My favorite thing about my top ten this month is the number of independent artists represented here. These are some great songs with wonderful vocal deliveries and fantastic songwriting. My favorite this month by a slight edge is Mack McKenzie’s “Walk With Me”: a heartbreaking song about losing your wife after 50 years. I’m a sucker for that kind of topic, and McKenzie delivers the story with perfection over a simple, acoustic arrangement. At number 2, we have “Old Ways” from Ashley Raines & The New West Revue. Their newest album, After The Bruising was released on Thanksgiving (be on the look out for my review later this month). “Old Ways” is about life’s lessons and understanding the decisions we make have brought us to this point. Mack McKenzie appears again with “I’m Doing Alright”, “One Last, One More”, and “Oceans.” McKenzie’s One Last, One More is simply great country music.
Ashley Raines appears again with the title track from his new album. “After The Bruising” is dark and heavy with room for interpretation within the lyrics. The Doobie Brothers’ reworking of their hit, “Black Water”, with Zac Brown Band was such a pleasure to listen to. I’m convinced there isn’t a song Zac touches that I won’t like and this was no exception. Newcomers Maddie & Tae had an impressive EP released this month. I love the youthful, witty sass they write with, and “Sierra” is a great example of that. It was my favorite of the four songs on that EP. Love and Theft (remember them?) released an impressive single in late November. “Whiskey on My Breath” is about a man who drinks too much and has a life that fell into shambles. When he dies he knows he’ll get into heaven, but the shame of facing Jesus with whiskey on his breath scares him. It’s a wonderful song. And finally, I realize there are only 9 songs on that playlist. My last song comes from Garth Brooks. You know, the man who called Youtube “the Devil” and is anti streaming so I can’t link his studio tracks. I loved “Tacoma” off Man Against Machine.
As a treat, here’s “Tacoma” songwriter Caitlyn Smith performing the song: