2013 Saving Country Music Song of the Year Nominees
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.
Honorable mentions go to just about any song on John Moreland‘s Album of the Year candidate In The Throes. There were a few on the Brennen Leigh & Noel McKay‘s Before The World Was Made that nearly made it. Hank3‘s “Broken Boogie” was on the bubble, and would have made it in a year with a less-crowded field, and so would songs from some of 2013’s breakout female songwriters like Ashley Monroe, Caitlin Rose, Valerie June, and Brandy Clark, whose “Stripes” could have very well made it if the candidates were extended beyond the already hefty field of 10.
2013 Saving Country Music Album of the Year Nominees
Audience participation is strongly encouraged, and will influence the outcome. Leave your opinions, write-in candidates, or other observations or opinions below in the comments section. This is not simply an up and down vote though. I make the final decision, so it is your job to convince me why the album you feel deserves to win is the right pick.
Josh Abbott Band “I’ll Sing About Mine” from Small Town Family Dream
Written by Adam Hood and Brian Keane, “I’ll Sing About Mine” appears on 2012”²s Small Town Family Dream, but was released as a single with a new video in early 2013. It was 2013’s first strong Song of the Year candidate, and very well may be the best.
“The great thing about “I’ll Sing About Mine” is the non-judgmental, even-keeled manner with which it delivers its message. It takes a lot of patience and a lot of heart to say what this song says without flying off the handle or flipping birds. It makes its point with as few pointed words as possible”¦ It understands that really, few words need to be said, because deep down every human knows what’s real and what isn’t. They just have to be reminded, and then the momentum of the truth will do the rest.” (read full review)
Matt Woods – “Deadman’s Blues”
There are so many artists, so many songs and albums out there today, for any individual artist to stand out, they darn near have to stand on their head and turn somersaults to get our attention. It’s sad but true, but that’s what Matt Woods does with “Deadman’s Blues.”
“We ask a lot of our independent country and roots artists. We want them to release new music early and often, even though it stings them in the pocketbook to record. We want them to play our stupid town, even though it is way out of their way and the turnout will be light. We want them to perform in small, intimate venues, even though it’s not financially feasible for trying to take care of themselves, or God forbid, raise a family. We don’t want them to be too successful, lest their music loses its pain and soul. We don’t want them to age. We want them to see all the places, and do all the things we can’t, and maintain a party-filled lifestyle so we can then live vicariously though them as our own legs grow roots and our lives prosper from stability.” (read full review)
Wade Bowen – “Songs About Trucks”
Written by Brandy Clark and Shane McAnally, “Songs About Trucks” is 2013’s most cunning protest song. But it’s a protest song that offers a little something more.
“Once again a member of the Texas music scene has delivered a song that gives voice and reason to how the rest of us feel. Wade Bowen’s “Trucks” aims its big, diamond-plated bumper at the incessant references to tailgates and four wheel drives in modern pop country songs and slams on the gas. At the same time, it practices what it preaches, making sure to instill some story and soul into the song along the way, instead of just being a vehicle for protest.” (read full review)
Lindi Ortega – “Tin Star” from Tin Star
Lindi Ortega can melt your heart and make you feel the pain of a song like few others, and the beauty of “Tin Star” is the personal nature of the narrative, and how Lindi delivers it’s humble message with such loving care. She coddles this song like one would a malnourished kitten that shows up on your doorstep, or and old pair of scuffed and dusty boots found at a thrift store that she then nurses back to health and vitality, polishes and buffs up to shine to present to the world proudly.
