meta-scriptPitbull, Gabby Barrett, Barenaked Ladies & More Announced For Tortuga Music Fest | GRAMMY.com

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Pitbull, Gabby Barrett, Barenaked Ladies & More Announced For Tortuga Music Fest

The festival in Fort Lauderdale, Fla. raises awareness on issues affecting the ocean

GRAMMYs/Oct 24, 2019 - 04:12 am

Tortuga, a music festival in Fort Lauderdale, Fla. that raises awareness on issues affecting the ocean, has announced Pitbull, Gabby Barrett, Hirie, Barenaked Ladies and more as performers at their beach party fest set to take place in April 2020.

Luke Bryan, Miranda Lambert, Tim McGraw and Kelsea Ballerini are among other performers that will hit the stage April 17–19. Organizers will announce additional acts as the fest gets closer. 

The fest is partnered with the Rock The Ocean Foundation and was created to bring consciousness and fundraise for ocean conservation. 

Tickets will go on sale Nov. 1 at 10:00 am E.T.

Hold The Wheel And Drive: Incubus Look Back On Their Alt-Metal Classic 'Make Yourself' 20 Years Later

"American Idol" Season 1 Finale - Kelly Clarkson Performance Show
Kelly Clarkson performs on Season 1 of "American Idol."

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On This Day In Music: "American Idol" Premieres On Fox Network

For decades, "American Idol" has been instrumental in discovering some of music’s biggest names and pioneering the reality TV contest genre. As the show enters its 22nd run, here’s a look at how it has become an iconic household staple across the country.

GRAMMYs/Jun 11, 2024 - 04:23 pm

For countless Americans, "American Idol" is intertwined with core memories as a show that had families eagerly glued to their TVs twice a week. It brought generations together, creating moments of both suspense and excitement that are still remembered today, as the show continues to run in its 22nd season.

Created by visionary entrepreneur Simon Fuller, "American Idol" premiered on June 11, 2002, as a fresh spin-off of the British program "Pop Idol." It revolutionized how Americans engaged with reality TV through its interactive, viewer-driven voting system, which encouraged audience participation in the success of their favorite contestants. The show also offered viewers a glimpse into contestants' candid backstories and personal journeys, anchoring emotional investment and skyrocketing the show's popularity.

The show's debut season featured a dynamic trio of judges: singer Paula Abdul, TV personality Simon Cowell, and producer Randy Jackson. Their contrasting personalities brewed a chemistry as captivating as the hopeful performances. Abdul’s warmth, Cowell's blunt wit, and Jackson’s humor added extra layers of entertainment, making the twice a week broadcasts a must-watch.

The first season of "American Idol" also unforgettably introduced the country to Kelly Clarkson. Since her debut — with a heart-tugging backstory about being the average girl-next-door with big dreams — Clarkson has gone on to tour the world, host her own TV talk show, and secured her spot as one of music’s most beloved talents. 

"I had dreams since I was a little girl that I wanted to be on the GRAMMYs, or some award show and sing on there," Clarkson mentioned in her pre-audition interview. Flash forward 22 years, the pop singer has accumulated 17 GRAMMY nominations and three wins, propelled by a powerful vocal gift.

Other artists who launched their careers from the show's platform include Jordin Sparks, Carrie Underwood, Adam Lambert, and Jennifer Hudson, who each serve as testament to the show’s impact in music.

"American Idol" has not only opened our eyes to some of our favorite musicians, but it also has given us some of our favorite pop culture moments.

A video that frequently resurfaces on social media captures a memorable moment between Katy Perry and contestant Noah Davis, where they bond over the slang term 'wig'

"No, it’s not your language. It’s just for us," Perry joked to her fellow judges, Lionel Richie and Luke Bryan, when they questioned the term’s meaning.

After two decades on air, "American Idol" has etched a lasting legacy in pop culture. It has paved the way for other reality TV music shows and created lasting memories for music fans along the way.

“The show transcends age, gender, ethnicity, everything,” Underwood told Billboard in 2005. 

How Many "American Idol" Winners Have Won GRAMMYs? A Rundown Of Wins And Nominations For Kelly Clarkson, Carrie Underwood & More

Kendrick Lamar GRAMMY Rewind Hero
Kendrick Lamar

Photo: Jeff Kravitz/FilmMagic

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GRAMMY Rewind: Kendrick Lamar Honors Hip-Hop's Greats While Accepting Best Rap Album GRAMMY For 'To Pimp a Butterfly' In 2016

Upon winning the GRAMMY for Best Rap Album for 'To Pimp a Butterfly,' Kendrick Lamar thanked those that helped him get to the stage, and the artists that blazed the trail for him.

GRAMMYs/Oct 13, 2023 - 06:01 pm

Updated Friday Oct. 13, 2023 to include info about Kendrick Lamar's most recent GRAMMY wins, as of the 2023 GRAMMYs.

