It seems as Mainstream Country continues to release terrible singles and albums, artists on the indie circuit and Texas releases great albums to counter the bad. May treated us to two definite album of the year candidates, and all around honest, true country music from all the artists listed here. There’s a busy summer ahead with many high-profile releases on tap, but before that, let’s look back at some of my favorite songs released this past month.
- “Still Drunk, Still Crazy, Still Blue” – Whitey Morgan: This Scott H. Biram cover is fantastic. Morgan brings intensity to the song that isn’t found in many heartbreak songs. This version has jumped toward the top of my list of great cover songs. “Still Drunk, Still Crazy, Still Blue” is the definite standout from the excellent album Sonic Ranch.
- “Whiskey And You” – Chris Stapleton: A song that’s been recorded by Tim McGraw and Jason Eady, but Stapleton’s version is the best. The heartache story of drowning your sorrow after she leaves is flawless, and Stapleton’s vocal performance here sells that pain. Sometimes simple is better, and that’s what this song’s production is. This was my favorite off of Chris Stapleton’s debut album Traveller.
- “It’ll Be Me” – Malpass Brothers: A great callback to the golden age of music and a perfect blend of rock n’ roll and country music. Brothers Taylor and Chris sound straight out of 1957 with this Jerry Lee Lewis cover.
- “Just Some Things” – Jamie Lin Wilson (feat. Wade Bowen): A heartbreaking story about an affair and how guilt of cheating eats at both of them. Wilson and Bowen both deliver the emotional pain of the situation perfectly. This duet is one of highlights from Wilson’s solo debut Holidays and Wedding Rings.
- “Leavin’ Again” – Whitey Morgan: Good old-fashioned country music. A beautiful steel guitar and Morgan’s country drawl work together to raise this leaving song to a whole new level. “Leavin’ Again” is a great example of production and vocal performance helping a familiar story sound fresh. Also, I love the melodies from the choir behind Morgan’s vocals.
- “When The Stars Come Out” – Chris Stapleton: The light weight of the lyrics and production stick with me on this song. The production builds at a great pace and Stapleton’s smooth vocals sound great. The use of the steel guitar on this track is excellent.
- “Baby, We’re Really In Love” – Malpass Brothers: Another cover from the Malpass Brothers of a music legend. Their self-titled album is chock-full of great country covers, and this old Hank Williams tune is no exception. From the beautiful ring of the steel guitar to a vocal performance that would surely make old Hank smile.
- “Drunken Nights in the City” – Whitey Morgan: Morgan paints a grim picture of hitting rock bottom. His deep voice captivates you and takes you along on his journey from bar to bar meeting all night women and crooked men along the way.
- “Borrowed Time” – Jon Pardi: From Pardi’s B-Sides EP, this might be his best song in both lyrics and vocals. It’s a song that calls for appreciating time as we have it since our time on Earth will one day stop. Jon Pardi might be one of the best, underrated country acts in the mainstream light, and “Borrowed Time” is a prime example of that.
- “The Devil Named Music” – Chris Stapleton: A tough chronicle of how a musician’s life on the road isn’t as polished and fun as some may think. The heavy harmonica sets the tone for this song.
- “Here Tonight” and “You Left My Chair” – Jamie Lin Wilson
- “Why Baby Why” – Mickey Guyton
- “Parachute” and “Daddy Doesn’t Pray Anymore” – Chris Stapleton
- “Waitin’ ‘Round to Die” and “That’s How I Got to Memphis” – Whitey Morgan
- “A Death in the Family” – Malpass Brothers
Sound off below and let me know what your favorites are!