Top Ten Country Songs – July 2014

(Note: Only songs released in July 2014 are eligible)

In June I predicted July would be a great month for country music. Did it live up to expectations? Not only did it live up to expectations, but it exceeded them. There were so many great country songs released in July that I could have probably made a top 25 list. So at the end of this I will list some honorable mentions that deserve recognition. Now let’s break down Country Perspective’s Top Ten Country Songs of July 2014.

Coming in at #1 is a song from the very first album I looked at in July. Old Crow Medicine Show’s “Sweet Amarillo” is not only the #1 song of July, but one of the front-runners for Country Perspective’s Best Song of 2014 award. This song is in the same vein as “Wagon Wheel,” a country song that is fun to listen to and has meaning behind it. OCMS once again took a Bob Dylan penned song and created magic. The band not only took my top spot, but also the #2 spot with “Mean Enough World.” It’s refreshing to hear a song that calls out all the hatred in today’s world. This song was only a tick below “Sweet Amarillo.” Coming in at #3 is the Mary Sarah and Vince Gill duet of “Go Rest High on That Mountain.” While Sarah couldn’t match the original version of this iconic song, she shined right alongside the always great Vince Gill. Old Crow Medicine Show once again comes in at #4 on the countdown with “Dearly Departed Friend,” a touching song about losing a close friend. If you haven’t figured it out by now, Old Crow Medicine Show’s new album Remedy is fantastic and if you haven’t done so yet, go check it out. Rounding out the top five is BlackHawk’s “Baby, The Rain Must Fall,” the standout song from their solid comeback album.

Sixth on the countdown is Dwight Yoakam’s “Who’ll Stop The Rain,” his cover of Creedence Clearwater Revival’s #1 hit. Based on this song, I’m anxious to hear Yoakam’s new album later this year. At #7 is Dean Miller’s “‘Til You Stop Getting Up.” It’s a great song about bouncing back from failure and keeping your head up. This is followed by Mary Sarah & Dolly Parton’s duet of “Jolene.” Their voices mesh together so well in this song and I wouldn’t mind hearing another duet from these two. Coming in at #9 is another appearance by BlackHawk with “Heart with a View.” It’s a tender, heartbreak song where the band’s signature harmonies shine. Rounding out the top ten list is the feel good pop country song, Kristian Bush’s “Trailer Hitch.” The song has a great message and I’m looking forward to hearing more from Bush.

What will August be like for country music? It’s a wildcard month based on what’s set to be released. Sunny Sweeney’s new album is being released in the first week (I’m expecting good things), but later in the month is Chase Rice’s new album (I’m dreading this review). There’s also Brad Paisley’s new album, which is a giant question mark. Just enjoy this July playlist for now because August might be rough for new country music.

Honorable Mentions:

Maddie & Tae – “Girl In A Country Song” – This is the big omission everyone notices when first looking at this list. It was the first song to miss the cut and it came down to this song and “Trailer Hitch.” The latter won out because it was simply a better overall song. “Girl In A Country Song” has a great message behind it and is a song I can enjoy. But what hurts it from being great is the questionable instrumentation used in the song. It’s a little too corporate produced for my taste.

Florida Georgia Line – “Dirt” – This is the other big omission. While it was still by far the duo’s best song they’ve ever released, it was also hurt by being too corporate produced. There’s also a few questionable lines that I don’t agree with. Still it’s a solid song that deserves numerous plays on the radio and galaxies better than “This is How We Roll.”

Old Crow Medicine Show – “The Warden” & “Shit Creek” – The three song limit per artist rule prevented these songs from having a crack at the top ten.

Mary Sarah & Merle Haggard – “The Fightin’ Side of Me” – The most underrated and ballsy song from Sarah’s album.

Dean Miller – “River Across My Heart” – Stiff competition prevented this song from making the list.

Corb Lund – “Truth Comes Out” – See reason above.

