My Summer Country Playlist

Whenever summer hits, my musical taste shifts to a constant listening of my favorite genre: country. There is nothing else that defines summer quite like country music does. With that being said, I’ve decided to provide all y’all with the tunes I’m listening to this summer. Some of these songs are old; some are new – but all equally fabulous. So kick back with your moonshine and enjoy.

Spoiler Alert: You’ll find absolutely no trace of Miranda Lambert on this list. I’m a huge country fan, have always tried to stay up on the newest artists to country, but dear Lord, if I hear her sing about gunpowder and lead once more or see her win another award about her mama’s broken heart, this country girl may very well go redneck crazy.

In no particular order:

Sam Hunt – Leave the Night On

Favorite Lyrics: Layin’ down would be in vain, I can’t sleep with you on my brain. I ain’t anywhere close to tired, your kiss has got me wired.
Why I Love It: As a semi-newcomer to the country scene, Sam Hunt hits it out of the freakin’ park with this catchy-as-all-hell song. The first time I heard it, I couldn’t help but dance (and I was in my office sitting in a computer chair, mind you). Although this is a fairly new song, Sam Hunt is more known for his songwriting abilities, which are equally as fantastic as this song. He co-wrote Kenny Chesney’s 2012 hit Come Over along with Keith Urban’s 2014 hit Cop Car and Billy Currington’s We Are Tonight. Straight out of country’s hometown, Nashville, Tennessee, Sam was also a college football quarterback. Plus, we share the same first name. So how could you not love this southern gentleman?

Dan + Shay – What You Do To Me

Favorite Lyrics: I drive away from your house, chasin’ butterflies out. Girl, I don’t know how you do it.
Why I Love It: Two other newcomers to the country scene, Dan Smyers and James Shay Mooney met (in Nashville) in 2012 and ever since then, they have been writing incredible songs together. These two guys have songs that epitomize falling in love in summer, partying in summer, and all other things summer. They make me want to run through a field at night, catching fireflies in mason jars with a guy I can’t help but adore, and watch the light reflect in his eyes. Together, we’d be the silhouettes of summer. They released their debut album Where It All Began in April 2014, and I recently gave the whole thing a listen, and there isn’t one song on there that I don’t like. Not to mention, I’m a hopeless romantic, and this song describes falling in love in a nutshell. Plus their voices…their voices. Side Note: Dan + Shay may appear a few times on this list. But I can’t fight it, they’re brilliant. The heart wants what it wants.

Brantley Gilbert – Bottoms Up

Favorite Lyrics: Girl I gotta tip my hat, never thought a country song would make you move like that, yeah and she’s doing it in Daisy Dukes. She’s got you tappin’ on your boy’s shoulder, ‘Hey dog check this out. Man, this how them girls do it in the dirty south.’
Why I Love It: Mr. Gilbert…you are 29 and damn fine, sir. Country’s quintessential bad boy, Brantley Gilbert adds that rock vibe to his country music, which I absolutely love. This song is perfect for a summer party (or for me when I’m just dancing around in my kitchen). Plus, he co-wrote Jason Aldean’s Dirt Road Anthem, which also happens to be on this playlist. And there’s no denying it, Brantley Gilbert is just nothing but hot. At one point or another, every woman has fallen for a “Brantley Gilbert” – muscles, black cap, gauges, scruff, and tattoos. So many tattoos. No surprise, but he moved to Nasvhille to pursue his career in music, and has recently been hitting it big. Even more recently: the man is single, so I may have to make a much needed trip down to Nashville. ASAP. Because come on, just look at him:

Brantley Gilbert

I can’t even…

Side Note: If you like Bottoms Up, give My Baby’s Guns n’ Roses (off of his latest album) a listen. You won’t be sorry. And you’ll probably want to make out with someone right after (or during) your listen – so have a partner ready.

Rascal Flatts – Riot

Favorite Lyrics: I could go out every night but I’d be lying if I said I could live and breathe without you.
Why I Love It: While this song is not as upbeat as the others, I love it regardless. Off of their latest album that was released in May 2014, Rascal Flatts have not garnered as much attention as they deserve lately. These three guys were my “gateway drug” to country music. They have actually been around since the nineties, and I listened to their music and never looked back. Gary, Joe Don, and Jay have some serious staying power in the music biz. Not to mention Gary has an absolutely incredible voice. And this song showcases it beautifully. Sure, it is a bit slower, and all about heartbreak, but it’s raw and pure and I sure as hell have felt this way before. After all, isn’t heartbreak something we all can relate to?

