The Best Country Songs of 2009

Staff | December 21st, 2009

2009 offered up a treasure trove of high quality country music, and we’ve compiled a list of the year’s 50 best country songs.

In order to a be considered for this list, a song must have appeared on an album released during the 2009 calendar year. Radio singles that appeared on 2008 albums but which were primarily promoted to radio in 2009 remained eligible so long as they did not appear on the previous year’s list.

The 9513′s 50 Best Country Songs of 2009

50. “Devil’s Best Dress” – Corb Lund
49. “These Cowboys Born Out of Their Time” – Gretchen Peters and Tom Russell
48. “Midnight At The Movies” – Justin Townes Earle
47. “Circles Around Me” – Sam Bush
46. “Cattleman’s Gun” – Dean Brody
45. “A Long Time Ago” – Chuck Mead
44. “Give Me Jesus” – Sara Watkins
43. “Warm Kentucky Sunshine” – Adam Steffey and Allison Krauss
42. “Money, Compliments, Publicity (Song Number 10)” – Todd Snider
41. “Angels Like Her” – Trent Tomlinson
40. “Taste Of The Truth” – Gene Watson
39. “Anything Like Me” – Brad Paisley
38. “Without Jesus Here With Me” – Holly Williams
37. “Only Prettier” – Miranda Lambert
36. “Someday When I Stop Loving You” – Carrie Underwood
35. “American Saturday Night” – Brad Paisley
34. “Long After I’m Gone” – Big Kenny
33. “Fifteen” – Taylor Swift
32. “Rose in Paradise” – Chris Young and Willie Nelson
31. “The Guitar” – Guy Clark
30. “Tell My Mother I Miss Her So” – Ryan Bingham
29. “Seeing Stars” – Jack Ingram with Patty Griffin
28. “Dustbowl Dreams” – Bryan White
27. “I’ll Have What She’s Having” – Reba McEntire
26. “Sissy’s Song” – Alan Jackson
25. “Closer To The Bone” – Kris Kristofferson
24. “Promises in Pieces” – Jason Eady
23. “Mama” – Holly Williams
22. “Need You Now” – Lady Antebellum
21. “A Little Revival” – Radney Foster and The Confession
20. “Has Anybody Ever Told You” – Ashley Monroe
19. “Three Minutes At A Time” – Gene Watson
18. “Gettin’ You Home (The Black Dress Song)” – Chris Young
17. “Busted” – Patty Loveless
16. “Maggie Creek Road” – Reba McEntire
15. “Ellis County” – Buddy and Julie Miller
14. “Staying Together” – Gene Watson with Rhonda Vincent
13. “On The Other Side” – Dailey and Vincent
12. “Gasoline and Matches” – Buddy and Julie Miller
11. “White Liar” – Miranda Lambert
10. “Hemingway’s Whiskey” – Guy Clark
9. “Cry Pretty” – Jason Eady
8. “Arkansas Dave” – George Strait
7. “Pretty Flowers” – Steve Martin, Vince Gill and Dolly Parton
6. “My Way To you” – Jamey Johnson
5. “Mama’s Eyes” – Justin Townes Earle
4. “An Old Friend Of Mine” – Joe Nichols
3. “Reconsider” – Charlie Robison
2. “Hesitation Blues” – Asleep at the Wheel and Willie Nelson
1. “The House That Built Me” – Miranda Lambert

3 Pings

  1. [...] compiled at my own discretion, I’ve decided to only include singles (not album cuts). Click here for our staff’s selection of the year’s 50 best country [...]
  2. [...] The 9513’s 50 Best Country Songs of 2009 [...]
  3. [...] from previous years can be found here: 2009 | 2008 | 2007 [...]
  1. Nicolas
    December 21, 2009 at 12:15 pm

    Great to see MirLam at #1 =) “The House That Built Me” is such a powerful piece

  2. Zayn Jones
    December 21, 2009 at 12:15 pm

    The House That Built Me could be the greatest country song ever recorded. Just saying.

    @zaynjones

  3. Jon
    December 21, 2009 at 12:43 pm

    Whoa, not that I don’t love me some Alison, but y’all got the wrong one off Adam Steffey’s album.

