The Best Country Songs of 2015 So Far
Being willing to see where a song takes you is at the heart of every music lover, and in this spirit I present eleven hand selected songs released in the first half of 2015 that will hopefully take you someplace you want to be, or somewhere you’ve never been before. This is the cream of the crop in my opinion; the gut punchers not for the faint of heart.
PLEASE NOTE: “Best Songs” are not always those catchy tunes you can’t take off of repeat, they are songs that can change your life. We’re talking legitimate Song of the Year candidates here. No order to the list below was intended or should be implied. Please feel free to leave your opinions and suggestions about what the best songs of 2015 so far are down below.
Charlie Parr – “Over the Red Cedar”
Master of songcraft Charlie Parr has penned some dandies over his illustrious period in the trenches of blues music, but maybe none that resonates so timelessly. “Over The Red Cedar” is pure wisdom.
Wade Bowen & Randy Rogers – “Standards”
Honorable Mention, “El Dorado.”
Not your run-of-the-mill country protest song, “Standards” makes use of sharp wit and country stylings to land a poignant and cutting point about the plight many musicians face when they interface with the music industry. Though protest songs droning on and on about how Nashville is no longer country are just as clichÃ© as the songs they’re criticizing, “Standards” has an appeal beyond being a salve for the country music broken hearted. Making use of the double entendre with diabolical results, “Standards” get you smiling, even if some younger listeners need some coaching about what a “standard” song in music actually is (a song that goes on to be played for years and years, just in case you’re wondering).
Most importantly, the song doesn’t come across spiteful, but a fun rumpus that only independent country artists with strong support of their fans in Texas and beyond can make with a smile on their face. They get their point across and have a good time doing it. (read full review)
John Moreland – “American Flags in Black & White”
Many songs could have been picked from the choir that is Moreland’s excellent songwriting effort High on Tulsa Heat, but the imagery of “American Flags in Black & White” is what sets this entry apart.
Eric Paslay – “She Don’t Love You”
Officially released in 2014, but climbing to prominence in 2015, this is a very strong candidate for Song of the Year.
This is a songwriter’s song first and foremost, penned by Paslay and Jennifer Wayne from the group Stealing Angels. How the perspective of the song shifts at the end to go from a song focused on either the girl herself, or a man who may find himself enamored with her, to a song about heartbreak and loss is the type of dedication to songcraft we just don’t see anymore from really any sector of the music world. The timing of the final words creates such an aching environment rife with anticipation and tension, and the way Paisley allows you to realize where the story is going before it goes there is downright sinister.
It’s one thing to write and record a song like this. It’s another to see it ultimately be successful. (read full review)
Cody Jinks – “David”
From Adobe Sessions
I admit this song reminds me some of Johnny Cash’s “Highway Patrolman” written by Bruce Springsteen, but that is not necessarily a bad thing. Storyteller songs are so unfortunately overlooked these days, but they can hold a lasting value like “David.” Haunting and beautiful, this is the kind of song we need more of in country music.
Love & Theft – “Whiskey On My Breath”
Another mainstream entry, this song has been picked up by Nashville promotional outfit Thirty Tigers (Sturgill Simpson, Jason Isbell, so many more) to be promoted to mainstream country radio. An underdog worth rooting for.
Co-written by Stephen Barker Liles and Eric Gunderson of Love and Theft with Trent Tomlinson, Russell Dickerson, Adam Craig and Mark McGuinn, the song takes almost the exact opposite approach of the modern day country song by instead of glorifying the party lifestyle, representing the other side of the coin in more of a cautionary tale. It’s fair to call it a religious song, but the contriteness and real life narrative grounds “Whiskey In My Breath” in more of a universally-resonating sentiment, impacting the listener no matter what their religious affiliation happens to be. (read full review)
Justin Townes Earle – “Day & Night”
From Absent Fathers
“Then Justin Townes Earle hits you with ‘Day and Night,’ maybe his magnum songwriting opus, or at least it should be considered in that company from his body of work. The less Justin Townes Earle does in a song, the better the music gets. Sure you have to have some songs help cleanse the palette with a full band experience, and set the contrast for the quieter moments. But alone or with a lone accompaniment is where he positively shines.”
Miranda Lambert – “Roots & Wings”
One of the strongest mainstream entries for 2015 so far. It’s a Ram truck commercial and Miranda Lambert, but hey, it’s quite refreshing.
