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Davidson dishes on healing and song-craft.

August 12, 2018 | It's easy to dismiss pop-country as frivolous straightaway. But that does a disservice to both the art and the artist. What Lauren Davidson does is a smooth-as-silk combination of Lady Antebellum and Kelsea Ballerini, gently mingling in her own powerhouse gusto. Her new single "Pouring Rain" aims to "wash away the aching pain," as she so astutely urges the listener on the chorus. Her voice is rippled with a flood of wisdom, ripened in ways only heartache can evoke, and while her past might haunt her from time to time, she has learned to pick up the pieces and move on with grace.

During her recent promo tour in New York City, she stopped by the Popdust office to perform and chat with esteemed host Brent Butler. Davidson discusses songwriting, the healing power of music, why she pursued country in the first place and much more.

Lauren Davidson | Popdust Presents

"Pouring Rain," which utilizes torrential sequencing of drums and guitar to mirror the emotional flood of heartbreak, sees Davidson embodying the spirit of classic country (think: Shania Twain, Faith Hill, Clint Black). Through building a song from the inside out, she paints a vivid and honest portrayal of her very own journey, from darkness into the light. Davidson co-wrote the sweeping, pummeling mid-tempo with her father Danny Davidson, who has opened for the likes of Jerry Seinfeld and Paul Reiser, and the song was co-produced by Grammy winner Bart Migal (Bjork) and long-time Davidson collaborator and musician Cristian Camilo Castro.

Watch "Pouring Rain" | Live & Acoustic

"Pouring Rain" and 2017's blistered rock-bent anthem "I'll Drink to That" showcase a continued stylistic evolution. While Davidson's 2016 debut EP, Hear Me, shows the markings of a promising star, the new cuts are especially thrilling. "I had been spending a lot of time between shows writing but was waiting for a release until something felt right. My fans have really responded to ['Pouring Rain'] each time I played it live at a show," she explains in press materials.

"Sometimes, I'm hesitant to play a ballad but some of my favorite songs are ballads. They're timeless. Like Elton John said, it's easy to write a sad song. This song just sort of poured out ⎯⎯ no pun intended ⎯⎯ well, pun intended."

Watch "I'll Drink to That" | Live & Acoustic

A native to the Greater New York City Area, the allure of performance took hold rather early. She was 10 when she began to perform on a strictly professional level, and that was just the beginning. Since the release of a series of singles back in 2015, the stars have started to shift and align in her favor. She has opened and shared stages with such country titans as Old Dominion, Justin Moore, Maddie & Tae, and many others. She is currently eyeing a handful of upcoming tour dates through the fading summer months. More info here.

Follow Lauren Davidson on Twitter | Facebook | Instagram

Jason Scott is a freelance music journalist with bylines in B-Sides & Badlands, Billboard, PopCrush, Ladygunn, Greatist, AXS, Uproxx, Paste and many others. Follow him on Twitter.

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Music Monday | Country Music Takeover

A new playlist every Monday to get your through your post-weekend commute.

Happy Music Monday!

Get work week ready this with this week's playlist.

Spotify users can listen to the full playlist here.



A record breaking artist, Kelsea has been named the next queen of country by Billboard magazine. Think Carrie Underwood meets Kelly Pickler with an edge and killer songwriting chops. Follow her on Instagram | Twitter | Facebook.

Light It Up - Luke Bryan

Already having claimed his place as one of the kings of country. Luke Bryan updates his sound in this recent single while staying true to traditional country. I find that this track appeals to the modern aesthetic but gives you everything a country lover hopes for in a song. Follow him on Instagram | Twitter | Facebook.

Light It Up- Thomas Rhett

This song captures all of the memories you hold onto when you're falling for someone. Undeniably relatable to anyone who has ever been infatuated, it's an easy listen and the fun beat makes you want to blast it with the windows down- and who doesn't want to be called unforgettable by a handsome man? Follow Thomas Rhett on Instagram | Twitter | Facebook.

Body Like A Back Road - Sam Hunt

Sam Hunt's recent single "Body Like A Backroad" was the song of my summer and it's carried over into the fall. The song itself has a bounce that feels like the mischief and playfulness of a fresh relationship or summer fling. In the song, Sam compares his lover's body to a backroad which creates a fun surprise and secluded element to it. Follow Sam Hunt on Instagram | Twitter | Facebook.

The Long Way- Brett Eldredge

Something I love about country music is how vivid the stories told are. Brett Eldredge's "The Long Way" is no exception. Unlike Sam's song, this one perfectly captures the time in a relationship when you're not only letting your lover see your full present self but also your past self. Follow Brett on Instagram | Twitter | Facebook.

For Her- Chris Lane

Chris is another amazing example of someone who is perfectly marrying traditional country with the modern influence of electronic music. Though the track sounds mainly live, the percussion alludes to what the modern ear is used to. On top of that Chris' sweet voice and sweet lyrics to match entrance you for the full four minutes. Follow Chris Lane on Instagram | Twitter | Facebook.