  4. Jon
    December 21, 2009 at 12:54 pm

    The House That Built Me will end up as one of the best country songs ever.

  5. Stephanie Rehder
    December 21, 2009 at 12:55 pm

    Love Only Prettier and The House that Built me from Miranda’s album.

    Also Mama by Holly Williams made me almost cry the first time I heard it.

  6. David S
    December 21, 2009 at 1:17 pm

    Did you guys forget about Rascal Flatts? HAHA!

  7. Steve
    December 21, 2009 at 1:33 pm

    this website loves some miranda lambert. you have white liar at #11? to be honest, when i first heard that on the radio i asked myself, “who sang this?” keyword being sang, since it sounded like it was from the late ’90s. she rocks regardless, but just saying, ya’ll play favorites.

  8. Drew
    December 21, 2009 at 1:36 pm

    One of the best songs ever? What am I missing? It’s fine and all, and has a nice little concept, but what’s so ground-breaking? I don’t really see how it’s a top 10 song of the year, let alone “the greatest country song ever recorded”. Please enlighten me, or are you just rabid Miranda fans?

  9. Mike
    December 21, 2009 at 1:53 pm

    Its almost like Kristofferson didn’t release an album this year. Oh wait…

  10. Kelly
    December 21, 2009 at 2:08 pm

    Steve – it was a vote by a collective group. so, you’re right, the group played favorites by voting for the songs the group collectively thought were the best. do you regularly cast votes for candidates you think suck?

  11. Dan Milliken
    December 21, 2009 at 2:29 pm

    A’ight, a’ight. There are a number of songs here I find kind of unremarkable (“My Way to You”, “White Liar”, “A Little Revival”, “Need You Now”, “Mama”, “Anything Like Me”), but some good stuff, too. Especially glad to see “An Old Friend of Mine”, “Arkansas Dave”, “Ellis County”, “Busted”, “Fifteen” and “Long After I’m Gone.”

  12. Brady Vercher
    December 21, 2009 at 2:46 pm

    “Mama” is unremarkable?

  13. Steve M.
    December 21, 2009 at 2:49 pm

    My one quibble is that there is no Band of Heathens. Or Drive By Truckers whose “George Jones Talking Cell Phone Blues” was the song of the year for me.

  14. Dan Milliken
    December 21, 2009 at 3:00 pm

    Yeah Brady, I don’t know what to tell you. It’s a decent song, and it certainly has a fresh angle, but ultimately I just don’t feel like it’s a remarkably well-constructed piece. It’s more “nice” for me than “great.” I think there are better songs on Here With Me. I also think Holly’s performance on that one is a little awkward, too, especially when she tries to slur the chorus’ second “mama” and it comes out…not that slurred. But, different strokes.

  15. Zach
    December 21, 2009 at 3:04 pm

    OMG WHY NO CARRIE UNDERWOOD “COWBOY CASANOVA”??///?

    best song of history of music. don’t rank songs if youve never had a #1 hit yourself. ugh

  16. Zach
    December 21, 2009 at 3:08 pm

    that being said, I like the picks. it’s refreshing to see that other people enjoy these album cuts that I’ve been listening to over and over. I thought I was the only one who liked some of these songs! And my greatest fear in life is that Miranda won’t release “House…” as a single. You look at last year’s list and so many (all of Trace Adkins, for example) were never sent to radio. C’est la vie.

  17. Rick
    December 21, 2009 at 3:14 pm

    The inclusion of a Bryan White song is a bit of a shocker, but other than that it’s a big old end of year YAAAWWWNNN… And “Hesitation Blues” should have been number one because Miranda is seriously over-rated…

    Kelly said: “Do you regularly cast votes for candidates you think suck?” Well if not, then how can you explain the election of Odumbo? Hmm…

  18. Drew
    December 21, 2009 at 3:27 pm

    Two Reba songs, but no “I Keep On Loving You”, which seems to be the favorite amongst most I’ve talked to and in articles/forums I’ve read.

    Replace “American Saturday Night” with “Everybody’s Here”.

    I’m also surprised with the Miranda love. I already said my thing on the #1, but not really gettin’ why “White Liar” is so high and “Only Prettier” is on there at all, either.

