The Country Grrrl Playlist

Find the music of all of our featured country grrrls – and more! – in the Country Grrrl playlist on Spotify ! And don’t forget to spread the word about these fantastic musicians!

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Country Grrrl to watch: Lisa Wright

Great Britain is without a doubt the new home of emerging country artists, and more specifically great country-pop music – the kind that combines meaningful lyrics and catchy melodies. And Lisa Wright proves this theory right with her first EP Before I Die.

The Essex-native graduated with an acting degree before finding her voice in country music, and we’re glad she did! In her first record we discover a sound that we can only describe as authentic, bringing a lyrical depth and an element of modernity to country-folk – almost grassroots – arrangements.

But after listening to this collection of love, growth and self-acceptance songs over and over again, the pop-inspiration finally appears as you find yourself singing along to every track and having them stuck in your head for days.

The EP opens with the title track, a bucket list illustrated by a video that follows Wright crossing “going to Nashville” off of hers. Follows ‘Here We Go Again’, a melancholic break-up ballad and the only love-theme song of the record – a rarity nowadays and proof that Lisa Wright can write beautiful songs that reach beyond the love/heartbreak cliché.

In ‘Girl Like Me’ we are introduced to who Wright truly is with such an honest and no-BS style that it will inspired you to accept all about your complex and complicated self. “The only way to love yourself is to let go” she sings, as a transition to that last track, ‘You Grow but You Don’t Change’, where she tackles the harsh truths of growing up. The up-tempo song is packed with powerful messages about facing life’s obstacles and remembering that “life makes lessons / it makes damn sure you learn them”, all while maintaining a pragmatic nuanced optimism.

With Before I Die, Lisa Wright delivers an inspiring and oh-so-catchy record that blends a level of authenticity and lyrical depth that will remind you of Kacey Musgraves’ songwriting and a northern country-pop style similar to Canadian trio Bella Starr. And while she is making a name for herself in the UK country scene, we hope she will reach beyond its frontiers very soon!

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Lily Meola, an island in the country music stream

The Hawaii-based Willie Nelson’s protégée has just released her first album They Say, a collection of original songs and classics’ covers filled with country-folk and blues inspirations.

You might have discovered Lily Meola during her multiple Farm Aid performances. In 2013 she joined Willie Nelson to perform ‘Will You Remember Mine’, a duet present on the To All The Girls… album. In 2014 she shared the stage with Jamey Johnson to sing their version of ‘Dream A Little Dream of Me’, and the next year they performed her self-penned song ‘Bad Weather’.

You can now find these three tracks on her debut album They Say, along with nine other country-meets-jazz gems. On this record the Maui-native delivers heartfelt lyrics filled with quirky imagery, with powerful bluesy vocals and a style that mixes Lindi Ortega’s classic country and Lucie Silvas’ pop-folk.

Between the modern Americana sound of ‘Bad Weather’ and ‘Sinkin’ Soon’, the romantic elegance of ‘Don’t Change’, and the badass swagger of ‘Bad Boy’, They Say’s original songs demonstrate that Lily Meola could very well be the next phenomenon of both alt- and mainstream country. A prediction backed by country legends Willie Nelson and Kris Kristofferson who showed their support to Meola by appearing on this must-have album.

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Welcome to the reign of Miss Morgan Myles

Powerful vocals, fearless lyrics and a sound that blends country and alt-pop/rock: that’s what makes Morgan Myles’ music so unique and captivating. In her new EP Miss Morgan Myles, the Pennsylvania native explores all the phases of love – from its danger to its beauty – while creating a modern sound that sticks to its country roots.

Morgan Myles has been riding the music train for a while now, opening for Reba McEntire and Hank Williams Jr, and even producing her own EP in 2013. This long ride helped her find her voice and shaped her unique sound, a blend of traditional country and alt-pop with a touch of RnB.