What’s so great about this song is summed up in the “I’ve got roots, I’ve got wings,” lyrical hook. Such a simple country song sentiment, but one we surprisingly haven’t really heard before, especially in this type of context. This is what country music is supposed to be all about: deep feelings simply stated. The verses also rise to support the idea of being both grounded in who you are, yet allowed to soar in life by following your dreams. On paper all of this may seem a little hokey, but that’s not the way “Roots & Wings” comes across at all. Miranda’s delivery is strong, and not too twangy or attitude-driven which can sometimes taint her music.
“Roots & Wings” is a song that can win a wide appeal beyond the truck buying public, including with more rootsy country fans. In a word, “Roots & Wings” is songwriting. (read full review)
Whitey Morgan & The 78’s – “Waitin’ ‘Round to Die”
Normally such an obvious cover wouldn’t be considered for this distinction. But when it’s as good as this, why not? Last year it was another Townes Van Zandt cover from Don Williams that was considered. Great songwriting never rusts.
He gives his renditions the “Whitey treatment” like nobody else can … Expansive, epic, dynamic, and moving, Whitey Morgan and the 78’s really delve into the spirit of the song and make it sound new. (read full review)
Lee Ann Womack – “Send It On Down” (Chris Knight)
Released on Womack’s 2014 record, but released in 2015 as a radio single.
When Lee Ann Womack set out to construct her 2014 album The Way I’m Livin’, she went looking for songs that weren’t written by committee as is the norm in Nashville these days, but songs that originated from one person going through a human experience who then shared that experience through song. Such a search if it was to be thorough and prudent would almost invariably involve Chris Knight, who though maybe not a name familiar to the teeming masses, is like a golden goose amidst the right songwriting circles, and amongst his many loyal independent fans who know him as a songwriter who can take the most simple sentiments and make them sound like Shakespeare. (read full review)
James McMurtry – “How’m I Gonna Find You Now”
From Complicated Game
Not traditional Song of the Year material, but still exquisitely-written, and one hell of a good time.
June 2, 2015 @ 6:49 pm
Whoa! Great list and probably the most diverse in years. Agree on Moreland & Womack. Send It On Down landed in my top 10ish last year. As for McMurtry, I think Copper Canteen runs circles around How’m I Gonna Find You Now. That whole record is savory though. I still need to listen to a few of these but thumbs up on Paslay & Lambert as mainstream entires. Also, prepare yourself for Isbell’s Children Of Children and Speed Trap Town.
June 2, 2015 @ 6:58 pm
Excellent selections here Trigger. One of the reasons I love this site and tell folks about it all the time. Love Randy and Wade’s ” Standards” but, ” El Dorado” is my personal favorite on that album. It’s my favorite of the year so far. Whiteys version of ” Waitin Round to Die” is right behind it. Other favorites are Aaron Watson’s ” Fence Post” , Will Hoge’s ” They Don’t Make Them Like They Used To ” , Cody Jinks ” Cast no Stones” and William Clark Green’s ” Ringling Road” ( I know, I know it’s wierd and out of place on the album, but I love it).
June 2, 2015 @ 7:12 pm
El dorado is awesome
June 2, 2015 @ 7:12 pm
I meant to give honorable mention to Wade and Randy’s “El Dorado.” By the end of the year, it might outlast them all.
June 2, 2015 @ 7:03 pm
24 Frames is a lot better than Roots and Wings.
Cool Lester Smooth
June 4, 2015 @ 10:18 am
100%. Miranda doesn’t come close to Isbell.
June 2, 2015 @ 7:13 pm
Wait till Eric Strickland & the B-Sides “Skeletons” and “have a heart” comes out!
June 3, 2015 @ 12:20 pm
Yes “have a heart” is off the charts good
June 2, 2015 @ 7:13 pm
I’m absolutely addicted to Jamie Lin Wilson’s “Here Tonight” – I’m fascinated by the technique and how much is conveyed with the one half of a conversation at such a crucial moment. I could be letting my personal experience seep in to give it extra layering, but I find it deeply cathartic and executed so beautifully, especially the lyrics. The fact I’m currently obsessed with JLW’s voice and style is probably influencing me a little though as I also think “Old Oldsmobile” is one of the best love songs I’ve heard in a very, very long time.
June 2, 2015 @ 7:19 pm
A couple of votes for Jamie Lin Wilson’s “Here Tonight”!