“It’s admittedly hard to hold on to your objectivity when this raven from the Great White North rises in song and such a wave of emotion and beauty grips you that your rationality is sent reeling and all your senses are completely submerged and made submissive to her sway. Lindi Ortega is a creature of the darkness. She highlights the beauty in the world not by shining a light on it, but painting the rest black until the beauty is all that is left. She cherishes life by celebrating death. She makes you feel joy by bringing you to tears. She is the antithesis to an obvious, transparent world, all freshly fallen snow and onyx biting, contrasting, revitalizing the attention to life and its many dark beauties simply by her presence.” (read full review of the album Tin Star)
Charlie Robison – “Monte Carlo” – from High Life
I’m nominating “Monte Carlo” here officially, but it has a companion song “Out Of These Blues” that is also on High Life and that pairs with it so perfectly, and is also written by Robison’s sister Robyn Ludwick. If someone asked me to play them an example of quintessential Texas country music, these would be the songs I would choose. Texas country masterpieces.
“Can’t say enough about these tracks, the excellence in songwriting they achieve, and Charlie’s ability to interpret their stories perfectly through song. They’re both very similar, and different all the same in the way they convey a feeling of forlornness, but still are imbibed with such a warm sense of memory that a sad story leaves you filled with a happy feeling. The way the chorus of ‘Monte Carlo’ strings you out for so long, hanging in the bubbly moments only the best music can attain, you wish this song could go on forever, and it’s so good it probably could.” (read full review of High Life)
Austin Lucas – “Alone In Memphis” from Stay Reckless
Austin Lucas proves he’s worth the label as one of 2013’s breakout artists with this lead single from his New West debut, Stay Reckless.
“Whether electric or acoustic, Austin only knows one way to perform a song: with 100% passion, until the song’s inspiration manifests right there on stage and coats every word. Even if you hate the lyrics, or can’t connect to the story of ‘Alone In Memphis,’ it is written perfectly to pull the emotion right out of Austin every time and spill it out amongst the audience in a moment of shared reflection and commiseration on one of the most fundamental failings of the human condition our inability to feel stable without the company of another.
“Great songwriters know how to write to their strengths, and that is what Austin does in ‘Alone in Memphis.'” (read full review)
Sturgill Simpson “Life Ain’t Fair and the World Is Mean” from High Top Mountain
Due to a technicality in Saving Country Music’s vast and complex bylaws, even though this song was considered for Song of the Year in 2012, since it was released on an album this year, it qualifies to be considered again.
“The magic of “Life Ain’t Fair” is the way it trivializes all the issues it raises by simply pointing out the obvious: that life’s unfairness is inherent, and complaining about it or using it as an excuse to not pursue your dreams is foolish. It’s cynical and inspirational all at the same time, and that feat of acrobatics can’t be performed without some acute dexterity and prowess with the pen.” (read full review)
JB Beverley – “Disappear On Down The Line” from Stripped to the Root
It’s a shame that the best songs tend to come from the deepest despair, creating the paradoxical, and sometimes self-destructive existence that many of the most talented and storied songwriters live. As JB Beverley says about “Disappear On Down The Line”:
“I was in my home, totally isolated and alone, my woman had left, I’d buried my friends, and all the proverbial voices of doubt and chaos, and all this negative stuff was fueling my mind at the time. I use the parable that the demons were dragging me down. Granted, there weren’t literally ghouls in the room tugging me through the floorboards, but as far as the emotional, spiritual, and mental direst and in some instances torment I was under, it was very real.” (read full interview)
Holly Williams “Drinkin’” from The Highway
This is one of those songs every other songwriter beats themselves up for not writing. Beautifully complex in its simplicity, both enigmatically deep and pleasantly colloquial, Holly Williams proves the Williams’ bloodline is still virile with an unconventional tune with universal impact on the weary soul yearning for respite. Where has Holly Williams been? She may have taken the roundabout way to finding herself, but she’s here now, and our ears couldn’t be happier.
“Where Holly Williams’ career and releases left her neither here nor there before, now she has found her voice, has found her place, and that place is amongst the talented women doing what they can to return the greater country music world to a place of substance.” (read full review for The Highway)
Jason Isbell – “Elephant” from Southeastern
Trying to pick one song from Jason Isbell’s album Southeastern to represent on this list is like asking a rainbow its favorite color. So if you think another song is more worthy, you’re opinion is probably warranted, so just put your chips on “Elephant” in its stead.
