Fall is right around the corner, and country music’s hottest stars are cranking out bonfire bangers and football Sunday anthems. CMT’s new music Friday playlist is overflowing with ear-worthy melodies from Kelsea Ballerini, Mitchell Tenpenny, Zac Brown Band, and more. So, turn the volume up to ten and add your next new favorite tune to your daily rotation.
CMT’s full Roundup playlist is linked at the bottom of the story.
Little Big Town, “Three Whiskeys and the Truth”: Little Big Town released their 10th studio album “Mr. Sun” this week and with it came with their new single “Three Whiskeys and the Truth.” Written by Little Big Town’s Karen Fairchild and Kimberly Schlapman along with the Love Junkies Hillary Lindsey, Lori McKenna, and Liz Rose.
“Lori had that title, and I just love how it tells the story of what we do to numb the pain we're going through,” Fairchild says, recalling a long day of writing. “And the melody makes it feel like an old school country song like the ones we grew up with."
The moody-mid tempo explores how hard it is to forget someone you used to love and all the things you do to move on.
Little Big Town also unveiled the music video for “Three Whiskeys and the Truth,” which was directed by Running Bear Film’s Stephen & Alexa Kinigopoulos.
Callista Clark, “Brave Girl”: A current member of CMT’s Next Women of Country, Callista Clark wrote “Brave Girl” when she was 15 years old with Emily Landis and Ben Johnson. The trio of writers wanted to empower listeners to embrace their uniqueness.
Lyrics include: “Be brave, girl / Jump in and make your own wave girl / Say what you wanna say, say it like you mean it / You’re gonna be okay even if you don’t believe it.”
Clark said the song was too emotional for her to perform live in the beginning, but as soon as she started playing it, she say an immediate reaction from everyone and “knew it was something special.”
“I hope everyone finds a little encouragement and bravery through the message in this song,” she says.
“Brave Girl” is the final early release from her full-length album “REAL TO ME: THE WAY I FEEL” arriving October 14 via Big Machine Records. The album was produced by Nathan Chapman (Taylor Swift, Lionel Richie, Keith Urban, Mickey Guyton), and reveals Callista to be a songwriter of considerable depth, and wit and a gifted singer with confidence.”
Conner Smith & Ryan Hurd, "Take It Slow": Conner Smith is an unstoppable force to be reckoned with. On the heels of sending "Take It Slow" to country radio, the Tennessee native turned to multifaceted artist Ryan Hurd to place a new creative twist on the fan favorite. Smith co-wrote the sober single alongside Hurd and seasoned songsmith Mark Trussell. The promising star and Hurd brought the tempo down a notch in their acoustic rendition, but have set an unreachable bar. As the two pull at their guitar strings, they blend their crystal clear pipes. Their rich vocals and swoon-worthy southern twangs drive the romantic narrative, that captures the true essence of young love.
"And you said, 'Take it slow, I know a backroad, we can find a spot to be alone | We can sway back and forth to what's on the radio' | 'Cause you said that you were all mine, innocent look in your eye | Nothing but time, kiss me all night and let's just take it slow," the country crooners effortlessly harmonize.
Long before the original "Take It Slow" amassed over 40 million global streams, the 22-year-old knew he wanted to release a stripped-down version.
"What I love about this song is that it sounds just as cool produced up as it does just me sitting there with a guitar," Smith explained. "I've been wanting to put out an acoustic version of 'Take It Slow' from day one and was glad my co-writer and friend Ryan Hurd could join me on it."
Kylie Morgan, "Bridesmaids": Kylie Morgan is less than a month away from tying the knot with fiancé Jay Allen. Before meeting her soon-to-be-husband at the altar, she released a toast-like anthem to her bride tribe.
"Bridesmaids" has become one of the most demanding songs on TikTok, as the teaser raked in 7.5M views, 1M likes, and 115K fans have created their own video to the tribute track. Morgan penned the viral hit alongside one of her real-life bridesmaids, Sam DeRosa and KK Johnson. The catchy lyrics intertwined with the lively melody is destined to make "Bridesmaids" the wedding song of the year.
"She got me through high school | she'd probably post my bail | she'd the one who'd get me drunk, be next to me in jail | she's my voice of reason | she's my biggest fan | she's who told me leave the boy and find yourself a man," Morgan sings paying homage to her "wedding day army."
The viral hit not only proves that Morgan is a country music mainstay with a bright future ahead, but a savvy songwriter. The former CMT Next Women of Country member is expected to join Tyler Rich on his headlining Thinkin' We're In Love Tour in late September. Morgan is slated to perform the standout song, current single "If He Wanted To He Would," and favorites from her critically acclaimed EP, "P.S." during the West Coast run.