Kelsea Ballerini, Noah Kahan Reveal Why 'Cowboys Cry Too'

By Kelly Fisher

June 28, 2024

Photo: Getty Images

Kelsea Ballerini debuted her newest ballad on Thursday morning (June 27), a duet featuring Stick Season singer Noah Kahan. “Cowboys Cry Too” serves as the first impression of Ballerini’s next era of music since she released Subject To Change and Rolling Up The Welcome Mat just a few months apart. Ballerini said earlier this week she’s “so proud and excited to release this first song in a new chapter of music.”

The collaboration arrives after Ballerini shared a few hints on her social media pages throughout the week (and one day after it premiered early on iHeartCountry stations). She shared a snippet of the song on TikTok on Tuesday (June 25), simply using two emojis as the caption — a pair of eyes and a cowboy — with the hashtag “new music.” One day earlier, she shared videos on her Instagram story that depicted her delivering a pair of cowboy boots with a handwritten note to Kahan. He and Ballerini released their duet together about a month after taking the stage to perform a mashup of their songs at the 59th ACM Awards in Frisco, Texas. Ballerini began the performance with “Mountain With A View,” and Kahan jumped in with “Stick Season.” Ballerini recently caught up with iHeartRadio's Wayne D about how she met Kahan and how the duet came to life when she appeared on iHeartCountry House Party.

Ballerini teased at least one collaboration on the horizon during an intimate rooftop performance earlier this month in Downtown Nashville, Tennessee. When asked during a brief Q&A about any dream collaborations, Ballerini responded: “Dream collab? You’ll see real soon.”

During that show, Ballerini looked ahead to her next chapter while nodding to her debut single, “Love Me Like You Mean it,” and her journey in between. Ballerini marked the 10-year anniversary of that single by releasing a reimagined version, which she performed at the 2024 CMT Music Awards. I just wanna say thank you so much for walking through it all with me when it wasn’t so glittery and when it was a bit chaotic. Thank you for loving this record [Rolling Up The Welcome Mat] like you did, and have, and continue to, and I want you to know that I have never, ever been so ‘mother’ over an album as I am this next one because I wanna make you proud on the way you’ve loved Welcome Mat.”

After writing a vulnerable EP that shared her story of heartache and healing after divorce, Ballerini’s next album will offer insight into the updates in the singer-songwriter’s life. Ballerini, who has been dating Outer Banks actor Chase Stokes, previously said in an interview with Flaunt Magazine that her new music will hopefully share a perspective of “what it feels like to be falling in love and feeling a new level of safety.” Ballerini’s mother, Carla, said as she conducted the Q&A on the Nashville rooftop that there are “some incredible love songs,” on her daughter’s upcoming, “full-circle” project.

So far, Ballerini has delivered the debut live performance of an unreleased, romantic ballad. She took the stage at the historic Grand Ole Opry in November and introduced two surprise guests, songwriters Karen Fairchild and Hillary Lindsey, to perform “To The Men That Love Women After Heartbreak.”

“The reality is, I’ve been singing about a chapter of my life that is far past me now,” Ballerini said at that time, referring to Welcome Mat. “And I’m writing about the chapter of life that I’m in, and it looks very different, and I kind of wanted to share a bit of it now. I’m very gently and slowly starting to make the next record. I really want to take the time to handle it with care.”

Ballerini said earlier this month of her new album, which she confirmed is expected to arrive sometime this year: “I’ve never handled anything with so much care in my life.”

Kelsea BalleriniNoah Kahan
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