When you sit down to assemble a list of candidates for Song of the Year, you almost start to tremble in the face of so much creativity, inspiration, and insight, and grow humbled by how fortunate we are to live in such a bountiful time for music. Candidates for Song of the Year can’t just be songs we enjoy, they are songs that make you change the way you see the world, or change the way you see yourself.
There’s nothing worse than inadvertently coming within ear shot of one of those songs—the idiotic country music laundry list / checklist ditty, or even worse when the performer is inclined to get all hip-hop on your ass and start rapping the lyrics over a drum machine beat. If you find yourself bent over and fighting back a gag reflex from Class A country checklist exposure, these songs will help cure what ails you.
I’m not sure if how light the selection is for potential Song of the Year candidates at the halfway marker says how anemic 2013 has been so far for top flight songs, or how fortunate we were in 2012 to have such a strong field. I could only find five true candidates. But despite the lack of quantity, quality is certainly represented in these five songs, and 2013 promises to come on strong…
Adam Hood, best country songs 2013, Brian Keane, Caitlin Rose, Drinkin', Holly Williams, I Was Cruel, I'll Sing About Mine, Josh Abbott Band, Leave Everything Behind, Life Ain't Fair and the World Is Mean, Sturgill Simpson, The Dinosaur Truckers
Every day hundreds of people wake up, put their pants on, and head to Music Row in Nashville to try to find “the next one.” They cull through reams of new material being produced by big songwriting operations, when right under their noses are battle tested songs with proven appeal waiting to be cherry picked from the independent and underground music world. Here are just a few.
Adam Hood, Alabama Pines, Brian Keane, Darius Rucker, Dierks Bentley, Elanor Whitmore, Every Girl, Good Lord Lorrie, Hellbound Glory, I'll Sing About Mine, Jason Isbell, Josh Abbott Band, Kacey Musgraves, Old Crown Medicine Show, Shooter Jennings, The Long Road Ahead, Tom Morello, Turnpike Troubadours
Bare midriffs, buxom gyrations, and badass cars are no match for the curves and character of a real country face served cold. Neither is the caricaturish, shallow, and materialistic portrayal of rural life in pop country compared to the sense of family and community, and the fulfillment of hard work that accompanies true country living. Now that is something to be envious of.