Country duo Adele & Andy take storytelling to another level

You’re ten seconds in, and you’ve been completely transported.

This is what “Misty Eyes,” the new single from award-winning country duo Adele & Andy, will do. It sets out to tell a story, and winds up doing much more.

At its core, “Misty Eyes” is about a young girl trading her ideas about fairy-tale romances for acceptance after a string of bad relationships. As the lyrics written by this duo are generally based on personal experience, we’re not surprised by the high-emotion performances captured on this track.

When listening to “Misty Eyes,” you might feel as though you’ve been absorbed into a fully formed world, complete with its own time and atmosphere. Andy’s skillful guitar playing sets the scene from the outset, even before Adele’s strong yet dulcet vocals take the stage. The composition itself is impressive enough, but the performances of Andy and Adele take the song to the next level.

It is a departure from their previous releases “Say It Out Loud” and “Took His Love Away” (which we reviewed here) in that “Misty Eyes” blends the traditional ballad style with a country-rock sound. The synergy between the lyrics, melody, and vocals renders this new sound one that we can’t get enough of.

We’re big fans of Adele & Andy, and have been listening to their tracks on repeat. This duo truly stands out. Keep an eye on them—they’re set to shape the next wave of country-rock.

“Misty Eyes” is out January 22. Pre-order via the iTunes Store and pre-save on Spotify, and connect with Adele & Andy on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

Hicktown Breakout found their sound with “Lost Myself”

UK-based country-rock band Hicktown Breakout is no stranger to success. The band was nominated for UK Country Group of the Year 2020, and their self-titled debut EP reached #36 in the all-genre UK Album Chart. Their single, “Get Your Boots On” (which we loved and reviewed here), has already gained 10,000 streams on Spotify. These guys know how to deliver good music.

We had an opportunity to listen to the rest of their upcoming EP, and were far from disappointed.

The title track of their EP, “Lost Myself,” is about a man re-evaluating his life after a major breakup. If you just read the lyrics, you might expect a soft, slow ballad—and the song might get lost in a sea of other sad breakup ballads. But Hicktown Breakout takes a different approach, and it proves why they are worthy of their early success.

The instrumentals are fun and upbeat, which makes this particular breakup song more than just “a good song”—it shines a light on the positive side of moving on from a bad relationship. “We want to show the band’s ‘fun and serious’ side with this EP, bringing together a mix of beer-fueled floor fillers and thought-provoking ballads.”

Amazingly, “Lost Myself” achieves that goal in a single, four-minute track. This is the kind of deliberate songwriting that takes bands to the next level. The song establishes what it is from the very beginning, and expertly carries the listener to the end after cresting in instrumental, beer-hall danceability roughly halfway through. We can’t wait to hear what these guys sound like live.

This is the right way to start 2021, and we’re psyched to hear more from this talented five-piece band.

Hicktown Breakout’s new EP is out January 15, and is available for pre-order now. Follow them on FacebookInstagram, and visit their website for confirmed gigs.

We need a party song in 2020, and Hicktown Breakout is the one to give it to us

We’ve all had the experience—you’re out somewhere and music starts playing. Almost instantly, after just a few bars (and maybe a few beers), the room goes wild. Everyone knows what song is about to play, and it’s everyone’s “jam.”

It would be unsurprising if this turned out to be the fate of Hicktown Breakout’s upcoming release, “Get Your Boots On.” After just a few seconds, we’re hooked, and the next time we hear the song’s intro we’ll be jumping up to turn our living rooms into dance floors.

Hicktown Breakout is a Bristol-based, five-piece band that has been nominated as UK Country Group of the Year 2020. The band’s self-titled debut EP reached #36 in the all-genre UK Album Chart, leading Hicktown Breakout to appear on BBC Radio and BBC Live Lounge, as well as on radio stations across Australia, Europe, and the USA. And it’s no wonder—people everywhere are still struggling with everything that 2020 has delivered, and we all need something a little more upbeat to close out the year.

“It’s been a very challenging year for everyone across the globe. We wanted people to listen to Get Your Boots On and try and forget about the negativity out there and give listeners a sense of fun and positive feeling that the good times are ahead.”

Indeed, “fun” is exactly what this song embodies. There is no way that you can listen to “Get Your Boots On” and not have a good time. What makes this anthem particularly engaging is the seamless blend of country and rock, and the boundary-pushing, exciting sound may be a result of the musical background of the individual bandmembers.

“We’ve got a real mix of talent in the band. Some members have had some formal training and others completely self-taught. This is what makes Hicktown Breakout a great place to create music, we have absolutely no rules to adhere to…”

“Get Your Boots On” will be available on December 7—and this masterful jam is just an appetizer for what’s to come on the band’s January 2021 EP.

