Kylie Morgan, “Independent With You”: Written by Morgan, Erik Belz and Palmer Lee, “Independent With You,” asks the question, “Can I let you in without changing who I am / Do I have to choose / Can I still be independent with you?” It’s a personal question for Morgan, who got engaged to her longtime boyfriend, Jay Allen, over the summer.
The song pairs Morgan’s distinct, breathy, soaring vocals with progressive country production to create an anthem for women who want to maintain an identity outside their relationship. The message resonated. The song, produced by Ben Johnson, Shane McAnally and Belz, generated 1.6 million likes on Morgan’s TikTok profile and prompted more than 10,000 users to share their own stories using “Independent With You” before the song’s official release.
“I’ve never been more excited for a release in my life,” Morgan said. “Not for myself, for all the independent souls out there.” – Cindy Watts
Tom Douglas (feat. Lady A), “I Run to You”: Written by Douglas, Dave Haywood, Charles Kelley and Hillary Scott, “I Run to You” was 2009 CMA Single of the Year and won the Grammy Award for Best Country Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocal for Lady Antebellum. Twelve years later, the new version of the song featuring Douglas is from the soundtrack to Douglas’ movie “Love, Tom” that came out on Paramount+ Feb. 24.
This version is completely reimagined. While the song’s original version was a sing-along love anthem, this listens like a promise. The “Love, Tom” “I Run to You” is slower and more dramatic with a reconfigured melody and Douglas’ vocals featured predominantly in the first verse. Lady A’s Hillary Scott joins Douglas in the chorus, and the trio’s Charles Kelley steps up in the second verse. – Cindy Watts
Jana Kramer, “The Story”: Jana Kramer endured a very public divorce from her ex-husband Mike Caussin in 2021. Besides her personal emotional turmoil, she was deeply concerned about talking to their young children about the dissolution of their family.
She wrote them a song about it.
The fragile ballad includes the lyrics: It all fell apart in a moment| Lord I wish it wasn’t true| Because you deserve the perfect family|The fairytales you know so well| Instead of sitting here listening to the story I wish I didn’t have to tell.
“I remember thinking, how am I going to tell my kids that everything they know was about to get flipped upside down?” Kramer wrote on social media. “That their family would now look different. How do I even have that conversation? A few weeks post-divorce I decided to write them a song about the story and now I’m releasing it because I know I’m not the only one with “the story”. I was terrified almost a year ago, but now we are a perfect family. It’s us. And to me, that’s our perfect family. It may not look how I thought it would and it might hurt some days, but it’s our story and it’s us 3. Forever. Our story.” – Cindy Watts
Carter Faith, “Greener Pasture”: Carter Faith is a self-taught artist from North Carolina who has secured her spot within the country music space with her lyric-driven ballads and her mesmerizing silky vocals. On the heels of her popular song “Joyride” from her six-piece project, Let Love Be Love – the powerhouse vocalist recently released a soul-touching anthem titled “Greener Pasture.” The 20-something breakthrough artist provides fans with advice not to fall head-over-heels for a nomadic cowboy.
“I was his Texaco, a stop just along the road | I shoulda known I ain’t his last rodeo | I was his blue sky, but he’s like the sunrise |A matter of time before he comes and he goes |’Til one day you wake up, he’s packin’ up his truck | And he don’t even know what he’s after |But cowboys always find a greenеr pasture,” the budding songstress sings in the chorus.
Faith’s witty play on words linked with the whimsical instrumentals – makes the melody the perfect earworm for an early morning stroll or a reflective wine night. Listeners will quickly understand her internal strength within her words of wisdom and learn that she is wise beyond her years.
– Tiffany Goldstein
Drew Green, “Good Ol’ Man”: Green effortlessly proves that he is slowly becoming the father he always strived to be in his recent self-reflection ballad, “Good Ol’ Man.” Throughout the mid-tempo track, the country crooner highlights what it means to be a role model and touches upon the picture-perfect father-son relationship.
Green penned the heavy-hitting track alongside Josh Miller, Lee Starr, and Mark Trussell. Within the first verse, Green opened up about his carefree actions and acknowledged that he needs to cut back to raise his son right.
“I’m cleaning up them dirty words that I say these days | Showing up to church a lot more on Sunday | Working on bad habit breaking | Cutting back on Copenhagen| Little less gas, little more brake in my Chevrolet| Whatever it takes ‘cause | I got a gift from God sitting in the back seat | And I’ma need to be a little better if he’s gonna wanna be like me,” he sings.
As the Tennessee native verifies that he is flipping to the next chapter of his life, “Good Ol’ Man” foreshadows his flourishing music career if he continues to wear his heart on his sleeve.
– Tiffany Goldstein
Ernest, “What It’s Come To”: Big Loud artist Ernest is a seasoned songsmith with several chart-topping tracks and accolades under his belt. Now, the fast-rising star is honing in on his own artistry and perfecting his traditional country sound. Come March 11, the hitmaker is set to release his 11-track record, “Flower Shops (The Album).” To give fans a small taste of what to expect – the singer-songwriter dropped “What It’s Come To,” a moving melody penned by Keith Smith, Ryan Vojtesak, and CMT’s 2022 Next Women of Country artist, Lily Rose.
The beat-driven ballad displays his distinctive gritty vocals, deep southern twang, and his impressive songwriting abilities. The group of talented songsmiths tugs at heartstrings with the heavy narrative about cutting ties with the person you tried to love. Ernest is caught up in the toxic cycle throughout the track until he realizes to call it quits.
– Tiffany Goldstein
Listen to the full Roundup Playlist: