The Best Country Songs of 2010

Staff | December 30th, 2010

As the year winds down, the staff here at The 9513 has been taking a look back at everything that country music had to offer throughout the previous 12 months. It was a daunting task, to say the least, but we’re happy to bring you our best country songs of 2010.

Inclusion on the list is restricted to original recordings released in the past year and significant covers are typically removed so we can focus on new music. That being said, there was something compelling enough about the top song this year–a Vern Gosdin cover–that it completely dominated every other song in our rankings. Funnily enough, the artist in second place covered a Vern Gosdin classic himself, but he earns his highest placement for recording an unreleased Keith Whitley tune that would have made a fitting zenith itself.

Below, you’ll find artists classified as Mainstream, Bluegrass, Traditional, Americana–or numerous other permutations under the country tent–but mostly, we hope you find good music and discover a few gems in the process. Sound off and let us know some of your favorite songs released in 2010.

50. “The Snow White Rows Of Arlington” – Sammy Kershaw
49. “Back to December” – Taylor Swift
48. “Lover, Lover” – Jerrod Niemann
47. “Pride (In The Name of Love)” – Dierks Bentley (with the Punch Brothers and featuring Del McCoury)
46. “Draggin’ the River” – Blake Shelton (with Miranda Lambert)
45. “Circles in the Yard” – Colin Gilmore
44. “Draw Me a Map” – Dierks Bentley
43. “This Must Be the Bottom” – Randy Kohrs
42. “If I Die Young” – The Band Perry
41. “The Famous Lefty Flynn’s” – The Grascals
40. “You and Tequila” – Kenny Chesney (with Grace Potter)
39. “Will I Always Be This Way” – Randy Houser
38. “The Grandpa That I Know” – Shawn Camp
37. “Waiting on the Pain” – Rodney Hayden
36. “Are You Stringing Me Along” – Brennen Leigh
35. “Be My Crutch” – Hellbound Glory
34. “Square with the World” – Mike Stinson
33. “El Camino” – Elizabeth Cook
32. “What Do You Want” – Jerrod Niemann
31. “Bad Angel” – Dierks Bentley (featuring Miranda Lambert and Jamey Johnson)
30. “That’s Why I Write Songs” – Jamey Johnson
29. “The Lowest Valley” – Junior Sisk & Rambler’s Choice
28. “The Weary Kind” – Ryan Bingham
27. “Porter Wagoner’s Grave” – Marty Stuart
26. “Mama’s Funeral” – Elizabeth Cook
25. “Lead Me Home” – Randy Houser
24. “Cornbread and Butterbeans” – Carolina Chocolate Drops
23. “Where Rainbows Never Die” – The SteelDrivers
22. “The Box” – Brennen Leigh
21. “Hard Working Man” – Marty Stuart
20. “‘Til Death” – Joe Diffie
19. “Hey Brown Bottle” – Dale Watson
18. “Route 5 Box 109” – Joe Diffie
17. “Hello, I’m an Old Country Song” – Dale Watson
16. “Taillights Blue” – Alan Jackson
15. “No Regrets” – Gary Allan
14. “Addicted” – Randy Houser
13. “Colder Weather” – Zac Brown Band
12. “Notes to the Coroner” – Chely Wright
11. “Little White Church” – Little Big Town
10. “Can’t Cash My Checks” – Jamey Johnson
9. “In The Garden By The Fountain” – Rhonda Vincent (with Dolly Parton)
8. “Ain’t No Grave” – Johnny Cash
7. “From a Table Away” – Sunny Sweeney
6. “Even The Skies Are Blue” – Jamey Johnson
5. “As She’s Walking Away” – Zac Brown Band (with Alan Jackson)
4. “Hangman” – Marty Stuart
3. “Heroin Addict Sister” – Elizabeth Cook
2. “Lonely at the Top” – Jamey Johnson
1. “Till the End” – Alan Jackson (with Lee Ann Womack)

Lists from previous years can be found here: 2009 | 2008 | 2007

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  1. [...] Twang] 10 Worst Country Albums of 2010 [American Twang] The Best Country Music of 2010 [PopMatters] The Best Country Songs of 2010 [The 9513] Top 10 Bluegrass Albums of 2010 [The 9513] The 10 Best Country Singles of 2010 [Country [...]
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  3. [...] Twang] 10 Worst Country Albums of 2010 [American Twang] The Best Country Music of 2010 [PopMatters] The Best Country Songs of 2010 [The 9513] Top 10 Bluegrass Albums of 2010 [The 9513] The 10 Best Country Singles of 2010 [Country [...]
  1. GeeGee
    December 30, 2010 at 8:36 am

    Never heard over half these songs. Til Summer Comes Around by Keith Urban was a great song. His Get Closer album is great. Check out the song the Luxury of Knowing by Lori McKenna. Beautiful song and Keith sings it beautifully!! The House That Built Me by Miranda Lambert was another great song. I also like Who Are You When I’m Not Looking by Blake Shelton. Table Away is one of my favorites and If I Die Young.