A GRAMMY veteran these days, Kendrick Lamar has won 17 GRAMMYs and has received 47 GRAMMY nominations overall. A sizable chunk of his trophies came from the 58th annual GRAMMY Awards in 2016, when he walked away with five — including his first-ever win in the Best Rap Album category.

This installment of GRAMMY Rewind turns back the clock to 2016, revisiting Lamar's acceptance speech upon winning Best Rap Album for To Pimp A Butterfly. Though Lamar was alone on stage, he made it clear that he wouldn't be at the top of his game without the help of a broad support system. 

"First off, all glory to God, that's for sure," he said, kicking off a speech that went on to thank his parents, who he described as his "those who gave me the responsibility of knowing, of accepting the good with the bad."

Looking for more GRAMMYs news? The 2024 GRAMMY nominations are here!

He also extended his love and gratitude to his fiancée, Whitney Alford, and shouted out his Top Dawg Entertainment labelmates. Lamar specifically praised Top Dawg's CEO, Anthony Tiffith, for finding and developing raw talent that might not otherwise get the chance to pursue their musical dreams.

"We'd never forget that: Taking these kids out of the projects, out of Compton, and putting them right here on this stage, to be the best that they can be," Lamar — a Compton native himself — continued, leading into an impassioned conclusion spotlighting some of the cornerstone rap albums that came before To Pimp a Butterfly.

"Hip-hop. Ice Cube. This is for hip-hop," he said. "This is for Snoop Dogg, Doggystyle. This is for Illmatic, this is for Nas. We will live forever. Believe that."

To Pimp a Butterfly singles "Alright" and "These Walls" earned Lamar three more GRAMMYs that night, the former winning Best Rap Performance and Best Rap Song and the latter taking Best Rap/Sung Collaboration (the song features Bilal, Anna Wise and Thundercat). He also won Best Music Video for the remix of Taylor Swift's "Bad Blood." 

Lamar has since won Best Rap Album two more times, taking home the golden gramophone in 2018 for his blockbuster LP DAMN., and in 2023 for his bold fifth album, Mr. Morale & the Big Steppers.

Watch Lamar's full acceptance speech above, and check back at GRAMMY.com every Friday for more GRAMMY Rewind episodes. 

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July Albums List Hero
(L-R, clockwise): Stevie Nicks, Jennifer Lopez, Taylor Swift, Josh Kiszka of Greta Van Fleet, Post Malone, Pitbull, NCT Dream

Photo: Erika Goldring/WireImage, Daniele Venturelli/Daniele Venturelli/Getty Images for Luisaviaroma, Scott Legato/TAS23/Getty Images for TAS Rights Management, Astrida Valigorsky/Getty Images, Don Arnold/WireImage, Alexander Tamargo/Getty Images for Atlantis Paradise Island, Chung Sung-Jun/Getty Images

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15 Must-Hear Albums This July: Taylor Swift, Dominic Fike, Post Malone, NCT Dream & More

From the highly anticipated 'Barbie' soundtrack to a celebration of Joni Mitchell's iconic Newport Folk Festival return, check out 15 albums dropping this July.

GRAMMYs/Jul 3, 2023 - 04:05 pm

The first half of 2023 is already behind us, but July gives us much to look forward to. The warm sun, tours and festivals abound, and a heap of exciting releases — from Colter Wall's country music to NCT DREAM's K-pop — will surely make this season even more special.

We start it off with Taylor Swift and her third re-recorded album, Speak Now (Taylor's Version) on July 7, the same day Pitbull returns with his twelfth studio album, Trackhouse. Post Malone will deliver his fourth LP, AUSTIN, and Blur returns with their first album in eight years. And for the classic music lovers, folk legend Joni Mitchell will release At Newport — a recording of her first live performance since 2015 — and rock maven Stevie Nicks will drop her Complete Studio Albums & Rarities box set.

To welcome the latter half of a year filled with great music so far, GRAMMY.com offers a guide to the 15 must-hear albums dropping July 2023.

Taylor Swift, Speak Now (Taylor's Version)

Release date: July 7

Taylor Swift fans are used to gathering clues and solving puzzles about the singer's intricate, ever-expanding discography. Therefore, in her hometown of Nashville concert last May, when she announced that Speak Now (Taylor's Version) would come out on July 7, it was not much of a surprise to the audience, but rather a gratifying confirmation that they had followed the right steps.

"It's my love language with you. I plot. I scheme. I plan. And then I get to tell you about it," Swift told them after breaking the news. "I think, rather than me speaking about it ... I'd rather just show you," she added, before performing an acoustic version of Speak Now's single, "Sparks Fly." 

Shortly after, she took it to Instagram to share that "the songs that came from this time in my life were marked by their brutal honesty, unfiltered diaristic confessions and wild wistfulness. I love this album because it tells a tale of growing up, flailing, flying and crashing … and living to speak about it."

