Sometimes an artistic career can take you so far, you end up back where you started – and for Stone Country Records singer-songwriter Annie Bosko, that’s just fine.
With a voice that beams like a ray of California sunshine, Bosko’s country music journey has seen her travel the world, evolving and exploring with the respect of fans and heroes alike. But after years of hard knocks and creative shapeshifting, Bosko is now coming home. Home to the record deal of her dreams. Home to simple country songs told from the heart, equal parts healing and hope. She’s come home to a sound and approach anchored deep in the organic twang of the ‘90s golden era – a sound inspiring several chart toppers today and to hear her tell it, not a moment too soon.
“When I'm listening to country right now, there’s a need for more music that sounds country,” she says. “I’ve gone through the chasing trends phase. I’ve gone through trying to be cool, where it’s so easy to forget being a young girl hearing Shania Twain or George Strait for the first time. But now I’m making music for that girl. It feels like real country music – the kind that inspired me to come to Nashville. That’s where my heart’s at now.”
Call it a full circle breakthrough for a celebrated stylist who was always just on the cusp – and always punching above her weight. A Californian farmer’s daughter with a work ethic to match, Bosko’s first musical love was legendary crooners like Patsy Cline, and for her own personal style, she added traits like Twain’s empowering energy, Strait’s rugged confidence, Dwight Yoakam’s neo-traditional, western rock edge and the melodic genius of The Beatles.
As a teen, she went from sneaking into karaoke bars to singing on the soundtrack of Disney’s The Little Mermaid 2, and by the mid-2000s had made her way to Music City. Intent on writing her own ticket (and songs), she adapted as best she could for the “bro-country” era – but even then, her biggest success let her traditional roots show. By 2015, a foot-stomping anthem to sweetheart rebellion called “Crooked Halo” became a hit on both SiriusXM and CMT, and with mandolins and banjos featured front and center, it has now amassed more than 3 million streams.
Bosko went on to write songs recorded by Willie Nelson and Jessica Simpson, tour alongside Tim McGraw, Dierks Bentley and Blake Shelton, sell out the famed Troubadour and perform on the Grand Ole Opry and at Ryman Auditorium – the fabled Mother Church of Country Music. Her smooth, supple voice made her an in-demand studio musician, recording backing vocals for icons like Adele, Andrea Bocelli and Darius Rucker. And through it all, she was lauded by tastemakers like Rolling Stone Country as an Artist to Watch.
Still, she felt the bumps and bruises of an independent artist’s life, and even moved home a few times – only to be pulled back by icons like Vince Gill, Dwight Yoakam and Raul Malo, who graciously appeared on a series of grittier tracks coming out of a much-needed pandemic re-centering.
That chapter was another experiment, Bosko explains, but the validation of her heroes taught a priceless lesson – namely, to trust her instincts. So, she’s now using those instincts to embrace her true nature. Signed to Stone Country Records and working with producers Derek George and Mickey Jack Cones, a new batch of music pairs unapologetic twang, clever wordplay and deep compassion with her longstanding downhome-diva vocal. Bosko found a way to stop overthinking, and just do what feels right.
“The thing that excites me about this new music is I feel rejuvenated,” she beams. “It’s the way I felt about country music that urged me to drive to Nashville at 19 years old, and with that time comes
wisdom and a better understanding of who you are. I’m done being afraid to show my country roots. And I’m doing it with a modern twist.”
With a “fearless” pure-country sound and edge-of-your-seat songwriting, Bosko captures the full range of this American art form at its best – working with co-writers like Jeffrey Steele, Bridgette Tatum, Danny Myrick and more to uplift, inspire or just sing along with women everywhere.
Tracks like the grooving “Neon Baby” capture the sensual side of mature femininity, as Bosko flexes her “neo-traditional” soul for a passionate, steel-laced slow burner. “I think we have enough male-bashing songs out there,” she says with a laugh. “This is the antithesis to that.”
Others like “Boots On” re-ignite the line-dancing energy and all-out fun of the ‘90s, offering a wild ride of guitar riffs, soaring melodies and let-your-hair-down lyrics, dedicated to women who truly do it all (with their boots on).
Meanwhile, fiddle rockers like “Honky Tonk Highway” tribute the women bold enough to chase their dreams – wherever they lead – and the tongue-in-cheek “He Gone” continues country’s long history of fun (but undeniably intelligent) wordplay. “Sass is definitely a part of who I am, and it’s always been in country music, too,” Bosko says. “That's always been the beauty of it – country music can be about beer drinking and having fun, or it can make you cry.”
That truth is on full display in “Dandelions” – a powerful-yet-tender ballad dedicated to the families of the tragic shooting at Nashville’s Covenant School. Pairing heartbroken lyrics with the delicate warmth of Bosko’s voice, the track was written on March 27, 2023 – lost in grief and capturing the reverberating shock of that day’s unfathomable loss … while still holding on to faith. Embraced by the families themselves, all proceeds from “Dandelions” are being donated for their benefit through ACM Lifting Lives. But the song’s impact goes beyond this one community.
“Music heals people unlike anything else,” Bosko explains. “It also brings people together in a way that I don't think anything else really can. … Unfortunately, a lot of people have had to deal with loss, so we just wanted to write a song that gave people a place to grieve, but also have hope.”
That hope can also be found in “Sometimes I Forget,” as the tried-and-true artist delivers a “much needed” message of gratitude. With spirit-lifting lyrics and a sonic swell of warm country rock, it’s an acknowledgment of the little things we take for granted-- those small blessings that make us “us.” For Bosko, finally being able to see those little things has let her become the country artist she was always meant to be.
“I don't think I’ve been able to capture it all this well before,” she admits. “There’s a beauty of getting to a place where you stop trying to please people or chase what you think is cool, and just do what’s in your heart.
“It’s about creating what you feel the world needs right now, and for me, I miss those songs that made me move to Nashville. … And I know I'm not the only one.”