It seems like whenever I start making “Best Of” lists, I draw the ire of one group of people or another. I think I am misunderstood quite commonly that my “Top” picks mean that they are my favorite personally, or that maybe I am even trying to push some agenda.
I really do agonize over this stuff, and try to look at the big picture. The significance of a song or album or artist is just as much important to how much I personally like it. I try to ask, it important in some way? Does a blaze a new direction or unite a fan base? For example, Willie Nelson’s Red Headed Stranger is considered by many, including me, to be the most important country album of all time. But as for the album itself, it has it’s moments, but I don’t consider it Willie’s best work. With all that said, here are my picks for the top Songs of the Year.
#5 – Still Drunk, Still Crazy, Still Blue
The standout track for me from Scott H. Biram’s new album Something’s Wrong/Lost Forever. In an interview he talked about how the song was inspired from a phone call from his mom. She asked him how he was doing, and this was his response. The song was done justice in this video by Judd Films:
#4 – Thowin’ Away My Money
I probably could have picked a number of songs from Wayne Hancock’s latest Viper of Melody, but this song embodies to me the amazing thing about Wayne Hancock’s style. You listen to this song, and are perplexed how this is not a cover from some artist from back in the 50’s. He has a way of penning instant classics, and that is what “Throwin’ Away My Money” is.
#3 – Poor Fool
From my Album of the Year, this is the standout country track that flies in the face of mainstream Nashville’s ideas that the way we have to move forward is by 86-ing steel guitars and classic country themes. It is a simple song that works so perfectly. This isn’t the best representation of this song, but you get the idea:
#2 – Someday I’ll Fall
This is the standout duet on A Bitter Harvest, a collaboration between Rachel Brooke and Lonesome Wyatt of Those Poor Bastards. I know some people will roast me because they think this is not a country song, but this song is more country than 90% of the other stuff out there flying the country flag. It is a duet-a classic country arrangement- and listen to Rachel Brooke’s yodel and tell me that ain’t country. No, it is not traditional country, and that is the only reason that this is #2 instead of #1. Aside from this, it is a masterpiece, and the best work either Rachel or Lonesome has done to date.
#1 – Damn The Luck
A lot of people have wanted to name Lucky Tubb’s latest album Damn the Luck as one of the best albums of 2009, but the music purist in me makes me want to correct everyone by saying that this album came out in 2008. But I’m making an exception to my own rule here, because even though the title track is a 2008 song, you can have singles come out in proceeding years, and for all intents and purposes, 2009 is when this song was presented to the world, and also when the following video was released.
Is Lucky Tubb the next great songwriter? I’m not sure about that, but he hit a home run with this song, and lucky for him, it also happens to be his signature tune. This song hits on all cylinders. What did Steve Goodman say? Simple, straightforward, and poignant, like all country songs are supposed to be. It is perfect.