“‘Elephant’ is just downright unfair. Though this trend of token Cancer songs dotting nearly every country album released in the past few years is alarming, Isbell’s offering is far from a saccharine and sappy vie for radio play. It is a complete deconstruction and compromising of the emotional guards protecting a listener’s heart told in shockingly-real language, allowing the chemicals of empathetic response to run pure.” (read full review of Southeastern)
Honest Charlie's Productions
December 5, 2013 @ 10:06 am
Much respect to all candidates but none of them can touch J.B. Beverley’s Disappear on Down The Line. That tune just Tugs at ya man and then when the cello kicks in, Good Lord!! . Unbelievable
December 5, 2013 @ 10:20 am
100% agree…….”Disappear on Down The Line” is one of or maybe the best song ever written by JB
December 6, 2013 @ 3:00 am
Just one of my favorites on JB’s new album and I’m gladder than hell to see it in contention!
December 5, 2013 @ 10:14 am
Jason Isbell ”“ “Elephant” from Southeastern… simply a powerful and moving song. Gets you right in the gut.
December 8, 2013 @ 5:59 pm
If you can listen to that song without producing one tear you aren’t human. Fact.
December 5, 2013 @ 10:15 am
These are my top 10: 1) Steeldrivers- “I’ll Be There” 2) Jason Isbell- “Elephant” 3) Austin Lucas- “Splinters” 4) Fifth on the Floor- “January in Louisiana” 5) Hank Williams III- “Ain’t Broken Down” 6) Sturgill Simpson- “Sitting Here Without You” 7) John Moreland- “Your Spell” 8) Larry and His Flask- “Pandemonium” 9) Caitlin Rose- “Dallas” 10) Gary Allan- “It Ain’t the Whiskey”
December 5, 2013 @ 10:40 am
“Splinters” is definitely in my top 10 for the year as well. After my first listen, I played it on repeat 6 or 7 times. It’s been a favorite ever since.
December 5, 2013 @ 10:16 am
El Camino by Charlie???
December 5, 2013 @ 10:20 am
“Monte Carlo” – Sorry.
December 5, 2013 @ 10:21 am
VERY happy to see Charlie on this list! I’ve been a long time fan of his a rarely see him mentioned any place.
December 5, 2013 @ 12:21 pm
Absolutely right. Charlie is incredibly underrated and deserves more recognition than he gets.
December 5, 2013 @ 10:35 am
I knew this would be a tough category. Personally, it’s a toss up between Jason Isbell and Matt Woods. “Elephant” is without a doubt one of Jason’s best songs to date”“”“I was speechless the first time I heard it. “Deadman’s Blues” is less subtle with it’s emotion”“”“Matt rips his heart out of his chest and lays it on the table for everyone to glance at. Since Isbell is my album of the year winner, I’m gonna have to say “Deadman’s Blues” is the winner of this category.
I see John Moreland mentioned in the honorable section but I’m really surprised none of his songs made the official nominee list. It’s undeniable hard to pick a favorite from that album though. As for Austin Lucas, I would have rather seen “Splinters” or “Rings” nominated, but “Alone In Memphis” is a stand-out as well.
1. Matt Woods
2. Jason Isbell
3. Sturgill Simpson
4. Holly Williams
5. Lindi Ortega
December 5, 2013 @ 10:57 am
They haven’t promoted it as much “Drinkin'” but Holly Williams “Waitin’ on June” is damn near one of the prettiest songs I’ve ever heard.
December 5, 2013 @ 11:04 am
Quite honestly love all these songs have not gotten around to listening to the the whole albums of all these artists. But once again thanks you trigger and all of you without for the most part this site and siriusxm outlaw/roadhouse I would not be able to find the music that really speaks to me and is more than background music when I am driving.
December 5, 2013 @ 11:15 am
Here’s a wild card. If folks on here haven’t heard this one, you’re missing out. “Born to Lose” by Eric Clapton.