Be sure to keep an eye out for Hicktown Breakout’s 2021 UK tour as well. We can only imagine how good Hicktown Breakout would be playing “Get Your Boots On” live. It’s a song meant for a party, and it seems like this band can really deliver. “[W]e can create a very big live sound. Our lead singer knows how to control the stage and get the audience engaged…all the band members are driven by live gigging and the elation of seeing fans jumping, dancing, and singing your songs back to you—there’s nothing else like it!”

Follow Hicktown Breakout on Facebook, Instagram, and visit their website for confirmed gigs.

Unsigned artists collaborate to raise money for MIND mental health charity

2020 has been a tough year for everyone. Some individuals have suffered even more deeply than is even fathomable. This is why Scarlet River and Country Chat with Dom have partnered with eight unsigned artists from across the world to record a collaborative single, “I Won’t Forget to Miss You.” All money from fundraising and pre-orders starting Friday, November 13 will go directly to MIND mental health charity. With the holidays coming up and the pandemic still wreaking havoc, this is certainly a worthy cause.

Songwriter Tyler Spicer explains, “’I Won’t Forget to Miss You’ encapsulates the global and universal sentiments that we’ve all felt during this pandemic: those of missing family, those of separation from loved ones, and those of trying to find a sense of normality in the face of mass change. I hope this single can bring together our collective experience for both positive, active change, and to heal and unify us all, wherever we are, no matter how far apart…”

The incredible individuals who have devoted time and energy to this project are: Emma Moore, Kyle Elliott, Brittany McLamb, Emilia Quinn, Charlotte Young, Georgia Nevada, Daniel Borge, Bob Fitzgerald, Tyler Spicer, Dom Crooke & Rachel Sellick.

PRE-SAVE to support.

Britta Pejic delivers a psychedelic wonder of a track

Britta Pejic’s music is a paradox. Her sound is completely unique and familiar at the same time, and we can’t get enough.

Pejic’s newly released track, “Sebago Lumbago,” is a throwback to the psychedelic 60s, but with a modern spin. While Pejic has had no formal music training, music is in her blood. Her grandfather was a jazz musician and an engineer, and her mother was a dancer. Growing up, Pejic explored the myriad exotic instruments that she found in her grandfather’s basement, which no doubt informed the development of her intriguing musical sound. She describes her new song as “sweet yet unsettling,” and we completely agree; indeed, that’s precisely what makes the song impossible to turn off. Pejic presents an auditory mystery with “Sebago Lumbago,” and it’s thoroughly magnetic.

The instrumentals give the track a dreamlike quality with unapologetic vocals. The song is urgent, energetic, and even a bit spooky, to a degree. It’s certainly not a song to listen to just once—you’ll feel like something was ripped away prematurely when it ends, and will keep playing it on repeat to try to figure out the enigmatic message hidden behind its juxtapositions.

“I think conflicting combinations intrigue listeners because they can’t be ignored. And they resurface at the end and escort the listener out. I’ve always loved songs that I never wanted to end. Very bittersweet. It’s that feeling of not wanting to be left behind, but sadly the song has to leave.”

We definitely feel like we’re chasing after the track when it ends. It’s a musical whirlwind, and we want to be smack in the center of it.

Check out Britta Pejic on Instagram and Facebook, and listen to “Sebago Lumbago” on Spotify.

Charlotte Young has already hit #1, but she won’t stop there

Charlotte Young has already had a #1 single and a #1 EP. Her debut single “Whiplash” reached #1 in the UK Country iTunes Chart and the Euro Academy of Country Music Chart. Her accompanying debut EP “Blown Away” debuted at #1 in the UK Country iTunes Album Chart. But she’s not ready to sit back on her success just yet. Her new single, ‘Praying for Rain,’ is out November 20, and it’s powerful.

You might think that “Praying for Rain” is a melancholy track. Someone who prays for rain might be holding onto sadness, and wish for their surroundings to match their feelings. But Young takes a different approach: “Praying for rain” is a metaphor for things washing away and all your worries dissolving.” Indeed, the track is hopeful, and Young somehow created a world where listeners can actually hear that hope against a backdrop of difficult times. It’s easy to picture a scenario that would have inspired the song. This is the power of skillful songwriting.

The chorus is certainly the highlight of the track, painting an extraordinarily detailed picture of an entire relationship in just a few measures. The yearning to have worries and difficulties wash away is infinitely relatable, and it’s delivered in the most impressive of ways. With crisp, emotional guitar riffs and confident, smoky vocals, we wouldn’t be surprised to discover that “Praying for Rain” is another #1 track for Young. It is, through and through, a beautiful song.