June 2, 2015 @ 9:22 pm
Wow, Grace, what a coincidence! I posted my comment before I even saw yours, and just 2 minutes after yours.
I guess our musical minds work in sync 😉
June 3, 2015 @ 10:20 am
Absolutely! It is such a quality song though. I also sometimes interpret it as being the conversation in that person’s head, not necessarily even saying it out loud but what they wish they could say were they still able to. That is where I may be drawing on personal experience from dying loved ones who were incapacitated and I longed to be able to have a final conversation with, but either way I just think it is a masterpiece.
EDIT: Oh, and you are totally right in your analysis – I love the subtlety and lack of over-sentimentality. That is what I find unique about it.
June 2, 2015 @ 7:15 pm
Nice list. I nominate Jamie Wilson’s “Here Tonight”, for the beautifully thoughtful manner in which it tells the story of impending death and reflections on life from the perspective of the dying person, without getting mawkish or overly explicit.
Frank the tank
June 2, 2015 @ 11:31 pm
I agree. I can’t get enough of this song (and the rest of the album is great too). Thanks Trigger for introducing me to her music!
June 2, 2015 @ 7:15 pm
I really like “Blue Ruin” by Mandolin Orange
June 2, 2015 @ 7:17 pm
Out of what is listed I would say Standards and Waiting Around To Die, also Rock N Roll off Cody Jinks album is my favorite out of that one.
June 2, 2015 @ 7:25 pm
Great call on ‘David’. That song haunts me to core everytime I hear it. I also love ‘Dirt’ off that album.
Good list. Thanks for your work Trigger.
June 2, 2015 @ 7:34 pm
Holy freaking crap…how the hell did I miss that charlie parr song? I swear I check this site at least once a day! That shit is freaking fantastic!!!
June 3, 2015 @ 9:54 am
I feel the same way, Jim Bob. Thanks for compiling, Trigger.
June 2, 2015 @ 8:24 pm
I’ll have to check out the music that I haven’t heard yet. glad to see the comments on this forum returned to the civilized exchange it has always been and away from the nonsense from earlier today. That was just plain wierd.
June 2, 2015 @ 8:32 pm
“Standards” is a fun one, but I gotta hand it to Lee Ann’s “Send It on Down” — just one of a number of songs on ‘The Way I’m Living’ that made me see her in a whole new light. 🙂
Truth No. 2
June 2, 2015 @ 8:46 pm
I really liked “Daddy Doesn’t Pray Anymore” off Stapleton’s record. It really speaks to me, and that is what music ought to do.
June 2, 2015 @ 8:51 pm
This is a solid list, and I agree with most of it! =)
However, my bid for a Whitey Morgan track would be “Still Drunk, Still Crazy, Still Blue”. And for a mainstream selection, I nominate Jana Kramer’s “I Got The Boy”. It was released this January, and is fantastic.
June 2, 2015 @ 8:58 pm
I would suggest checking out ‘Clean Up on Aisle Five’ by Mo Pitney. It got a standing ovation from the Grand Ole Opry which says a lot for a new up and coming act in Nashville.
June 2, 2015 @ 9:01 pm
Though I have an albums list, I hadn’t really thought about potential songs of the year until reading this article. One that comes to mind is ‘In the During of a Moment’ off the Lowest Pair’s second album, ‘The Sacred Heart Sessions.’ The Lowest Pair is the female/male banjo duo of Kendl Winter and Palmer T. Lee. Even though “banjo duo” didn”™t sound like my cup of tea, I gave a listen when a friend posted a live song of theirs on Facebook and haven’t looked back. The songs are fabulously haunting, while the odd sense of chemistry between the two voices is enchanting to say the least. I now have both Lowest Pair albums, plus an excellent Kendl Winter solo record I found on Bandcamp. Winter has quickly become one of my indie heroes. ‘The Sacred Heart Sessions’ is my wife’s favorite album of the year. It’s under-the-radar now, but may not be for much longer. Pop country it ain’t.
Here’s the song.
June 2, 2015 @ 10:59 pm
Wow, I am totally shocked by love and theft making the list…. but thats just because I hadn’t heard the song because I just dismissed them all together after their god awful break through single.
great list, thanks for keep on keeping on
June 3, 2015 @ 12:55 am
Cody Jinks’ “David” is real as real could be—aside from being made up—but damn that’s a song. Genius songwriting.