  2. Bob
    December 30, 2010 at 9:43 am

    Looks like you guys were trying to show how you’re way cool and in the know by including hardly anything that made the top 40.

  3. Barry Mazor
    December 30, 2010 at 9:54 am

    Bob, I wasn’t part of these deliberations, so I can say: Maybe you should consider the possibility, at least, that they ARE way cool and in the know.

    And that maybe they do you more of a service pointing you to good things you don’t know than things you already do?

  4. Jon G.
    December 30, 2010 at 9:54 am


    Or maybe they just really think that many Top 40 songs didn’t deserve a spot on the list.

    Actually, a large portion of these songs were from albums that faired well on the charts, like the ones by Jamey Johnson, Zac Brown Band, Taylor Swift, Jerrod Neimann, etc. In other words, even if they are album tracks, the songs they chose were primarily from commercially successful artists/records.


    I do believe that “The House That Built Me” not only qualifies for last year, not this one, but also topped the 9513’s best songs of 2009. “‘Til Summer Comes Around” may also be on that list.
    I’ll see if I can find a link…

  5. Jon G.
    December 30, 2010 at 9:55 am
  6. Lewis
    December 30, 2010 at 9:59 am

    All I heard are #1, #5, #7, #11, #32, #42, #44, #48, and #49.

    I’m guessing that someone put Taylor Swift in as a sympathy vote because I don’t think she belongs on this list for Back To December or any pop song she’s singing right now. The ranking of If I Die Young (#42) is very hard to believe as it should have been higher than that as it is a great song.

    No Carrie Underwood, Keith Urban, Rascal Flatts, Darius Rucker, Jason Aldean, Kelly Clarkson, Uncle Kracker, Kid Rock, Sugarland (thank God for that) but Taylor Swift and her pop song gets in? Hmmm….

  7. Lewis
    December 30, 2010 at 10:10 am

    More notable snubs not seen on this list: Brad Paisley, Reba McEntire, Blake Shelton, Trace Adkins. Miranda is on there but only for duets and not for solo work. I do have a feeling that the worst country songs of 2010 will be a barn burner for sure since it’ll probably consist of songs that people liked the most than others.

  8. Janelle
    December 30, 2010 at 10:12 am

    Love seeing all the Jamey Johnson songs on this list!! Now…if only we’d get to hear them on radio! :o)

  9. Lewis
    December 30, 2010 at 10:12 am

    I forgot about Blake at #45.

  10. Adam
    December 30, 2010 at 10:13 am

    That’s because most of these songs are better than most of the songs that made the top 40 — minus the bluegrass stuff. I’ve tried, but I just can’t get into it.

  11. Brady Vercher
    December 30, 2010 at 10:16 am

    @Lewis: How was Miranda snubbed if she didn’t release any solo work this year?

  12. Jon
    December 30, 2010 at 10:18 am

    It’s pretty funny when people write “I haven’t heard a bunch of these songs” as if that constituted a criticism of the list maker(s) rather than a reflection of their own limited horizons.

  13. Dallas
    December 30, 2010 at 10:28 am

    #15- No Regrets, My all time favorite song!

  14. Miss Leslie
    December 30, 2010 at 10:36 am

    “Square With the World” is my favorite song on Mike Stinson’s latest CD. And I love the whole CD of “The Box” by Brennen Leigh. “Distracted” is my favorite cut on there.

  15. Jon
    December 30, 2010 at 11:02 am

    I’m especially tickled to see “The Lowest Valley” on there.

  16. Lewis
    December 30, 2010 at 11:28 am

    Brady: Does Miranda’s “Only Prettier” count for something or is there something I’m missing here? And how can you say that Miranda hasn’t released any solo releases to radio when she has (Only Prettier, Heart Like Mine) and The House That Built Me was #1 for 4 weeks in June and July of 2010?