TX Music Jim
December 5, 2013 @ 11:18 am
Charlie knocked it out of the park cutting his siters tune “Monte Carlo” is indeed a classic.
I may be wrong on the time line but I think this was released in 2013 “Dark and Dirty Mile” From Jason Boland’s album of the same name is another masterpiece IMO.
December 5, 2013 @ 11:22 am
You’re correct on the Boland release. I was corrected on another thread. I swore that it came out at the end of 2012, but it was released in 2013. I saw him in late 2012 and he played a bunch of the songs from the new album, which is probably why I thought it came out then….
December 5, 2013 @ 11:18 am
Both Trucks and I’ll Sing About Mine are a too poppy. I agree that it might make the message a bit more accessible, but for the SCM song of the year, I feel like it has to be a bit more country.
I could say the same thing about Isbell. Elephants is an amazing song and Southeastern is a great album, but I feel like it’s more NPR Americana than country.
I’d probably go with Life Ain’t Fair or Drinkin, but it’s more a taste thing.
December 5, 2013 @ 3:14 pm
Just curious, where would you draw the line between country and Americana?
To my ears, “Life Ain’t Fair” sounds more like blues than country, as do many other Sturgill Simpson songs. The lyricism is very good, but it seems somewhat unmelodic.
December 5, 2013 @ 5:18 pm
I’m not good at really defining what makes something “country” or “americana” other than “I know it when I hear it.”; but I’ll put it this way:
If an contemporary folk or acoustic indie released Elephant with the exact same instrumentation; no one would see them as “going country” or even veering into country.
I agree that the Sunday Valley version of Life Ain’t Fair is bluesy, but the version on the Album — and to be technical, that’s the reason why it’s eligible for the second year in the row 🙂 — could not be confused as anything but pure country. And even if some blues rock band played the Sunday Valley version, it would still be seen as a departure into country.
Again, not to take anything away from Isbell; but I just don’t see that song as
December 5, 2013 @ 11:27 am
Not to put down Isbell, but I think Southeastern is much more Americana than Country.
Songs like Stockholm and Flying over Water are not Country at all, and even the acoustic and fiddle songs still have a glossy feel to them. This is not a criticism, but, my opinion is that the tie should go to the more hardcore country album.
December 5, 2013 @ 11:29 am
Sorry, wrong article
December 5, 2013 @ 11:32 am
As much as I love Sturgill Simpson and his whole record, My vote would go to Josh Abbott. I love what Sturgill is doing to the scene and the waves he is making, but the first time I heard “I’ll Sing About Mine” it was like a punch to the gut……in a good way. I still can’t watch it without getting a little choked up. That song represents the middle section of the country better than any other song I’ve ever heard and give me an emotional response. Isn’t that what music is meant to do?
December 5, 2013 @ 3:37 pm
I would go with “I’ll Sing About Mine,” as well. 🙂
December 5, 2013 @ 11:55 am
J.B. Beverly is a true writer, and one of the best out there. Hands-down, he is my pick!
December 5, 2013 @ 12:17 pm
I’m honored to be in such good company. Thank you all for the kind words and support.
December 5, 2013 @ 12:18 pm
I have so much respect for JB for putting his life out there like that and writing that song. A fuckin amazing song… Also like tyler Childers White House Road or his Charleston Girl as song of the year candidates
December 5, 2013 @ 12:26 pm
Disappear on down the line takes the cake in my opinion. For whatever my opinion is worth.
December 5, 2013 @ 12:39 pm
JB Beverley with Disappear On Down The Line gets my vote. Song gives me “goosebumps” and that speaks volumes to how hard it hits the true meaning of what songs should give to people who listen to them.
December 5, 2013 @ 1:21 pm
Its not even close. JB Beverley, Disappear On Down The Line. It takes balls of solid rock to sing about your life and to be 100% honest. Best album of the year, Stripped To The Root, best song: Disappear On Down The Line.
