Country Perspective’s Best Country Songs of 2015 So Far

Just like country albums, there have been no shortage of great country songs released in 2015. But when it comes to the best country songs of the year, we’re not just talking about catchy and/or fun songs. No, when it comes to these song of the year candidates, these are the type of songs that you can feel. These are the songs that come straight from the heart and you feel it in your own. These are the songs where the artist dug deep into their own personal life and let it shine in their music. This the absolute best in songwriting. So without further ado here are the top 13 songs of 2015 so far and the top contenders right now for Country Perspective’s Best Song of 2015.

Whitey Morgan – “Still Drunk, Still Crazy, Still Blue”

Even though it’s hard to pick a favorite on an album as good as this one, “Still Drunk, Still Crazy, Still Blue” stands out a little more for me than the rest. Everything in this song works so well together that I liken it to a well-oiled machine. You couldn’t make it any better. The punctuating moment of this song is when Whitey croons out, “Well I’m still drunk, still blue, I’m still all fucked up over you/I’m still stoned, I’m still alone.” It really helps paint the picture of a heartbroken man drinking himself silly. It may seem like a simple song, but the emotions and instrumentation really make this song special. 

Click here for the full review of Sonic Ranch.

Chris Stapleton – “Whiskey & You”

You should recognize the next song, “Whiskey and You,” as Tim McGraw originally recorded it on his Let It Go album in the early 2000s. Jason Eady also recorded this song on his 2014 album Daylight & Dark. I can say with confidence out of the three, Stapleton’s recording is the best. It’s not just because he wrote the song too. It’s the fact that Stapleton delivers the emotion of this song so much better than those two. He does this by stripping this song down completely and only using an acoustic guitar for instrumentation, allowing his voice to tell the story of the song. It’s raw and grips your attention from start to finish. Stapleton absolutely nails this song. 

Click here for the full review of Traveller.

Jon Pardi – “Borrowed Time”

The last song on the EP is “Borrowed Time,” a song that explores how short life is and how we only have so much time before it’s all over. This might be Pardi’s best song yet, as everything in this song perfectly works together. The lyrics are honest, heartfelt and to the point. It has a very similar vibe to Dierks Bentley’s “Here on Earth.” This is a song I recommend you hear for yourself, as words don’t properly describe it. It’s the kind of song that will make people respect and appreciate Pardi’s talent.

Click here for the full review of The B-Sides, 2011-2014 EP.

Randy Rogers & Wade Bowen – “Standards”

“Standards” is the standout of the album and the song everyone will talk about the most from Hold My Beer. It’s rightly being praised too, as it’s a brilliant country music protest song. Now I know country music protest songs have started to become cliché themselves, especially coming from Texas country artists. What makes this one so great though is the fact that it’s not in your face, but rather has a matter of fact, cool attitude. A country label big wig tries to get Bowen and Rogers to record a song about a dirt road, but they refuse at his every attempt because it’s just not for them. As they say, “I don’t have hits, I’ve got standards,” a statement that means so much. This is a top contender for Country Perspective’s 2015 Song of the Year award.

Click here for the full review of Hold My Beer, Vol. 1.

Will Hoge – “Guitar or a Gun”

Following this is the rocking “Guitar or a Gun.” Hoge penned this tune with Gary Allan and Dylan Altman, and told Saving Country Music that he had actually written 12 verses to the song. Eventually the trio landed on two verses for the song and left the story of a teenager deciding between buying a guitar or a gun unresolved. The comparisons drawn between the two and the pictures painted about the life that would come from them are excellent; “Guitar or a Gun” is one of the album’s top tracks.

Click here for the full review of Small Town Dreams.

Zac Brown Band – “Bittersweet”

Finally the group delivers a beautiful song that showcases their great talent in “Bittersweet.” It’s one of the best written songs on the album, as it’s about a man losing his wife to a disease and how he’s reflecting on the fact that tomorrow she won’t be there with him. The songwriting evokes great emotion in the listener and might even bring a tear to your eye. The instrumentation is equally good and I love the guitar and fiddles crashing in at the end of the song to really punctuate the song. This is the Zac Brown Band I know and love on this song.

