artist who was primarily charted as a Christian pop artist, whose latest song has charted on mainstream pop radio. She began singing at the age of three in her home church in North Carolina. She was a very gifted dancer, taking ballet, jazz, hip hop, and lyrical.
She chose to forgo college in favor of dedicating herself to her music full-time and released a pair of independent records in the two years following high school and then – at age 19 – moved to Nashville to further pursue her singing/songwriting career. Soon after arriving in Nashville and showcasing her early collection of pop songs, she landed a record deal and ended up releasing her debut album by the time she was 21.
To foster a feeling of hope on a grander scale, she has extended the self-esteem-raising sentiment behind this song to the song’s powerful video. Featuring a cast of characters dealing with issues common among today’s teens (such as eating disorders and self-mutilation), this video aims to uplift and inspire.
As her career advances, she aspires to stay focused on creating music that’s both genuine and empowering. “With a song like ‘Gold,’ I’m putting out a message that everyone needs to hear, regardless of where they’re coming from. It’s about knowing that you’re loved, that you’re worth something. It’s a message of hope.”
Here’s Britt Nicole with “Gold”:
You, my dear readers, are definitely worth more than gold. Have a great Monday!
Now on to the particulars of Monday’s Music Move’s Me:
I have the supreme honor and privilege of being a co-host with the inimitable Xmas Dolly and her cohorts in crime, Lorie of The Shewbridges of Celebration, Florida, Callie from JAmericanSpice, Cathy from Cathy Kennedy’s Blog, and for the month of March, our Honorary Co-Conductor, Naila Moon from Just the Stuff Ya Know.
Want to join in the fun? It’s easy – just find a tune that rocks your boat, post it and link up – don’t forget to grab Xmas Dolly…er, um, I mean her button…over at her place here. Check out Xmas Dolly’s sidebar for the random themes we sport each week – and you can always ask for a specific theme of music you like, too. Check out the other music lovahs and let’s jam!
The awesome Run DMT also hosts Music Monday (who graciously helps out with our hostessing every time we need it, and who I had the privilege of meeting in person at BlogHer – she’s even more adorable than I imagined):
More awesome Monday Music Hops:
More Monday Hops – hop along, won’t you?