December 5, 2013 @ 1:51 pm
JB Beverley is my favorite
December 5, 2013 @ 2:01 pm
I gotta say Disappear on down the line is a powerful and moving songs.Seeing it live really makes a man ponder his own demons and place in life. This song is today’s equivalent of George Jones’s ” He Stopped Loving Her Today.”
December 5, 2013 @ 2:29 pm
So hard to pick just one for the #1 spot… my top 5, though, would be:
1. JB Beverley
2. Sturgill Simpson
3. Holly Williams
4. Matt Woods
5. Lindi Ortega
Ken Bucci "BEAM"
December 5, 2013 @ 2:49 pm
This is a hard choice as much as i like Jason Isbell i have to go for JB Beverley on this one Great work JB
December 5, 2013 @ 3:12 pm
JB Beverly this has been my favorite song of his for a long time. Glad he put it on his new album.
December 5, 2013 @ 3:23 pm
In my mind, this is a close competition between “Elephant”, “Disappear on Down the Line”, “Alone in Memphis”, and “Tin Star”.
At the end, I would probably go with “Disappear on Down the Line” simply due to the sonic and vocal qualities of the song.
December 5, 2013 @ 3:38 pm
The video for “Tin Star” features some rather run-down areas. Was it filmed in East Nashville?
December 6, 2013 @ 10:56 am
East and downtown Nashville I believe. East Nashville is one of those areas that has run down buildings and old houses right next to hipster-style condo buildings and other elements of gentrification.
December 6, 2013 @ 11:44 am
Elizabeth Cook sent out a couple of tweets not too long ago on the subject of East Nashville gentrification:
“#EastNashville is getting not so historic and funky fun as assholes r coming in and building Ms Doubtfire houses at warp speed”
“We won’t b havin no hot fried chicken if the hot fried chicken experts cant afford to live here, or their homes get bulldozed. Dumbasses..”
December 6, 2013 @ 11:48 am
Same thing happening in east Austin.
December 5, 2013 @ 3:41 pm
I just listened to Monte Carlo and I love it, though I am still sticking with my choice of “Disappear on Down the Line”.
Man, this year’s nominees are strong!
December 5, 2013 @ 3:44 pm
Life Ain’t Fair for the ones listed, but overall, right now my favorite song Letting Go by Jackson Taylor off his newest album Crazy Again.
December 5, 2013 @ 3:47 pm
Disappear On Down The Line is one amazing piece of songwriting, an outpouring of pure emotion that goes straight to my heart every time I listen to it. My hat is off to you, J.B.
December 5, 2013 @ 4:27 pm
Without a doubt J. B. Beverly. Again a great song. There is just something between him and the music. It’s real and you can feel it. For me ( and many others) J. B. sits amount the greatest country musicians of all time. It’s not out of the realm of reason to picture him amongst Johnny Cash , Waylon &Willie, Ol Hank, and George Jones. J. B. embodies the traits so admired in these Men. Can ya make folks feel what you feel inside, yes he can and more. You don’t hear this song, you listen, feel, and see it. Not many can do that anymore. A modern legend is J. B. it’s an ease vote for me.
December 5, 2013 @ 4:51 pm
JB Beverley 1#
December 5, 2013 @ 5:06 pm
Of the songs on your list, I’d have to cast a vote for Holly Williams’ “Drinkin.” However, like I stated before in the album comments, “Two Weeks Late” by Ashley Monroe is my personal single/song of the year
A couple other’s Id through in there for last minute consideration:
“Don’t Let Me Die in Florida” – Patty Griffin
“Open-Ended Life” Avett Brothers
December 5, 2013 @ 5:22 pm
1) Dinosaur Truckers – “Wolves in the Streets”
2) Alan Jackson – “There is a Time”
3) Guy Clark – “The Death of Sis Draper”
4) Rebecca Frazier – “Virginia Coastline” (instrumental)
5) Rebecca Frazier – “40 Blues” (instrumental)
6) Rebecca Frazier – “Clifftop” (instrumental)
7) Rebecca Frazier – “Ain’t Gonna Work Tomorrow”
8) Frank Solivan – “M80” (instrumental)
9) Ricky Scaggs & Bruce Hornsby – “Bluegrass Breakdown” (instrumental)
10) Dinosaur Truckers – “Box of Memories”
Honorable Mention: Brandy Clark – “Hangover”
But, hey, I came here to learn.