Connect with Charlotte on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram & YouTube, and count the seconds until the song’s release on November 20. You don’t want to miss it.

The New Mutiny kills it with “Narcissist”

We’ve raved about The New Mutiny before. Their recent tracks “A Godless Promise Mechanism” and “Echo of You” were brilliant, and we became instant fans. The bar was set high.

Now the Virginia-based rock band is back with a brand new track, “Narcissist,” and it exceeds our already high expectations.

The inspiration for the track is the stuff of nightmares. The New Mutiny’s singer and guitarist Jason revealed that the song is about a sociopath who has decided to take a woman’s life, and it was largely inspired by a friend who may have been on track to meet a similar fate.

“…[S]omeone extremely close to me had ended a toxic relationship she was in for 16 years. We all thought he was a great guy and that they were happy. It turns out he was an emotionally abusive, controlling piece of human garbage, and left behind some pretty significant emotional scarring. When she opened up about what had gone on she said, ‘He is definitely a narcissist and I believe very strongly that he may be an undiagnosed sociopath.’ If that’s the case and she hadn’t gotten away from him, any number of terrible things could’ve happened to her that were worse than what she had already gone through. That’s the exact statement that inspired the song.”

The band captured a truly terrifying situation in enigmatic lyrics and hard-hitting instrumentals. About two-thirds of the way through, “Narcissist” really comes to life with an instrumental breakdown—the lead-in to a musical expression of the final moments of a woman’s life, expertly distilled into the lyrics:

“Why are you acting like you’re dying all alone

I’ll keep you in my heart

I’ll never let you go 

When the night takes you I’ll take your pale green eyes

Say good night my love”

With just these few lines, the band has painted a vivid picture not just of the woman’s final moments, but also of the titular narcissist. We understand how his perspective is twisted, and the sad, disturbing reality in which he resides.

As difficult as the subject matter is, it’s impossible to stop listening to this song. The pace of “Narcissist” is fitting for the subject matter, and for a song clocking in at roughly five minutes, it surprisingly feels like it’s over before you’ve had enough. You’ll likely want to listen to the song once because of the rich sound, and again to absorb the lyrics.

The New Mutiny is planning to continue releasing tracks for the rest of 2020. Check out “Narcissist” on YouTube and Spotify (out TODAY!), and be sure to follow the band on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter.

Kieran Lancini’s “I Need You” is emotional and raw

Kieran Lancini is no stranger to success. The UK-based country singer-songwriter from North Queensland, Australia was named Star Maker Winner at the 2002 Tamworth Country Music Festival, after which Lancini settled in the UK, putting a career in music to the side.

In 2019, Lancini returned to Australia for the Star Maker 40th Anniversary show—and the performer in him was once again awakened.

And that makes us lucky.

Lancini’s new single, “I Need You,” was co-written by Nashville songwriter Phil Barton, whose songwriting resume includes “A Woman Like You,” (Lee Brice’s #1 hit) “Yeah Yeah Yeah,” (Dustin Lynch), and “I Can’t Stop Loving You” (Sara Evans). Eighteen years after his last release, Lancini approached writing this new track with a very clear vision.

“I knew for the vocals that I wanted something quite warm and raw—something to draw the listener in. With regards to production I wanted to also be quite intimate and not overly produced—I wanted the guitar to be the third voice on the album after me and the backing vocalist.”

While the first three notes on the guitar tell the listener immediately that this is a country song at its heart, the song also incorporates elements of pop, which makes it quite an interesting ballad to listen to. It’s slow and easy, but is sung with such raw passion that the listener absolutely feels the “need” of the singer. It’s one thing to be able to connect with listeners because the instrumentals are top-notch and the lyrics are poetry; it’s another to be able to connect with listeners solely because of the emotion in a singer’s voice. Incredibly, Lancini has only had a few singing lessons in his life, which means his ability to deliver spellbinding vocals is innate.

We may have missed out on eighteen years of Lancini’s musical gift, but after hearing “I Need You,” we think it’s safe to say that Lancini’s star is poised to become very bright in no time at all.

“I Need You” is available to pre-save, and will be released on October 23 on all major digital platforms.

Connect with Kieran Lancini on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, and follow him on Spotify.

Adele & Andy will take your breath away with “Took His Love Away”

The song opens with Andy playing the guitar and you’re already hooked. Then Adele starts to sing and you know you’ve stumbled upon something special.

Staffordshire-based modern country duo Adele & Andy just released their debut album Watch Over You in July, and they are about to release their poignant new track, “Took His Love Away,” on October 30. Inspired by the loss of their friend’s wife, the song aims to capture the sentiments experienced in the aftermath of death. Given how intimate and polished the track is, it’s an incredible feat given that Adele and Andy only started playing together less than two years ago.

