2012 Saving Country Music Song of the Year Nominees
They’re songs that make you change the way you see the world, or change the way you see yourself. This year, I may put out a list of “singles” that would better represent the lighter side of the music. But the Song of the Year is reserved for those few compositions that have the ability to change lives and to change the world.
Some of the songs that find themselves on the outside looking in, but are still excellent and worth your ear include virtually any track on both Chris Knight’s Little Victories album and Corb Lund’s Cabin Fever. The problem with putting out an album where every song is great is trying to pick the best one. If it wasn’t for Tom Morello’s guitar solo, Shooter Jennings’ “The Long Road Ahead” would have made it, and the only reason why Shooter’s”Daddy’s Hands” didn’t is because of this year’s strength of the competition.
A couple of other oddball considerations that almost made it were T. Junior’s “Man in Gray” and Sara Watkins’ song of epic sadness, “When It Pleases You”.
Normally I’d gab a little bit about each song, but this year the songs are so strong and remarkably each has an excellent video. So except for a few quick notes, I think I will sit back and let the music speak for itself. Vote for your favorite(s) below, and comment feedback will be taken into consideration for the winner.
Tom VandenAvond Wreck of a Fine Man from Wreck of a Fine Man
About Hank Williams and James Hand. If you’re interested, you can read the story behind “Wreck of a Fine Man”.
McDougall The Travels of Fredrick Tolls (Part 2) from A Few Towns More
Justin Townes Earle Unfortunately, Anna from Nothing’s Gonna Change”¦
On my mid year list I included “It Won’t Be The Last Time” from Nothing’s Gonna Change too. The competition is so stiff, it didn’t seem fair to include two songs from the same artist. But if I had, it would have been from Justin Townes Earle.
Ray Wylie Hubbard New Years Eve at the Gates of Hell Grifter’s Hymnal
There were a few other songs from Grifter’s Hymnal that could have made the cut, but they didn’t call a record executive a “son of a bitch” or quote Martin Luther King.
Billy Don Burns – Stranger -from Nights When I’m Sober
A really powerful one.
Turnpike Troubadours Good Lord, Lorrie from Goodbye Normal Street
In my mid year list, I picked “Gone, Gone, Gone” as the standout with “Good Lord, Lorrie” as a runner up. Over time, “Good Lord, Lorrie” has proved to be a timeless song. It’s the “Me & Bobby McGee” of 2012. An excellent use of story.
Sturgill Simpson – Life Ain’t Fair & The World Is Mean
I’ve gone back and forth over the years if I should include songs not released on albums as candidates. This song is just too strong to leave off. I would be lying if I didn’t say this is one of the front runners. (read full review)
Eric Strickland Drinking Whiskey from Honky Tonk Till I Die
This song may even be better live.
Kacey Musgraves – Merry Go ‘Round
I admit this song is not perfect. The reason it made the list is because for a song with such a subversive message, it has been performing amazingly well on radio. It is touching a nerve with people from Americana to the mainstream. It is a song about awakening, and it may just awaken some folks to the fact that there’s a whole other world of music out there waiting for them. (read full review)
Olds Sleeper Bigsky/Flatland from New Year’s Poem
Last, but certainly not least.
December 5, 2012 @ 1:59 pm
I heard Sturgill Simpson ”“ Life Ain”™t Fair & The World Is Mean
on Sirius xm chanel outlaw country yesterday on my way home from work.. love that song..
December 5, 2012 @ 2:04 pm
Not sure how you consistently overlook Jud Block. His CD Barroom Gravity was phenomenal. The New Underground and Fort Worth Fadeaway should’ve been on this list. Guess he ain’t kissing the right ass.
December 5, 2012 @ 2:21 pm
I overlook many folks because in a glutted music world it is impossible for one man to know and be up to speed with all of the music that falls under the overall “country music” umbrella. That’s also why I put such an emphasis on comments and dialogue on this site, and I openly query my readers for help and suggestions.
Thanks for suggesting Jud Block. I’ve heard the name and some of his music, but need to explore him further.
December 5, 2012 @ 2:24 pm
I know it’s mainstream, and not necessarily country by today’s standards, but I was wondering what you thought of “The Sound of a Million Dreams” by David Nail. I was pleasantly surprised that something that sounded that good came out of modern Nashville. Of course, the charts wanted nothing to do with it, but I digress.