December 5, 2013 @ 8:47 pm
From your list …
2) Disappear on Down the Line
*) Deadman’s Blues
*) Tin Star
* = tie, I cant figure out which one I like best.
But, and this is a big but, Elephant is a monster of a song, but it is not a country song. Its genre is definitely singer/songwriter, and this would be considered a classic folk song if Jason Isbell didn’t have a southern accent (and you know you would agree if the music was exactly the same but Gordon Lightfoot sang it, or Billy Joel).
So, my official vote is “Disappear on Down the Line” as the best Country song.
December 5, 2013 @ 5:33 pm
I have to vote 1. Lindi, 1a Holly Williams,
I would have put “water in a well” by Sturgill on the list rather than the one you chose. just personal. so much feeling in that one.
I too say, thanks for introducing me to so much great music, and for the interesting and entertaining writing you produce high quality high output.
December 5, 2013 @ 6:32 pm
While you’ve got amazingly talented artists in the running, I am surprised that Fifth on the Floor’s “What For” wasn’t listed. Heart wrenching yet beautiful lyrics. Definitely my favorite song this year!!
December 5, 2013 @ 6:37 pm
MATT WOODS. Deadman’s Blues is one of my very favorite songs. It is beautiful and intense and is guaranteed to take your breath away to see it live. He sings from an absolutely raw place and as a solo act he can more than hold the room, I vote Matt all the way!
December 5, 2013 @ 6:55 pm
If Lindi Ortega and Sturgill Simpson would host a country awards show, I might watch one again.
December 5, 2013 @ 7:00 pm
It’s between “Songs About Trucks” and “Disappear on Down the Line” for me.
December 5, 2013 @ 7:15 pm
for its JB’s song. A great song by a great dude
December 5, 2013 @ 7:43 pm
The songs I keep coming back to are Josh Abbot Band’s ‘I’ll Sing About Mine’, Lindi Ortega’s “Tin Star” and Holly Williams “Drinkin'”. For me, they’ve given me a new perspective on different things. But so did Kacey Musgraves “Follow Your Arrow”. Every time I listen to that song I feel like I’m making the right life decisions that works for me and makes me unafraid to try for the things I want.
December 5, 2013 @ 8:17 pm
“elephant” though great is they 4th best song off that album. Sturgill is trying to hard to be Waylon and failing at it. “Tin Star” is the one
December 5, 2013 @ 8:51 pm
Isbell is just operating on a whole different level these days. He could be the one that breaks the wall down. I cant wait to see him w/ Holly Williams next month.
December 5, 2013 @ 9:39 pm
Sing it Sturgill!
December 5, 2013 @ 10:00 pm
Does “Iron Road” by Waylon and the Old 97s qualify? Also love “Disappear On Down The Line, “I Was Cruel” by Caitlin Rose, “Dark and Dirty Mile” by Jason Boland, “Deep Scars” by Hank3, and “Some Days” by Sturgill Simpson.
December 5, 2013 @ 10:32 pm
Sure it does! Those two Old 97’s/Waylon songs are excellent.
December 7, 2013 @ 8:15 am
This is a really good point. I thought “The Other Shoe” was an incredible recording. It deserves some sort of SCM legacy award!
December 5, 2013 @ 11:18 pm
J.B Beverley gets my vote for sure! He made a complete album with all of his feelings left for us to hear. The entire album speaks to your very heart and soul!
December 5, 2013 @ 11:37 pm
Holly Williams Drinkin
They are all great.