Stay Downtown- Cole Swindell

This is the perfect song to play at "that time of the night" which makes perfect sense because that's essentially what it's about. The song perfectly paints the picture of a night out at the local bar. It is at the same time a longing cautionary tale about letting go of a lover who has different priorities than you. Follow Cole Swindell on Instagram | Twitter | Facebook.


Hooked- Dylan Scott

If you've ever played a game of eye flirting on a night out, you know exactly how the song Hooked feels. The song goes even further and questions if that atmosphere driven infatuation can last long term. I'm hooked on this song with the stunning guitar solo and uplifting beat. Follow Dylan Scott on Instagram | Twitter | Facebook.

Stupid- Levi Hummon

The first thing I noticed in this song is how incredible Levi's voice is. I think he's my new talent crush. The song "Stupid" throws caution to the wind which I feel is something we're seeing way more often with our generation. As a whole, we seem to crave moments and "Stupid" is the sound of coaxing your lover to forget about complications and to enjoy the present. I'm here for it. Follow Levi Hummon on Instagram | Twitter | Facebook.

What Ifs- Kane Brown Feat. Lauren Alaina

What Ifs is your quintessential country duet but creates a unique balance of tension and cathartic outbursts. Lauren Alaina known as the runner up on season ten of American Idol provides sweet but powerful vocals to dance with Kane Brown's rich voice. Follow Kane on Instagram | Twitter | Facebook. Follow Lauren Alaina on Instagram | Twitter | Facebook.

This Night Back - Canaan Smith

This is the song on the playlist I'd most likely want to sing at the top of my lungs with a bunch of strangers in my favorite dive bars. The song is pure good times urging listeners that you'll never get "This Night Back," so live it up to it's fullest. I'm behind that. Brb adding to my karaoke list. Follow Canaan Smith on Instagram | Twitter | Facebook.

All On Me- Devin Dawson

All On Me is a sweet love song. It's everything every girl wants to hear. Devin tells his love to "put it all on [him]." The lyrics and melody are soothing and supportive. Follow Devin Dawson on Instagram | Twitter | Facebook.

Without You- Mary Sarah

Mary Sarah is giving me Amy Winehouse meets Dolly Parton. She has some serious retro vibes and this song specifically is a testament to that. The song rocks and sways much like a 50's country song though her youthful voice and the excellent production contrasts that. Follow Mary Sarah on Instagram | Twitter | Facebook.

All I Ever Do- Bowen

All I Ever Do is the realization that you're ready to make sacrifices to be with the one you love. It's a celebration of the average being more than average from your point of view. The killer vocals combined with a smart blend between live and electronic instruments creates a dance-worthy track that you'll definitely want to blast with your loved one. Follow Bowen on Instagram | Facebook.

Ridin' to the Beat - David Fanning

Ridin' To The Beat makes me think of late summer days back home on the river eating seafood and dancing with friends. The guitar riff and percussion give you a reggae feel but the song stays true to country with David's rich voice and relatable lyrics. Follow David Fanning on Instagram | Twitter | Facebook.

Nothin Like Us- Josh Gracin

Nothin Like Us instantly transported me from a crowded coffee shop in NYC to the South, barefoot at a BBQ. The song sounds like a carefree day of BBQ-ing and dips in the pool. Follow Josh Gracin on Instagram | Twitter | Facebook.


Anie Delgado is a contributor to Popdust and is an actress and musician based in NYC. Follow her on Instagram and Twitter @anie_delgado and on Facebook and check out her music on Spotify.


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WATCH | Kelsea Ballerini tells the tale of beauty and tragedy in "Legends" video

MUSIC VIDEO | The country starlet gives her song a stunning and twisted storyline.

The country darling unravels a story of unconditional love, warped by tragedy in the end.

On the surface, Kelsea Ballerini's new single "Legends" is a glossy anthem, akin to Taylor Swift's "Long Live." But the accompanying visual offers a more beautiful and tragic story. Two people meet. They fall in love. They have a kid. Then, tragedy strikes during a birthday party--when one of them goes to get ice, of all things--and their lives are never the same again. And that damn finger wave will make you cry, guaranteed. That's the thing isn't it; our lives can end randomly, and there is never any preparing for it.

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"We didn't do it for the fame or the glory," Ballerini coos over dazzling production, sweeping piano, guitar and a healthy dose of drums. The clip not only showcases the pivotal milestones (like getting pregnant, giving birth and high school graduation) but the more intimate ones: from riding through the carwash together, Christmas pageants and barbecues in the backyard. "Loving you, baby, it was heaven. What everyone wondered, we'd never question," she sings on the hook. "Close our eyes and took on the world together. Do you remember?"

Watch the clip below--and try not to cry:

"I wrote it from the perspective of a breakup. Now, I'm in such a different place in my life that, to me at least, it's a love song about a love that you look back on that doesn't even necessarily have to end. I hope my fans hear it as a letter to them but also they hear their own love story in it, too," the singer told Rolling Stone Country about the song, co-written with such Nashville elite as Hillary Lindsey and Forest Glen Whitehead.