Speak Now (Taylor's Version) is Swift's third re-recorded album, following 2021's Red (Taylor's Version). It will feature 22 tracks, including six unreleased "From the Vault" songs and features with Paramore's Hayley Williams and Fall Out Boy. "Since Speak Now was all about my songwriting, I decided to go to the artists who I feel influenced me most powerfully as a lyricist at that time and ask them to sing on the album," she shared on Twitter. Swift is currently touring the U.S. with her acclaimed The Eras Tour, which will hit Latin America, Asia, Australia, UK, and Europe through August 2024.

ANOHNI and the Johnsons, My Back Was a Bridge For You To Cross

Release date: July 7

"I want the record to be useful," said ANOHNI about her upcoming sixth studio album, My Back Was A Bridge For You To Cross. The English singer says she learned with her previous LP, 2016's HOPELESSNESS, that she "can provide a soundtrack that might fortify people in their work, in their activism, in their dreaming and decision-making," therefore aiming to make use of her talents to further help and inspire people.

Through 10 tracks that blend American soul, British folk, and experimental music, ANOHNI weaves her storytelling on inequality, alienation, privilege, and several other themes. According to a statement, the creative process was "painstaking, yet also inspired, joyful, and intimate, a renewal and a renaming of her response to the world as she sees it."

My Back Was A Bridge For You To Cross "demonstrates music's unique capacity to bring harmony to competing, sometimes contradictory, elements" — qualities that can be observed in the album's contemplative pre-releases "It Must Change" and "Sliver Of Ice."

Pitbull, Trackhouse

Release date: July 7

GRAMMY-winning singer/rapper Pitbull has recently broadened his reach into an unexpected field: stock cars. Together with Trackhouse Entertainment Group founder Justin Marks, he formed Trackhouse Racing in 2021, an organization and team that participates in the NASCAR Cup Series.

Now, to unite both passions, the Miami-born singer is releasing Trackhouse, his twelfth studio album and first release since 2019's Libertad 548. "In no way, shape, or form is this some kind of publicity stunt," said Mr. Worldwide of the upcoming album during a teleconference in April. "This is real. This is all about our stories coming together, and that's why the fans love it. […] This right here is about making history, it's generational, it's about creating a legacy."

Preceded by singles "Me Pone Mal" with Omar Courtz and "Jumpin" with Lil Jon, it seems that Trackhouse, despite its innovative inception, will continue to further Pitbull's famed Latin pop brand. This fall, he will also join Enrique Iglesias and Ricky Martin on The Trilogy Tour across the U.S. and Canada.

Dominic Fike,  Sunburn

Release date: July 7

Multitalented singer, songwriter and actor Dominic Fike also joins the roll of summer comebacks. His second studio album, Sunburn, comes out July 7, and follows 2020's acclaimed What Could Possibly Go Wrong.

In recent years, the Florida star found great exposure after landing a role in the HBO hit series "Euphoria" as well as the upcoming A24 drama Earth Mama, which is slated to release on the same day as Sunburn. The past three years were also marked by collaborations with a handful of artists, from Justin Bieber ("Die For You") to Paul McCartney ("The Kiss of Venus") to his Euphoria co-star Zendaya on "Elliot's Song" from the show's soundtrack.

Sunburn marks Fike's joyful return to music, aiming to portray "the aching and vulnerable revelations of a young artist still growing and putting their best foot forward," according to a press release. Through 15 tracks, including singles "Dancing in the Courthouse," "Ant Pile," and "Mama's Boy," Fike will explore themes of "heartbreak and regret, addiction, sex, and jealousy." 

One week after Sunburn's arrival, Fike will embark on a tour across North America and Canada, starting July 13 in Indianapolis.

Lauren Spencer Smith, Mirror

Release date: July 14

Lauren Spencer Smith said on TikTok that she's been working on her debut album, Mirror, for years. "It has been with me through so much in my life, the highs and the lows, and it means more to me than I can put into words. It tells a story of reflection, healing and growth," she added.

The 19-year-old, British-born Canadian singer is unafraid to dive deep into heartbreak and sorrow — as she displayed on her breakthrough hit "Fingers Crossed" —  but offers a way out by focusing on her growth. "I went through a hard breakup, and the album tells the story of that all, the journey of that and now being in a more happy relationship. The title comes from the one thing in my life that's seen me in every emotion through that journey — my bedroom and bathroom mirror."

Like a true Gen Zer, Smith has been teasing the 15-track collection and its upcoming world tour all over social media. On July 14, the day of the album release, she kicks off the North American leg of the tour in Chicago, before heading to the UK, Europe, Australia, and New Zealand.

Colter Wall, Little Songs

Release date: July 14

"You might not see a soul for days on them high and lonesome plains/ You got to fill the big empty with little songs," sings Colter Wall on the titular track off his fourth studio album, Little Songs. The Canadian country star says in a press release that he wrote these songs over the last three years, and that "I penned most of them from home and I think the songs reflect that."