December 6, 2013 @ 3:11 am
Thank You JB for finaly gettin into the studio. STRIPPED TO THE ROOT was and is well worth the wait!
December 6, 2013 @ 5:11 am
As someone who pretty much listens to nothing but metal, Garbage, and John Hiatt, I’m absolutely blown away by most of the songs here.
My choice, if it counts for anything:
1) Tin Star by Lindi Ortega. Love the lyrics, absolutely love her voice. Not voting her first because she’s a fellow Canadian, this is really, really GOOD.
I listened to every song (loved most, some more than others) but hers just really stuck with me. I see some iTunes album purchases in the near future.
My write-in nomination is Jessica Lea Mayfield’s cover of Alabama’s “I’m In A Hurry (And Don’t Know Why).” Back when I was younger I really liked that song but THIS version blew me off my chair and then proceeded to kick the crap out of me. Apologies for picking a cover song but I had to because it’s something else entirely. Maybe it’s not “country” but I found it because of this site so there it is on a technicality. 🙂
So there are my two picks.
Keep fighting the good fight, Trigger.
December 6, 2013 @ 9:23 am
Jessica Lea Mayfield is a very excellent choice. REALLY like what she did with that song, and that album overall was one of the great surprises of 2013. Wanted to hate it, ended up loving it, and it will definitely be on the “Essentials List” coming up.
December 6, 2013 @ 6:12 am
Saving country music? There will be nights when I’m lonely is saving me.
December 6, 2013 @ 9:10 am
J.B. — Stripped To The Root — Great songs, great album!
December 6, 2013 @ 2:11 pm
I’d say “Disappear On Down the Line”, that is one for the ages. And it may not count since it was only released on Soundcloud but Hellbound Glory’s “Ballad Of 2012 (Aww Hell)” is one of the best songs to be released this year.
December 6, 2013 @ 6:10 pm
My boy JB!
December 6, 2013 @ 6:15 pm
Hands down it’s Mr JB Beverly. You just feel the emotion in the song, everything else seems empty to me.
December 6, 2013 @ 7:40 pm
Is it just me or does the live version of “life ain’t fair” from SCM radio episode 27 dwarf the album version? I really can’t hear it any other way.
December 7, 2013 @ 2:26 am
I am honored to be included in such fine company!
December 7, 2013 @ 6:43 am
Oh Matt what a wonderful recognition of your talent !
December 7, 2013 @ 9:56 am
Matt Woods is amazing! I love his music !!! I listen to most of these artists regularly but Matt just crosses every line and heads to the front!!!!!
December 7, 2013 @ 10:15 am
J.B. Beverley is my # choice with Sturgill is a close second. These two are phenomenal artists who are the perfect blend of brilliant lyricists and talented showmen. So glad to see them on this list, but J.B. has my vote as song of the year because I know how much of him he put into the entire album and this song is the heart of the entire thing. Beautiful and brave.
December 7, 2013 @ 2:32 pm
Thank you for including Drinkin’ on here. That song has stayed in my mind for months now the way no song has. Growing up with a couple of alcoholics I’ve had to pretend not to hear scenes like that through the walls more then once. I’m amazed at how simply yet profoundly Holly was able to capture it.
December 8, 2013 @ 4:07 pm
I have followed Matt Woods for a while now and he is such an amazing artist and songwriter. Deadman’s Blues is gritty, honest, and a true testament to how country music was meant to be played. Matt belts out an amazing performance and brings you into his world and makes you want to be sitting in that smokey bar atmosphere, having a beer while listening to his songs. Such a powerful song and everyone that loves country music can and should appreciate this tune.
December 8, 2013 @ 7:15 pm
Holy crap, that Matt Woods song is amazing. Gonna have to keep some tabs on that dude.
