What a damn good month of music! I don’t think anyone expected August to be such an amazing month for country and Americana releases. It felt like very week a great new album came out and impressed me. Personally, I think this has been the best month of the year overall in terms of quality releases. We got an absolute smorgasbord of country and Americana music. I’m sure each of you come out of this month with a new favorite album. So as I sat down to prepare this list I knew it would difficult to sort it out because there was just so much. I could have made a top twenty list if I wanted to make one. But after many re-listens and thinking on it, I’ve narrowed it down to ten. Here are what I consider the ten best songs released in country and Americana in August 2015.
- Jonathan Tyler – “Hey Mama, My Time Ain’t Long” – Jonathan Tyler collaborated with the great Ray Wylie Hubbard to pen this phenomenal song. This song takes the spot for me because it’s pretty much flawless in every facet. The songwriting is brilliant and the instrumentation is just as great. This was the gem on Holy Smokes, a terrific album full of great songs.
- Maddie & Tae – “After The Storm Blows Through” – I was very close to giving this song the top spot, but it just missed out. Really on most days this song is tied with the one above for me. I expected Maddie & Tae to have a good debut album, but Start Here ended up being a great album. This was the absolute “wow” moment on it and it’s received universal acclaim from fans and critics alike. You would have to be made of stone not to feel this song.
- Lindi Ortega – “Half Moon” – With so many quality albums being released, it’s overshadowed the album many anticipated coming out in August. That would be Lindi Ortega’s Faded Gloryville. It would be wrong to overlook it though, as it was really good and full of memorable songs. The most memorable to me is “Half Moon,” a beautiful and poignant song that reminds everyone how great of a vocalist Ortega is. It’s fitting closer to the album.
- The White Buffalo – “Radio With No Sound” – Here’s a song that I bet most of you overlooked and forgot about. But you shouldn’t have. The White Buffalo’s new album Love and The Death of Damnation is a solid album with brutally honest songwriting that I deeply appreciate. This song stood out to me the most though. It’s an emotional punch to the gut about growing up in an abusive home. You absolutely need to hear it if you haven’t yet.
- Whitney Rose – “Heartbreaker of the Year” – I thought Ortega would release the best Canadian country album this month, but her counterpart Whitney Rose released an even better album. Heartbreaker of the Year was the biggest surprise of the month to me. But we shouldn’t be surprised when Raul Malo was the producer of it and Rose has a world-class voice. The album’s title track is a sultry tune about a woman falling for a heartbreaker of a man. Most months this would be the top song, but it’s only #5 this month (really the top five is practically a virtual tie).
- Lindi Ortega – “Someday Soon” – Ortega makes her second appearance on my top ten list with the bluesy “Someday Soon.” You have no idea how much I’ve had this song stuck in my head and found myself humming along to it. Ortega’s voice and the lyrics go together perfectly with the instrumentation.
- Maddie & Tae – “Shut Up & Fish” – “After The Storm Blows Through” may have been the best song on Start Here, but “Shut Up & Fish” is the most fun track of the album. The first time I heard this song I got a big, stupid grin on my face. The wit and humor woven in the lyrics of this song are top-notch. I’ll be really disappointed if this doesn’t get released as a single and gets a music video with Maddie & Tae shoving some douche into a lake.
- Jonathan Tyler – “Everything Was Cool In 2002” – This song sounds just so weird, yet I love it. The airy, psychedelic feel of it really captivates the listener and makes you want to listen to it over and over.
- Maddie & Tae – “Downside of Growing Up” – For those going off to college or moving out on your own, this song hits even harder I can imagine. I’m in neither situation and I still felt it. This song is a smart take on the struggles of growing up and exhibits more majority than the entirety of Luke Bryan’s new album.
- Whitney Rose – “Be My Baby” feat. Raul Malo – A duet between two golden voices rounds out my top ten list for August. Seriously, how lucky were we to get a duet between Rose and Malo? It only made sense with Malo as a producer and I’m glad they seized the opportunity (unlike Ashley Monroe and Vince Gill on her first two albums). This is the type of song anyone can enjoy.
- The Statesboro Revue – “Go Down Slow”
- Carrie Underwood – “Smoke Break”
- Lindi Ortega – “Ashes” & “I Ain’t The Girl”
- Jonathan Tyler – “Riverbottom,” “To Love Is To Fly” & “Let It Out”
- The White Buffalo – “Come On Love, Come On In”
- Williams & Company” – “Broken Compass”
- Whitney Rose – “The Devil Borrowed My Boots”