Myles’ songwriting style makes her stand out and away from the current wave of pop-country singers. “Love is a bullet in a loaded gun / It shoots to kill when your heart is on the line / Love is a dangerous game and we’re all just fools that play” she sings on the blues-inspired ‘Queen of Hearts’. The lyrics are as country as can be – gritty, sassy and heartfelt – and Myles’ soulful voice beautifully conveys their southern roots. Add to this the multi-genre-influenced arrangements of Rio Ville, a Nashville producer who usually travels the hip-pop circles, and you get a refreshing new country sound!

Between ‘Whiskey Dreaming’ that describes the aftermath of a heartbreak, and the playful night-on-the-town anthem ‘We Won’t Go Home’, the EP is a collection of catchy “country songs with a twist”. Just listen to ‘Adeline’, which could have been the typical pop-country cheating hit but instead blends alt-pop/rock with Miranda Lambert-esque lyrics to create a totally addictive song!

The EP closes with ‘What You Do To Me’ and ‘Nobody Better Than You’, two RnB inspired love declarations that will remind you of Tori Kelly and demonstrate that country music can be elegantly modernized.

Morgan Myles isn’t afraid to explore every corner of the country specter and to venture beyond its frontiers. With the refreshing Miss Morgan Myles EP, we get a glimpse of how great modern country can sound!

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‘I Can’t Stop’ and the rise of Jenna McDaniel

Jenna McDaniel may very well be the next big country star, and her new single ‘I Can’t Stop’, with its heartfelt lyrics and catchy melody, will convert anyone who isn’t already addicted to her music!

With her pure country sound and elegant songwriting, the 19-year old Texan has already conquered the hearts – and ears – of many country music fans, opening for big names such as Gloriana and Phil Vassar.

Inspired by Taylor Swift but also Stevie Nicks, Jenna McDaniel manages to blend lyrical depth and melodic catchiness, delivering a kind of old school country-pop – in opposition with the idle pop sound inundating the country airwaves…

 

In her new single ‘I Can’t Stop’, the songstress declaims her unreciprocated love with finesse, accompanied by a mourning fiddle and delicate harmonies. “You’re a stranger in the daylight but at night your hesitations disappear” she sings in a vulnerable voice, creating the kind of authentic storytelling that reminds of an early Miranda Lambert or Taylor Swift.

Delivering a sweet yet profound Texan country sound with a hint of pop and folk, ‘I Can’t Stop’ confirms that Jenna McDaniel belongs in the big country music league. And her album Little Miss Understanding is filled with such gems, like the catchy ‘Train Wreck’, the melancholic ‘Here Comes The Rain’, and, well, pretty much every song on the record!

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Belle Starr and the new Wild West sound

Canada has proven many times to be the home of amazing country music (Whitney Rose, Lindi Ortega), and once again the Great White North hasn’t disappointed! Belle Starr is a three-fiddle band that revives country-folk with grace and sass, and their first album shows how great traditional-meets-modern country can sound.

Named after a southern outlaw, Belle Starr is the union of Miranda Mulholland, Stephanie Cadman, and Kendel Carson, three fiddlers rebelling from the diktat of pop-country as sole form of modernization. On their album of the same name, the trio delivers a unique blend of old time fiddling, step-danced rhythm sections, stunning harmonies, and fresh catchiness.

Between the liveliness of ‘New Girl Now’ and ‘Cry Now’, the ethereal vocals of ‘Same Old Scene’ and the beautiful storytelling of ‘Freedom To Stay’, the album manages to fit in the modern era without denaturing the sonic twanginess of country!

The record adds a layer of uniqueness with its mix of Celtic and Americana influences on ‘Art O’Leary’, its captivating instrumental tracks like the melancholic ‘Arthur’s Air’ and the uplifting ‘Charity Kiss’, and its countrified covers of Springsteen’s ‘Tougher Than The Rest’, Neil Young’s ‘Love Is A Rose’, and Justin Rutledge’s ‘Be A Man’.

The 2013 released album is an impressive collection of alt-country songs about love and identity search, and the lucky ones can discover the Belle Starr sound live next February – in the meantime check out the video above of the awesome performance from their CMT special.

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