January produced a lot of great country music and once again we have another great month of country music! This is the kind of start I love. February produced two albums that earned 10/10 here on the site, along with a couple more pretty good albums. So once again it was a challenge to narrow it down to the top 10, but that’s a good problem to have. Without further ado here are what I considered the top ten country songs of February 2015:
- The Mavericks – “What Am I Supposed To Do” – The Mavericks once again produced another fantastic album in Mono and of course it’s filled with a lot of great songs. It took many enjoyable listens to figure out the best of this album and without a doubt I deemed it to be “What Am I Supposed To Do.” The lyrics are good, the beat is catchy and the instrumentation is flawless. I’ll be keeping this in mind for my best country songs of 2015 list.
- Gretchen Peters – “Everything Falls Away” – Going into The Mavericks album I had an idea what to expect, but with Gretchen Peters’ new album Blackbirds I had no idea what I would hear. After reading Derek’s excellent review of the album I immediately stopped listening to the music I had playing. Then I listened to Peters album. And I sat in silence after hearing such a hauntingly, dark album. The song that immediately stood out to me on the very first listen was “Everything Falls Away.” You know what the sign of a good song is? It makes you feel something and this song definitely made me feel something.
- American Aquarium – “Losing Side of Twenty Five” – The North Carolina band produced a solid album in Wolves and there were a couple of songs that definitely stood out to me on it. The one that was easily the best on the album to me is “Losing Side of Twenty Five.” Like Derek, I really connected with this song because I’m right around the age of the man in the song and I can relate to the feeling. The song has really great storytelling and killer instrumentation. Perhaps one of the best songs American Aquarium has ever released.
- Gretchen Peters – “Jubilee” – Derek’s description of “Jubilee” nails it: “Told from the point of view of a person on their death-bed, this song focuses on final thoughts and gearing up to go to heaven. This is a beautiful, gospel like song, with a piano driving the song and excellent vocals from Peters. Also, “Jubilee” features one of the best lines I’ve heard in a song. “My body’s broken, but not my soul. You know it’s love and only love that’s made me whole.” It’s simply a beautiful song.”
- The Mavericks – “The Only Question Is” – Raul Malo absolutely kills it on “The Only Question Is.” His dynamic vocal range flourishes throughout the song and keeps the listener hooked from beginning to end. The cherry on top is the equally great instrumentation, from the piano throughout to the saxophone in the bridge. This song brilliantly blends country, rockabilly and jazz to produce one hell of a sound.
- Gretchen Peters – “When All You Got Is a Hammer” – Did I mention Peters’ album is dark? There are a lot of dark songs, but the darkest track on the album to me is “When All You Got Is a Hammer.” The song is about a soldier dealing with post dramatic stress disorder (PTSD) and how everything around him is pretty much hell. It’s a raw and honest song that tackles a tough subject.
- The Mavericks – “Fascinate Me” – This is another song on Mono where Raul Malo simply amazes me with his vocal control. Some people may consider this a boring song, but to me it’s the perfect romance song. Malo is pretty much seducing your ears with his voice. To me what made Mono even better than In Time was how the romantic, slow songs on Mono were better executed and did a better job of conveying emotion in the listener. Essentially “Fascinate Me” is what put this album over the top for me.
- American Aquarium – “Man I’m Supposed To Be” – As I said in my album review of Wolves: “This is followed by the reflective “Man I’m Supposed to Be,” a soft, statement song. Lead vocalist BJ Barham certainly relates to the song, just being just a singer always on the road doing what he loves, as well as the rest of the band of course. As he sings, “Never first, never last just somewhere in-between, that’s the man I’m supposed to be.” This is one of the highlights of Wolves for sure.”
- Aaron Watson – “Fence Post” – Aaron Watson’s new album The Underdog has certainly caused a lot of buzz in the last week, from reaching #1 on the Billboard Top Country Albums chart to his run-in with radio shock jock Bobby Bones. And of course it’s a solid album too. The big highlight and real ear-catcher of the album is “Fence Post,” the first big country music protest song of the year. Watson basically spells out the bullshit in the country music industry and reflects on his own career. Sure the country protest song has become a little clichéd, but I’m still a sucker for them.
- The Mavericks – “All Night Long” – The Mavericks sit at the top of the list and round out the bottom. While “All Night Long” is the last on the list, it was the song that kicked off Mono and set the tone. You want to start off an album with a song that will hook you and this song does it within the first ten seconds. I find this song impossible to like and impossible to dance to. Plus it’s a good pick-me up after hearing Peters’ dark album.
(Note: Deciding the top four was very difficult to me. I consider them pretty much dead even. I just wanted to point this out.)
- Aaron Watson – “Bluebonnets (Julia’s Song)” & “Freight Train”
- The Western Swing Authority – “Rocket To The Moon”
- Jason Isbell & Amanda Shires – “Mutineer” & “I Follow Rivers”
- Jana Kramer – “I Got The Boy”
- Love & Theft – “Everybody Drives Drunk”