Luke Laird, Lori McKenna, And Barry Dean Release The Songwriter Tapes Vol. 2

Article Contributed by IVPR | Published on Monday, March 20, 2023

Hot on the heels of their successful rollout of The Songwriter Tapes Vol. 1, dynamic trio Luke Laird, Lori McKenna, and Barry Dean are already onto the next installment. Today, the trio released Vol. 2, anchored by McKenna’s haunting version of “Girl Crush” which was made famous by Little Big Town in 2014. Dean’s John Pardi contribution, “Heartache Medicine,” and Laird’s 2007 Carrie Underwood cut “So Small” round out the familiar tunes while Laird’s “The Good Parts” sheds a little light on a gem from his unreleased catalog. Choosing the four songs for each of the songwriters to sing was a collaborative process. And while it may have been difficult to narrow it down to 12 tracks after more than 65 collective years in country music, the result is a timeless anthology of career-defining songs from as far back as 2004 and as recent as 2020.

Fans can check out The Songwriter Tapes Vol. 2 right here, and for those who have yet to explore Vol. 1, it can be streamed or purchased here. Stay tuned for Vol. 3, and for more information, please visit

The Songwriter Tapes Vol. 2 In The News:

Paste Magazine named “Girl Crush” in their Best New Songs feature, happy to hear the song “back in McKenna’s capable hands.”

American Songwriter shared “Girl Crush” ahead of the release of Vol. 2, praising the combination of stripped-down acoustic guitar and McKenna’s “rugged voice.”

The Songwriter Tapes Vol. 2 Tracklist:

“Girl Crush” performed by Lori McKenna (Recorded by Little Big Town in 2014)

(Lori McKenna, Hillary Lindsey, Liz Rose)

“Heartache Medication” performed by Barry Dean (Recorded by Jon Pardi in 2019)

(Barry Dean, Jon Pardi, Natalie Hemby)

“So Small” performed by Luke Laird (Recorded by Carrie Underwood in 2007)

(Luke Laird, Carrie Underwood, Hillary Lindsey)

“The Good Parts” Luke Laird  

(Luke Laird, Rodney Clawson, Chris Tompkins)

More About Laird, McKenna, and Dean: Laird, who moved to Nashville more than 25 years ago, has racked up the kind of numbers that are hard to comprehend: 52 radio singles, 24 No. 1 hits, and more than 125 cuts to his name. He was the ACM’s songwriter of the year in 2015, and BMI’s songwriter of the year in 2012. His first cut by a country artist was Lee Ann Womack’s “Painless,” from her 2005 album, not too long after he’d graduated from college.

McKenna’s story started almost 20 years ago when Faith Hill discovered her music and decided to put a couple of the singer-songwriter’s songs on her 2005 Fireflies album. McKenna has since become the go-to songwriter, known for her penchant for honest and epic themes. She won two consecutive Grammys—for “Girl Crush” and “Humble and Kind”—and she made history in 2016 when she was crowned the first female songwriter of the year at the Academy of Country Music Awards.

Dean has been hard at work in Nashville after pivoting from his official 9-to-5 day job to songwriting full-time in his mid-30s. Almost instantly, he had his name in parentheses next to Martina McBride’s on “God’s Will” and Reba McEntire’s on “Moving Oleta.” Now, after 20 years, he has over 100 cuts from artists like Alison Krauss, Maren Morris, Thomas Rhett, Meatloaf, and Eric Church. Dean’s No. 1 songs include Jon Pardi’s “Heartache Medication”, Michael Ray’s “Think A Little Less” and Little Big Town’s Grammy-winning “Pontoon.” He also received a BMI Pop award for Ingrid Michaelson’s “Girls Chase Boys.”