Click here for the full review of Jekyll + Hyde.

Reba – “Just Like Them Horses”

The next song is “Just Like Them Horses.” This is the song that Reba sang at her fathers funeral. What a beautiful song…lyrically and vocally. I can’t imagine how a live performance of this song would affect other’s emotions because hearing this song gives me goosebumps. It’s well-written and Reba’s voice makes this song so emotive and heart wrenching.

Click here for the full review of Love Somebody.

Gretchen Peters – “Everything Falls Away”

Following this song is “Everything Falls Away,” which is a despairing piano ballad about trying to move on after a loved one passes away.

This is probably one of the darkest songs I’ve heard this year and Peters brilliantly captures the mood of a person dealing with anguish and the feeling of helplessness after a loved one has died. The first time I heard it I got goosebumps and I’m still amazed every time I hear it. If you haven’t listened to this song or Blackbirds, you need to do it.

Click here for the full review of Blackbirds.

Mo Pitney – “Clean Up On Aisle Five”

I can see why when Pitney performed this song at the Opry last summer and he got a standing ovation. Maybe this song will be to him what “Long Black Train” was to Josh Turner. Pitney could be the next Turner type on radio and we could definitely use another artist like Turner at the moment. Pitney seems dedicated to the traditional sound and he has the chops and talent to pull it off. Keep giving him songs like this and he should be a household name in no time. In a perfect world this song gets a ton of radio play, but we live in a far from perfect world. Regardless, “Clean Up On Aisle Five” is a song that everyone should check out and give a listen. This may be one of the best songs we’ll hear from mainstream country music in 2015. 

Click here for the full review of “Clean Up On Aisle Five.”

The Lone Bellow – “Then Came The Morning”

The album starts off with the upbeat and gospel influenced “Then Came the Morning.” The combination of the harmony interludes along with the hints of horn production give this song an infectious harmony that makes you want to listen to it over and over again. It immediately draws the listener into the album. 

Click here for the full review of Then Came The Morning.

Justin Townes Earle – “Day and Night”

Earle goes dark and somber with “Day and Night.” It’s a more stripped down song instrumentation wise and once again let’s Earle tell a story with his brilliant voice. This is another song where Earle personally reflects on his hard life and all of the struggles he went through to get to this point, but he’s now happy because he has found the love of his life (his new wife he just married). Again the raw emotion Earle expresses in his voice is quite moving.

Click here for the full review of Absent Fathers.

Houndmouth – “By God”

“By God” is a rock country song with a rocking beat and a subtle, sinister undertone. It’s about a man who has things going wrong around him and insisting for them to “turn out the lights,” but to leave his “candle burning.” The harmonies are spot-on throughout. Everything in this song simply works to make for one of the best songs on the album.

Click here for the full review of Little Neon Limelight.

Ryan Bingham – “Broken Heart Tattoos”

Following up this track is “Broken Heart Tattoos.” I hear a ton of Bob Dylan influence in Ryan Bingham on this album, and this song is particularly evident of that influence. Here, Bingham is singing to his child. Children are born into innocence, without worry and without pain at first. However, this song encourages, “take your sweet time and walk a straight line. And don’t you be shy of your wilder side or be afraid to let loose with broken heart tattoos.”

Click here for the full review of Fear and Saturday Night.

