My Kind of Country

Country music from a fan's point of view since 2008

Occasional Hope’s favorite singles of 2013

i let her talkCountry radio may have gone from bad to worse this year, but as ever there were a few bright spots – and some great singles away from the mainstream offerings. Here are my favorite singles of 2013:

10. Wagon Wheel – Darius Rucker
A vibrant, charming cover with rootsy production. What a pity the rest of the album was so deadly dull.

9. It Ain’t The Whiskey – Gary Allan
A bit loud, and perhaps rather similar to past songs, but a great vocal makes this worthwhile.

8. Songs About Trucks – Wade Bowen
An emotion I think we can all get behind – no more songs about trucks, please. But this isn’t just a complaint, this song also has a genuine emotional storyline which lets it stand on its own merits.

overnight success7. Overnight Success – Zane Williams
The independent artist explains how to become a country star, overnight (well, after nine or ten years hard work, of course). A fine song, by turns ironic, self-deprecating and good humoured.

6. Stripes – Brandy Clark
The witty song isn’t the best on the singer-songwriter’s excellent album 12 Stories, but it’s highly entertaining nonetheless. It’s a pity it hasn’t got more mainstream attention.

what are you listening to5. What Are You Listening To – Chris Stapleton
A very tastefully arranged recording, a well written song, and intensely emotional vocal. It wasn’t as successful as I had hoped it would be, and the singer-songwriter and former SteelDriver still awaits release of his solo album for Mercury, but it’s a fine and memorable record.

4. I Got A Car – George Strait
The story song about a couple’s journey from first meeting to starting a family, written by Keith Gattis and Tom Douglas, was an obvious single choice from George’s current album. It is packed full of charm, and shows the veteran (unexpectedly named the CMA Entertainer of the year) still has commercial potential.

3. Could It Be – Charlie Worsham
A debut single from a young artist with a fresh, youthful sound. Utterly charming. I wasn’t as taken by the album, but the single (which reached #13 on the country airplay chart) stands up as one of the more refreshing moments on country radio this year.

borrowed2. Borrowed – LeAnn Rimes
A cheating song from LeAnn’s somewhat controversial Spitfire album. Her mature vocals are beautiful, and the self-penned song draws with an unsparing honesty on LeAnn’s own experiences with her early relationship with her current husband, when both were married to others. The song’s complicated emotions didn’t help LeAnn’s increasingly chequered image, but it’s a fine and deeply truthful song – what country music is all about. The production is delicately sensitive and allows the vocals to shine.

1. I Let Her Talk – Erin Enderlin
A fantastic story song from the singer-songwriter, this beautifully realised tale narrates a bar room encounter between two women drowing their troubles. In an unexpected twist the meeting turns out to be between a man’s wife (the narrator) and his clueless “careless drunk” lover. Erin wrote the song with the great Leslie Satcher, and it is perfectly constructed. This was the promotional single for Erin’s independent album of the same name, and although it received limited mainstream attention it was absolutely the best single of the year for me.

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4 responses to “Occasional Hope’s favorite singles of 2013

  1. Paul W Dennis December 21, 2013 at 9:27 am

    Nice list – far better than the usual radio fare, but truth be told , there were only five songs on your list that I really liked – the entries by Brandy Clark, Erin Enderlin, Zane Williams, Darius Rucker, George Strait. I guess that explains why I don’t listen to much over-the-air country radio anymore.

  2. AndyTheDrifter December 21, 2013 at 10:06 am

    Great list. The Erin Enderlin song is really great – can’t believe I haven’t bought her album yet.

    It really speaks volumes of the quality of today’s country radio that only one or two of these were actual hits.

  3. Luckyoldsun December 24, 2013 at 2:08 am

    Good list. Makes me want to order a few of the CD’s.
    “Wagon Wheel” was the first country song I’ve heard from Darius Rucker that didn’t suck. Can’t say I’m surprised that it’s an exception from what’s on the rest of his album.

  4. jaredrexclark December 25, 2013 at 6:07 pm

    I Love “I Got a Car” and it is very different compared to most of the current songs you hear on the radio. Such a great story song and I am a little surprised it hasn’t been played on the radio since it has been released as a single, and I am hoping that changes in the coming weeks!

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