Country Perspective’s Weekly Review Roundup: July 14 – July 19

In case you missed any of Country Perspective’s review from the past week, you can catch up right here. Take a look at the music we looked at this past week:

Single Review – Maddie & Tae’s “Girl In A Country Song”Grade: 8/10

Album Review – Mary Sarah’s BridgesGrade: 8.5/10

Single Review – Derek Anthony’s “Give It To Me Strait”Grade: 7.5/10

Album Review – Dean Miller’s ‘Til You Stop Getting UpGrade: 8/10

If you have any suggestions on what I should review next or any suggestions for the site, let me know in the comments section below. You can also follow me on Twitter @realcountryview  and send suggestions to me on there too.

Have a great Sunday!

Album Review – Dean Miller’s “‘Til You Stop Getting Up”

When you’re born into a musical family, it’s inevitable that you’re going to at least try to get into the family business yourself too. Hank Williams Jr. followed his father, Hank Williams. Both Johnny Cash and Merle Haggard have multiple children involved in the music industry. And Dean Miller followed his father Roger Miller. Dean’s father was part of the “Golden Age” of country music and was well-known for his novelty songs, the most recognizable being “King of the Road.” Dean himself has been involved with country music industry for sometime, with his first album coming out in 1997. His biggest hit so far has been “Nowhere, USA,” which peaked at #54 on the country chart in 1997. He’s also a writer who has had several of his songs recorded by notable artists such as George Jones, Jamey Johnson, Terri Clark, Hank Williams III and many others. Miller has been there and done that, as the saying goes. And he’s now came out with his third album, ‘Til You Stop Getting Up, his first album since 2005.

The Best Songs on the Album

The album’s title track, “‘Til You Stop Getting Up,” is a song about an older man and a younger man at a bar. The younger man has just went through a breakup and the older man gives him advice on how to handle failure and never give up when life deals you a difficult hand. It’s very well written and paints a picture in the listeners’ heads. The music video is worth checking out too, as the older man is played by Kris Kristofferson.

Miller’s writing shines again on “River Across My Heart.” It’s a heartbreak song that describes a man’s feelings after the end of a failed relationship quite well. The lyric that stands out to me is when he sings about the ring he was wanting to give the woman being so cold in his jacket pocket, yet it burns through him. Really makes the listener feel what the man is experiencing. “Begging For a Bullet” is about being stuck in a messy relationship and begging for someone to just end it for him. It’s an agonizing relationship that he hates so much, yet can’t leave. Miller shows his tender side in “An Angel Believes in Me,” and is a very relatable song for men who have just fallen in love.

The Worst Songs on the Album

None of the songs on the album came off as bad to me, however there was one song that felt a little boring and dry. “This Is Where It All Goes Right” felt like your typical pop country love song. Nothing really stands out about it.

The Rest of the Album

I found the remaining songs to be quite solid. The entire album is pretty spot on with the instrumentation on each song, but “Stay” was the best in terms of the instrumentation used. It’s a bright and upbeat love song that utilizes its acoustic instruments well and has some hints of jazz influences with the inclusions of horns. “My Heart is In Your Hands” is a contemporary love song about man expressing his love. The mellow tone gives the song a relaxed feeling. “Kill My Love” is about a guy looking for a rebound girl after the end of a relationship and “San Francisco” tells the tale of a summer relationship that went wrong. The latter song had a really impressive lyric that stood out to me that described the mood of the song: “The coldest winter that I’ve ever spent was a summer in San Francisco.” That’s just great songwriting. The album concludes with “I’m A Leaver,” which is about two completely opposite people wanting something completely different out of a relationship.

Overall Thoughts

Miller’s songwriting experience shows in this album. All of the songs were written well and flowed together nicely. The instrumentation complemented the lyrics well, although I was hoping to hear at least one fast tempo song out of Miller. A majority of the songs were mellow or slowed down, which isn’t a problem. But I wanted a little more variety. Considering this is his first album in nine years, I think it’s a great effort. The choice of only having ten songs is good too because it allows the listener to digest this album quite easily (you know my thoughts on long albums). ‘Til You Stop Getting Up is an album that will appeal mostly to men, especially younger males experiencing love or heartbreak. The overall sound is a blend of contemporary and traditional, making this aspect appealing to all listeners. I hope to hear more out of Miller and I think he’s capable of making even better music. Nevertheless, ‘Til You Stop Getting Up is solid all the way through and recommend giving it a listen.

Grade: 7/10