Having suffered from anxiety all her life, Adele would only sing if Andy learned to play the guitar to give her the confidence to perform in front of people. Listening to Adele’s smooth, velvety vocals, you would never guess that there was anything but confidence behind the mic.

And Adele & Andy have every reason to be confident. Their latest single ‘”Say It Out Loud​” peaked at ​#27 on the UK Country iTunes Chart, and has had radio support in over 50 countries. Now, with “Took His Love Away,” the duo is set up for further success. If you can somehow resist being mesmerized by Andy’s beautiful guitar playing and Adele’s rich vocals (it took us at least three listens), you’ll be struck by the heavily personal, yet relatable lyrics.

“We want our listeners to understand that although many grieving individuals put on a brave face, it’s only when they return to their own home that they experience the difficulties associated with the loss of a loved one. For anybody who has suffered a loss, know that there are many other people experiencing the same emotions.”

Elements of comfort, nostalgia, sadness, and hope are expertly blended together to make “Took His Love Away” feel like home. It is subtly magnetic—and the duo is just getting started. “In the future, we are looking to write more about the world we live in.” Although we’ve been left completely breathless by this beautiful track, we’re still waiting with bated breath for more music from this wonderfully talented duo.

Connect with Adele & Andy on​ Facebook, ​​Twitter​, andI​nstagram​, and follow them on Spotify.

Southern Gothic’s “Past Midnight” is a genre-bending delight

Country music has always had a distinct sound, and country artists arguably have the most success when that distinct sound is unblurred. Hailing from Nashville, Southern Gothic is different. A country band at its core, Southern Gothic has taken a telltale sound and expertly blended it with rock and pop in the upcoming track “Past Midnight.”

If you’re already a fan of the band, you know this isn’t their first rodeo. Their album New Hometown debuted at #1 on Billboard’s Heatseeker chart, and #17 on its Country Albums chart. In the same month, their first single from their album Sheets Down reached #1 on CMT’s Pure Country 12-Pack Countdown—a spot it held for 4 weeks. After taking a break in 2016, songwriter and Southern Gothic front man Connor Christian (who also plays the piano, guitar, and mandolin) set out to reshape the band’s sound, aiming to incorporate nods to the rock and pop songs that he listened to in his youth. “Past Midnight” is evidence that Christian led the band in the right direction.

“Because I love Chris Stapleton or Shovels & Rope, that means I can’t love Sia and Tame Impala or Young the Giant? That’s crazy,” says Christian. “I love music and I want to be able to explore…”

This is certainly a refreshing point of view for anyone who loves music of all kinds. As artists, we sometimes get so caught up in defining the lines of a genre and fitting a certain playlist sound that we lose the opportunity to create freely. Southern Gothic’s mixed-genre sound in “Past Midnight” is a prime example of the brilliance—and malleability—that can be produced when artists step out of bounds and truly find their voice.

“This song, as released, could only be a Southern Gothic song because I feel like my voice is very distinct, and even a casual fan will hear it and know that it’s us. On the other hand, with some small changes I could hear anyone from Hunter Hayes to Charlie Puth or even a more rockin’ version by someone like Maroon 5 or X-Ambassadors. So, while we’ve made this song our own, I feel like Keith [Hetrick, Grammy-nominated R&B and pop producer], Mason [Thornley, co-writer, and I] wrote it in a way that I think lots of artists could find their own voice in it.”

Interestingly, Christian’s experience with genre-bending isn’t limited to Southern Gothic’s lifetime. “[M]y very first real record deal was as a rapper. I was in a band called GruvnHi (groovin’ – high) which I would describe as a frat-rap band… We were signed by Lisa Lopez from the band TLC to her label, Wish Records. Unfortunately she passed away during the recording of our debut album and it never got released, and eventually Arista dropped us. Before that I was in a couple of metal bands, and before that, a CSN-style folk band. [Southern Gothic] actually evolved from a band—we were called Princess at the time—that was a super weird mixture. [W]e’d do cover gigs to pay the bills playing everything hard rock—Rage Against the Machine, Marylin Manson, Alice in Chains, etc. BUT, our original music was very much me trying to be Elton John. [He] is, without a doubt, my biggest musical influence.”

Christian’s musical cross-training has paid off in the form of Southern Gothic’s strong upcoming single. “Past Midnight” is out October 23, and Southern Gothic’s EP Burnin’ Moonlight is out December 4.

Connect with Southern Gothic on ​Facebook​, ​Instagram​, or on their ​website​, and follow them on Spotify.