June 3, 2015 @ 3:26 am
I really love Cody’s – David, as well.
Being a life-long disciple of the church of Bruce, it brought Highway Patrolman to my mind too from the first listen. Musically, it even reminds me of the Seeger Sessions version from the live album.
No bad thing at all. Bruce has written some amazing story songs. I think when he was deeply into Country in the 70’s, he really soaked that stuff in.
Incidentally, if it wasn’t for Springsteen, I probably never would have become the huge Hank Williams fan that I am.
Funny ole world 🙂
June 3, 2015 @ 6:00 am
I think your comment about John Moreland’s album applies equally to James McMurtry’s Complicated Game. “How”™m I Gonna Find You Now” is a great, fun song and certainly worthy of being on this list. A few other standout songs from the album are Copper Canteen, You Got To Me, Carter’s Haul, South Dakota, and Long Island Sound.
Another great country cover from this year is Rhiannon Giddens’s version of Dolly’s “Don’t Let It Trouble Your Mind.”
June 3, 2015 @ 6:10 am
For me, “How”™m I Gonna Find You Now” is only middle of the pack on the new McMurtry album. My current favorites are “South Dakota” and “You Got to Me”
June 3, 2015 @ 6:34 am
My personal list…….
Aaron Watson- Bluebonnets (Julia’s Song) (i had a friend who died in a car crash in March and he was only 18 so this song personally hits me very hard)
Whitey Morgan- Waitin’ Round To Die (Thanks Trigger for nominating this)
Steve Earle – The Tennessee Kid
The Lone Bellow – Telluride
Will Hoge – They Don’t Make Em Like They Used To
Wade Bowen/Randy Rogers – Standards (obvious choice, but it really does deserve the nod)
William Clark Green – Ringling Road (highly underrated album, and you either love this song or hate it)
Tim McGraw/Catherine Dunn – Diamond Rings and Old Bartsools
Dierks Bentley – Riser
Love and Theft – Whiskey On My Breath
Chris Stapleton – Traveller
Lee Ann Womack – Send It On Down (no, it is not technically mainstream, but it was released as a single to radio)
June 3, 2015 @ 8:05 am
Aaron Watson- Bluebonnets (Julia”™s Song)
Yep. That one absolutely slays me. We lost a baby last year, and I have a grandfather in heaven who was my best friend when he was here. (He’s been gone a little more than 20 years now.)
And I miss them both, every single day.
June 3, 2015 @ 8:55 am
That is a great song.
June 3, 2015 @ 8:27 am
I agree on “They Don’t Make ’em Like They Used to.” I mentioned “24 Frames” in an above comment, but I’m starting to think Trigger scaled this list back to strictly country song ands not songs that can be perceived as lacking in any country element whatsoever, even though they might be considered country songs today. That’s the only way to explain something as clumsy and poorly executed as “Roots and Wings” or clichÃ© as “Whiskey on My Breath” making it onto the list above some of the songs you listed like the Will Hoge tune and Isbell’s “24 Frames,” etc. That’s the only real explanation for this.
June 3, 2015 @ 8:55 am
I didn’t want the focus to be all about Isbell and Sturgill, because that’s probably where it’s going to be at the end of the year. They’ll have their day. Let’s give these other excellent songs and artists their chance in the spotlight.
June 3, 2015 @ 9:41 am
I can understand about that in regard to Isbell and Simpson, but what about Will Hoge, if I might ask?
June 3, 2015 @ 12:32 pm
The Will Hoge album seems to be mostly a hit and miss affair. I’ve heard from some people saying it’s the biggest disappointment so far, and others say it’s the best album all year. I’m not really sure where I fall on it, and have struggled to find words or a strong feeling about it one way or the other. There’s something strange about that album that I find hard to describe.
June 3, 2015 @ 7:05 pm
I can understand the hit or miss part in regard to the album. “All I Want is Us Tonight” and “Last Thing I Needed” both piss me off to no end. They’re decent songs but so far below his usual standard that it’s a wonder he even bothered to put them on the record. As for the rest of Small Town Dreams, I find it a necessary reminder to singer/songwriters in this day and age that you don’t have to constantly break ground lyrically to record a great album. I thought it was beautifully simple, if that makes any sense. The first three tracks (Growing Up Around Here, They Don’t Make ’em Like They Used to, and Better Than You) are so hard-hitting emotionally even though they’re rather simple, and I thought the musical landscape needed a bit more of the Mellencamp-style country influenced rock.
