Fall tends to slow down in the release department, but there’s always enough for a top ten list. Tim McGraw’s newest album was, to me, surprisingly good with a couple standout songs. Eric Church’s surprise album release is solid from start to finish. Josh Abbott Band’s concept album yielded a few solid country songs, and Maren Morris’ debut EP showcases a budding pop country star. Before we dive into a month of handing out awards, let’s recap November one last time.
- “Record Year” by Eric Church – I can confidently say this is one of the best songs of the year in my opinion. As Josh said, Mr. Misunderstood was Church’s love letter to music and “Record Year” tells of how Church rediscovered some favorites while coping with a breakup.
- “Humble And Kind” by Tim McGraw – Lori McKenna is one of Nashville’s best songwriters, and “Humble And Kind” is a prime example of why I believe that. McGraw’s vocals are sincere as he lists off advice on living a good life. This was the perfect song to end Damn Country Music.
- “Wasn’t That Drunk” by Josh Abbott Band (feat. Carly Pearce) – Even though I misinterpreted how Act II plays out on Josh Abbott Band’s Front Row Seat, it doesn’t change the fact that “Wasn’t That Drunk” is simply a great country song. The tune details how Abbott and his wife began to fall in love and move forward. The vocals from both Abbott and Pearce are great, and the mid-tempo country production works perfectly.
- “Don’t Make Me Feel At Home” by Tim McGraw – Originally recorded by Wesley Dennis, this cheating country song is well told. A man who yearns for passion away from a stagnant, comfortable home. The production is a timeless country ballad and McGraw’s vocals have never sounded better.
- “My Church” by Maren Morris – Morris sings of how driving and belting out classic country songs bring comfort to her soul. She name drops Johnny Cash and Hank Williams without pandering and sings confidently. With an upbeat production and anthemic chorus, “My Church” (and Morris’ EP as a whole) is a good example of good pop country.
- “Knives Of New Orleans” by Eric Church – From the first strum of the acoustic guitar on this track, the mood is set for an epic adventure. Church details how he tries to get away after committing a crime. The passion in the vocals and production is ever-present and the song steadily builds in a beautifully fashion.
- “Ghosts” by Josh Abbott Band – This heartbreak song details the pain of getting over a broken relationship. The heavy production aids the tone of the song well, and Abbott sings the lyrics nicely, building and layering the hurt in the words as the song progresses.
- “Mistress Named Music” by Eric Church – A singer singing about how much he/she loves to sing songs isn’t the most original topic for a song, but Church’s subdued delivery draws the listener in as the blended production of country, rock and gospel keep the interest piqued. And it’s my personal taste, but I love songs that add a gospel choir for vocal harmonies. The last two minutes of this song are fantastic.
- “Drunk Girls Don’t Cry” by Maren Morris – Simply put, this no-bullshit approach to a friend who keeps falling for the same guy is hilarious. Trusting this guy to follow through on his words is like saying drunk girls don’t cry, everyone knows it’s wrong. The lyrics are strong, Morris owns the song with her attitude, and the pop country production works.
- “Autumn” by Josh Abbott Band – After the blow of the relationship’s end calms, “Autumn” tells of how Abbott’s wife is moving forward with her life. It’s a song about accepting life’s situation and changing your response to a proactive one from a reactive one.
Comment below with your favorites of the month!