  17. Mike Parker
    December 30, 2010 at 11:40 am

    Lewis… I think they go by album release, not single release.

    Very good list… I’m trying to think if there are artists missing, and other than Justin Townes Earle’s “Harlem River” (the song, not the album), I’m not sure there’s anything I’d add… okay, maybe Punch Bros “Rye Whiskey.”

  18. Carrie
    December 30, 2010 at 11:40 am

    Heart Like Mine was a single?

    Only Prettier, while, yes, being a 2010 release isn’t nearly the caliber of House That Built Me, which, as was pointed out, topped the 2009 list.

  19. Rick
    December 30, 2010 at 11:40 am

    So how did Miss Leslie’s “Drunk Dialer” not make this list when Dale Watson’s “Hey Brown Bottle” did? That song should replace the Taylor Swift inclusion since Miss Leslie is at least a real country artist! Tsk, tsk….

  20. Lewis
    December 30, 2010 at 11:42 am

    …and significant covers are removed so that we can focus on new music.

    Significant covers like:

    ‘Til The End which was a hit for Vern Gosdin in 1977.

    Lover, Lover which was a pop hit in Australia for American pop group Sonia Dada in 1992.

    Pride (In The Name Of Love) which was a pop hit for U2.

    This Must Be The Bottom which was a hit for Del Reeves.

    If it’s concentrated on “new” music then why did those cover songs make it or is there something I’m missing completely on that.

  21. Leeann Ward
    December 30, 2010 at 11:45 am

    They’re not just ranking singles here. It’s refreshing. If it didn’t seem like such a daunting task to do the same thing, I’d push for the same at Country Universe. I’m glad to have some songs to check out for the first time. I believe the criticism of “The House That Built Me” not being here has already been answered with a link above. It topped last year’s list before it was even a single. They called it.

  22. Brady Vercher
    December 30, 2010 at 11:45 am

    @Lewis: Two of those songs were included last year and therefore weren’t eligible. As far as I’m aware, “Heart Like Mine” hasn’t been released yet, but not including one song doesn’t amount to a snub. And what reason would we have to snub the artist who topped the list last year and appeared twice on this one?

    Oh, and we haven’t done a worst songs list and we don’t have plans to do one this year.

  23. Lewis
    December 30, 2010 at 11:51 am

    Carrie: Heart Like Mine is Miranda’s new single. And how far along was The House That Built Me in 2009 that it was considered top song last year?

    Mike: Yet in the same sentence it was mentioned that cover songs weren’t considered and yet 4 made the list. Care to clarify and specify that with an answer?

    Rick: This list is a head scratcher for sure but yet what on The 9513 surprises me any more.

  24. Lewis
    December 30, 2010 at 11:54 am

    Brady: Heart Like Mine was released to radio in December 2010 and is currently on the charts as we speak (#58 on Billboard). Only Prettier which was released in the summer of 2010 would qualify in this list. Care to explain this to me or is this a trick question that everybody uses on here?

  25. Sam G.
    December 30, 2010 at 11:56 am

    Lewis, Miranda’s album was released in 2009, and so none of those songs are eligible for this year’s list.

  26. Leeann Ward
    December 30, 2010 at 12:03 pm

    Are people not understanding that this is not a list of singles from 2010–that it’s a list of songs from albums released in 2010? Therefore, songs from albums released in 2009 will not make it? Likewise, not every song on the list will be a single.

  27. Lewis
    December 30, 2010 at 12:04 pm

    Sam G.: So no single releases from 2010 from any album released in 2009 does not qualify for the list but I bet that the worse country songs of 2010 will have plenty of those songs released in 2010 from albums released in 2009. That’s generally how everything works on here (one says one thing while the other says another thing and so on and so forth)

  28. Brady Vercher
    December 30, 2010 at 12:06 pm

    @Lewis: Thanks for deliberately misquoting the intro to try to make a point, but I’m not quite sure what your beef is anymore other than you didn’t listen to most of what did make the list–which makes it funny that you’d consider a pop hit in Australia to be a significant cover for a country artist.

    “Only Prettier” and “The House that Built” me were both on last year’s list, therefore, ineligible for this one. “Heart Like Mine” may or may not have been released this year, but is the only eligible solo release by Miranda this year and not including it would hardly be a snub.

  29. Pierce
    December 30, 2010 at 12:06 pm

    Lewis: This isn’t a singles list. It’s based on album releases. “Heart Like Mine” and “Only Prettier” were songs on “Revolution” which was released Sept. 2009.

