First, a warning: these are not necessarily the best country songs of the year. This is a list of the songs and performances I could not get out of my head. Like ’em or not, I most often caught myself humming along with them on the radio, then downloading a copy for the iPod, and wailing at the top of my lungs in the car.
10. “Runnin’ Outta Moonlight” – Randy Houser/“Don’t Ya” – Brett Eldredge
Interchangeable, but catchy. I don’t terribly love them, but I hear them once and I’m singing them all day long.
9. “We Were Us” – Keith Urban (feat. Miranda Lambert)
It reminds me of the Wes Mack song. The entire Keith Urban album, while it veers away from country more than any previous release, has a more innovative, unique sound. “Little Bit of Everything” was fun.
8. “That’s My Kind of Night” – Luke Bryan
Probably the biggest single of the year on country radio. If you listen to country, this was everywhere. It may be the worst song Zac Brown has ever heard, but it’s unrelentingly catchy. I resisted for as long as I could.
7. “Red” (Live at the 2013 CMA Awards) – Taylor Swift
6. “If I Didn’t Have You” – Thompson Square
5. “Slow Me Down” – Sara Evans
I wasn’t that hot for it the first time I heard it (are those strings in the intro? Probably not) but it grew on me. It’s still not yet a big radio hit but I’ve heard it so much in my car, I’m ready for the next single.
4. “Wasting All These Tears” – Cassadee Pope
Downloaded it on a whim one day and fell in love. I can’t distinguish between her and the other girl that won The Voice who also has a new album out, but I know this song is great.
3. “Love Will” – Jennifer McCarter
Remember the McCarters? From the late 80’s? Jennifer visited WSM-AM last December for an interview, previewed this song and I downloaded it immediately. It fell off the radar among the 3000 or so songs on my iPod so when it popped up again a while later I fell in love all over again. Simple, but gorgeous.
2. “Sunny and 75” – Joe Nichols
Fitting that it hits #1 in December. It’s been so cold and snowy lately, you HAVE TO sing along with it now.
1. “Go Rest High On That Mountain” (Live at George Jones’ funeral service) – Vince Gill & Patty Loveless
This is what country music is all about. Back in May I found this performance both devastating and unforgettable.
“Done.” – The Band Perry
“Hopeless Rose” – Sweethearts of the Rodeo
“Goodbye In Her Eyes” – Zac Brown Band
“It Goes Like This” – Thomas Rhett
“Did It For the Girl” – Greg Bates
“Easy” – Sheryl Crow
“Roar” – Katy Perry
“Heart Attack” – Demi Lovato
“Your Body (Oxford Hustlers Radio Mix)” – Christina Aguilera
“Treasure” – Bruno Mars
(This was originally posted to my previous site Critically Country on December 21, 2013)