June 3, 2015 @ 6:48 am
As you’re including covers, allow me to draw your attention to Michael Dart’s version of Lord, I Need Somebody Bad Tonight (Because I Just Lost Somebody Good), Not only is it a stone country song that you could use to illustrate what stone country used to be, recorded by Jack Green, Mel Street, Warren Storm and the great Pinto Bennett, but Dart sings it like he’s lived it.
June 3, 2015 @ 7:47 am
Mel Street’s one of my all-time favorites, and I love to hear him sing that song. Is there a sample of Dart’s version available to listen to?
June 3, 2015 @ 7:22 am
From a strictly commercial point of view and something that I believe makes mainstream radio so much BETTER , I’ve gotta go with SHE DON’T LOVE YOU . Not because of the ‘clever twist’ , which I think we see coming from a ways off , but because IT HAS the balls to have a clever twist at all ( “It”™s one thing to write and record a song like this. It”™s another to see it ultimately be successful “.) and give the listener something worth waiting around for . The lyric is smart , not the least bit pandering or generic , the vocal unaffected , the music is perfect for the material/theme ( absolutely stirring string arrangement ….steel guitar ? ) and emotionally this thing achieves lift-off . In fairness I have not heard several of the tunes posted by Trigger , but , again , commercially speaking (and since radio would NEVER play ” STANDARDS” ) I think SHE DON’T LOVE YOU does an awful lot for the cause of SCM in terms of showing the masses what they’re missing in a ‘ forum ‘ radio fans are familiar with .
June 3, 2015 @ 8:48 am
Clint, don’t know if it’s online, it’s from Slippin’ Around With Michael Dart & The Skyline Wranglers. You can reach Dart at email@example.com
He also did a killer version at one of my NotSXSW shows – country music for adults!
June 3, 2015 @ 7:32 am
Good group of songs. I picked “Send It on Down” on as my song of the year, last year – I don’t listen to the radio. I’m so fed up of covers, so no matter how great Whitey Morgan’s version is, I’ll just go listen to Townes’ version (and that’s how I feel about all Morgan’s albums – not enough original material to keep me engaged).
I really love The Reverend Peyton’s Big Damn Band’s “Pot Roast and Kisses” and JD McPherson’s “You Must Have Met Little Caroline.” Just throwing those out there.
ALSO, I cheated and pirated the new Jason Isbell…. “If It Takes a Lifetime” is hands down the best song I’ve heard this year. It’s perfect. I can’t wait to hear all the proper fan’s reactions to that song (and album).
June 3, 2015 @ 9:10 am
Think you can kick of copy of that Isbell album over this way? I have a lot in trade. I will download the album on iTunes and purchase the vinyl, but I’m not very good at waiting.
June 3, 2015 @ 9:33 am
Ha! There are links out there. Trig would ban me for writing more about this subject.
And incase Isbell (or any other artists) read these comments, I spend thousands in concerts each year and make sure I hit the merch table on my way out to justify my pirating actions. I also buy the vinyl of albums I truely love.
June 3, 2015 @ 12:36 pm
My comment was in jest. My computer would catch the tech version of AIDS if my inept ass attempted to get the album from one of those sites. As sad as it is to say, I don’t have the first clue.
June 3, 2015 @ 7:39 am
Great list. Really glad to see Cody Jinks getting some attention. Here’s some I’d add to the list:
Chris Stapleton: “Whiskey and You”
Whitey Morgan: “Drunk, Crazy, and Blue”
Rogers/Bowen: “Good Luck with That”
Cadillac Three: “White Lightning” – Kinda poppy, but I dig it.
June 3, 2015 @ 7:40 am
Great list. Hopefully the lack of trolls on this post means we can continue with business as usual around here after a spell.
Personally, I would strike JTE from this list. I know you’ve read my comments on Earle’s most recent albums and have probably noted my concerns by now, and I’m not one to talk, but I just don’t hear the appeal in those last few albums. In effect, they bring me the same kind of stagnant placidity that you used to complain about with Jamey Johnson. To quote a phrase back to you, “shoot me that I like my pulse raised when I put on an album.” His first few did that, so I’m honestly not sure what’s caused this shift for my own experience.