    As far as the covers go: if it’s interesting/good enough and not just a plain take on the original, I don’t see why a cover wouldn’t deserve a spot. Besides, it’s not like we are electing these songs to office. Our parameters are our parameters.

  30. Lewis
    December 30, 2010 at 12:07 pm

    Let’s put it more bluntly here. How many of these albums released in 2010 were recorded in 2009? Not too hard to figure out which albums were recorded in 2009 and released in 2010.

  31. Brady Vercher
    December 30, 2010 at 12:12 pm

    Songs on albums released in 2010 and singles released in 2010 are both eligible. Significant covers are typically removed and songs appearing on last year’s list are ineligible. That’s the criteria as plainly as I can put it.

    And I’ll state it again: we’ve never had a worst songs of the year list and we don’t have plans to publish one this year.

  32. Leeann Ward
    December 30, 2010 at 12:14 pm

    Who cares if they were recorded in 2009? That’s ridiculous. It’s when they’re released that matters. And Sam’s already said that they’re not planning a “Worst of” list. So, why speculate what it’ll look like and what they’ll “break” on the nonexistent list.

  33. Lewis
    December 30, 2010 at 12:15 pm

    Brady: Lover, Lover is indeed a cover song that was previously released by an American pop group Sonia Dada in 1992 which was a pop hit in Australia. If you wanted to misquote something then the part about cover songs easily fits that category.

    Brady: How many mainstream people have listened to these songs on the radio or have them in their collections? Most of the singles or album cuts mentioned aren’t exactly sold at Wal-Mart or Target either (except for Up On The Ridge and Freight Train) and these mainly are sold either by Best Buy (where I have seen most of these sold), iTunes, indie record shops, online on eBay or overseas.

  34. Paul W Dennis
    December 30, 2010 at 12:16 pm

    Not a bad set of songs at all. A few I had not heard before, and there are a few additions I would have made (tracks by Teaa Goans, Amber Digby/Justin Trevino, Ray Sanders and Donna Ulise) but there is nothing on this list that I hate (and that’s saying something)

  35. Barry Mazor
    December 30, 2010 at 12:19 pm

    In other words, complainers, if good songs were released on an album in 2009, and this site noticed them, they should have had the decency to wait till somebody eventually decided they would be singles before saluting them? And if not turned into hit singles, never mention them at all.?

    That’s goofy…

    Heck; the best “songs” of the year, if we’re really taking about songs and not recordings, shouldn’t even have to have been recorded at all–though that doesn’t seem to be how it works here..

  36. Leeann Ward
    December 30, 2010 at 12:21 pm

    This isn’t a best of the mainstream list. You’re more likely to find a list of music you can buy at Wal-Mart at The9513 has never claimed to be what you’re accusing them of not being.

  37. Lewis
    December 30, 2010 at 12:31 pm

    “And I’ll state it again…we’ve never had a worst songs of the year list and don’t have plans to publish one this year.”–Brady

    You may want to retract that statement because The9513 has done one already.

  38. Brady Vercher
    December 30, 2010 at 12:39 pm

    Maybe you didn’t make it far enough into that short intro, Lewis:

    Below, you’ll find artists classified as Mainstream, Bluegrass, Traditional, Americana–or numerous other permutations under the country tent–but mostly, we hope you find good music and discover a few gems in the process.

    Our goal wasn’t to identify songs that “mainstream people” have listened to or own. And what would be the point of restricting it to songs available at Walmart and Target?

    Singles and songs aren’t the same and that wasn’t a staff compilation, but I’ll admit that I didn’t recall that list.

  39. Jack
    December 30, 2010 at 1:21 pm

    I think a little bit stronger by sara evans shouldve definitely been on the list, and if i die young shouldve at least been in the top 10

  40. Lewis
    December 30, 2010 at 1:23 pm

    Brady: The article also said: “Inclusion on the list is restricted to original songs released in the past year and that significant cover songs are typically removed so we can focus on new music.” which it then takes a sidestep from and mentions Alan Jackson and Lee Ann Womack’s cover of Vern Gosdin’s “Till The End” and Jamey Johnson’s cover of a Keith Whitley song which now makes it 5 cover songs talked about here counting “Lover, Lover”, “Pride (In The Name Of Love)” and “This Must Be The Bottom”. What part of original songs released and cover songs does one understand or the year they were released compared to when they were recorded.

