After taking a week off due to the CMA Music Awards last week, we’re back with this week’s “Weekly Single Recap.” The recap features 11 new tracks, most of them from star or up and coming stars. Four of the songs were debuted during last week’s CMA show, a couple others are the just-released singles.
Tim McGraw – “One Of Those Nights”
Tim McGraw showcased an edgy side with “Truck Yeah” and now he’s returning to country radio with a fantastic new song that recalls the best of what Tim McGraw has always done. This one puts you in a feel-good mood and reminds us of those times that create moments that we’ll fondly look back on when we’re older. The song is all about creating that mood and reminding us of that feeling of doing something fun and cool.
Toby Keith – “Hope On The Rocks”
After quite a few ‘beer’ songs in a row, Toby Keith comes out with this, a knock-out song about being a bartender who witnesses everything. “I’m a bartender and at the end of the day, I’m all they got, Hope On The Rocks.” This is a fantastic, well-written song that certainly ranks amongst the best songs that Toby’s ever written and it’s easy to see why he chose to release it to country radio. Here’s hoping that radio and the future video help make it a big radio and digital single sales hit.
Lee Brice – “I Drove Your Truck”
“A Woman Like You” and “Hard 2 Love” may have their detractors but with “I Drove Your Truck” the award-winning singer/songwriter showcases just why he’s becoming one of the most emotive vocalists in Country Music. “I Drive Your Truck” also is NOT ‘just another truck song’ as this one’s about a guy who uses the truck to remember his departed brother by. This is the stuff that ‘songs of the year’ are made of.
The Band Perry – “Better Dig Two”
Infections from the first banjo lick, “Better Dig Two” finds The Band Perry shrugging off any notions of a ‘sophomore slump.’ The song showcases a story of a woman who is so consumed with the love of her man that she will die with him. The soft, gentle verse/loud, aggressive chorus structure works very well and Kimberly Perry’s nuanced vocal is downright stunning.
Aaron Lewis – “Forever”
If “Endless Summer” was to showcase Aaron Lewis’ softer side to country radio, “Forever” will showcase the trademark misery we’ve known from Aaron Lewis but not the tourtured-soul misery but that of a man who sees how hard aspects of his career is on his wife and how at times that may be enough for her to contemplate leaving. The song finds him pleading with her to stay with him instead of searching
George Strait – “Give It All We Got Tonight”
You know, he’s called “The King of Country Music” for a reason, right? Well, here’s the perfect example. Not only is George Strait now 60 years young but he’s been able to stay current by selecting songs like “Give It All We Got Tonight” that are fresh but not out of the classic style that he’s long trademarked, much like Frank Sinatra did with his own crooner style. George Strait’s last album had a few hits but nothing as immediate and memorable as “Give It All We Got Tonight” so here’s hoping the new record has more of this.
Lisa Matassa – “Somebody’s Baby”
Lisa Matassa is a gifted singer and with “Somebody’s Baby” she channels her motherly instincts with a strong, modern country song that recalls JoDee Messina’s better stuff. While the song may be a little mixed too high (hiding her great vocals at times), it certainly is contemporary and fits well with anything else on country music radio and certainly showcases the strong material on the rest of the Somebody’s Baby EP.
Jason Aldean/Luke Bryan/Eric Church – “The Only Way I Know”
Jason Aldean asked fellow country stars Luke Bryan and Eric Church to join him on an aggressive attitude-filled song that is a mixture of the spoken verse/sung chorus model that Jason Aldean had success with with Dirt Road Anthem and while “The Only Way I Know” doesn’t say anything new or different than perhaps some other songs and maybe it doesn’t really need to be a ‘trio’ song but together they showcase a song that is the definition of a ‘Vocal Event’ and a song sure to be successful on radio, digital sales and to garner industry award buzz. This was a no-brainer second single from Night Train after #1 Platinum single “Take A Little Ride.”
Jerrod Niemann – “Only God Could Love You More”
Critics always love it when an artist takes risks and chances and that’s exactly what’s happened with Jerrod Niemann and his new album Free The Music. The album doesn’t sound like anything on country radio and neither does “Only God Could Love You More,” a song that really shows off Jerrod’s voice (much like buddy and co-writer Lee Brice’s song above does). Jerrod, Lee and Jon Stone wrote this one and man, if it isn’t a powerful song about a man’s love for a woman, even as she’s walking out the door.
Dustin Lynch – “She Cranks My Tractor”
After the romantic and mature “Cowboys & Angels,” Dustin Lynch needed to release a song that was youthful and fun and he does just that with “She Cranks My Tractor.” The song uses a tractor metaphor to showcase how a woman makes Lynch’s narrator feel. It’s another rural route mood-maker but it’s well-written, strongly-produced (Luke Wooten and Brett Beavers) and expertly-performed. There’s no denying this young cowboy’s talent and potential for superstardom.
Kelly Clarkson (Feat. Vince Gill) – “Don’t Rush”
First of all, anything with Vince Gill on it gets our seal of approval. Second of all, The CMA Nominated vocalist Clarkson showcased this song during the CMA Awards last week (With Vince Gill). The song is a gloriously retro affair and is one of a handful of new songs from her Greatest Hits album. The song feels like a 1980s-styled Country/Pop song or a ‘cousin’ of “Islands In The Stream.” That’s not bad in my ears and for many, it will feel like the ‘countriest’ song on the charts while for others it will be just a little bit more Soulful Country Pop that shouldn’t be replacing their beloved Honky Tonk. Either way, I hope this means Kelly will be coming out at least with a country ‘covers’ record for her next album sometime next year but I really hope it means a full-on country record.