December 5, 2012 @ 2:38 pm
LOVELOVELOVE “Good Lord, Lorrie.”
I have probably played “Normal Street” more than any other album this year, and I usually repeat “Lorrie” at least a couple of times each time the album comes on. Great song done very very well.
December 5, 2012 @ 2:43 pm
Nice to see Billy Don Burns on your list. I can hear his pain on Stranger
December 5, 2012 @ 6:36 pm
“Is He The Writer” is another good one from Billy Don that could have made it.
December 6, 2012 @ 9:49 am
As a western invader, I had the privilege of infiltrating an intimate Mountain View affair where I think I heard every song Billy Don Burns ever wrote or heard of.
BDB loves what he does, that’s for sure.
i thought I’d heard the whole range from him, but when he got around to “Stranger” – it dropped me cold and made me weep. A brilliant song, thank for including it. .
December 6, 2012 @ 6:38 pm
Billy Don Burns has paid more dues in the biz than any single artist I have ever known. If anyone deserves acclaim for his self-representative country music it is him. “Stranger” tears your heart out and requires you to look deep into your own soul. BDB’s music is his life, and his life is his music. No more could be asked from an artist.
December 6, 2012 @ 11:41 am
My favor track is “Some were born to ride” Although it isn’t as gritty was those 2 songs
December 5, 2012 @ 2:47 pm
I cannot agree more with “Good Lord Lorrie”. That song (and the whole album) has been my favorite for this year. Solid country rock from a deserving group. They have the most potential for bringing good music and thoughtful lyrics to teenagers, etc. like myself.
Honorable mention to JTE, Vandenavond, and Sturgill Simpson. I really love their stuff, but I’ve just had a far more emotional connection with “Good Lord Lorrie”. That song is one of those rare ones which can evoke joy and wistfulness at the same time.
Chris Lewis "Louie"
December 5, 2012 @ 3:01 pm
Sturgill Simpson hands down! I absolutely love everything that guys sings and writes though. Turnpike is also a favorite.
Chris Lewis "Louie"
December 5, 2012 @ 3:16 pm
I would add these as well:
James Hand – Old Man Henry
Chris Knight – Any song off that album
Jason Eady ”“ AM Country Heaven
Sarah Gayle Meech ”“ Old White Boots
Marty Stuart – Picture From Life’s Other Side (best collaboration this year)
Shovels and Rope – Birmingham
December 5, 2012 @ 3:40 pm
There are numerous great songs on that Chris Knight album. The one that blows me away the most is Out of this Hole.
Old Man Henry – yep, great song.
December 5, 2012 @ 6:39 pm
“Pictures From Life’s Other Side” is awesome and not just because I’m on on Hank3’s nuts 😉 I seriously considered it, but officially it is a “cover” so I’d have to make an exception of the rules.
One of the music moments I will cherish forever is the time James Hand told me the story behind “Old Man Henry” will tears welling up in his eyes.
December 5, 2012 @ 7:07 pm
When Big G plays it on KOOK I just gotta sing along . . .
TX Music Jim
December 5, 2012 @ 3:24 pm
Good lord lorrie and New years eve at the gates of Hell amen Trig stellar picks. I would include little victories by Chris Knight w/ some stellar help from none other than John Prine.
December 5, 2012 @ 3:49 pm
I havent gone through and listened to every song listed here yet, but when I clicked on the article I thought “I’ll be damned if Unfortunately, Anna isnt going to win this”. Glad to see that it made the list and is one of the most amazing songs I have ever heard. The imagery, the perfect words, the music, the setting and how it sets the picture of this woman that is a hooker down on her luck but this guy is driving around looking for her and what it says about him.
The HillBilly Muslim
December 5, 2012 @ 3:50 pm
Hey Triggerman, Im glad you put that T Junior’s “Man in Gray” almost made it. I love that album. Only if the album was longer and less recycled songs. But on this list. I gotta give it Eric Strickland’s “Drinking Whiskey”. That album and song was in my car many times this year.
December 5, 2012 @ 3:51 pm
Crap, I know what I’m doing tonight…
Here Trigger goes again, posting up a list of music I’ve mostly never heard of, but know I’ve at least got to listen to at least once…
I’ve only heard one on this list, and it’s a good one, so I’ll listen to the rest as soon as I get a chance.