Born and raised in the prairies of Battle Creek, Saskatchewan, Wall found inspiration in the stillness of his surroundings. With this album, he bridges "the contemporary world to the values, hardships, and celebrations of rural life" while also opening "emotional turns as mature and heartening as the resonant baritone voice writing them," according to a press release.

Little Songs is composed of 10 tracks — eight originals and two covers (Hoyt Axton's "Evangelina," and Ian Tyson's "The Coyote & The Cowboy.") He'll celebrate the album's release with a performance at Montana's Under The Big Sky festival on the weekend of the LP's arrival.

Mahalia, IRL

Release date: July 14

British singer Mahalia celebrated her 25th birthday on May 1 by announcing IRL, her sophomore album. Out July 14, the R&B star claims the album to be "a real reflection of the journeys I've had, what actually happened, and a celebration of everyone who got me there."

The 13-track collection will feature names like Stormzy and JoJo, the latter of whom appears on the single "Cheat." Before the release, Mahalia also shared "Terms and Conditions," a self-possessed track that pairs her silky voice with delightful early-aughts R&B.

"I'm so proud of this album, and so proud of how much I challenged myself to just let those stories out," she said in a statement. "We're all fixated on how we can make ourselves better but I want people to also reminisce on lovely or painful situations they've lived through and how they've helped shape the people they are now."

IRL is Mahalia's follows 2019's highly-acclaimed Love and Compromise. In support of the release, she has announced UK and Europe tour dates from October through November.

NCT DREAM, ISTJ

Release date: July 17

The Myers-Briggs Personality Test (also known as MBTI) is a current craze in South Korea, therefore, it was only a matter of time until a K-pop group applied its insights on their music. Although none of NCT DREAM's seven members has the ISTJ personality type, that's what they decided to call their upcoming third studio album, out on July 17.

The 10-track collection comes in two physical versions: Introvert and Extrovert, the first letters and main differentiators in any MBTI personality. Spearheaded by the soaring "Broken Melodies," where they display an impressive set of vocals, their comeback announcement on Twitter promises "The impact NCT DREAM will bring to the music industry."

Since September, the NCT sub-group embarked on The Dream Show 2: In A Dream World Tour, which crossed Asia, Europe, North America. The group will wrap up July with four concerts in Latin America.

Blur, The Ballad of Darren

Release date: July 21

"The older and madder we get, it becomes more essential that what we play is loaded with the right emotion and intention," said Blur's guitarist Graham Coxon in a statement about The Ballad of Darren, the band's ninth studio album set to arrive on July 21.

Maybe that explains why The Ballad is their first release in eight years, and represents "an aftershock record, reflection and comment on where we find ourselves now," according to frontman Damon Albarn. During a press conference in May, bassist Alex James reinforced the positive moment that they find themselves in, stating that "there were moments of utter joy" while recording together.

Produced by James Ford, the album contains 10 tracks, including the wistful indie rock of lead single "The Narcissist." On July 8 and 9, Blur is set to play two reunion gigs at London's Wembley Stadium, followed by a slew of festivals across Europe, Japan and South America.

Barbie: The Album

Release date: July 21

The most-awaited summer flick of 2023 also comes with a staggering soundtrack. Scored by producers Mark Ronson and Andrew Wyatt, Barbie: The Album features songs by hot stars like Dua Lipa, Lizzo, and Ice Spice, as well as some surprising additions, such as psychedelic star Tame Impala and K-pop rookie sensation Fifty Fifty.

As undecipherable and alluring as the actual movie plot, the album tracklist only increases expectations for Greta Gerwig's upcoming oeuvre. Is it all a satire? Is it a serious take on "life in plastic" and consumerism? Is it about nothing at all? You can try to find some clues through pre-release singles "Dance the Night" by Dua Lipa, "Watati" by Karol G, and "Angel" by PinkPantheress.

Greta Van Fleet, Starcatcher

Release date: July 21

Fans who attended the three final shows of Greta Van Fleet's Dreams in Gold Tour this March already got a sneak peek of the band's upcoming third studio album, Starcatcher. Among their most popular hits, the quartet played five new songs — or half of Starcatcher — including singles "Meeting the Master," "Sacred the Thread," and "Farewell for Now."

In a statement about the album, drummer Danny Wagner said that they "wanted to tell these stories to build a universe," and that they wanted to "introduce characters and motifs and these ideas that would come about here and there throughout our careers." Bassist Sam Kiszka adds: "When I imagine the world of Starcatcher, I think of the cosmos. It makes me ask a lot of questions, like 'Where did we come from?' or 'What are we doing here?' But it's also questions like, 'What is this consciousness that we have, and where did it come from?'"