    Plus I would’ve liked to have seen another Strait song on there, my choice: “Beautiful Day For Goodbye”

  19. Stephen
    December 21, 2009 at 3:47 pm

    Maggie Creek Road, Someday When I Stop Loving You, Only Prettier, AND The House That Built Me? The9513 did good.

  20. Baron Lane
    December 21, 2009 at 3:56 pm

    It appears Juli had a serious hand in compiling this list. Great stuff!

  21. Tara
    December 21, 2009 at 4:02 pm

    I think you picked a great song for the #1 song Miranda does a great job with this song!! With that said they are a few great songs missing off this list like Dierks Bentley’s I Wanna Make You Close Your Eyes also the up, and coming group The Band Perry with Hip To My Heart both of these songs deserve a place on the chart!!

  22. Leeann Ward
    December 21, 2009 at 4:08 pm

    I really like “Mama.” I think it’s well produced and I really like the idea behind it. It’s definitely one of my favorite singles of 2009. I like this list quite a bit, even if I don’t agree with every choice on a personal level. The variety is good. And I think the #1 is very good.

  23. Brady Vercher
    December 21, 2009 at 4:09 pm

    Just curious about why you thought so, Dan. I think it nicely handles a weighty subject that isn’t addressed very often.

  24. TexasVet
    December 21, 2009 at 4:19 pm

    Someday When I Stop Loving You” – Carrie Underwood

    Best song from Play On and hopefully a future single.

  25. Sheep
    December 21, 2009 at 4:48 pm

    Great list, although I was hoping to see George Strait’s “Living For The Night” and Keith Urbans’ “Til Summer Comes Around” on here. I’m surprised to see that Lady A has the #22 spot. That being said, I love that song.

    A lot of great picks on here.

  26. Pierce Greenberg
    December 21, 2009 at 4:57 pm

    Steve M., I had BoH’s “LA County Blues” and Drive-By’s “TVA” pretty high on my list (No. 13/No. 15 respectively), but apparently that didn’t boost them high enough in the rankings!

    I’m pretty happy with the way everything turned out. My head scratchers were “White Liar,” “American Saturday Night,” and “Gettin’ You Home.” I didn’t think those were the best songs on their respective albums.

  27. Noah Eaton
    December 21, 2009 at 5:22 pm

    In my opinion, “Welcome For The Future” is even better than the title track (also exceptional) from Brad Paisley’s latest album, “Dead Flowers” is superior to “White Liar”, “Sissy’s Song” and “Seeing Stars” are both well overrated considering both artists (particularly Jackson) have released far superior ballads before and Neko Case got snubbed.

    Despite those minor disagreements, this is a pretty solid list overall that I am overall agreeable with.

  28. Steve M.
    December 21, 2009 at 7:01 pm

    Pierce,
    You have good taste.

  29. Janelle
    December 21, 2009 at 7:58 pm

    Wow – quite a few songs there I haven’t heard of before…some new music to check out! But I was happy to see Jamey Johnson’s “My Way to You” included!! I just think this was an exceptional song and wished it had faired better on radio!

  30. Dan Milliken
    December 21, 2009 at 8:52 pm

    “Just curious about why you thought so, Dan.”

    And I feel like I didn’t even really give much of a reason besides “I just don’t think it’s that good.” Now I’ve been stewing about it a wee bit, and I still can’t quite articulate why the song doesn’t hit me that hard. I think it has to do with the way the chorus centers around repetition of “Mama”; maybe it just doesn’t seem like a strong enough hook for the depth of the subject matter? Or maybe it’s just all low-key in a way I haven’t developed a taste for. I don’t know, but you and Leeann got me second-guessing my opinion a little.

    Anyway, also meant to give props for the Snider and Bingham tracks. All things considered, the only song I really miss from the list is Justin Townes Earle’s cover of “Can’t Hardly Wait,” so it’s certainly a job well done.

  31. Erin
    December 21, 2009 at 9:41 pm

    I am pumped to see The House That Built Me so high up. I am also glad to see Holly Williams on this list. Her album is one of my top played. Every song is good! Three days in bed is one of my favs. However, I would not have minded some Eric Church!