Just messin’ with ya Trigger, thanks for another list of new stuff to try out, who knows, I might like none of it, some of it, or even all of it; but no matter what, my horizons will be broadened. Tis why I keep coming back to see what you’ll write next, and comment back so often.
December 5, 2012 @ 5:26 pm
Eric Strickland ”“ Drinking Whiskey sounds like he’s channeled a direct line to Gary Stewart and that’s not a bad thing
December 5, 2012 @ 5:39 pm
I like the criteria used here, as opposed to the usual “best of” lists which can be nothing more than subjective and often devolve into popularity contests. A song’s worth is a personal thing.
Although released too late in the year to likely land on lists such as these, several songs on Chris Wall’s new “El Western Motel” album fit nicely into these sorts of discussions. Readers here might want to give that record a listen.
December 5, 2012 @ 5:48 pm
I’m glad you remembered that Kacey Musgraves track! One of the best mainstream country songs I’ve heard in years. 🙂
One of my absolute favorite songs this year would have to be The dB’s “She Won’t Drive in the Rain Anymore” (from my fave album of the year, ‘Falling Off the Sky’) — technically not country, but it’s got kind of a country sound. Peter Holsapple (co-writing with Sugarland’s Kristian Bush, of all people…) based the song on his and his family’s experiences after losing their home in Hurricane Katrina.
December 5, 2012 @ 6:47 pm
As someone who is cleaning out the wreakage of life . . . I get the Wreck of a Fine Man quite eloquently . . . and Mcdougal’s piece is quite stirring to my soul. JTE’s offering of a guitar and a conversation is quite convincing. I’ll listen to the rest now. Yes, Triggerman, I got soul.
December 5, 2012 @ 7:08 pm
Olds Sleeper doesn’t disappoint as usual.
December 5, 2012 @ 6:47 pm
Eric Strickland…..Drinkin Whiskey. Just one great example of an album of “real country” songs. A terrific song writer who can make you feel what he’s singing about. Catch his live shows if he’s in your area.
December 5, 2012 @ 7:00 pm
TVA! Some really great songs on this list including two from some pals of mine, but really Tom Vandenavond is an amazing writer and this is definitely one of his best. Glad to see him get some of the credit he deserves.
December 5, 2012 @ 7:00 pm
Tough pick between Life ain’t fair and Good Lord Lorrie.
I think for pure musical enjoyment, I’d pick Good Lord Lorrie,
but given that this is Saving Country Music, I think Life Ain’t Fair sends about the perfect message for this site, and does it in a much more subtle and intelligent way than some mediocre rip off of Dick in Dixie. And it’s still a great song musically too.
December 5, 2012 @ 7:04 pm
Eric Strickland’s Drinking Whiskey is awesome, but so much better when you can hear his great voice without the crowd distraction. This is a turn the radio up loud kinda song. And, BTW, only one of his songs….he’s a great writer and singer.
December 5, 2012 @ 7:07 pm
The Cord nod in the opener is proper but based on your criteria, I think you missed the mark by excluding Gettin’ Down On The Mountain. If you really mean “…the Song of the Year is reserved for those few compositions that have the ability to change lives and to change the world.” it should be here. It’s truly an apolitical song. The message being, no matter what your politics, the way things are headed, this could be your reality. In a genre where the mainstream tries to incorporate “country” with the laundry list song, here’s an authentic look at “down home” living, for lack of a better term. It’s A Country Boy Can Survive without being preachy, judgemental, or silly. If that song doesn’t make you think for a minute, or challenge your view of the gov and the powerbrokers running the show, you’re asleep or dead. The message is pretty simple, you can laugh at us, call us ignorant, or say what you want. But if all hell breaks loose, what are you gonna do? Us mountain folks out west finally have a representative who isn’t John Denver or Dave Matthews, and this song is about our life.
December 5, 2012 @ 7:22 pm
Sorry, gotta post it.
December 5, 2012 @ 7:13 pm
Billy Don Burns’ latest cd, “Nights When I’m Sober”, is my all time favorite cd. This man is not just a songwriter, but an artist.
December 5, 2012 @ 9:37 pm
I don’t know if this says anything about me or you (but probebly me), but I only know one song on your list (New Years Eve…) & I don’t think it’s anywhere near the best on that album. Listening to the videos you provided my pick is Mary Go Round, but even though I said different in my comment on album of the year. Since you put a song on the list that has not been released on an album. My song of the year can only be My Favorite Picture Of You by Guy Clark. Anyone who saw his prefomance at the Americana music awards can’t dissagree.