On her upcoming new album (street date yet undetermined), she teased to Billboard: "It's totally capturing the last two years of my life, which involved both a big breakup and a lot of pure growing up. Then I found the best guy in the whole world [her beau, Australian singer-songwriter Morgan Evans]. I feel like it's just going to tell the story in that order."

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Understandably, Swift (Ballerini's idol) has taken to offering up some life advice to the young upstart. "She's like my big sister,. She's walked this so gracefully, so she's the person that I go to when I'm like, 'Hey, this is what I'm struggling with right now. How do I navigate this?'' said Ballerini. "I've learned that I'm a better artist when I get time to just chill and be a human, so I think finding that time to carve out -- whether it's walking my dog in the park, or having friends over -- is the best way to counteract the craziness."

"Legends" is the first taste of Ballerini's forthcoming, yet-untitled, sophomore album, the follow-up to her debut, The First Time.

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Rising Star

Pop-Country Princess, Kelsea Ballerini drops her epic new single "Legends"

MUSIC | The pop-country princess twinkles like a star in the night sky with her new lead single.

"We had it made in the middle of the madness," Ballerini rallies on her new single.

Never question Kelsea Ballerini's epic potential. Anchoring her forthcoming, yet-untitled, sophomore album, "Legends" (out today) captures the essence and unbridle heroism of Taylor Swift's similarly-themed "Long Live" (off her 2010 album Speak Now). But Ballerini is writing her own story, make no mistake, with "blood, sweat and heartbeats," a rather unconventional lyric lineup. The young starlet co-wrote the song with two of country music's biggest names: Hillary Lindsey (most known for her work with Carrie Underwood and as part of the Love Junkies songwriting trio, with Liz Rose and Lori McKenna) and Forest Glen Whitehead (who previously co-wrote Ballerini's massive hits "Dibs" and "Peter Pan" and has also written songs for Brantley Gilbert, Dylan Scott and others). "We were golden, we were fire, we were magic," she sends up like a magical Disney-like prayer. "They all knew our names all over town. We had it made in the middle of the madness. We were neon in a gray cloud."

Black River Entertainment

Despite all the shameless (but well-earned) swagger, she makes note that she and her ride-or-die loyalists "didn't do it for the fame or the glory--but we went down in history." And she certainly has. Her debut full-length, aptly called The First Time, was packed with first times: all released singles went Top 5 at radio and three hit the top spot. "Love Me Like You Mean It" kicked off the impressive sequence of chart-toppers, followed by the aforementioned "Peter Pan" (a swirling, sensitive ode to a boy who can't seem to make up his mind") and "Dibs."

"We were legends, loving you baby. It was heaven. What everyone wondered, we'd never question," she later coos on the glossy, uplifting hook, which blusters with plenty of guitar and drums. "Close our eyes and took on the world together Do you remember? We were crazy, tragic and epic and so amazing. I'll always wear the crown that you gave me. We will always stay lost in forever, and they'll remember we were legends."

[rebelmouse-proxy-image https://media.rbl.ms/image?u=%2Fwp-content%2Fuploads%2F2015%2F04%2FKelsea-Ballerini-Holder.jpg&ho=http%3A%2F%2Fblog.countryhabit.com&s=545&h=0c635c4be3d27061cc3beed61b90ccf9ae671c980f01905fac32b11184a97028&size=980x&c=962907145 photo_credit="Country Habit" caption="" pin_description="" photo_credit_src="http://blog.countryhabit.com/15-things-you-need-to-know-about-kelsea-ballerini/" image-library="0" crop_info="%7B%22image%22%3A%20%22https%3A//media.rbl.ms/image%3Fu%3D%252Fwp-content%252Fuploads%252F2015%252F04%252FKelsea-Ballerini-Holder.jpg%26ho%3Dhttp%253A%252F%252Fblog.countryhabit.com%26s%3D545%26h%3D0c635c4be3d27061cc3beed61b90ccf9ae671c980f01905fac32b11184a97028%26size%3D980x%26c%3D962907145%22%7D" expand=1]Country Habit

Ballerini is expected to perform the song for the first time on a prime-time TV show on tonight's (June 7) CMT Awards. Heading into the night, the singer has two nominations, for Female Video of the Year (for "Peter Pan") and CMT Performance of the Year (for her collaborative medley with pop singer Meghan Trainor and R&B powerhouse Jill Scott at the 2016 CMT Artists of the Year showcase). Other major nominees include Carrie Underwood, Florida Georgia Line, Luke Bryan, RaeLynn, Miranda Lambert, Old Dominion, Luke Combs, Maren Morris and Jason Aldean, among many more. Full nominees list here.


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The Swift touchpoint is not particularly surprising. Ballerini has gone on record many times stating exactly how much the global pop phenomenon has influenced her own work, particularly the songwriting.. "Taylor was one of my earliest inspirations, one of the reasons I wanted to be a singer-songwriter. And I have pictures where I waited in line to meet her. Getting to sing with her on her [1989] tour in the arena where I grew up seeing her shows, and singing my song, which had just gone number one at the time--it was one of those moments where...I still don't even think I've really processed it," she told Elite Daily last fall.

She added, "Then after that, we became really good friends, and that was even more special."

Listen to "Legends" below:


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