As with any year, there are many deserving singles for a list such as this and in years past I’ve gone deeper than 10 but this exercise forced me to trim the list down to the ten held below. My simple requirement to be placed here is that the singles were released to contemporary country radio as official singles. So that’s what we have here, the list features 10 damn good songs and is a mightily diverse list of stars, newcomers, female, male and groups.
Note: The list below is not in any particular order.
“One Man Band” - Old Dominion
The biggest band in Nashville keeps their melodic groove while bringing a little more
Balladry to their radio set list. Wait until “Some People Do” smashes in 2020. That one is Song of the Year material.
"All Your'n" - Tyler Childers
Not the single that others here are in the traditional sense but this brilliantly-written love song has become a popular "synch" song in the music world where commercials and tv programs are taking it and making it cross the ears of people not necessarily known for listening to country music. Y'know, the ones who "hate" country music yet would like many of the songs here. Childers is an important figure that the mainstream should want to own but somehow they're reluctant to take him on. This song is proof that they should get over -- like they did with Chris Stapleton -- their "bias."
“More Hearts Than Mine” - Ingrid Andress
Ingrid is only on her first official radio single and she ends up here. This song is everything I want out of a new artist. It’s a well-written, unique, sung well song from an artist with a point of view. And the lyrics here are true, relationships are hardly ever just the couple: there is always unintended casualties.
“Prayed For You” - Matt Stell
This year’s breakout single from a new artist, this one is romantic and honest as all get out and who can’t relate to the lyric about hoping and praying for
True love? Can’t wait to see what else Stell has in his satchel of songs.
“Girl” - Maren Morris
Maren Morris is one of the few new female artists to break out at country radio and she’s done it with uniquely-produced songs (RIP busbee). This one is honest and emotional.
“God’s Country” - Blake Shelton
Let’s be honest: Blake’s last two or three albums were pretty mailed-in. So, that’s what made this Devin Dawson and Hardy co-written song so refreshing. Blake was back and sounded like he gave two shits about the music he actually made again. The fact that he still gets songs like this is proof that his talent and position within country still allows for him to get the best of songs, even if they’re “risky” singles like this one.
“What If I Never Get Over You” - Lady Antebellum
This is the Lady Antebellum single we’ve wanted and needed from the trio. Their first for new label Big Machine, it has everything we love from them. Looks like they’ve got their groove back (not that it was totally lost, it just wasn’t found on radio singles.
“Redesigning Women” - The Highwomen
Our friends at country radio have predictably ignored this one but it features a stellar cast of powerful women from all sides of country music and deserves to be heard more. The fact that it’s not even the third best song on their self-titled album suggests you should probably go hear that record too, if you haven’t yet.
“Heartache Medication” - Jon Pardi
The resident neo-traditionalist continued his streak of winning singles with this title track to his third album. It’s a fun COUNTRY song and definitely one of the best singles of his career to date.
“Some Of It” - Eric Church
A deceptively deep poet wrapped hiding Ray-Ban aviators and cocky bravado, Eric Church May very well be the best artist/writer/star in country music at this moment. His music almost always has substance and “some of” that substance is showcased here.
“One Night Standards” - Ashley McBryde
The voters of the CMA Awards names her the Best New Artist of 2019 for a reason. Ashley’s a star and like I mentioned with Ingrid Andress and other artists here, she’s uniquely herself and along with that, she makes real country music.
Bonus: “Cover Me Up” - Morgan Wallen
If it takes a cover version of this classic Jason Isbell ballad to make more people listen to Isbell himself, that’s fine by me. Wallen does a fine job with the song too. Here’s hoping it’s an actual radio single in 2020.