This Week, I’m doing something a little different. Outside of Darius Rucker’s “Wagon Wheel” single, the other songs are ‘album tracks’ that I feel could be great singles (or part of a great country music playlist). I hope you enjoy this rundown for the week and I’d also like to wish you a Merry Christmas for 2012 as well.
Florida Georgia Line – “Round Here”
one of the six new tracks from Florida Georgia Line’s Here’s To The Good Times album, “Round Here” is also likely to be a single at some point because it accentuates everything that the band does well. The harmony, the rock/country sound, the songs about rural good vibes and relaxing times with a few friends after a hard day’s work. Anyone who has grown up in/continues to live in such areas can attest to having partaken in a Saturday night chronicled in this tune.
Eli Young Band – “Skeletons”
Eli Young Band’s rise to the top of the country radio pile has been awesome to watch as the Texans prove that Texas Music acts can be more than ‘one hit’ or ‘two hit’ wonders on country radio. Their live shows are energetic and their choice of songs that aren’t middle of the road choices are showcased on Life At Best, including this one which would make a wonderful final single release from the record (if they even release a 4th single from Life At Best) before the band moves onto a new single and album in 2013.
Gloriana – “Carolina Rose”
An ‘indie’-like singer/songwriter kind of ballad, “Carolina Rose” is one of the most ‘Traditional’ tracks from Gloriana’s record and it showcases the strong songwriting ability of Tom Gossin, the band’s lead male vocalist. It’s different from their hits “Can’t Shake You” and “(Kissed You) Good Night” and aside from being a great song, that’s one of the reasons it’d make for a great single. It’s different from everything else they’ve ever released to country radio.
Uncle Kracker – “In Between Desasters”
It’s not technically the single (“Nobody’s Sad On A Saturday Night” is) but dang it if this isn’t the exact kind of song that could help Uncle Kracker and his new label Sugar Hill score a massive hit with country radio. It’s jovial, memorable lyrically, features some interesting musical instruments (horns and a saxophone solo after a guitar solo). It’s the kind of song that could also fit a montage for a buddy comedy film too. Keith Stegall’s production is spot-on and Matt Shafer’s vocal (he’s “Uncle Kracker”) is the best he’s ever been on his Midnight Special album.
Kip Moore – “Crazy One More Time”
He’s scored #1 hits with “Beer Money” and “Somethin’ ‘Bout A Truck” and he’ll likely release “Hey Pretty Girl” to country radio as the third single but if I was choosing a ballad-ish song from the very good Up All Night, I’d choose “Crazy One More Time” for it’s a progressive-sounding ballad that builds steam as Kip sings the lyric and melody. Sure the lyrics are not too different from “Tomorrow” or songs about one last night stand but “Crazy One More Time” just feels like the right song to ‘split the difference’ from ballad and up tempo raver.
Lee Brice – “Life Off My Years”
“I Drive Your Truck” is about to become the third consecutive chart-topping hit with Lee and will be one of the biggest ‘critical darling’ singles of 2013 and while “Parking Lot Party” is likely to become the fourth single from Hard 2 Love, I’d go with a song like “See About A Girl” or “Life Off My Years,” a well-written song which has a philosophy we should all heed. Live life to its fullest and do not worry about not taking risks and ‘take it slow and steady.’ The melody and tempo are catchy and enough to keep radio interested as well.
Darius Rucker – “Wagon Wheel”
Darius’s next album True Believers arrives in January and this is the second single from the record (and our only actual single on this rundown). Well-known in the southern bar circuit (performed by nearly every bar band or wanna be country star in the region), This Old Crow Medicine Show grassroots hit finally will see the life it deserves on country radio. Darius has never sounded better or more engaged in a radio single than this fun little track and it’s a great thing to see as he’s clearly one of the best vocalists in the country genre, if not all genres.
Zac Brown Band – “Jump Right In”
The lead-off track from their third album Uncaged, “Jump Right In” feels like the perfect song to showcase Zac Brown Band’s unique to country music style. They blend southern rock, 70s AC pop and percussive singer/songwriter fare into a blender and sprinkle in fantastic harmony with country music lyrics to craft a song that truly showcases virtually everything that Zac Brown Band is in and I doubt it won’t be long before Dancing With The Stars uses this tune in their telecasts.
Aaron Watson – “Hey Y’all”
Subtitled “My contribution to ruining country music country song),” “Hey Y’all” is a country rap song (from Real Good Time) with loud, Craig Morgan-like verses and while it’s meant to be a song that’s clearly sending-up cliche-filled songs about southern life, food, hunting, fishin’, chewin’, truck drivin’ and such but that doesn’t mean it’s still not a dang fun song. I can imagine, in fact, some Nashville based country artist seeing the song as a song that could become a big hit for them. In fact, Aaron would do well to release it to radio and just see what happens.
Carrie Underwood – “Leave Love Alone”
Carrie’s a damn good singer and her Blown Away record is currently working on the third connective hit single with “Two Black Cadillacs” now on the radio charts but if she were to release a song that’d connect with audiences and is a little more ‘fun’ than the ‘heavy’ “Blown Away” and “Cadillacs,” “Leave Love Alone” would be such a song. With the acoustic mandolins leading the way, it’s also a dang good choice for the next single.
Bonus: Randy Houser – “The Singer”
Blessed with perhaps the best voice of any Country Music artist, Randy Houser’s upcoming How Country Feels has many highlights but perhaps no song on the record is as good as this one. It’s about the tough life that often hits the wives and family members of a music man who is beloved and has a ‘mask’ that’s different from the one he wears at home. It’s a strong story sung expertly by Randy Houser and proof that while the ‘ditties’ like “How Country Feels” may keep him on the radio and ‘relevant,’ it’s the songs like “The Singer” which showcase a talent like no other. Here’s hoping this one eventually hits radio and gets to become a contender for single and song of the year at some point.