Just a few days after release, Greta Van Fleet will embark on a world tour. Starting in Nashville, Tennessee on July 24, they will cross the U.S. and then head over to Europe and the UK in November.

Post Malone, AUSTIN

Release date: July 28

In a shirtless, casual Instagram Reel last May, hitmaker Post Malone announced his upcoming fourth studio album, AUSTIN, to be released on July 28. Titled after his birth name, the singer shared that "It's been some of the funnest music, some of the most challenging and rewarding music for me, at least" — a very different vibe from the more mellow, lofi sounds of 2022's Twelve Carat Toothache — and that the experience of playing the guitar on every song was "really fun."

Featuring 17 tracks (19 on the deluxe version), AUSTIN is preceded by the dreamy "Chemical" and the angsty "Mourning," and sees Malone pushing his boundaries in order to innovate on his well-established sound. The album will also be supported by a North American 24-date trek, the If Y'all Weren't Here, I'd Be Crying Tour, starting July 8 in Noblesville, Indiana and wrapping up on August 19 in San Bernardino, California.

Stevie Nicks: Complete Studio Albums & Rarities box set

Release date: July 28

To measure Stevie Nicks' contribution to music is an insurmountable task. The Fleetwood Mac singer and songwriter has composed dozens of the most influential, well-known rock classics of the past century ("Dreams," anyone?), also blooming on her own as a soloist since 1981, when she debuted with Bella Donna.

In the four decades since, seven more solo albums followed, along with a trove of rarities that rightfully deserve a moment in the spotlight. Enter: her upcoming vinyl box set, Stevie Nicks: Complete Studio Albums & Rarities. The 16xLP collection compiles all of her work so far, plus a new record with the aforementioned rarities, and is limited to 3,000 copies. It's also the first time that Trouble in Shangri-La, In Your Dreams, and Street Angel are released on vinyl. For those who can't secure the limited set, a version of Complete Studio Albums & Rarities with 10xCDs will be available digitally.

Joni Mitchell, At Newport

Release date: July 28

Last year's Newport Folk Festival in Rhode Island was one to remember. During one evening of the fest, a surprise guest graced the "Brandi Carlile and Friends" stage: it was none less than legendary folk star, Joni Mitchell. And what's more? It was her first live appearance since 2015, when she suffered a debilitating aneurysm.

During that time, the 79-year-old singer quietly held "Joni Jams" at her home in Los Angeles — inviting musicians that ranged from Elton John to Harry Styles to participate — with organizational support offered by Carlile. With Mitchell's special appearance at Newport, the coveted experience of a Joni Jam was available for thousands of fans.

This month, the release of At Newport eternalizes the headlining-making moment, bringing her talents to an even bigger audience. Among the classics in the tracklist are "Carey," "A Case of You," and "The Circle Game," proving that Mitchell is still as magical as when she stepped on the Newport Folk Festival stage for the first time, in 1969.

Jennifer Lopez, This Is Me… Now

Release date: TBD

In 2002, J.Lo was everywhere. Her relationship with actor Ben Affleck ensued heavy attention from the media, and her This Is Me… Then album — which featured hits like "Jenny from the Block" — was a commercial success, with over 300,000 first-week sales in the U.S.

How funny is it that, 20 years later, the singer and actress finds herself in a similar situation. After rekindling with Affleck in 2021, she announced the sequel to her 2002 release, This Is Me… Now, and stated in an interview with Vogue that the album represents a "culmination" of who she is.

A press release also describes This Is Me… Now as an "emotional, spiritual and psychological journey" across all that Lopez has been through in the past decades. Fans can also expect more details on the new-and-improved Bennifer, as many of the titles among its 13 tracks suggest, especially "Dear Ben Pt. II."

Although an official release date has not yet been revealed, on June 29, Lopez posted a cryptic image on social media with the caption "album delivery day" — suggesting that the highly anticipated This Is Me update may not be far away.

Everything We Know About Olivia Rodrigo's New Album 'Guts': Release Date, New Songs & More

Old Dominion Press Photo 2023
Old Dominion

Photo: Mason Allen

interview

Behind Old Dominion's No. 1 Hits: How Kenny Chesney, Food Poisoning & "Ballsy" Moves Created Their Funniest Memories

As Old Dominion's latest single "Memory Lane" continues climbing the charts, the country group's Matthew Ramsey and Trevor Rosen look back on the memorable moments behind hits like "Break Up With Him" and "One Man Band."

GRAMMYs/Jun 29, 2023 - 06:18 pm

Old Dominion never intended to be a band. Initially a friend group of aspiring songwriters in Nashville, they formed a collective in 2007 to showcase their individual songs. More than 15 years later, they've become one of country's biggest groups.

With seven No. 1s on Billboard's Country Airplay chart, Old Dominion have proven to have a knack for writing catchy songs. But they don't need stats to show their skill — whether it's the clever juxtapositions of "Written in the Sand" or the bittersweet metaphors of their most recent single "Memory Lane," their songwriting is as charming as it is thought-provoking. Match that with their earworm melodies, and it's almost hard to believe they never thought "this band thing" would take off.