By the way, upstart country band A Thousand Horses (the band responsible for the decent single “Smoke” on the radio) also has a song called “Tennessee Whiskey” slated for their debut Southernality, which one assumes to be the second cover of David Allan Coe’s song this year. They seem somewhat interesting, anyway, so definitely an album to keep on the radar if only to see what they’re about.
June 3, 2015 @ 7:40 am
I was hoping to see “Diamonds and Dogs” on this list.
June 3, 2015 @ 8:32 am
“24 Frames” will make this list once the album is released; can’t wait for that. That said, “David” and “American Flags” are such awesome tributes. Great list Trig.
June 3, 2015 @ 8:39 am
That Justin Townes Earle song, in the right state of mind, hits you like a million pounds. It’s the best of the year so far in my opinion.
June 3, 2015 @ 8:53 am
I agree. I sure hope people don’t overlook it.
June 3, 2015 @ 8:44 am
What?!?! No Yellawolf?? No Rachel Brooke & Lonesome Wyatt????
‘How”™m I Gonna Find You Now’ is the one you wonder–how would, say, Luke Bryan be received doing that?
Cody Jinks–very nice. And I think you got all the mainstream songs worth a shit, too. And a decent commercial.
And I would lay 10 miles of cable through the desert just to hear Lee Ann Womack fart over the phone.
June 3, 2015 @ 8:52 am
I admit, “How’m I gonna Find You Now” is more of a personal fascination. But screw it, I like it.
June 3, 2015 @ 9:06 am
.”˜How”™m I Gonna Find You Now”™ is the one you wonder”“how would, say, Luke Bryan be received doing that?
Really? I think the lyrics are smart and the song is damn fun.
June 3, 2015 @ 8:45 am
I was surprised that it wasn’t mentioned on this list
June 3, 2015 @ 8:51 am
It’s a good song, but but I didn’t really consider it for this list because Isbell’s album isn’t out yet, and he’ll have his day in the sun shortly.
Truth be known, one of the reasons I posted my “Best Songs So Far” and “Best Albums So Far” lists a few weeks early this year is because there’s a lot of HUGE releasing coming up that will probably dominate consideration at the end of the year, and I wanted to give some love to these early-year projects that may otherwise get overlooked.
June 3, 2015 @ 9:00 am
CODY FREAKING JINKS…I first heard “David” before it was released on Adobe Sessions while I was tending bar while Cody was playing. We were busy, but I caught the first few lines and stopped what I was doing to listen. Everyone can wait on their drinks. The hook…so freaking dark. “And the only thing that can make matters worse is that his mom was a late night ER nurse.” DARK. Luckily, I copped a live recording of the show that night and had a little pre-release for myself. Cody played for over 3 hours straight. About two hours in he made a comment that he really needed to hit the head. 2 songs later the band took a break, and he played on, alone. The band came back and he never left the stage. He played a two song encore. I think the guy would have gladly pissed his pants to keep on playing for the appreciative fans. He played his ass off. A record cannot capture what the guy’s voice can do live. It took me back to another time an place. His lead player is amazing. That sound. His gravely voice. Somewhere a Cody Jinks song is playing in country music heaven.
After the show, when the fans all cleared out, he came up to the bar, thanked us, and gave us a tip that was as big as the band tab. He has a fan in me for life. My only hope for Cody is that he keeps the touring pace up and his music makes it into the music libraries of some Sturgill Simpson fans. His voice, sound, and persona are at least that big. In all of my years spent in the Texas/Red Dirt/Americana live music venues, I have never been so impressed with a first show.
June 3, 2015 @ 9:20 am
Every time I see Cody and the boys, I walk away with a story like you just told. Down to Earth, honest people. Thanks for sharing!
June 3, 2015 @ 11:54 am
This is good to hear, he’s opening for Whitey Morgan next month. Wasn’t familiar with his music, went to his website, listened to some stuff, and ordered his 2 latest CDs. Should be a great night of music.
June 3, 2015 @ 4:32 pm
AMEN! Cody is something special. Not only is his music/voice unrivaled he is an outstanding person. I first came across him on Youtube singing and giving the story behind each song. Hoping he tours through the Los Angeles area soon. As you said a studio recorded album doesn’t do him justice, you want to hear him live, it’s greater. Phenomenal story teller too. He’s the guy you want next to you in the crowd at a show telling you stories over beers, but at the same time you want him on stage singing his heart out. Keep it up Cody!