December 5, 2012 @ 10:05 pm
Trigger Man – long time reader, first time poster! Big fan of your site.
Awesome picks, man. But I had to chime in that something off Chris Knight’s Little Victories should have been included on this list. Nothing on Me and Hard Edges are personal favorites. I hope you give Chris Knight a nod for best album honors.
My overall song pick goes to Sturgill. I got a chance to see him perform in Lousiville about a year ago… what wound up being one of the last shows with Sunday Valley… and they absolutely blew me away. I couldn’t be more stoked to hear all his new songs and catch him live again.
December 5, 2012 @ 10:15 pm
Billy Don Burns is what a true Country Music artist is all about. His songs always tell the true story about life. Everyone needs to check out his other CD’s as well. Lonesome 77203 will make you wake up and look at your life and the road you are on. A TRUE COUNTRY ARTIST!!!!!!!
December 5, 2012 @ 11:40 pm
I would’ve put Lazarus by Ray Wylie Hubbard in, but any song from that CD is fucking great. A few honorable mentions from my own dearly held opinions:
“On My Way Downtown” – Lucero. This is more soul/southern rock, but a great, catchy track with some crossover appeal that’s been on ESPN.
“Gettin’ Down on the Mountain”- Corb Lund. The dude above me already said this, but this song is fucking magical. A backwoods anthem that isn’t preachy or cliche, whod’ve thunk that was possible. The lyrics are wry, dark genius.
“Burn.Flickr.Die”- American Aquarium. One of the best alt-country/rock and roll songs in years. Loud, defiant, and everything you’d want to hear from the heirs apparent to my favorite band, the Drive-By Truckers.
Outside of country, I’d give mention to Gary Clark Jr., a few songs from the Gaslight Anthem, and Bruce Springsteen.
Chris Lewis "Louie"
December 6, 2012 @ 12:02 pm
Those songs by Lucero and American Aquarium are great also!
December 6, 2012 @ 1:24 am
I’m gonna write-in Kellie Pickler, pick any song(s) from 100 Proof. My favorites are the ones she co-wrote and Little House On The Highway. If I had to pick 1 it would be a tie between about 7 with maybe Stop Cheatin’ On Me at the top.
December 6, 2012 @ 9:58 am
Kellie’s “The Letter (To Daddy)” was a runner up for this list. If I put together a “singles” list like I’ve been threatening to, Kellie will likely have an entry on it.
December 6, 2012 @ 12:38 pm
The Letter deserves a Grammy nomination. With her split from Sony and 19 around the same time Grammy nomination submissions happened, I wonder if they bothered to submit this album. I would guess not but haven’t seen a full submissions list.
100 Proof deserved 4-6 singles and only got 2. In May I saw the 100 Proof single hit #11 on a major radio poll (Radiofeedback) and that was with very few people hearing the song on radio (it peaked at #50). I’ve noticed that the songs radio plays often get more positive votes and move up the polls due to the familiarity factor (songs growing on listeners after they hear them many times). Even a weak song can get more votes if radio plays it enough, same as repetition in advertising causing people to buy things. I’ve seen radio take many weak songs and play them every 1-3 hours so they pass other songs and quickly move up the charts. Clear Channel has a program that does that even more for a select few artists and it’s how Taylor’s WANEGBTA got so high so fast. It might be a great pure pop song but annoyed country radio listeners and was pulled just as fast as it climbed.
December 6, 2012 @ 2:29 am
Good Lord Lori for sure. That song is very accurate about growing up in that part of the country and the relationship between McCurtin county OK and Sevier county AR
December 6, 2012 @ 4:32 am
it is nice to be recognized for writing a song..its nice to have someone out there “get” what was going through your head at a particular time..makes me feel a little less alone when people identify with a song.