"It took us a while to have confidence in what we were doing, and to make our priority when we sit down to write music [that] we're writing for us," frontman Matthew Ramsey says. "We knew what we were trying to achieve, but then our fans sort of showed us what we are — and that is, a joyous, very genuine thing. And that's what's grown."

The name of their 2023 tour embodies that sentiment: No Bad Vibes. That's also indicative of the energy Ramsey and bandmate Trevor Rosen brought when they sat down with GRAMMY.com, reflecting on their biggest songs with nothing but joy.

Just before Old Dominion released their latest project, the eight track EP Memory Lane — which Rosen teases "is part of a bigger project coming pretty soon" — the pair shared the hilarious and heartfelt memories behind the band's most beloved songs.

"Break Up with Him" (2015)

Rosen: "Break Up With Him" was our first No. 1, it brought us to the proverbial dance. A vivid memory of writing that song: We were playing at a Kohl's company picnic for like 500 bucks in the middle of, what was it, Ohio?

Ramsey: They had hired us to play a, like, lunchtime company picnic. [Laughs.]

Rosen: Most of the people there didn't know who we were or particularly care, but the memorable part of this day was, we were soundchecking, and just started noodling that groove to "Break Up With Him." We just thought it sounded cool, and I think I held my phone up and recorded a snippet of it. 

We were driving in the little Ford Econoline van  to get to the next gig that night, and it seemed like everyone was asleep. I was on the back bench not yet asleep, and I saw Matt's head pop up over the bench to see if I was awake. He was like, "I was thinking about that song we started writing today… I had this idea for a one-sided phone conversation." 

For the next hour, maybe, he just threw out [ideas] like, "Hey, girl, what's up?" And we're whispering because we don't want to wake anybody else in the van up, and we're just like, cracking each other up with these little one-liners. I think we had all the verses and the hook written by the time we got to the next town.

Ramsey: We were at the musicians union in Nashville kind of working that song out, playing it through, and I remember we called Shane [McAnally], and we're like, "You have to come hear this song." We played it for him and he was just like, "What is this?" 

At that point, we were very much active in the songwriting world. We were still getting cuts and having hits on the radio with other people, and pitching essentially everything we wrote. That was the first song that we were like, "Don't let anybody hear this. This one is ours."

Rosen: That helped define that sort of clever, sarcastic fun side of us that maybe we hadn't shown as much up to that point — we had shown more of the rock side, and the good songwriting side. I think we realized right away, "Oh, we can shock people into listening to us and show off that side of us." I think it helped define what we were as a band.

"Song for Another Time" (2016)

Ramsey: The moment that stands out for me is when  we first played it at a soundcheck as a band. It was written on the road, and we pitched it to Kenny [Chesney], and Kenny said, "This is great, but you should record it."

Rosen: It was [maybe] a polite way to turn the song down. [Laughs.]

Ramsey: That was the beginning of the level of care that he has for us, and the influence he has on us. He is invested in our career, and that was the first moment that he sort of showed that. 

We hadn't even thought of ["Song For Another Time"] in that light yet, because in our minds, we were done recording the album. So there was no sense in even considering it yet, because at that point, who knows what's gonna happen with our career. 

We were soundchecking to a big empty stadium and we thought, Well, if [Kenny] says we should record it, let's just try and play it and see what it feels like. And, you know, something about a giant PA system and a stadium — the light bulbs were going off. We came off the stage and back onto the bus after the soundcheck, and called our manager and said, "Hey, we need to fly home and record one more song." We flew home, we recorded that one song, and then we flew back out onto tour.

Rosen: The fact that we were able to squeeze that in was kind of crazy. I also remember, we were in Seattle when it went No. 1. We were in this little bar called The Hideout, Matthew and I and our tour manager at the time, Tommy Garris. They had this cool thing where if you order a drink you got a Polaroid picture with it. So we ordered a drink, and they took a Polaroid of us holding up the No. 1 sign.

"No Such Thing as a Broken Heart" (2017)

Ramsey: That song has become one our favorite moments in the set, just because it's such a different feel. And that was one of the first times where we felt comfortable showing our hearts a little bit, and not just trying to craft a plain ol' hit song. It kind of stemmed from our discussions after the Pulse shooting in Orlando.

That song is always going to be relevant. We're always going to have these opportunities to use that song for good. And I always say before we play it, that's the song that we bring to sing with you, not to you. Because I truly feel like there's power in those words.

We were playing in Virginia Beach, and there was again, unfortunately, another shooting that day, just miles down the road, some police officers were killed. So we went on stage that night, and it was kind of a heavy vibe. I spoke to the crowd and said, "This is what this is for. This is why we felt like writing the song, and so here we are. Together, let's try and create some sort of healing if we can."