June 4, 2015 @ 3:48 pm
I met cody a few weeks ago. He was with his band on the way to play a show in newyork and they stopped to buy beer in PA. They were the coolest most down to earth guys ever and I was lucky enough to be working that day. It was strange cause I was listening to the album on my way into work and then I looked up and he was standing in line.
June 3, 2015 @ 10:19 am
What does Ray Scott have to do to at least get a simple song review on this website? He is solidly country and a strong writer. For instance his new single “I ain’t always thirsty”…
June 4, 2015 @ 2:41 pm
Thanks for cluing me in on this guy, sounds good so far. Will ad his albums to my collection. Can’t help but smile to the song Drinking Beer. That’s how tongue in cheek country song is supposed to be.
June 3, 2015 @ 10:30 am
Great songs listed already, I’ll just throw my list out for the hell of it (I excluded any songs listed above)
Blackberry Smoke–Too High
Zane Williams–Jayton and Jill
Jon Pardi–Fightin’ The Fool
Jason Isbell–24 Frames
Chris Stapleton–Fire Away
American Aquarium–Losing Side of Twenty-Five
Tyler Farr–Suffer In Peace–A blind squirrel….
Zac Brown Band–Bittersweet
William Clark Green–Still Think About You
I’m sure I left out a ton that I simply can’t remember off the top of my head right now.
June 3, 2015 @ 12:42 pm
Losing Side of 25 is a great song. American Aquarium doesn’t have the following that I feel they deserve. They should be selling out large venues with their energy and sound. I don’t know how a sober man can tour that many days of the year and not go insane. BJ is also playing some acoustic shows soon while the band takes a break. AA is about to invade Texas.
June 4, 2015 @ 4:44 pm
Jayton and Jill by Zane Williams is a great one. The first time I heard it was live, and a few lines in the room had gone still. He followed it up with Pablo and Maria to crescendo the chilling effects of the show.
Even more amazing is that Jayton and Jill started as one of his “Music Monday” songs, where he takes the first 10 words fans leave on a Facebook post and he turns them into a song.
June 3, 2015 @ 11:52 am
If you want a country song and a country album of the year, look no further than KAYLA RAY. Go take a listen to her album “Love and Liquor” and pick a song of the year. This album, which was wonderfully produced by Jason Eady, will take you back to what country music was and what it will be again!
June 3, 2015 @ 12:16 pm
No love for Blackberry Smoke???
June 3, 2015 @ 12:26 pm
Got nothing but love for Blackberry Smoke, and “Holding All The Roses” is probably the SCM top pick for Southern Rock albums so far this year. I gave them some good pub over on the “Best Albums So Far” list. There were a couple of songs I considered to include here.
June 3, 2015 @ 1:07 pm
Thanks for including Whiskey on My Breath. I pretty much wrote off Love and Theft a couple years ago. Their singles weren’t that great and then I saw them play at a music/beer festival, right before Randy Houser went on. They just weren’t very good live. Drake White blew away most of the acts that day playing a solo acoustic set right after the event started. Randy Houser headlined and made Love and Theft look amateur. Hopefully they continue in this direction. They seemed to have a lot of negative things to say about how their contract worked out so maybe they were being pushed in a direction they didn’t really want to go in before.
Great songs so far in 2015:
Will Hoge – Little Bitty Dreams, They Don’t Make Em Like They Used To
Chris Stapleton – Devil Named Music
Sundy Best – Four Door, Piece of Work (technically 2014, the album was released in December)
Willie and Merle – Unfair Weather Friend
June 3, 2015 @ 2:50 pm
Pokey lafarge- Cairo, Illinois!!
Ken Morton, Jr.
June 3, 2015 @ 2:58 pm
We’ll have an interview with her up on SCM soon, but the title track off of Courtney Patton’s new album, So This is Life, is beyond fantastic. Great storytelling and heartbreaking angst make it quite possibly the best thing I’ve had in my ears all year long.
June 3, 2015 @ 3:40 pm
You forgot about “Kick The Dust Up”. You know what’s up up. bwaaaa
June 3, 2015 @ 7:22 pm
Seriously, I almost put that in as a gag. Then thought better 🙂
June 3, 2015 @ 4:13 pm
Wade Bowens new single West Texas Rain is one of years best.
June 3, 2015 @ 4:59 pm
That Love & Theft song, just wow. That’s pretty impressive.