.Trig,.i appreciate the props that you have beeen giving to all these artists like McDougall, Tom V. , Billy Don Burns (who ive recently had that “holy shit-this guy is an incredible songwriter” moment with) …. all the artists who have limited exposure to an audience…bringing their music into a light of sorts is noble…its important work.
better than the competition between songs is the dialogue that is created helps everyone find new music to listen to ..which makes life more rich..gives opportunity to maybe feeling a different way tomorrow…
i think what makes a song good can vary from day to day…if im pissed off, War Pigs is the best song in the world…if Im feeling that lag of loneliness start to creep in at the beginnings of winter…im gonna put on Tom V, willy tea, graham lindsey-who i also recently had the “holy shit this guy is an amazing writer” moment with…dylan, townes…you know…the songs that let ya hang low without throwin it all to the dogs…
i do know that when i walk past my daughters room, (she’s 7) and i see her dancing and singing to taylor swift (with pretty damn good tone, i might add)..i know that she is “in that place” …where music can take you…and it really doesnt matter what other people think at all..its a personal experience that borders on the religious at times. it is pure escape. i like listening to music ALONE for that reason. i like small clubs for that reason. i HATE big concerts for that reason.
bottom line is just embracing the songs that hit ya, if other people get it, good…if not, it shouldnt diminish the power the song has on YOU… we all lead such different lives- but when a good song hits ya…it feels like youve reached a common road of sorts…again…less alone.
The JTE song above just floored me…first time ive heard it…doesnt even matter that he stumbles in the middle…now im gonna be on a JTE kick for a week or so, giving him another listen…hoping for another song to hit that vein.
December 6, 2012 @ 5:35 am
Country Girl – Carolina Chocolate Drops
Turns so many big preconceived notions on their heads. A major statement and a really catchy song. Really grown on me over the past year. Like they said, “Hey pop country, let us show you how this is supposed to be done!”
December 6, 2012 @ 6:26 pm
I’ll have to check that out . . .
December 6, 2012 @ 5:57 am
LIfe Ain’t Fair and Merry Go Round are deserving but ‘Birmingham’ from Shovels & Rope is the runaway number one IMHO.
December 6, 2012 @ 7:25 am
I thought Train called lonesome and The Berlin Tapes by Billy Don Burns couldn’t be beat then came Nights when I’m sober another outstanding CD by an really outstanding singer and songwriter. Billy Don Burns just keep on pumping out the music I love. Guess you can tell who my pick is the one and only BDBurns
December 6, 2012 @ 8:32 am
Billy Don Burns……should win hands down. He is a wonderful song writer and singer. Besides being a wonderful person. I am honored to say I have recently met him and was in awww. It was a complete pleasure being in the presence of one
of the original outlaws of country music. Its not often you find an artist like this that makes you feel like you are the one that experienced whatever the song he is singing….reaches down into your soul and makes you apart of it. Love him!!!! If you ever get a chance to see one of his concerts……TAKE IT!!!
December 6, 2012 @ 8:34 am
Tom V gets my vote. That song embodies country music’s current plight.
December 6, 2012 @ 8:41 am
Billy Don Burns is the epitome of country music and that is reflected in his lyrics and vocals of deep heart felt emotion. If you want the plastic over produced music that is being passed as country music on mainstream stations then look elsewhere, but if you want the real soul of country music then Billy Don is your man. This man is a friend of many many country greats from the late and great Waylon Jennings to Mack Vickery and to legends such as Willie Nelson. I am blessed to be friends with one of the sometimes over looked greats, Billy Don Burns.
December 6, 2012 @ 8:54 am
My vote is for Billy Don Burns!!!
December 6, 2012 @ 8:55 am
i’m not one for rating songs above the other usually…but i value what Trigger does with this site and giving notice to things that should be noticed. So, that said, I love Olds Sleeper, JTE…amazing stuff.
But Billy Don’s “Stranger” ..Billy Don saves Country Music every time he opens his mouth.
December 6, 2012 @ 8:59 am
Billy Don Burns, the Arkansas songwriter gets my vote!
December 6, 2012 @ 9:09 am
Billy Don Burns
What a song! I heard him do it “live” via the Brigitte London broadcast thing and it was phenomenal then, but this is … man … how do you describe it????
For a start, this man IS country – he writes edgy, hard hitting, uncompromising material that carves its initials in blood, sweat and tears on your very soul. He ain’t no “pretty boy” pop music masquerading as country and his battle scared, age weary vocals command you to listen.
Them folks at the big end of town need to remember that country music is about salt of the earth folks – the blue collar worker, the single mum struggling to raise her kids, the heartbroke hillbilly and thousands more besides. It is about gritting your teeth and getting on with life and it sure as hell is ALL about representing folks like us.
