Growing up as an American teenager, there were always overt cues that summer was just around the corner.
As the days got longer, our pants got shorter. We began trading in our pencils and notebooks for paintbrushes or spatulas for three months. And Saturday nights were all about finding something to sip on with your buddies.
But, as we grew older the signs of summer became less and less obvious. We began thinking more about credit scores and politics then we did about bonfires and beer.
This playlist, using an upbeat blend of country, folk, indie and hip-hop/rap tracks, is all about taking in these subtle, yet beautiful aspects that the shifting of the seasons brings. It seems that this year, more than usual, we could all use a little slowing down and taking in of our surroundings.
1. “Sounds of Summer” – Dierks Bentley
Dierks Bentley’s deep cut “Sounds of Summer” from his 2014 album “Riser” serves as the intro to the “Summer Precursor” playlist.
Using a lively riff, the song embodies everything this playlist is about – soaking in all the low-key sounds that summer brings. It’s a great starting place to help you unwind under any blue-sky.
2. “Single Saturday Night” – Cole Swindell
“Single Saturday Night” is similar to stories you’ve heard throughout country music before.
However, with some fun lyrics and a chorus that includes seeing a girl sitting in the corner sipping on a White Claw, Cole Swindell brings a new-feel to the timeless country topic. The song’s an overall good listen and should slot in as a 2020 summer hit.
3. “A Little Lime” – Jordan Davis
“A Little Lime” from Jordan Davis’s recent self-titled EP is a neat, southern-sounding song slating in the third position on the playlist.
Davis’s use of light sounds and chill lyrics seemingly set the scene in a beach bar, making it a solid sundown track for any summer night.
4. “David Ashley Parker From Powder Springs” – Travis Denning
Georgia Native Travis Denning busted onto the country music scene in 2018 with “David Ashley Parker from Powder Springs.”, his first major-label single.
The song, telling the story of a young man using a fake ID under the alias of David Ashley Parker, starts slow but kicks the doors down by the first chorus. It’s an under the radar crowd-pleaser of a track, that’s paired great with chilling out after a long work week.
5. “One of Them Girls” – Lee Brice
Lee Brice continues to break barriers with his authentic and unique take on today’s country music with his recent single, “One of Them Girls.”
Taken both as a bullish bar song and an anthem to kick-ass woman everywhere, it leaves you content as the acoustics fade.
6. “South” – Kip Moore
Like many of his previous pieces of work, Kip Moore’s “South” from his new album “Wild World” has a lot to unpack.
Another song set in a boardwalk town, it tells the story of a young love that fades with the summer wind, while beautifully blending country and rock.
Unfortunately, I haven’t been able to listen to this track near water since its release. But, it’s one that would hit hard there and that you should slide onto your next beach town mixtape.
7. “Brand New” – Ben Rector
Nashville based alternative-folk artist Ben Rector and his track “Brand New” serve as this playlist’s bridge away from country music.
I know sometimes in life, especially lately, it’s hard to always feel good. But, Rector’s joyous lyrics met with a tenacious melody on this one should certainly help.
8. “Sunseeker” – The Naked and Famous
The Naked and Famous, now a duo, hopes to once again break barriers in the indie-alternative scene with their upcoming album, “Recover,” that features “Sunseeker.”
The song has a story that’s pretty dependent on interpretation, but it brings a blissful summer-sounding song to the playlist in a unique way that only this group can.
9. “Don’t Mind If I Do” – Mac Miller
10 years after the initial release of Mac Miller’s “K.I.D.S” mixtape, it is officially published on Apple Music and competing platforms – and just in time for summer too.
Rapping over a rendition of Owl City’s 2009 chart-topper “Fireflies,” a young Miller shares his thoughts on his early success as only he can. The energy and joy felt on this track truly make it a spectacular song to get down to as we head into what we hope are simpler days ahead.
Per usual, the final track of this “Powerful Playlist” is left up to you, the reader and listener. Remember to be punctilious, taking in even the peculiar things as the seasons come to a shift, once more.