Another month in the books, and another group of artists releasing great albums and songs. True, honest lyrics and songs keeping the heart and spirit of country music alive, albeit in lesser of a light compared to those in Nashville. Jason Isbell owned this month; Something More Than Free is one of the best albums this year. Though, Alan Jackson and Ashley Monroe both offered up great albums as well! It was a slower month in the release department, but one of the best months in terms of quality. Let’s take a look at my favorites from the month.
- “24 Frames” by Jason Isbell – This is one of the best songs released this year. Isbell does a great job painting the picture of life changing in the blink of an eye. The lyrics hit you hard and drive the point home that the things we have in life aren’t permanent and can fall apart in just one measly second.
- “The One Your Waiting On” by Alan Jackson – Alan Jackson has a natural charisma as a singer that captures the listener with every song. As Josh wrote of this song in his review of Angels and Alcohol, “Only an artist like Jackson could pull off a song like this one due to the nuance of the theme. If you give this to a bro country artist, you end up with a song like Old Dominion’s “Break Up With Him.” Jackson hits this song out of the park.
- “Speed Trap Town” by Jason Isbell – With my first listen of Something More Than Free, this was the song that captured me the most. Isbell rips your heart out with the song about a man coping with his father’s impending death. It’s damn near impossible to describe what makes this song great, it’s one of those you need to listen to understand.
- “Gone Before You Met Me” by Alan Jackson – The melody of this ramblin’ man song is infectious. The description of meeting Tom Sawyer and Jack Kerouac who pride themselves as ramblin’ men help Jackson realize how much he loves his life at home with a wife and kids.
- “The Blade” by Ashley Monroe – This breakup song off Ashley Monroe’s album uses great imagery to tell the story. Love can be a brutal thing for people and catching a falling knife from either end is a great description for it.
- “Something More Than Free” by Jason Isbell – The title track to Isbell’s album is an excellent ode to the blue-collar workers, with great poetry in the lyrics. Isbell approaches the subject with enough pride to show that there’s no shaming in working hard for your life. Country music was built on blue-collar attitudes, and “Something More Than Free” captures that attitude perfectly.
- “Still A Southern Man” by Will Hoge – When Will Hoge puts his protest cap on, you know he means business. “Still A Southern Man” finds Hoge pondering the meaning for the Confederate Flag in the wake of so much negative news surround the symbol. Hoge’s conviction in the song is noticable, and he isn’t afraid to let his emotions run the show.
- “Why” by Rick Elliot – Rick Elliot’s reflection on a wild lifestyle hits many strong notes. From the Bakserfield country sound to the honest lyrics and Elliot’s deep, matter of fact delivery, “Why” is as true to country music as you can get. And to think he’s only 18…
- “Angels and Alcohol” by Alan Jackson – Alan Jackson sings a typical country drinking song, but tells the story well by comparing the downside of booze to the upside of love, happiness, and faith. The song is paced well and Jackson’s vocals are a bright spot.
- “Has Anybody Ever Told You” by Ashley Monroe – This love song from The Blade is beautifully sung by Monroe. Her desire to tell her love the things she admires about him, and making sure that he’s heard them, is a sweet gesture.
- Jason Isbell’s “Flagship” and “Palmetto Rose”
- Alan Jackson’s “When God Paints’ and “You Can Always Come Home”
- Rick Elliot’s “If I Agreed With You”
- Ronnie Dunn’s “Ain’t No Trucks in Texas”
- Ashley Monroe’s “If The Devil Don’t Want Me”
As always, I’d love to hear your favorite songs from this month!