It AIN’T about pretty singing – ya want that, go to the opera (and I don’t mean Grand Ol’ either). It is about lyrics and melody that are raw and cutting, that exposes your heart and soul, and it is about delivering those same lyrics from the mind of the writer (in this case ALSO the singer) to the listener – providing the conduit so that the listener become either captivated by the power of the word, or sits back as says “this man read my soul”.
To me, THIS song, THIS performer and THIS performance encapsulates me for the 3 minutes or so of the song! I apologise to any of the “super stars” of ummmm “country music” of today, but they are purty, but they don’t speak for me!
This do – IN SPADES!
December 6, 2012 @ 9:35 am
Billy Don Burns Stranger. Go check out this songwriter. His song “Memories Cost A Lot” is one of the best songs ever written. Co-written with Hank Cochran.
December 6, 2012 @ 9:37 am
Billy Don Burns gets my vote. “Stranger” is a wonderful heartfelt song written and sung by a true artist that has lived the songs that he writes. Not only this song, but all the songs on Portrait of a Honkey Tonk Singer, Nights When I’m Sober are wonderfully crafted and produced music beyond any of the abilities of current hit artists on the radio today. This CD is a must have for any serious country music fan today.
Glenda Kay Martin
December 6, 2012 @ 9:38 am
Billy Don Burns has the kind of songs that I think a lot of people have lived thru. I have everyone of his CD”s and I have listened to them so much I had to make a copy and put the originals up. He is a great country singer the way it should be. My vote yes.
Glenda Kay Martin
December 6, 2012 @ 9:41 am
Billy Don Burns is a great country singer and star. I have all his CD’s and listen to them all the time. He sings what a lot of people have been thru in their lives. Great person that just keeps going and going all over the world.
December 6, 2012 @ 9:59 am
Billy Don Burns ”“ Stranger.
Billy Don Burns has been around for a long time singing, writing, and playing with the old school country heroes. Its all his music, yet incorporates the classic beat and poetry of folks like Willie, Waylon, Kris, and Johnny. You”™ll probably will never hear him on bubble gum country stations, but that”™s OK, because his music and words are much deeper than rhine stone glitter. So, if your looking to spend some time with an old friend while working on your ride, or sippin some whiskey, Billy Don Burns is good company to keep.
December 6, 2012 @ 9:59 am
Billy Don Burns’ “Stranger” gets my vote. Love the whole “Nights When I’m Sober” album.
December 6, 2012 @ 10:04 am
Billy Don Burns gets my vote! Love his music,he’s awesome and heartfelt!
December 6, 2012 @ 10:14 am
Billy Don Burns’ “Stranger” gets my vote!! When he sings, you know it is coming straight from the heart, and from experience. This is a beautiful song, that I think many can relate to.
December 6, 2012 @ 10:23 am
Glad to see all the votes for Billy Don Burns coming in! It feels like an appropriate time to clarify that the “vote” is not an up or down numbers thing. Though I certainly take volume into consideration, what I’m really looking for in the votes is for folks to convince me and the other readers why one of these songs on the list deserves to stand out from all of the others. As Brigitte London points out above, many times these “lists” feel petty and like a popularity contest. The reason I do my list this way is to hopefully encourage discovery and conversation about these songs and why they are good and what we can learn from them about the human condition. I think all of you Billy Don Burns fans, and all the “voters” are doing an excellent job of that, so thank you for contributing!
December 6, 2012 @ 7:34 pm
I’m glad also to see all the folks posting to support Billy Don Burns, but I hope it doesn’t play against him in the decision.
This man is an unsung living country music legend. These comments on here are not spam, they are from the heart.
He’s been busting his ass touring on his own all this year to promote his latest CD. Yes, on his own, playing dives and honky tonks all over America.
No tour bus, no driver, he carries his own guitar. In some ways that’s nostalgic but this man was there with Waylon and Cash and many others back in the day. You want to “save” country music but first you have to find it, and he’s right there in front of you…
To be fair I checked out each and every song/video. I like Turnpike Troubadours’ Good Lord Lorrie a lot.
But for the criteria – what song changed my world this year – still going with “Stranger.”
December 6, 2012 @ 10:39 am
I have loved Good Lord, Lorrie since the first timeI heard it. Such a catchy and accessible song, yet I haven’t grown one bit tired of it. Great song from a tremendous album.
December 6, 2012 @ 1:00 pm
Tough selection, but I’m going with Billy Don Burns’ “Stranger”.