When the song is over, we always sing that chorus again with the crowd as loud as possible, and it always is this magical moment — you can just feel everybody take a breath.

Rosen: On the lighter side, we played it on the ACM Awards one year. Before we went on, Matthew was joking around, and instead of [singing] "You can't keep the ground from shaking," he was like, [sings] "You can't keep Luke Bryan from shaking." Luke was the host, and he heard it, and he goes — what did he say?

Ramsey: He said, "You don't have a hair on your ass if you don't say that on the TV show." So we did.

After we walked off stage, he was backstage waiting on us, and he was like a kid that had just won the Little League World Series. 

"Written in the Sand" (2017)

Rosen: It's one of my favorite songs that we've put out. I remember the day we wrote it. You had written down "stars or the sand." It was like, "That's a really cool juxtaposition."  It was fun to sit there and try to come up with the metaphors and be our clever selves.

For some reason when we first recorded that, I wasn't thinking, "This is a single." And the first time we had a good mix of it pulled up in the studio, I remember the moment sitting on the couch and listening going, Wait a second, this is a giant hit song

Ramsey: I like where we are right now with that song. Because in the live element, we've taken it and expanded it quite a bit. Up until now, in this tour, I don't think we've really showcased our musicianship, and shown what a true band we are. We picked that song to start doing that with, so now there's an extended version, and we just kind of let Brad do his thing, show his capabilities on the guitar. There's a lot of really cool full-band moments in it.

This song kind of defined our relationship with our label, too. Because when we were making the first record, there was no label head — the person who was there when we got signed ended up getting fired. So we made our whole first album just kind of on our own. So when it came time to make the second album, we just operated like we did on the first one. We didn't tell anybody anything, we didn't send any songs. 

They sort of knew what we were doing, but that song was written sort of late in the game, and they started seeing the title pop up on the cut list, and they started asking us, "We haven't approved this song, what's going on?" We just kept going, "You'll hear it when it's done, it's great." We turned it in, and they were like, "Oh, wow, that is great." I think they gained a lot of trust in us. And now, they just leave us alone. [Laughs.]

"Hotel Key" (2018)

Ramsey: When we were on tour with [Kenny] this past summer, a lot of his crew, for the entire year, unbeknownst to us — people like to throw hotel keys up on the stage, and they collected all the hotel keys for the entire tour without telling us. Then on the last show, they handed them out to the crowd, and they were like, "When the second chorus starts, everybody throw 'em." So we hit the second chorus and it just starts raining hotel keys.

Lots of times people hold 'em up and I'll grab 'em. Sometimes I'll just shove them in my pocket or whatever, and there was one time I did that, and we finished the show, and we were walking off stage, and one of our crew members comes running up to me. He was like, "Hey, that person you took their hotel key, they accidentally handed you their driver's license." I looked in my pocket, and sure enough, I had this driver's license.

I [also] remember a funny story about the video. The director got food poisoning during filming. The poor guy was, between takes, going around the side of the bus and like, losing it, and then coming back and finishing. After we wrapped up the shooting of the video — which was probably like, 2:30 in the morning — he had to go to the ER to get fluid because he was throwing up the entire time. 

Rosen: That's committing to the bit.

"Make It Sweet" (2018)

Ramsey: This was, quite frankly, born out of us being unprepared. We had booked studio time, but we hadn't talked about what we wanted to record, we hadn't shared songs with each other. We had no clue what direction we wanted to go for that third album — we always have ideas, but to go into the studio with no song is pretty ballsy.

Rosen: When you book a studio, usually, it's expensive, so you go in with songs and you know what you're going to do. We booked the studio with no plan. So it's a little bit more pressure, because if you don't end up writing a good song that day, then you just wasted a lot of money. But we wrote ["Make It Sweet"] and recorded it all right there in the same day. 

Ramsey: I had some notes in my phone. You've seen you've seen the, like, T-shirts and bumper stickers and stuff that say, "Take the trip," or "Eat the cake," you know? It was that kind of idea that I had — and I did have "Life is short, make it sweet" written down in that [note].

We were sort of playing, and I remember, off the top of my head, just saying, "I know it's a drag, I know it's a grind" — I was just sort of going. And I looked over at Brad, and Brad goes, "Keep going! Yes, whatever you're doing, do it more!" 

Rosen: The other memorable thing about that song was filming the video. We filmed it in Malibu and had an expensive location on this hillside overlooking the ocean. It was supposed to be this beautiful view, but this morning [there] was just a ton of fog — I mean, you couldn't see two feet in front of your face. At one point, you could tell everyone was starting to get a little uptight. It seemed like [it] might be a total bust.

After a couple hours, it finally started to settle, and it settled a little bit below the hill, and it was like we were in the clouds. It turned out to be something you could never do on purpose. It was just one of the most memorable days and most beautiful shots.

