With every year we see a lot of music get through the masses and 2016 was no different. While the year was tough on celebrities with the amount of stars taken before their time, it did provide country music with some great new songs, some of which you might not have heard yet. Below are a 10 songs which slipped in "under the radar" and we suggest you check them out.
“Stoned To Death” - James Dupre
His debut single has been ‘out at radio’ for months now yet it’s still virtually unknown. From the clever lyrics equating a breakup to a life in solitary confinement and drunk out of his mind to the powerful (building) verses and, finally Dupre’s vocals, this may be one of the best songs few people have heard in any year and hopefully in 2017 that changes.
"Queen of Saint Mary's Choir" - Sean McConnell
One of many great songs from our favorite album of 2016, "Queen..." is the kind of songs other songwriters hear all the time in Nashville and say, "damn, that's good." A personal tale about Sean's own love, this is one that nonetheless could find its way to other artists albums down the road...if Sean can't score a hit with it first.
"Rebel" - Alyssa Bonagura
In the grand tradition of Trisha, Martina and Faith, Alyssa Bonagura has heartfelt songs like "Rebel" peppered throughout her latest album but "Rebel" remains a stunning display of artistry, melody and lyric.
“When You Love Someone” - Jake Owen
A powerful moment from his American Love album, “When You Someone” is one of the many songs our first artist on this list, Sean McConnell has written for others. This one, which he wrote with Hillary Lindsey and Blair Daly allows Jake Owen to show off his considerable vocal chops with an emotive lyric about
“Liar Liar” - Aubrie Sellers
One of my favorite discoveries of the past year is Aubrie Sellers with her “garage country,” a blend of roots rock, country and alternative sounds. On “Liar Liar,” she sounds like her mother (Lee Ann Womack) while vocalizing songs about a cheating man. She co-wrote it with Jessi Jo Dillon and Brandy Clark.
"Learning" - Kane Brown
There seems to be a theme running through this list of songs. Songs that are personal to the writers but universal in appeal. "Learning," a song which replaced "The Cold Spot" at the last minute, has spoken verses relating to Kane's rough upbringing while the chorus feels straight up hopeful despite all the tough patches. That makes this one well worth hearing.
"Giving Up On Your Hometown" - Lori McKenna
This song is, like a lot of the Grammy and CMA winners songs, a potentially massive hit. It will help to have come from a small town to relate to the lyrics but there's a lot to relate to to this tune from The Bird and the Rifle. The lyrical vignettes are picaresque while the tempo filled melody feels fresh; both signs that a song has the goods to breakout from underdog status.
"Leaving Nashville" - Charles Kelley
The final track from the Lady Antebellum member's soulful The Driver album, this one is about stoning to your dreams even as they ebb and flow because that's what you were destined to do. Life has ups and downs
“IF I Ever Cross That Line” - Confederate Railroad
The 90s country stalwarts returned with Lucky To Be Alive and “If I Ever Cross That Line” is a song about a man who contemplates what cheating would be like while in the midst of a loveless marriage, at least it feels that way at first. But if you really listen to the lyrics, it’s about trying to find that spark in stale marriage and that the man is never gonna cheat on his woman. Lead vocalist Danny Shirley still is a strong singer and it is this kind of song more country artists should be recording.
“False King” - Kelsey Waldon
The indie country stalwart has a Loretta Lynn-like style to her music as she sings this beautifully-written song from I’ve Got A Way. It’s an honest piece of country music with a lyric of “You can’t place a crown on the head of a clown and hope he turns out to be a king.” It’s a lyric most people have lived.