December 6, 2012 @ 1:43 pm
I was really glad to see most of these artists up here. Mostly, Sunday Valley. I used to live across the street from them about 7 years ago. Good guys and a great band.
December 6, 2012 @ 8:24 pm
I’m not doing good at picking just 1 of these songs. I’ve narrowed it down to about 5
Ray Wylie Hubbard – New Years Eve at the Gates of Hell
Billy Don Burns – Stranger
Turnpike Troubadours – Good Lord, Lorrie
Sturgill Simpson – Life Ain”™t Fair & The World Is Mean
Eric Strickland – Drinking Whiskey
December 6, 2012 @ 9:01 pm
Hands down, Billy Don Burns gets my vote for “Stranger”. This is a song that cuts deep to the core.
December 6, 2012 @ 9:51 pm
Tom VandenAvond’s Wreck of a Fine Man gets my vote.
Tom V along with Possessed by Paul James, William Elliot Whitmore, Mike Clark and The Good Luck Thrift Store Outfit really expanded my music horizons this year. It all started with a Haunted Windchimes concert at my house. Mike Clark turned me on to the above mentioned artists and the last 4 months of 2012 has been a music fest.
Check out the Haunted Windchimes, TGLTSO and Mike Clark’s “The Ghost of Michael Clark” rekkerd.
Another item to check out is Kevin Ihle’s video of McDougall’s “The Travels of Frederick Tolls Pt. 2” http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VKcc7TIBdgI
December 7, 2012 @ 8:17 am
my vote is for “Stranger” and the awesomely talented Billy Don Burns!! 🙂
December 7, 2012 @ 9:43 am
In my opinion, Tommy V’s “Wreck of a Fine Man” embodies the struggles of a hard working musician holding on to tradition and real world songwriting amidst a crowd of pop culture fueled corporate country stars. The song is imaginative and gut wrenching at times. It really speaks to the state of music in this newer age from the perspective of an influential star from the early years of the genre.
December 7, 2012 @ 1:26 pm
Uncle Tom for the win!
December 7, 2012 @ 9:28 pm
The choice between “Gone Gone Gone” and “Good Lord Lorrie” is very fascinating.
“Good Lord Lorrie” has stellar lyrics, but the music is straight out of late 60’s/early 70’s pop, and the vocals are somewhat flat. The song sounds far more like Bob Dylan than a country song.
“Gone Gone Gone”, on the other hand, features gorgeous, purely country music from beginning to end, even though the lyrics are more abstract than those in “Good Lord Lorrie”.
Since I generally judge songs based more on music than lyrics, I prefer “Gone Gone Gone”. However, I agree that the lyrics in “Good Lord Lorrie” are better. It all depends on whether one gets emotionally affected more by music/melody or by lyrics.
December 7, 2012 @ 11:59 pm
I agree. I think sonically “Gone Gone Gone” is a superior track, and that’s why I piked it above “Good Lord, Lorrie” initially. When I did that, the record had just came out. Since then, keeping an eye on the chatter about the Troubadours “Good Lord, Lorrie” was the song that kept coming up. I think this is because of the strength of the story. It captures with such understand the very common love thread where two people are completely toxic for each other, but at the same time can’t stand being apart, and how they ruin their lives trying to navigate that difficult scenario. Even if you haven’t lived it yourself, you know a couple like that or have in the past. Excellent songwriting will almost always trump sonic appeal.
December 8, 2012 @ 12:12 am
“Excellent songwriting will almost always trump sonic appeal.”
Songwriting and sonic appeal are fundamentally intertwined, as composing the melody constitutes half of the songwriting (otherwise, they would be poems or rap instead of songs). I just wish that the Turnpike Troubadours had used a more varied melody for “Good Lord Lorrie” in order to complement the mood conveyed so eloquently in the lyrics. If they had done so, then “Good Lord Lorrie” could have been one of the greatest country songs in years.
December 7, 2012 @ 11:43 pm
Billy Don Burns and Kacey Musgraves provide an excellent study of thematic contrasts. Billy Don Burns’s songs follow the classic themes of country music, i.e. nostalgia and love of tradition. In “Stranger”, he weaves these in by making the idea that the world is getting “stranger” to him everyday the centerpiece of the song.