Tom The Polack
December 9, 2013 @ 9:35 am
This whole list, except ‘Live Ain’t Fair’ and the J.B’s song is definitely too poppy for me. Sorry, but this ain’t country, but some pop on the acoustic guitar. Though, most of lyrics are very good, so I guess it was the main reason for making that list look like it is. I know it’s only a matter of taste, but I’m really disappointed with the sound. Where are: Carolina Still, Copper & Coal, Jayke Orvis and the Broken Band, or another pure country artists who relesead so many great songs this year? Where are they? Like Justin Tubb used to sing: ‘What’s wrong with fiddle and steel?’
December 9, 2013 @ 2:50 pm
I can definitely understand how some can see “I’ll Sing About Mine” or “Songs About Trucks” as somewhat of a ‘pop’ sound, though I’d point out that “I’ll Sing About Mine” does prominently feature fiddle. And Jason Isbell and Holly Williams are definitely more from the Americana side, which it goes without saying softens the country influences in their music. But I can’t really see any way to construe Matt Woods, or Lindi Ortega as anything but just about the opposite of ‘poppy’ as you can get. Matt Woods’ “Deadman’s Blues” is downright built from the steel guitar. Lindi Ortega is more underground and country than most underground country, but doesn’t get any credit there for reasons I just don’t understand.
December 9, 2013 @ 10:57 am
I think Alan Jackson’s “Blue Ridge Mountain Song” should be nominated. Much like “Elephant”, it is a deeply emotional and powerful song. Also, it is as traditional country sounding as you could ask for.
Wade Bowen’s song should not be nominated. I posted my thoughts about it being very hypocritical in the SCM review. The chorus is EXACTLY what he is speaking out against. It is basically a song with a ridiculously stereotypical, cliche chorus about trucks asking other people to not sing ridiculously stereotypical, cliche songs about trucks. I appreciate the sentiment, but the song is a cheesy way of representing it.
I vote for “Life Ain’t Fair” for song of the year and “Southeastern” for album of the year.
And special thanks to Trigger for this blog and spreading the word about these great artists.
December 9, 2013 @ 12:32 pm
I completely agree about Jessica Lea Mayfield’s cover. I love it, and while it probably shouldn’t get the nod since it is a cover, it is definitely one of my favorite songs of the year!
December 9, 2013 @ 12:35 pm
As great as some of these are, I gotta go with Jason Isbell. The song gives you chills. It doesn’t get much better than Elephant.
The only write in I can think of is more on the Americana front. Houndmouth’s Penitentiary.
December 10, 2013 @ 5:46 am
Where is Possessed by Paul James?
December 10, 2013 @ 5:53 am
I think PPJ is the number 1 or 2 album of the year with Hurricane and Songs We Used To Sing being 2 of the best songs of 2013
December 10, 2013 @ 8:45 am
No love for “Follow Your Arrow”??? That has been, mainstream or otherwise, my favorite country song of the year. I think it should be at least placed in the honorable mentions category.
December 23, 2013 @ 9:55 am
Deadman’s Blues is a killer song and an amazing video – gives me chills!
December 29, 2013 @ 5:49 pm
Sturgill Simpson all the way!
The Hillbilly Muslim
December 29, 2013 @ 5:52 pm
Eric Strickland, Im bad for you!. Besides Sturgil what country album on that list is more pure country.
December 29, 2013 @ 6:06 pm
Sturgill! But John Moreland’s “Blacklist” is next on my list, broke down first time I heard it and I don’t even know why.
December 29, 2013 @ 6:26 pm
December 29, 2013 @ 6:39 pm
Deadman’s Blues. Isbell and Elephant are great but he’s not running low on “best of” lists. And I’d say it is damn close between those two songs.
December 29, 2013 @ 6:52 pm
December 30, 2013 @ 3:06 pm
“I Lie When I Drink” by Dale Watson. Dale on Letterman is a major milestone when it comes to music I love. I think it’s the best thing to happen for Country music in several years and I can’t think of one person who’s done more to “save country music.”
January 6, 2014 @ 1:02 am
Seriously, could he sound any more like Kenny Rogers? Holy shit.