In previous years, I’ve compiled a top 10 singles list, but although there have been some encouraging signs on country radio, I didn’t feel inspired by this year’s releases. Instead I want to highlight some of the best individual songs which appeared on albums which didn’t make my top 10 albums list, together with the odd single not yet featured on a full length release.
10. ‘What I’d Say’ – Lorrie Morgan
Realising her voice was in decline, Lorrie took steps to get it back to something approaching its best. This gorgeous reading of the classic was the highlight of her new album.
9. ‘I Never Will Marry’ – Loretta Lynn
Loretta goes old-time country folk on this track from Full Circle. A delight.
8. ‘Pawn Shop’ – Shelley Skidmore
A great Brandy Clark story song about hard lives and broken dreams reminiscent of the best country songs.
7. ‘Can’t Be That Wrong’ – Dolly Parton
A ballad about cheating, guilt and refusal to repent.
6. ‘Drinking With Dolly’ – Stephanie Quayle
A truly delightful wistful reimagining of the lives of country stars of the past.
5. – ‘It’s Just A Dog’ – Mo Pitney
A heartbreaker about the love of a rescue dog.
4. ‘Had A Thing’ – Curtis Grimes
The best song from Curtis’s excellent eight-track EP/album which, with a few more songs would have had a shot at making my top 10 list.
3. ‘Lonesomeville’ – William Michael Morgan
A lovely neotraditional lost love ballad from a young man who is starting to make real headway in the mainstream. Very reminiscent of early Joe Nichols.
2. ‘Still A Child’ – Dori Freeman
25 year old Dori Freman from Virginia is a folk-country singer-songwriter whose self-titled debut album was produced by British folk musician Teddy Thompson. Not all of it is perfect, but her pretty, fragile voice shines, and the best song by far is this graceful waltz. A gentle melody belies a hard hitting lyric rejecting a man who just can’t grow up. Excellent.
1. ‘Sad One Coming On’ – Vince Gill
Vince’s latest solo album was a sad disappointment, but it was almost redeemed by this superb, heartfelt tribute to George Jones, which is an instant classic.