Favorite Songs of 2012

Staff | January 4th, 2013

More than 350 songs were on this year’s ballot. We cut the list to just our top 60, though it easily could have been a Top 100 countdown. What were your favorite songs of the past year?

You can listen to a Spotify playlist of the available songs here.

60. Bucky Covington — “A Father’s Love (The Only Way He Knew How)”

59. Marty Stuart with Hank Williams III – “Picture from Life’s Other Side”

58. Brandi Carlile – “Hard Way Home”

57. Joey + Rory – “When I’m Gone”

56. Blackberry Smoke – “Up the Road”

55. Rodney Crowell & Kris Kristofferson – “My Father’s Advice”

54. John Fullbright – “Gawd Above”

53. The Time Jumpers – “The Woman of My Dreams”

52. Eden’s Edge – “Liar”

51. Rodney Hayden with Kelly Willis – “I Drink to Remember”

50. Kathy Mattea – “Hello, My Name is Coal”

49. Marty Stuart – “Holding on to Nothing”

48. Dwight Yoakam – “Never Alright”

47. The Time Jumpers – “On the Outskirts of Town”

46. Zac Brown Band – “The Wind”

45. Tim O’Brien & Darrell Scott – “House of Gold”

44. Ray Wylie Hubbard – “Mother’s Blues”

43. Chelle Rose with Elizabeth Cook – “Wild Violets Pretty”

42. Corb Lund – “Pour ‘Em Kinda Strong”

41. The Trishas – “Little Sweet Cigars”

40. Jason Eady – “Old Guitar and Me”

39. Blackberry Smoke – “Six Ways to Sunday”

38. Angel Snow – “Lie Awake”

37. Gretchen Peters – “Woman on the Wheel”

36. Kasey Chambers & Shane Nicholson – “The Quiet Life”

35. Chuck Mead – “Girl on the Billboard”

34. Gretchen Peters – “Hello Cruel World”

33. Corb Lund – “Cows Around”

32. Chelle Rose – “Rufus Morgan (Preacher Man)”

31. Marty Stuart – “Tear the Woodpile Down”

30. Bonnie Raitt – “Used to Rule the World”

29. Chris Stapleton with Morgane Hayes and Bradley Walker – “Tennessee Whiskey”

28. Don Williams – “Imagine That”

27. Avett Brothers – “Live and Die”

26. Chelle Rose – “Browder Holler Boy”

25. Lee Ann Womack – “Momma’s on a Roll”

24. Jerry Douglas with Paul Simon and Mumford and Sons – “The Boxer”

23. Dwight Yoakam – “A Heart Like Mine”

22. Alan Jackson – “She Don’t Get High”

21. Gary Allan – “Every Storm (Runs Out of Rain)”

20. Kellie Pickler – “Stop Cheatin’ on Me”

19. Elizabeth Cook – “If I Had My Way, I’d Tear This Building Down”

18. Bobby Bare – “Lookout Mountain”

17. Corb Lund – “Dig, Gravedigger, Dig”

16. Alan Jackson – “You Go Your Way”

15. Waylon Jennings – “I Do Believe”

14. Lori McKenna – “Whiskey and Chewing Gum”

13. Don Williams – “First Fool in Line”

12. Jamey Johnson – “Would These Arms Be in Your Way”

11. Kellie Pickler – “Where’s Tammy Wynette”

10. Josh Turner – “Pallbearer”

9. Ashley Monroe – “Like a Rose”

8. Lori McKenna – “Sometimes He Does”

7. Marty Stuart – “Sundown in Nashville”

6. Iris DeMent – “The Night I Learned How Not to Pray”

5. Darrell Scott – “Someday”

4. Jason Eady – “AM Country Heaven”

3. Kacey Musgraves – “Merry Go Round”

2. Alan Jackson – “So You Don’t Have to Love Me Anymore”

1. Don Williams with Alison Krauss – “I Just Come Here for the Music”

  1. SamB
    January 4, 2013 at 7:41 am

    I’m going to spend this afternoon listening to the Spotify playlist, thanks for doing that! A scan down the list has made me realise I missed at least a couple of songs out when making my own list – grr! Some re-jigging needed!

  2. Leeann Ward
    January 4, 2013 at 8:00 am

    I didn’t even know the Chris Stapleton track existed. Good list.

  3. Dave >
    January 4, 2013 at 8:07 am

    I like the idea of making a Spotify playlist of this.

    One minor quibble, Marty Stuart had previously released Sundown in Nashville on his 2003 Country Music CD.

  4. bob
    January 4, 2013 at 8:39 am

    Surprised that Wade Hayes didn’t make it. Favorites for me are the Wind (46) & the Storm (21), Ashley, Kacey and Don w AK.

  5. Barry Mazor
    January 4, 2013 at 10:58 am

    Seems like if we’re talking best SONGS, we should at least note the songwriters, not just or only the performers who sang them.

  6. Ben Foster
    January 4, 2013 at 12:59 pm

    Spectacular list, but Barry does make a good point.

  7. bob
    January 4, 2013 at 2:12 pm

    I absolutely agree with Barry. On my blog I almost always list the songwriter.

  8. Arlene
    January 4, 2013 at 2:33 pm

    @ Dave- Marty Stuart re-recorded “Sundown in Nashville” for Nashville, Vol. 1. Tear the Woodpile Down.

    I almost think we should refer to this category as “Best Recordings of Individual Songs” since it seems a bit odd to me that older songs such as “If I Had My Way, I’d Tear This Building Down” or “House of Gold” or “Would These Arms Be in Your Way” or “The Boxer” would qualify as a “Best Song of 2012.”

    BTW. Tim O’Brien & Darrell Scott had previously included “House of Gold” on their studio album, “Real Time,” which was released in 2005 but of course, the version released this year was recorded live.

  9. Barry Mazor
    January 4, 2013 at 3:00 pm

    These dating things are always difficult; the best new song of a given year might not have been recorded at all yet, but heard live, for example, or on a broadcast.. Even then, we’ve heard of it because it was performed, and, obviously, more or going to have heard of one that’s been performed on record–enough “more’ to give it traction on lists like this, no matter who’s voting. So it’s reasonable to go by “best new songs on record”–but a record is a record, with arrangements and instrumentation and production laid down separate from the song itself, at least momentarily, and a song is usually a song before that. For which the songwriters should be honored, I and others figure..

  10. luckyoldsun
    January 4, 2013 at 6:00 pm

    I have to second Arlene.
    The list seems to be titled “Favorite Songs” simply as a shorthand to indicate that it’s a list of recordings of individual songs–as opposed to albums.

    The topic of distinguishing when songs were written, copyrighted, introduced, etc. seems to have had nothing to do with the complilation of the list.

    Now I love Waylon Jennings, but I don’t think I’d have included “I Do Believe” on this list because it’s an old recording and Waylon had already recorded and released a very similar version of the song many years ago–as one of the cuts on the Highwaymen’s “Road Goes On Forever” CD–a disc that was itself reissued in a special deluxe package not that long ago.

  11. Rick
    January 4, 2013 at 6:08 pm

    Apart from the few songs listed I have on CD’s purchased I haven’t downloaded any of the rest. Don’t know if I care enough any more to even bother checking them out. Oh well…

    It’s nice to see Kacey Musgraves score so high on the list. Now the big question is if she will be able to build any momentum at AirHead Country Radio? Hmm. Go Kacey!

  12. LJ
    January 4, 2013 at 10:57 pm

    I’m so happy to see “Woman on the Wheel” here – I was surprised at how little that song was mentioned in most of the “Hello Cruel World” reviews I saw.

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