May was absolutely stacked! Every week there was some sort of great country music being released. The two top contenders for Country Perspective’s 2015 Album of the Year award were released. These two artists’ albums take up the majority of the top ten. A debut solo album from a Texas country artist turned heads and an EP from one of the best in mainstream country music impressed me. On top of that the most country album of the year from a talented duo blew me away. Choosing this month’s top ten was very difficult, so if a favorite of yours didn’t make it just know the competition was fierce. So without further ado the top ten country songs of May…
- Whitey Morgan – “Still Drunk, Still Crazy, Still Blue” – This is not only the best song of the month for me, but one of the best of the year. Morgan absolutely hit a home run with this Scott H. Biram song. It has the perfect amount of emotion, edge and twangy steel guitar. This was one of many great songs on the excellent Sonic Ranch album.
- Chris Stapleton – “Parachute” – The other phenomenal album released in May was Chris Stapleton’s Traveller, which produced plenty of stunning songs. My favorite though is the rollicking “Parachute,” written by Stapleton and Jim Beavers. The lyrics are fantastic and catchy too. The instrumentation and Stapleton’s vocals are flawless.
- Chris Stapleton – “Whiskey and You” – I went back and forth on choosing where these two Stapleton songs should be placed. If you ask me tomorrow, I would maybe move “Whiskey and You” up to #2. Tim McGraw and Jason Eady originally recorded this song before Stapleton, but neither did the song as much justice as Stapleton. He wrote the song so I’m not too surprised his performance is the best, but what makes his version stand out is the stripped down instrumentation allowing Stapleton’s vocals to shine.
- Whitey Morgan – “Waitin’ Round To Die” – On my first few listens of the Sonic Ranch album, this wasn’t one of my favorites. As I’ve listened to it more though, this song just gets better every time I hear it. Townes Van Zandt wrote this song years ago and never even knew who Morgan was when he wrote it, but this just feels tailor-made for Whitey. His bellowing vocals and the gritty theme of the album just all fits so well around this song. I can’t imagine another artist covering this song better.
- Jon Pardi – “Borrowed Time” – Nine times out of ten mainstream country music has been giving us crap in 2015. But when we get that one time that’s good, it’s freaking great. Jon Pardi’s new EP The B-Sides, 2011-2014 is a must-buy for country music fans. The whole thing is great, but the song that stands out the most is the emotional “Borrowed Time” that deals with how short life is and how you should remember to live life to the fullest. Bravo to Pardi for pushing to have this EP released. It proves he’s the real deal and someone to keep an eye on.
- Jamie Lin Wilson – “Roses By The Dozen” – Jamie Lin Wilson had been part of numerous groups in her music career up to this point, but she’s now on her own and her debut album Holidays & Wedding Rings proves that she can hold her own as a solo artist. “Roses By The Dozen” is a chilling murder ballad that gave me goosebumps on the first listen. It’s not completely obvious the wife in the song murdered her husband until midway through the song, but when that obvious moment emerges it blows the listeners’ minds.
- The Malpass Brothers – “Here In Alberta I’ll Stay” – Who are these guys? This is a young duo determined to be as country as possible. I’ve been dying to review their self-titled album that was just released and you’ll finally get to see it tomorrow. So you’ll see more on this tomorrow. For now give a listen for yourself.
- Chris Stapleton – “Sometimes I Cry” – This is the third song on the list for Stapleton and it’s the closing song on Traveller. Stapleton performed this song live in front of a small group in the iconic RCA Studio A. Stapleton crams all of his emotion into this song and then some. His voice shines many times on the album, but it arguably shines brightest on this song.
- Whitey Morgan – “That’s How I Got To Memphis” – Whitey once again covered a song from an iconic country artist perfectly. This time it’s a Tom T. Hall song and closes out Sonic Ranch with a bang. I think many listeners will overlook this song, but I personally think it’s a great heartbreak ballad that Whitey delivers well.
- The Malpass Brothers – “It’ll Be Me” – Once again wait until tomorrow. Older readers and country historians will recognize that this is a Jerry Lee Lewis song. The Malpass Brothers brilliantly cover it.
- Chris Stapleton – “More of You” & “Daddy Doesn’t Pray Anymore”
- Whitey Morgan – “Leavin’ Again” & “Me and the Whiskey”
- Jon Pardi – “Rainy Night Song” & “Drinkin’ With Me”
- Jamie Lin Wilson – “Just Some Things (feat. Wade Bowen)” & “Yours & Mine”
- Mickey Guyton – “Why Baby Why” & “Somebody Else Will”
- Miranda Lambert – “Roots and Wings”