June 3, 2015 @ 5:20 pm
Can’t wait for Luke Bryan to cover Love & Theft with “Fireball on My Breath”
June 3, 2015 @ 8:54 pm
Great list. Thanks for introducing to music I might not have otherwise heard.
June 3, 2015 @ 10:50 pm
Cody Jinks will be a legend one day mark my words. You can hear it in his voice. A Texan that truly is what country music is all about. If people were to spend some time listening to him they would be shocked. He has so many great songs it’s crazy. I first heard Wake Up Becki and was blown away which got me listening to all of his stuff. This Old Guitar, Glad To Say, Alone, 65 Days in LA, We Get By, Cast No Stones, Hippies & Cowboys, Momma Song, Somewhere in the Middle just to name a few. Go listen to these songs & you won’t be disappointed. I promise y’all.
June 3, 2015 @ 11:06 pm
Dwight Yoakam’s “Second Hand Heart” would be my #1 selection thus far.
June 4, 2015 @ 4:57 am
Over the Red Cedar is the best song here.
June 4, 2015 @ 9:31 am
“. Luckily, I copped a live recording of the show that night and had a little pre-release for myself.”
June 4, 2015 @ 9:56 am
The Underdog from Aaron Watson deserves to be in that list!
June 4, 2015 @ 11:10 am
Jayton and Jill by Zane Williams deserves to be on the short list, in my opinion.
June 4, 2015 @ 11:27 am
Nice selection of tunes with “David” being one of the best songs I’ve heard this year in any genre. I’d add Ryan Bingham’s “Nobody Knows My Trouble,” Chris Stapleton’s “The Whiskey And You,” and Blackberry Smoke’s “Holding All The Roses.”
That Bowen/Rogers album is an anomaly to me. I don’t care for much of their solo stuff all. Yet, as a duo they work really well.
June 4, 2015 @ 2:30 pm
Glad you included Eric Paslay ” She Don’t Love You”. It’s such an emotional song. Those words have meanings to a lot of people. He’s got a couple others that are good on same album. I certainly don’t consider him bro-country. Maybe not pure country, but I like him.
I love Miranda’s “Roots and Wings” better than anything I’ve heard her sing in a long time. I will buy that if possible. Had not heard it. Songs like “Little Red Wagon” don’t cut it for me.
And thanks for introducing me to artists that I never hear because they aren’t on country music stations.(if they can be called that;)
Right now, I can’t get enough of Chris Stapleton….learned about him when Meghan Linsey did his cover of Tennessee River on the Voice and acknowledged that. I then looked him up and bought the whole album. I just found out Chris Stapleton did Austin City Limits. Crap!! My son lives there.
Keep on keeping on. I’m spreading the word about your blog to females that want to Save Country Music!!
June 4, 2015 @ 5:36 pm
Oh yeah, and surely at least one song (I don’t care which) from Roo Arcus deserves at least an honorable mention? That guy’s fantastic!!
June 4, 2015 @ 9:50 pm
Here’s a new artist that I hope gets some traction
June 5, 2015 @ 7:30 am
Eric Paslay”¦. wow that is really fine.
June 5, 2015 @ 1:40 pm
Standards is the only good song up there. Surprised theres no new Jon Pardi, Aaron Watson or Georges new song Let It Go.
Pretty boring list.
June 5, 2015 @ 1:48 pm
This isn’t a list of artists, it is a list of songs. But we all have different tastes. Was just hoping to share the few that have touched me.
June 5, 2015 @ 10:01 pm
Straight up and down, I hate that Waitin’ Round to Die cover. I just can’t do it, man. It’s one of those where the original is just too damned perfect. A Jamey Johnson sound-alike introducing instrumental bombast into that first chorus just misses the point. It’s too clean…whereas the original had that off-beat, simple drum track behind an easy melody. That’s all that song needed. Turning up the juice on “Waitin’ ‘Round to Die” just jacks up the mood of the song. Definitely applaud the song choice. Easily my favorite Townes song.
Cody Jinks’ new one is spectacular. Love that album. Great stuff.
June 9, 2015 @ 9:37 am
I really like newcomer Mo Pitney’s song called “Country”. It was co-written by Whisperin’ Bill Anderson. Pitney reminds me of Easton Corbin or a young Alan Jackson.
Pitney is quickly becoming a fan favorite on the Grand Ole Opry and was recently signed to Curb.