Even with all the releases this month, October was looking rather bleak in terms of finding some good country songs released this month. Way too many pop/rock/hip hop/not country albums were released to the mainstream, and I was nervous that I’d have a weak top ten list this month. Luckily, at the 11th hour two gentlemen from Texas/Red Dirt Radio, Wade Bowen and Stoney Larue, released stellar albums in late October with songs that account for six of my top ten.
My favorite song from the month is Wade Bowen’s “Long Enough to Be a Memory.” There’s light production behind Wade’s longing, reminiscent voice in a song about his journey. It’s a great song with some great personal insight and wonder about choices. Second we have Angaleena Presley’s “Surrender” from her debut album, American Middle Class. This isn’t a light, feel good song at all. This song hits you like a brick, but Presley does an amazing job building the story with the lyrics and her voice and breaks your heart in the last line. Third is Wade Bowen again with “Watch Her Drive.” This six and half-minute saga is about a night he spends with the most intriguing girl he’s ever met. She’s so interesting that he wants to be with her and watch her drive wherever they go for the night. The story is captivating and doesn’t feel long or drawn out over the long runtime. Mickey Guyton is new on the scene, but “Better Than You Left Me” is an impressive single. She has a powerful voice and is one to keep an eye on. That song sits at number four for me this month. And rounding out the top five is Stoney Larue’s “Aviator.” It’s a song about wandering lost in life but putting on a face of confidence hidden behind sunglasses. The production builds behind the song, and Stoney’s voice is great on this one.
Angaleena’s “Better Off Red” sits at number six. A powerful story about following her dreams and the internal pain and conflict she feels about leaving home to do so. Texas dominates seven, eight, and nine on this list. Bowen’s introspective song of rambling ways, “West Texas Rain,” and his love ballad “Sweet Leona” are other standouts from his self titled album. Stoney Larue’s “Dark Side of the Line” is great acoustic song about growing older and recognizing that life isn’t forever. Angaleena Presley’s “Dry Country Blues” caps off the ten. This is great song about a town hit hard by the economy and how the citizens make ends meet no matter what; it’s small town commentary at its finest. My honorable mentions this month are every other song from Presley’s, Bowen’s and Larue’s albums. Wade Bowen’s self-titled album and Stoney Larue’s Aviator are great additions to their respective catalogs of top-notch country albums, and Angaleena Presley jumped onto the scene with an impressive debut.