  32. Sean
    December 21, 2009 at 9:46 pm

    So happy to see some Reba songs one here. Although I wish ‘Maggie Creek Road’ could have been a little higher. :) Also, I definitely agree with your number one spot. Love Miranda!!

  33. Joe
    December 21, 2009 at 10:19 pm

    For some reason I’ve never got into “the House That Built Me” as much, and I don’t think “White Liar” will stand the test of time, but I LOVE “Only Prettier.”

    Love, love, love “I’ll Have What She’s Having.”

    Really glad to see Chris Young and Gene Watson on the list.

  34. Trish
    December 22, 2009 at 8:22 am

    This is the worst list I have ever seen! House tThat Built Me at #1 – Are you nuts? I guess you have a Miranda Lambert fetish or something. Also, White liar at #11 – this list sucks!

  35. Paul W Dennis
    December 22, 2009 at 8:34 am

    Good list, obviously based on quality rather than sheer popularity, although I don’t think there are more than two or three songs on it that (a) would (or should) have made a top 50 list in any year from 1944 to 1975, and (b) there are only about ten songs on this list that will be remembered ten years from now

  36. waynoe
    December 22, 2009 at 12:33 pm

    Good to see Gene Watson represented here. He’s such a great vocalist.

  37. Brittany
    December 23, 2009 at 12:45 am

    Hemingway’s Whysky by Guy Clark should be number 1!!!

  38. Gloria
    December 23, 2009 at 7:39 am

    Man, I just don’t get the obsession with Brad Paisley’s music. I never hear passion in his so called singing. He, in my opinion, talks to music. I think more fans agree with me because his latest album hasn’t sold that great. A lot of his music sounds the same. Also not so fond of Dierk’s singing on his song I Wanna Make You Close Your Eyes. Anyhow, this is just one or two peoples opinions on songs, not the majority of people who purchase the music. If you guys picked the music played on radio, it would be pretty bland IMO. Merry Christmas everybody!

  39. Lucas
    December 23, 2009 at 8:22 am

    Amen on Miranda’s “The House that Built Me,” it is the most powerful and emotional home or looking back at your childhood song since “Feed Jake.” CMT had a good interview with M, in which she said that Blake was considering cutting it, but she was in tears the first time that she heard it and absolutely wanted it for herself.

    For the love of God and Country, Mr. Galante et al at Sony BMG, please release this masterpiece as her next single! She is the best mainline female artist who receives mediocre radio play. In addition, this would be video of the year if shot properly!

    Amen too on Jamey’s “My Way to You.”

  40. Mike Wimmer
    December 24, 2009 at 9:11 am

    I prefer Bingham’s Country Roads over “Tell My Mother I Miss Her So”. Both are really good, but Country Roads is one of the best driving songs I have heard in some time.

    Also, I thought Eric Church had a number of songs off his Carolina album that should have been included, namely the great “Where She Told Me To Go”.

    And lastly, as much as I generally dislike his output of music, I really do love Jason Aldean’s “The Truth”.

  41. Drew
    December 24, 2009 at 9:32 pm

    I’ll echo what Mike said, “Where She Told Me To Go” definitely deserves a spot.

  42. Sheep
    December 24, 2009 at 10:43 pm

    Man, I just don’t get the obsession with Brad Paisley’s music. I never hear passion in his so called singing. He, in my opinion, talks to music. I think more fans agree with me because his latest album hasn’t sold that great. A lot of his music sounds the same.

    Umm… his music sounds the same? Not really. I’ll list off a bunch of his singles that all sound different – “She’s Everything,” “Alcohol,” “American Saturday Night,” “Whiskey Lullaby,” “We Danced,” “Little Moments,” and “Letter To Me.” How many of those sound the same? As for his passion, I think you can clearly see it many of his songs. I also can’t figure out why people criticize his vocals – they sound just fine.

  43. Jon G.
    December 25, 2009 at 12:29 am

    I know that everything about art is opinion. I realize that everybody has their own tastes and preferences, and I believe that it’s absolutely impossible to entirely separate yourself from them. You can argue genre, style, and technical aspects because their basis are concrete. Quality, however, is in the ear of the listener.