Dan + Shay – First Time Feeling

Favorite Lyrics: We were fast car, top down, George Straight singing, bare feet, slow dance, long hair swingin’, under the neon sky, just watching the world go by. We were laying by the river when the moon started drippin’, finally figured out what a boy been missin’. Sinkin’ into those eyes, yeah wrong never felt so right.
Why I Love It: Again, the vocals on this song are wonderful to listen to. This song is a great “calm down” song – the melody is extremely relaxing. It makes me wish I lived somewhere where I had land – that kind of open space you don’t find in big cities; the kind of nights where you can actually see the stars in the sky without having to squint; the kind of time that doesn’t feel so rushed and hurried like we always have something to do, something to check off of our lists. This song especially hits home for me because as aforementioned, I am a hopeless romantic that loves love. And I happen to have a guy that I hope to rekindle a romance with, because even after two years, he still gives me that first time feeling.

Tyler Farr – Whiskey In My Water

Favorite Lyrics: She slaps my knee says, ‘boy why you smiling?,’ doing my best, so hard to hide it. I know what’s up, so I just shoot her a wink.
Why I Love It: Tyler Farr is definitely an up and coming country star. His vocals are deep, low, and all in all, extremely alluring. Tell me you don’t get chills when he sings “baby” in this song. For me, this song makes me think of dusk – that time of day when the sun is starting to dip behind the hills, make its way to the other side of the world, and leave us country folk wanting to pair up with someone we love. Quick, someone be the moon to my shine, the whiskey in my water.

Luke Bryan – Drunk On You

Favorite Lyrics: Girl, you make my speakers go boom boom. Dancin’ on the tailgate in the full moo, that kinda thing makes a man go mmm hmmm.
Why I Love It: First things first, you do not need to tell me this song is over two years old. I did preface that there would be some old songs on this list. But it’s Luke Bryan. My country boyfriend and future country husband – he just doesn’t know it yet. If Dan + Shay are the country duo that epitomizes summer, then Drunk On You is the song that epitomizes summer. I can still remember what I was wearing the first time I ever heard Drunk On You, which only happens when I truly fall in love with a song. Plus, this tune holds a bundle of special memories for me. While I am not as close to the person that showed me this song anymore, I still think back to those days and the summer of 2012.

Jason Aldean – Dirt Road Anthem

Favorite Lyrics: We do it different ’round here that’s right, but we sure do it good and we do it all night. So if you really want to know how it feels to get off the road with trucks and four wheels, jump on in, man tell your friends. We’ll raise some hell where the black top ends.
Why I Love It:
Another oldie but a goodie. Only the great Jason Aldean could combine rap and country and make a song that was this addictive. I first heard this song in a country club in Chico (the Crazy Horse, I think) a few years back, and as soon as I heard Jason sing “memory lane up in the headlights,” I was hooked. I can still taste the beer on my then-boyfriend’s lips and once again, I remember exactly what I was wearing (a navy blue dress and silver shoes), and my hair was long and flowing (okay, maybe it wasn’t that dramatic), and all I know was that I was so happy when my then-boyfriend grabbed my hand, spun me around, and drunkenly yelled, “Later guys, I gotta go dance with my girl.” I would go on to associate this song with other memories as well – fond memories of my girlfriends and me blasting this song, rapping together with the windows down, trying to get our voices down as low as Jason Aldean’s. Never succeeding, but when a song can make you laugh at yourself as much as we did, how can it not become one of your favorites?

Dustin Lynch – Where It’s At

Favorite Lyrics: It’s at 2 am when she’s reaching over, faded t-shirt hanging off her shoulder. Dressed up, hair down, in a ball cap, yep yep.
Why I Love It: His latest single, Where It’s At is a fun, carefree song that will have you dancing (and subsequently responding to most questions with a yep, yep). Although I’m a bigger fan of his 2012 single Cowboys and Angels (especially the acoustic version), this song was made for long car drives and singing like you just don’t care.

And last, but certainly not least…

Dan + Shay – Somewhere Only We Know

Favorite Lyrics: Kick back, move in on the down low where your sun tan lights up when the stars go.
Why I Love It: I apologize for all the Dan + Shay, but I did tell you their entire album is a hit! I recently showed this song to a certain someone and he told me he could definitely see us blaring this driving in his car. It made me think of the afternoon he took me for a two hour drive out to these windmills, no one else was around, and it was the best feeling thinking we were the only two people for miles around. Then again, I have watched The Hills Have Eyes, and realize that the situation I just described could also be the beginning of a way-too-graphic horror flick. But I digress – that isn’t what this song reminds me of. Dan + Shay will only ever illicit positive emotions. Seriously, listen to their debut album. You won’t ragret it – not even a single letter.

Side note: If you haven’t seen We’re the Millers, 1) you really should, and 2) you’re (unfortunately) not going to get the joke from that last sentence.

Hopefully these songs will get you through your day (I know they help get me through mine), and I’d love to hear from you if you’re a country fan yourself! Feel free to send me song suggestions, words of praise and adoration, or whatever else you see fit. Here’s wishing y’all a wonderful, whiskey-laced summer.

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