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Wednesday, February 12, 2014

"Top 10 Country Songs ... 2013"

“Top 10 Country Songs … 2013”

2013 was a great year for country music.  It was both a year for new songs from some favorite artists and a year for break-through artists to establish their presence in the world of country music.  Some of the songs on this list did not generate much air play; however, I chose them along with the others for their innate brilliance.  Others of these songs are new songs from established artists that radiantly reflect their reputable career.  However, they all exemplify the greatness of country music.

I, through the past year, have been taking note on songs that have bid particularly well on the country music charts, as well as songs that have caught my personal attention for their intrinsic merit.  There were other songs in this past year that have been excluded from this list.  Some of these songs have lasting quality to be shared with generations to come.  Moreover, within the entire catalogue of country music this past year, many others reflect the talent of both their performers and of their writers. 

I am very happy to welcome artists such as Taylor Swift and Tim McGraw to this list for their wonderful contributions to country music this year.  I also welcome artists such as Kacey Musgrave and Locash to this list for their emergence into country music this year. 

However, among the many great songs and performances this past year, I chose to compile this Top 10 list on the preceding criteria.  Hopefully some of your favorite songs will be on this list and hopefully you will enjoy others that did not catch your attention over the past year.

Number 10:        The best seat in the house by Lo Cash
                                Locash Official Fan Page
                                Thebest seat in the house Video

This heart-wrenching song captures the familiar love that a father feels for his son and that a son feels for his father.  This love transgresses time from the boy’s youth to the father’s time in heaven.  From little league games to the son’s marriage, the strong vocals and moving lyrics accentuate the sentiment of a father’s bond with his son.

Number 9:           I don’t want this night to end by Luke Bryan
                                LukeBryan Official Fan Page
                                I don't want this night to end Video

This song, featuring the exceptional vocals of Luke Bryan, captures, with integrity, the heart of country music.  It fuses contemporary country with a strong back-beat, appealing feelings of youth with those of mature enthusiasm.   The song represents another entry to the broad base of music by Luke Bryan in the country music library.

Number 8:           Everybody’s got somebody but me by Hunter Hayes
                                HunterHayes Official Fan Page
                                Everybody’sgot somebody but me Video

This song reflects the influence of a traditional country sound infused with a melodic muse reflecting the nearly forgotten standards of the first half of the twentieth century.  Hunter Haze’s voice and lyrical styling, however, creates a sound that is pure country.  The song highlights a casual wander through an evening or day, whichever you prefer, reflecting the loneliness felt in the song in a trifling manner.

Number 7:           The boys around here by Blake Shelton (with the Pistol Annie’s)
                                BlakeShelton Official Fan Page
                                Theboys around here Video

This song couples the sensual background vocals of the Pistol Annie’s with the classic country singing of Blake Shelton.   The song, released early last year, was Blake Shelton’s ninth number one in a row followed by Mine would be you which was to become his tenth straight number one hit on country music radio.  This song has lasting quality with the purist sounds of country that is its essence.


Number 6:           Blowin’ smoke by Kacey Musgrave
                                KaceyMusgrave Official Fan Page
                                Blowin’Smoke Video

Although Kacey Musgraves has been recording country music for over ten years, she first emerged as a force in country music this past year.  The song,”Blowin’ Smoke,” did not fare well on the charts; however, it received critical acclaim by critics. The album from which it was released, “Same trailer different park” received the Grammy for 2014 Country Music Album of the Year Award.  Hopefully, there will be more music from this talented artist brought our way.

Number 5:           I drive your truck by Lee Brice
                                Lee Brice Official Fan Page
                                I drive your truck Video

Lee Brice has been an artist that has been persistently on the country music charts for the past few years.  He has brought us all a great deal of exceptional music.  However, once in a while an artist such as this will bring us a particularly memorable song.  This song is an example of just that.  This song masterfully captures the loss of a family member poignantly with powerful lyrics and the powerful vocals of Lee Brice.

Number 4:           One of those nights by Tim McGraw
                                TimMcGraw Official Fanpage
                                Oneof those nights Video

 Tim McGraw has been a superstar on the country music scene for more than two decades.  His debut, self-titled album “Tim McGraw”, although not commercially successful, was warmly received by critics.  His second album, “Not a moment too soon” brought to the artist both fame and critical acclaim.  Songs such as “Don’t take the girl,” which reached number one on the country charts, and the title track, Not a moment too soon established Tim McGraw as one of the most endeared performers in country music.  Throughout the years Tim McGraw, has released dozens of chart-topping singles including “Live like you weredying” and “Red, rag top.”  The song, “One of those nights,” was yet another one of the monumental songs in this singer’s acclaimed and illustrious career.

Number 3:           Not my mama’s broken heart by Miranada Lambert
                                MirandaLambert Official Fanpage
                                Notmy mama’s broken heart Video

From the first time that I heard this song, it became one of my favorite country songs; not only of this year, but of the many songs released in the many years that I have been listening to country music.   The song brought to me a new level of appreciation to this singer whose music I have always enjoyed.  The song is true to the folk-rock nature of most of her songs.  Take a listen to this song to see if you agree. 

Number 2:           Downtown by Lady Antebellum
                                LadyAntebellum Official Fanpage

Lady Antebellum is best known for her cross-over hit, “Need you now,” which helped her earn Grammy’s in 2011 for Best Country Album, Record of the Year, and Best Country Song.  Lady Antebellum’s earlier signature song was “Looking for a goodtime.”  In early 2013 Lady Antebellum released the song, “Downtown” as a return to their country roots.  Although the song did not have cross-over appeal, it was warmly received by country music listeners reaching number one on the country charts.

Number 1:           Begin again by Taylor Swift
                                TaylorSwift Official Fanpage
The video to this song is almost as compelling as the song.  The understated beauty of Taylor Swift accents the song which discusses new love after a difficult relationship.  In the video, the artist is adorned in classical attire with the background of classical Paris.  The song, perfectly captured in this video, entreats its listeners to these images every time the song plays.

In 2006, Taylor Swift released her first single, “Tim McGraw.”  The song, although not reaching number one on the country charts, instantly brought fame to this young singer with the listening public eagerly awaiting her follow up song.  The listening public was graced not only by her immediate follow up releases, but also to the rest of her music catalogue to this point in her career.

Taylor Swift has also become a pop icon with her music as successful on pop radio as it has been on country radio.  However, she has stayed true to her country heritage with songs such as “You should have said no,” and her release at the beginning of this past year, “Begin Again.”

In her career, which has spanned eight years, she has received overwhelming commercial success as well as critical acclaim from critics and award giving bodies.  She has sold over twenty million albums nationally with three number one albums on the billboard album chart.  In addition, she has won seven Grammy Awards, six Academy of Country Music Awards, as well as dozens upon dozens of other awards.

The song, “Begin again”, with its emotive lyrics and passionate allure, struck a chord with fans as deep as any of her previous releases.   The sentimental love story is pronounced with the lyrics, “I’ve been spending the last eight months thinking all love ever does isbreak, and burn, and end.  But on aWednesday, in a café, I watched it begin again.”  The sentimental nature of these lyrics, as well as the brilliant vocal interpretation of Taylor Swift, establishes this song as a country classic for all time.  

I hope you have enjoyed this “Top 10 Country Music … 2013” list of songs.  Hopefully I have listed a few of your favorites as well as uncovered additional songs you may enjoy.  The vast library of country music is a treasure for us all.  I look forward to another great year in country music.   

You are most welcome to leave comments and to share this list with friends.  Keep an eye open for new “Top 10 Country Music Songs …” in the future.

Thank you.

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