    That said, here’s my opinion:
    I really like “The House that Built Me,” but not only do I think that it’s NOT the #1 country song of 2009, I think that it’s not even the best song on Revolution. I thought that “Dead Flowers,” “Me and Your Ciggarettes,” and “Airstream Song” were all much, much, much stronger tracks. I would not have even put “White Liar” and “Only Prettier” on this list at all. There are better songs from Lambert and many other deserving artists with many other deserving songs that were not recognized on this list. I honestly think that you guys would benefit by limiting the appearances of artists on a given list to one, thus ensuring a more diverse, comprehensive, and credible list.

    That said, I do agree with the inclusion of “Long After I’m Gone,” “Gettin’ You Home (The Black Dress Song),” “Need You Now,” “My Way to You,” and “Sissy’s Song,” among others.

    P.S. I also think that Brad’s vocals are a little thin. He does tend to “talk” instead of straight-out sing. However, I don’t think that it makes him less of a qualified musical artist. I think that he’s a very talented artist who has recorded some very sub-par material over the past few years and who receives WAY too much credit. I haven’t liked a single since the “Time Well Wasted” days except “Waitin’ On a Woman,” which was originally included on the aforementioned album. Again, I don’t dislike him; I just greatly prefer his older material, such as “Who Needs Pictures,” “Alcohol,” “He Didn’t Have to Be,” “I’m Gonna Miss Her,” and, my personal favorite, “We Danced.” What Brad does have going for him, in my book, is that he is legitimately a country artist. Alas, just because a song is country, that doesn’t make it good. The two are not mutually exclusive. Again, this is just my opinion.

  44. Jon G.
    December 25, 2009 at 12:29 am

    Or perhaps the term is mutually inclusive, idk.

  45. Bill S.
    December 28, 2009 at 11:19 pm

    Here’s another top 10 country songs of 2009 list at a blog I like for music stuff:
    http://theirbatedbreath.wordpress.com/2009/12/28/twangtown-best-country-songs-of-2009/

  46. Leeann Ward
    December 29, 2009 at 9:21 am

    I think limiting a list like this to only one song per artist unfairly penalizes artists who consistently put out quality material within a given year.

  47. Noeller
    December 29, 2009 at 1:57 pm

    I’ll throw my vote in with the “Where’s Eric Church??” camp. Eric, along with ZBB and JJ are the best male acts in the “mainstream” right now, and there were several cuts off Carolina, including the title track, which deserved some serious consideration for this list. I liked CY’s “Black Dress”, but it’s not worthy of a list of this magnitude, IMO. I also thought “My Way To You” was very underrated, so a good call on that!

  48. Tim
    January 5, 2010 at 8:41 pm

    The House That Built Me is one of the most beautiful songs ever. It’s everything that raw country is telling a heartrenching story of finding ones self back at their roots.

  49. Mirandas2cool
    January 5, 2010 at 8:46 pm

    Well, obviously im pretty happy with this list! House That Built Me is really an amazing song. When she sang it at the Ryman it was unbelievable. It is slated to be the next single, and i hope they follow through with that. Also good to see White Liar on the list and on radio, its her first Top 5 and looking good for a #1. I really like “My Way to You”, “Mama” and for mainstream Need you now is about as good as it gets for pop country.

  50. richard
    January 6, 2010 at 10:52 am

    This is a great list! Miranda Lambert is awesome, and that song “The House That Built Me” is a great song and there’s so many people that can relate to that song. I hope it is the next single, it has the potential to be number 1. Also I’ m happy to see White Liar at #11, that’s Miranda’s best radio hit yet and it has done so good on the charts. I’m glad to see Only Prettier on the list, I just love how country it sounds.

  51. Kevin
    October 12, 2010 at 1:33 pm

    House definitely deserves the number 1 spot. At the risk of sounding like a crazy Carrie fan, “someday when I stop loving you” is one of the most beautiful/heart breaking songs in a while and is BY FAR the best song on Play On. I think it deserved a little higher than 36. And let’s be real, white liar and only prettier are possibly the funniest songs on 2009 but I don’t know about 50 BEST songs…

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