Was it just me or did June feel like it was a long month? It feels like ages since the beginning of June. Anyway the month of June for country music releases was certainly an interesting one. At the beginning of the month two legends released a stellar album. Then an urban cowboy out of nowhere released one of my favorite albums of the year. A critical darling released her sophomore album and another talented female country artist captured critics’ attentions with her new album too. And On The Verge finally chose a song I like to push on their program. It was this music that helped distract from all of the mediocre and forgettable releases from mainstream country music. So without further ado the very best ten songs from country music in the month of June 2015.
- Sam Outlaw – “Ghost Town” – I know Sam Outlaw’s debut album Angeleno isn’t everyone’s cup of tea. But dammit does it resonate with me. I find Angeleno to be one of the most intriguing albums of the year for daring to make Countrypolitan music. One song though I’ve found that everyone liked off of it was “Ghost Town.” It tells a great story with the perfect haunting vibe that hooks you right into the song.
- Courtney Patton – “So This Is Life” – I’m going to admit that I don’t love Courtney Patton’s new album So This Is Life as much as everyone else seems to like it. But that’s because this is a “grower” album to my ears. It’s an album you have to listen to several times until you fully appreciate it. So if you ask me a month from now what I think of it, I’ll probably say I love it. I was the same way with Jamie Lin Wilson’s album and Willie and Merle’s too. But one song I did love from the first listen was the title track. It’s a painfully honest song about life and dreams. Not to mention the brilliant instrumentation that sets the tone of the song perfectly.
- Courtney Patton – “Twelve Days” – Again this was another song from So This Is Life that immediately caught my ears. The song is about being married to a husband who is always out on the road and the pain of having to live away from each other all the time. Patton of course is relating to her own life, as she’s married to fellow alt-country artist Jason Eady. Patton, just like Eady, really gets how to sell the emotion of darker and sadder songs. “Twelve Days” exemplifies this.
- Kacey Musgraves – “Good Ol’ Boys Club” – I know it’s another country protest song. But the timing of this song is absolutely perfect. This song was needed after the debacle of #SaladGate. It’s an honest, straight-forward, to the point song that makes me chuckle and nod my head in sad resignation at the current state of country music radio. It was easily one of the standouts for me on Musgraves’ great new album Pageant Material.
- Sam Outlaw – “Who Do You Think You Are?” – This is the opening song on Angeleno and this song is the perfect opener to the album. It’s a love song with a breezy, carefree attitude that quite frankly is missing from a lot of country love songs nowadays. Most are too serious or too light, but this one feels just right.
- Willie Nelson & Merle Haggard – “Missing ‘Ol Johnny Cash” – Two legends remembering the memory of another. Hipsters nowadays love to claim Cash as a rock artist, but when it comes down to it Cash is a country artist first and foremost. Willie and Merle knew him better than a lot of people, so their homage to him in this song is something special. Not to mention the hilarious anecdote at the end of the song about Cash’s casket prank. This was one of many songs on Django and Jimmie that proved these two legends still got it.
- Kacey Musgraves – “Pageant Material” – The title track of Kacey Musgraves’ new album just felt like the perfect song for her. To me it’s the first song where I felt like we got a song where Kacey was referring to herself rather than others. In other words, it felt personal. It also has a great message of doing things the way you want to do it, damn the conformities society tries to put you in.
- Willie Nelson & Merle Haggard – “Don’t Think Twice, It’s Alright” – Only these two could make a light-hearted, almost funny song about getting out of a relationship.
- Cam – “Burning House” – Okay I bent the rules a little by including this song. It was officially available for purchase in the spring and officially goes for adds in July. But then again I make the rules for this, so I’m going to break them once. Besides it was announced for On The Verge this month and that’s close enough. This haunting song about a deteriorating relationship is the exact type of song Cam needed to garner the attention to become a star. I hope this song is a big hit, as it would bring not only another worthy female artist to the forefront, but also more quality music.
- Sam Outlaw – “I’m Not Jealous” – Outlaw’s third appearance rounds out my top ten list for this month. It’s a cheating song with a different twist. Instead of the man being jealous or angry about finding out his woman is cheating on him, instead he’s embarrassed for her. He knows it’s making her look worse, not him, so why get angry about it? This is the kind of sensibility missing in cheating songs.
- Willie Nelson & Merle Haggard – “Somewhere Between” & “Swinging Doors”
- Kacey Musgraves – “Dime Store Cowgirl” & “Somebody To Love”
- Sam Outlaw – “Hole Down In My Heart” & “Angeleno”
- Dale Watson – “Jonesin’ For Jones” & “Burden of the Cross”
- Courtney Patton – “War of Art”
- Easton Corbin – “Like A Song”