The Hodgepodge: My Favorite Hidden and Forgotten Country Gems

Country music is full of great artists and songs that carry out the rich tradition of country music. Most of these artists don’t get their deserved spotlight or recognition for whatever reason. Below I’ve listed some of my favorite artists and songs that we haven’t really covered here on Country Perspective. And I’ve also tossed in a deep cut from a mainstream artist for good measure. As always, the goal of this is just throw out some names and songs you may not be familiar in an effort to introduce you to some good music you may have missed along the way.

Levi Lowrey – “Wherever We Break Down”

Levi Lowrey is a collaborator with the Zac Brown Band, but has three rather good albums of his own. I think Lowrey is a great songwriter and has a wonderful voice. “Wherever We Break Down” is one of my favorite songs from Lowrey. It’s a love song about a couple trying to make ends meet.

Michaela Anne – “Lift Me Up”

I first heard this song while standing in line at Starbucks and it immediately caught my attention. One of the few times I ever used the app Shazam was with this song and thus I discovered Michaela Anne. A great callback country sound and a budding Americana star with an album due out later this year, Michaela Anne is a name you should familiarize yourself with if you haven’t yet.

Chris Young – “The Dashboard”

Back before he was singing bro country or boring heartbreak songs, Chris Young sang true, traditional story country songs. His first two albums are gems themselves. This song revolves around a pickup truck, but the story is nostalgic trip through time between the narrator and his military brother.

Keeley Valentino – “Hosea”

Keeley Valentino’s most recent EP got high praise from me, and I think she is one of the best vocalists I’ve heard. Off her second album, Three Cities, this song deals with the central characters trying to overcome a tough life at home. She wrote this with Randey Foster, and showcases great storytelling and delivery.

The Wood Brothers – “The Muse”

Zac Brown Band covered this song on their Grohl Sessions Vol. 1 EP, but The Wood Brothers’ original recording is one to listen to. Much more stripped back with a sound akin to Mumford & Sons, The Wood Brothers have 10 years worth of music to dive into.

Judson Cole Band – “Poor Widow’s Fate”

This Texas band released their debut album late in 2014, an album which I reviewed. It’s still a rather new song, but I song I wanted to highlight again because the more I listen to it, the better I like it. A slick, rowdy southern rock song dealing with an outlaw cowboy. The chorus is catchy and the song’s writing is sharp.

I’d love to hear some of your favorite lesser known country acts, albums, or deep cuts from more well-known artists.

Upcoming and Recent Country Releases

  • Robbie Fulks Upland Stories will be released Friday, April 1st.
  • Elephant Revival will release Petals on April 1st.
  • Granger Smith’s newest single will be “If The Boot Fits.” We’ll have a review for that song soon.
  • On The ACM’s, Carrie Underwood will sing “Church Bells” her next radio single.
  • Keith Urban’s new single is called “Wasted Time.”

Throwback Thursday Songs

In honor of the newest inductees into the Country Music Hall of Fame, I’m going to have two Throwback Thursday Songs, one from Charlie Daniels and one from Randy Travis. Producer Fred Foster was the third inductee this year. Foster’s career highlights include producing some of Ray Orbison’s biggest hits like “Oh, Pretty Woman.” Foster also helped jump-start Dolly Parton’s career as well as Kris Kristofferson, with whom Foster co-wrote “Me and Bobby McGee.”

“Devil Went Down to Georgia” Charlie Daniels Band

 

“Forever And Ever Amen” Randy Travis

 

Non-Country Suggestion of the Week

“Only Love Can Break Your Heart” by Neil Young. This song inspired a novel of the same written by Ed Tarkington. I recently finished the novel and went on a little Neil Young kick afterwards, as classic rock shows up quite a bit throughout the novel. This was recorded on Young’s After The Gold Rush in 1970, and became his first top-40 single.

Tweet of the Week

In a rare public appearance since his stroke, Randy Travis made his way to the podium and said “Thank You” in response to learning of his induction to the Country Music HOF.

A Great iTunes Review

Screen Shot 2016-03-30 at 10.14.35 AM

From Kane Brown’s EP, this review highlights some great points for making good country music by quoting the chorus from David Allan Coe’s “The Ride.”

9 thoughts on “The Hodgepodge: My Favorite Hidden and Forgotten Country Gems

  1. Tom March 31, 2016 / 11:22 am

    I love “Asphalt Cowboy” by Jason Aldean (Blake actually had the original version). Aldean said he wanted it to be his first single but the label told him no.

    “Tailgate Blues” by Luke Bryan and “Seven Days a Thousand Times” by Lee Brice are also two of my all-time favorite songs by mainstream artists.

    Like

    • Amanda March 31, 2016 / 12:00 pm

      Asphalt Cowboy is a fantastic song. Damn, I miss the old Jason Aldean. He really had something until he reverted to bro-country.

      Like

  2. Amanda March 31, 2016 / 11:59 am

    That Chris Young song is awesome. Damn, what a voice.

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  3. Josh Schott March 31, 2016 / 4:11 pm

    Some really great picks, Derek! A few I would add myself, including some I felt didn’t get enough love last year:

    Cody Jinks – “Loud & Heavy”
    Hailey Whitters – “Low All Afternoon”
    Jamey Johnson – “The Last Cowboy”
    Jason Isbell – “Goddamn Lonely Love”
    The Swon Brothers – “This Side of Heaven”
    Moot Davis – “Walk Alone”
    Melody Williamson – “There’s No Country Here”

    Liked by 1 person

    • FeedThemHogs April 1, 2016 / 2:10 pm

      Low All Afternoon.. what a song. That was a great album top to bottom if you ask me.
      Another act I heard about last year on Saving Country Music was UK twin sisters – Ward Thomas. I bought their album too, and encourage people to give them a listen. And according to their social media, they’re working on a new album. I’m looking forward to it for sure.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. brettp March 31, 2016 / 6:47 pm

    Great hodgepodge! I love topics like this. I was reading on SCM earlier about Gary Allans new record deal. As far as mainstream artists go, he had one of my favorite album cuts from the last decade easy. It was from his Living Hard album and the song was Half of My Mistakes. I later found out that it was wrote by Radney Foster i believe, who is spectacular in his own right. If you never heard it, it is Gary in top form. Why this was never a single ill never know, its great. Great mention of a Jamey Johnson tune earlier too, Lonesome Song is full of them, especially the two Waylon covers. From him, id pick Thankful For the Rain from Guitar Song. Thanks guys!

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    • Amanda March 31, 2016 / 7:12 pm

      I am beyond excited about the news regarding Gary Allan! 🙂 He, along with Alan Jackson, George Strait, and Jon Pardi, is one of my favorite male country singers. Love all his music and can’t wait to see what he has in store on his next album! 🙂 🙂

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  5. winniepiuh April 2, 2016 / 6:27 am

    Granger Smith? his last album ? awful!! mamma mia!! what about country music?they all have the same sound…it’s really crazy!!

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  6. Amanda April 3, 2016 / 12:56 pm

    Another album cut that I thought was just excellent was Ashley Monroe’s Two Weeks Late. A true country song if there ever was one.

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