It’s been a month since I posted my last random playlist, so I thought I’d update my new favorites list. These are just a selection of songs I’ve been listening to quite frequently lately. Maybe one or more of them are in heavy rotation for you right now too.
Trisha Yearwood – Drown Me … This is just one of the many, many superb tracks on Trisha Yearwood’s Heaven, Heartache, and the Power of Love album, in which she created a template for a modern female country album that’s near perfect. Too bad not many are following her design. This funky, rhythm-driven country romp finds two lovers at the end of their time together, with both realizing it, but neither wanting to hurt the other with a goodbye. Yearwood wryly tells her boy, ‘So won’t you give it to me straight/I got a lot of heart to break/And a lot of love for you that needs to die‘, hoping the un-amicable ending will cool any flames that might remain between the two.
Sunny Sweeney –Refresh My Memory … Like a fool, I let all the glowing recommendations of Sunny Sweeney’s Heartbreakers Hall of Fame album pass right by me, mostly because I’ve always got way too many titles on my to-buy list. But after hearing her stellar new single, ‘From A Table Away’, I finally picked up a copy of her CD – at the Ernest Tubb Record Shop in Nashville, no less. On the drive home to Ohio from that trip, I gave the CD two complete listens, and the first track is the one I was drawn to most. It’s been an awful long time since she felt the spark this guy brings to her, or perhaps since she’s felt any sparks at all, and with ‘Refresh My Memory’, she implores him to jog her memory a bit. With steel guitar leading her Texas twang, Sunny glides through the song effortlessly.
George Jones – I’m Not Ready Yet … ‘I’ve always said that someday I was gonnnaa leeeeeaaaaavvee you‘. So begins this classic George Jones hit where he contemplates over and over again the day he’ll finally leave this relationship that’s been dying for quite some time. More than once, he set a date to walk out, but he’s just not ready yet to be out on his own. Maybe someday.
Suzy Bogguss – Aces … Guilt is a very unkind and unsettling emotion. And some of us don’t take criticism very well. ‘Aces’ addresses both of those topics with candid honesty. Amidst an elegant backdrop of 90s country production, Suzy Bogguss sings here of the mistakes she’s made, her lover’s reaction, and gives her response to the charges – ‘You can’t deal me the aces and think I wouldn’t play’ – before ending with her declaration of love. Truly excellent.
Martina McBride – Wrong Again … The continuing countdown of the 400 Greatest Singles of the ’90s at Country Universe brought this song back to my attention again last week. Since then, I’ve found myself clicking play on it more and more. One of Martina’s finest and most understated moments, it finds her admitting her own mistakes, and longing to be past making them at this point. I’m with you, Martina.
Mary Chapin Carpenter – I Put My Ring Back On … The lead single from Carpenter’s latest album didn’t get much attention from country radio, but it’s right up there with the best of her literate and melodic up-tempo tracks. Finding faith to stay the course in a relationship makes the basis for ‘I Put My Ring Back On’, which, as the title suggests, finds the singer forgiving rather than running away, after a heated fight.
Kenny Chesney – Better As A Memory … Easily my favorite Chesney single from the past decade, ‘Better As A Memory’ is a slow-paced and sparse confessional, and the delivery showcases Kenny Chesney’s ability to wrap into a great lyric, when he’s chosen one. ‘Never sure when the truth won’t do/I’m pretty good on a lonely night/I move on the way a storm blows through/I never stay, but then again, I might‘. And so goes the revealing testimony in this track.
Jamey Johnson – Women … With romantic entanglement comes frustration. Jamey Johnson and co-writer Jim Brown come closer to describing the fairer sex than I ever could with this soon-to-be classic cut. Another confessional, this time framed by a more traditional country production, Johnson tells of his struggles with commitment, ‘I’ve made a sad one laugh/And I’ve made a good one cry/I’ve made one scream my name to the good lord by and by/I’ve made ‘em go insane and I’ve made ‘em go away/Just can’t ever seem to make one stay‘ before concluding his weakness and the self-realization that ‘with any luck I’ll take one home tonight’.
What songs are you playing the most these days? Any particular reason why you’re drawn to them right now?