Ramsey: We still have [the guitar I throw in the video], and amazingly it was not broken. They went down the hill and got it, and it was basically in tune still!

It was a free guitar that they had sent us for the video, so we were like, "Okay, let's just toss it." We've used it since then — we were like, "Wow, that thing's tough!"

"One Man Band" (2019)

Ramsey: That's a career song for us. We just never saw that song [getting] as big as it got. Before it was a single, we played it in Chicago — it was our first arena show. We decided to play that song, and it was such a huge response. You play new songs all the time, and you get a good enough response, usually. But we played that song, and it was very obvious that that needed to be the next single.

Rosen: They were captive, first of all — it was like, you're playing a ballad, and they're all just hanging on every word. And then when you hit the end of the chorus, everyone cheers. And it's like, that just doesn't happen usually. 

Ramsey: The video of that one was never supposed to be the video. It was just our videographer, Mason Allen, was filming rehearsal that day. We were just practicing, and he caught a bunch of footage of it, and we put it up because we needed something out there while we figured out what the video was going to be. But the views were just going through the roof, and we were like, "Why would we mess with that? It seems to be doing just fine!" And it ends up getting nominated for Video Of The Year [at the 2020 Academy of Country Music Awards], when it was just rehearsal.

Rosen: We won the [ACM] award that year for Song Of The Year. That was a big award for us, because we started out as songwriters first.

Ramsey: [When we played] Red Rocks [Amphitheatre in Colorado], ["I'll Be" singer] Edwin McCain was there. He was texting me videos a couple days after, and he was like, "What an insane song, and what an insane thing." He's got one of the biggest songs ever, and he's like, in awe of that song. He was even going like, "Man, f— you guys for writing that song." [Laughs.]

"Memory Lane" (2023)

Ramsey: The thing I'm loving right now is the live performance of that song. It's a similar thing to "One Man Band" in that, from the moment it was out and we added it to the set, we start it and as soon as the first line hits, it's the biggest, like, wall of sound of people singing that first line.

I remember the first time it happened, I was like Oh, damn, we got something here. This does not happen. It was way early in the life of that song for that to be happening, so I started to get real confident in the fact that we had a really great song.

Rosen: That song reminded me to follow what we like the best. We have a lot of other songs that we've recorded that I felt like were hits, and there were a couple that I thought maybe were safer choices, but I knew "Memory Lane" was the first one I wanted to listen to when I got in the car. And you don't always pick that one as the single, so I was glad that we went with that one. If we love it, we've been right — that's usually served us well, that our fans and people in general like it.

"I Should Have Married You" (2023)

Ramsey: We're just so lucky, because people like what we do. It's a really fun time in our careers where we're like, Whatever, let's play the new one, you know people are gonna like it!

A couple of years ago, we were in Canada on a day off, and I just started making this little beat, and recorded that piano progression, and then I had it saved forever. I was constantly listening to it and trying to come up with some sort of idea for it, and I couldn't ever land on anything. 

I brought it up in the studio, and everybody loves the feel of it. We started going through the title, and I had this idea: sort of a mad song, that was more like, "You would have made me look like an idiot, I would have married you." And that didn't really feel right until somebody said, "What if it was I should have married you?' and everybody's like, 'Oh, what is that?'"

"Some Horses" (2023)

Ramsey: That one's the only song that we've ever recorded that we didn't write. We weren't searching for songs, it just presented itself at the right time and we felt the need to record it. 

Shane and Matt Jenkins are both writers on that song, and those guys were part of our group before any of us had anything. We were all friends, we were all broke, we were all trying to figure out how to do this songwriting thing, and we played just countless writer's rounds, trading songs with each other. And that song, over a decade ago, was one that they would play a lot, and we just loved from the first time we heard it.

Trevor and I were talking about the old days and songs that we loved [when] we were on the bus, and we texted Matt Jenkins, "Do you have the demo for 'Some Horses'?" We weren't even thinking about recording it, we just wanted to be fans of it again.

The way they wrote it, it was in the third person and it was about a woman — "she races, she runs." And then one morning, I was at home before I went to the studio, and I picked up my guitar and started playing it. But I changed it all to first person, and just identified with it very deeply. 

Shane was in the studio that day, and I was like, "Hey, let me just run something by you guys" — I hadn't talked to Shane about it or anything. I started playing it, and he was, in his very Shane way, was like, "What are you doing right now? Stop it!" He wasn't expecting it, and it's an emotional thing. And I think he identified with it, too, in the way that I had changed the words.

It's an outside song, but we're so close to those guys, and they're so ingrained in the story of this band, that it doesn't really feel like an outside song. Those are our dear, dear friends, and they've been part of this journey the entire time. The creation of this band, and the sound that we create, and the songs that we put out, their fingerprints are all over it. So this was just a different way that their fingerprints are on it.

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