Now, I will present you with my ten favorite songs in country music in 2014. I have not limited this list to songs that were singles. I have also limited it to one song per artist (otherwise I may have ended up populating the entire list with Wade Bowen's new album). And, whenever possible, I have posted audio and/or video of the songs represented.
Read and sound off in the comments section!
"Piece of Heaven" was a prime cut off of Rossell''s 2014 album I Got Dressed Up For This. This was an amazing song where the singer laments on the bad decisions that lead to the end of a relationship. "You can't hold a piece of heaven if you keep dragging it through hell," Rossell sings. The production on the song is great and Rossell's vocals are the best they get on this underrated and little-known album from 2014. Unfortunately, I cannot find a legitimate/legal source for video/audio of the song, so it cannot be posted here, but pick up the song (or better yet, give the entire album a chance) on iTunes.
9. Lucinda Williams - "East Side of Town"
I included Williams' album on my list of top 10 albums of the year, and this song is one of my favorite cuts off of the album. Williams' voice here is top notch as she sings about the darker side of life that too many people are living and how the problems most of us experience are pretty minor compared to those others experience - and how when we witness those problems first hand, our first desire becomes to turn the other way. The video below is an abridged liver performance.
8. Karyn Rochelle - "I Wish He'd Been Drinking Whiskey"
I've touted Rochelle's album several times in the past few months, speaking very highly of her singing talent and her songwriting. This is one of my favorite tracks off of the album where Rochelle desperately sings about the end of a relationship, wishing she could blame drinking for the words of her lover leaving, but realizing he'd given up drinking for her, and that these words he now says are pure truth. A brilliantly beautiful song.
Again, no legitimate/legal source of video or audio, so head on over to iTunes and download it.
7. Travis Linville - "Shoulder to the Wheel"
Off of Linville's five-song 2014 EP, Out on the Wire, there wasn't a wasted moment. One of my favorite tracks though was a song called "Shoulder to the Wheel." Linville starts the song with one of my favorite lyrics of the year: "It was a long long time ago and far far away, I guess you could say it was like every other day." The song only gets better from there.
6. Ronnie Dunn - "I Wish I Still Smoked Cigarettes"
Dunn's album was up-and-down, but what was clear was that the songs that were good were really good. "I Wish I Still Smoked Cigarettes" was a prime example of that. Dunn laments on the past and when he was able to do things that were neither healthy nor responsible because he was too young to know any better. The song is one of the great ones from this past year.
5. David Nail - "Brand New Day"
I've made a point this past year of making it clear that "Whatever She's Got" was hardly indicative of the quality of Nail's 2014 album I'm a Fire. On "Brand New Day," Nail quietly sings about picking himself back up, not just after a relationship, but after that period after a relationship...that period where there's too much hurt to be ready to move on. Lee Ann Womack's daughter, Aubrie Sellers, provides backing vocals on the track.
4. Sturgill Simpson - "Turtles all the Way Down"
It's a song that really needs to be experienced. Trying to decipher a single meaning from it is very difficult because there's so much to it. One of the most traditional country songs of this year and off of his brilliant album Metamodern Sounds in Country Music, "Turtles all the Way Down" is such a rare breed of song.
3. Stoney Larue - "Aviator"
Another song that sounds so simple, yet there's so much going on. I won't pretend to know everything the song is about, but I interpret it as a song about a mask - using something simple to hide the fact that we may ourselves be clueless about the path that we're on ("they'll never know where this road may wind") and using a mask to cover up our feelings of fear and sadness ("they're just something to hide behind"). It's a brilliant song with a great sound.
2. Jason Eady - "Daylight and Dark"
Eady's brilliant 2014 album Daylight/Dark featured this title track about being lost between different things and not knowing where to go next. Eady's voice is brilliant and the song is perfect.
1. Wade Bowen - "Long Enough to Be a Memory"
I really could have chosen any of the songs off of Bowen's 2014 self-titled album for this list. It was my favorite album of the year, but perhaps my favorite tracks come down to either this one or "West Texas Rain" (and I promised at the beginning to limit each artist to one song on the list). Ultimately, I decided on this one. Bowen quietly sings about where he grew up and returning there after extended periods away. He sings about being grateful for the places he visits in his life, but the need to return home and hoping that he stays where he stops "long enough to be a memory." It's a perfect song from a perfect album.
And that concludes my list of my top 10 songs of 2014. Sound off below. What were your favorites from this past year?