“Merry Go Round”, on the other hand, is the ultimate “anti-country” track. It may be the first directly anti-tradition song since Loretta Lynn’s “The Pill” to ever make it to country radio. The idea of “Merry Go Round” as a country song is analogous to the idea of a pro-police, pro-drug-war rap song. Though I very much enjoy “Merry Go Round”, I’m still shocked that it exists at all in any level of country music, let alone country radio.
December 9, 2012 @ 10:12 am
Maybe give another listen to “Stranger.” It’s not about the world getting stranger. To me it’s about the distance between who I wanted to be and where I ended up, and where exactly did I lose control? And is it too late…
Who is the Stranger in the mirror?
The one that’s looking back at me.
He ain’t familiar, I don’t know this guy.
Who in the world could it be?
That ain’t me, there ain’t no way.
And the Stranger’s getting stranger every day.
December 9, 2012 @ 10:20 am
I’ve always said, the mark of a great song is when it has the ability to morph and mean something different to every listener based on their personal experiences and perspective.
December 7, 2012 @ 11:51 pm
Alright, so now that I’ve done my analytical babbling, here are my votes. I’m having difficulty reconciling lyrics with music in my evaluation of the songs, so I will vote on them separately:
Lyrics: Good Lord Lorrie
Music: Drinking Whiskey
December 8, 2012 @ 8:53 pm
I was really surprised to see Kacey Musgraves announced for the Kenny Chesney tour. Just doesn’t seem like something that would happen.
December 8, 2012 @ 8:57 pm
Life ain’t fair and the world is mean. Good lord, lorrie comes in second for me.
December 10, 2012 @ 6:55 am
Sturgill Simpson Life ain”™t fair and the world is mean is my favorite and I can’t wait to hear more about this great band \o/
December 10, 2012 @ 5:02 pm
Tommy V and Scotty McDougall!! Can’t choose the other as both of their songs get me real good man.
December 10, 2012 @ 5:25 pm
I can`t pick just one either ……..Sturgill Simpson could make Jesus cry but Tommy V made Sturgill and Jesus go through 20 boxes of Kleenex as they held each through the great flood.
December 12, 2012 @ 10:54 pm
I really would have like to have to seen Joe Huber’s ‘An Old Mountain Tune” on this list…
but these are truly amazing. Sturgill’s Life Ain’t Fair and Stickland’s Drinking Whiskey are classics….the Old’s Sleeper’s New Year’s poem is purely haunting..and I can’t get Good Lord, Lorie out of my head!
December 15, 2012 @ 12:15 pm
Wow, amazing selection this year. I absolutely love the songs from Tom V, McDougall, and Billy Don Burns. Turnpike Troubadours and Sturgill Simpson never disapoint. Nice to see T. Junior get a mention. Man in Gray the album is mostly stripped down HTH songs but ‘Man in Gray’ and ‘Play this Guitar’ are both killer songs. And I haven’t heard it before today but that Kacey Musgraves song is something special too. That being said, my vote goes to Olds Sleeper. I listened to some of his stuff before and dismissed it as “not for me”. After I saw the review for New Years Poem, I decided to give it a listen. It is a free download, after all. I was blown away. If this guy is cranking out 4 albums a year, they must have all been in preperation for this one. Fuckin outstanding. Bigsky/Flatland in particular hasn’t let go of me since the first listen.
December 15, 2012 @ 5:18 pm
Also, I’m really looking forward to the best single list this year
“Stranger” Nominated for Saving Country Music’s Song of The Year « Billy Don Burns Music - Billy Don Burns Music
December 15, 2012 @ 3:29 pm
[…] “Stranger”, a cut from the new Billy Don Burns album Portrait of a Honky Tonk Singer: Nights When I’m Sober,Â has been nominated for Song of The Year for Saving Country Music. Read all about it HERE.Â Â […]
December 15, 2012 @ 5:49 pm
tom morello is card carrying communist. funny thing is the hypocrite still likes to make big money on a capitalist system and then makes exuses on why hes allowed to do so.
December 15, 2012 @ 9:51 pm
No matter how you think about music, Stranger by Billy Don Burns is the best song in the running.
leonard wayne lowthian
August 28, 2013 @ 11:48 am
i have had the opportunity to meet billy don burns and become a huge fan of his music.
it is hard to imagine anyone being more qualified than billy if the criterion is being true to his God, his mission and himself without questioning the price he pays to do so.