 

9 thoughts on “Country Perspective’s Best Country Songs of 2015 So Far

  1. Clovis Mello June 18, 2015 / 11:54 am

    My favorite song this year that’s not on this list is “Bluebonnets (Julia’s Song)” by Aaron Watson. Wasn’t my favorite song on the album my first listen through, but it’s definitely grown to be my favorite.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. brettp June 18, 2015 / 12:57 pm

    Good job guys. While im not very familiar with a few of these i couldnt agree more with the Whitey pick. He really made this Biram tune his own. Whiskey and You is an excellent song no doubt but i just think its been done to death. As far as Stapleton goes, i probably would have chosen Fire Away or Parachute from a songwriting standpoint.
    Totally off topic but mentioning Eady made me think of it. I believe his album Daylight and Dark has to be one of the most underated releases in the past decade! If it wasnt for Simpson and Metamodern, i believe it couldve really shined last year. Thoughts?

    Like

  3. Zack June 18, 2015 / 1:07 pm

    Fantastic list! Some that I still need to hear but I can’t argue with anything here. Btw Josh, thanks for recommending Houndmouth’s latest album, I’ve had it and Gretchen Peters on repeat for the last couple of days!

    Anyway, here’s my personal list: (No order, and only doing one per artist)

    Aaron Watson-Bluebonnets(Julia’s Song)

    I had a friend who died in March and this song is one that hits me every time, especially since he was only 18.

    Gretchen Peters- Everything Falls Away

    So glad you guys included this on the list. Like Bluebonnets, this song just gets to me every time….it’s that rare kind of hauntingly beautiful that is hard to pull off but Gretchen does it with ease.

    Jamie Lin Wilson- Whisper On My Skin
    Whitey Morgan- Waitin’ Round To Die
    Zac Brown Band- Bittersweet
    William Clark Green- Ringling Road
    Will Hoge- They Don’t Make Em Like They Used To
    Steve Earle- The Tennessee Kid

    And if I had to judge the best country SINGLES, then I’d say these:

    Dierks Bentley- Riser
    Tim McGraw/Catherine Dunn- Diamond Rings and Old Barstools
    Love and Theft- Whiskey On My Breath
    Jana Kramer- I Got The Boy
    Cam- Burning House
    Sunny Sweeney/Will Hoge- My Bed
    Lee Ann Womack- Send It On Down
    Chris Stapleton- Traveller
    Zac Brown Band- Homegrown
    Carrie Underwood- Little Toy Guns

    I’m assuming tomorrow is the list of worst country singles? I can’t wait if so 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

    • Josh Schott June 18, 2015 / 1:13 pm

      Thanks! And no problem. Glad you like them!

      Your guess is correct, tomorrow is the worst. And there are plenty of songs to make a list. Haha!

      Like

      • Raymond June 18, 2015 / 1:31 pm

        That should be fun. I want some Luke FGL and Raelynn Sam Hunt. I am hopeful there will be no Kelsea but I doubt it. Speaking of which I got to hear Kelsea Ballerini than Deanna Carter Strawberry Wine. That is 2 women back to back. Well can you at least put the Gloriana album track Are You Ready that is just awful.

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    • Zack June 18, 2015 / 7:01 pm

      Wow…..I totally forgot a prime candidate. I’d like to add The Lone Bellow’s “Telluride” to my list

      Like

  4. ellie June 18, 2015 / 7:51 pm

    I love clean up on aisle five . Cant wait to hear more by him.

    Like

  5. stu July 2, 2015 / 10:41 am

    only my opinion, so take it as you will.

    But I have to respectfully disagree with you on “whiskey and you”. Jason Eady blew that song out of the water, whereas I felt Stapletons version seemed a little forced. I still liked it, and I’m sure I’d like it more if I hadn’t heard Eady’s version. Also think if Tim Mcgraws version was more stripped down then that could potentially be the best. Regardless of who sings it though, this has been one of my favorite songs in many many years!

    Also, I have similar feelings about “still drunk, crazy, and blue”. Scott Birams version to me is more passionate and emotional, you really get the feeling that this guy is all alone and has hit rock bottom. So naturally when I heard Whitey’s version I cringed a little. It’s a decent version but I think his best song on the album is “Waitin round to die”.

    BTW, first time posting here. Glad to see another site that is exposing crap country for what it is and shining light on the good stuff!!

    Liked by 2 people

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