  41. Jil
    December 30, 2010 at 1:26 pm

    Well, must say Miranda Lambert is my favorite, but I’m fast becoming a fan of Sunny Sweeney and have liked Elizabeth Cook for some time now. Why is it we never see these girls? Laura Bell Bundy is out there on stage now(CMT,ACM,ACA SHOWS)I see GAC is having her on lately. As I remember, no radio hit from her! I do like “From A Table Away”, it has been on the charts for some time now. And Sunny has the looks. Maybe not the backing as LBB?

  42. Brady Vercher
    December 30, 2010 at 1:57 pm

    Significant covers are typically removed.” Not ‘always’ removed, but typically removed, which means we can allow for exceptions at will.

    I’m guessing you’d never heard “Till the End” until you went and looked it up after seeing it on this list. In any case, it’s significance can be argued, but when the staff voted it into the top spot by a wide margin, I didn’t see any reason whatsoever to make it ineligible. If they felt it was that good, then why not give it the credit it deserves and why not highlight it for people who may not have heard it?

    “Lover, Lover” was a hit for a pop act in Australia. It had no significance in the U.S. or in country music until Jerrod Niemann took it to number one this year.

    The Keith Whitley song was only previously recorded as a demo and was never released. Does that make it a cover under your definition?

    “Pride (In the Name of Love)” was a compelling enough recording as decided by our staff that it merited inclusion.

  43. Jon
    December 30, 2010 at 2:16 pm

    “Pride (In the Name of Love)” was a compelling enough recording as decided by our staff that it merited inclusion.

    Hey, it was new to Del – that’s good enough for me!

  44. Dan Milliken
    December 30, 2010 at 2:18 pm

    Always love this feature. It’s tempting to quibble about rankings (what is “El Camino” doing outside the top twenty?!), but of course since it was culled by big group vote that doesn’t actually make much sense to do. :p So, a very good group of songs.

    Lewis, you’ve said some silly things, but the idea that Taylor Swift got on this list as a “sympathy vote” has the be one of the silliest. On one hand you’re accusing The 9513 of being anti-mainstream, and on the other you think someone on the staff took pity on arguably the most mainstream musical artist in the world right now? Doesn’t add up, yo. My only thought is that she oughta be here with “Sparks Fly” and/or “The Story of Us” instead.

  45. Leeann Ward
    December 30, 2010 at 2:29 pm

    If I had any credibility at all I’ll ruin it by admitting that I enjoy Swift’s “Mean.”

  46. Emmy
    December 30, 2010 at 2:32 pm

    I would love to be able to purchase these as a set. My schedule doesn’t permit me to sort through every recent release, and I, for one, like to see lists like this that draw my attention to good songs. I personally don’t care to argue the finer details of how the list was created – I’m going to ignore that and just believe that anything on the list merits a listen if I haven’t heard it yet. Thanks for the list!

  47. Brady Vercher
    December 30, 2010 at 3:41 pm

    @Emmy: I was working with Amazon on being able to create playlists about a year ago, but we never got it done. The only thing I can think of to purchase everything together would be if someone created an iMix on iTunes.

    Just a warning that the Brennen Leigh and Rodney Hayden tunes aren’t available on Amazon or iTunes.

  48. Karlie
    December 30, 2010 at 4:12 pm

    @Leeann – no shame. I like “Mean” more than any other song on the album.

  49. Lewis
    December 30, 2010 at 4:20 pm

    Unknown person: I’m well aware of the origins of Till The End and that it was first recorded by Vern Gosdin in 1977. I didn’t have to look anything up because I was around when it came out originally.

    Dan: Taylor Swift got the sympathy vote from The9513 on account that her song is not remotely country thus the very low ranking here and that Taylor’s fans wouldn’t feel cheated by one of her songs not being on here.

  50. Rick
    December 30, 2010 at 5:48 pm

    I just counted and I’ve listened to and possess (legally that is) all of 11 of the songs on the list. That’s actually more than I expected…

  51. Jon
    December 30, 2010 at 5:57 pm

    IIIrd Tyme Out did a killer version of “Til The End” on one of their Live At The MACC albums for Rounder a few years ago. Not that I don’t dig Alan Jackson and Lee Ann Womack, but if you haven’t heard Russell’n’em sing it, you haven’t really heard the song.

  52. Troy
    December 30, 2010 at 6:17 pm

    I made my own list of top 40 singles but it was all genres only had two song that were on my list and they were with Back To December at 12 and If I Die Young at 13.

  53. Jon G.
    December 30, 2010 at 9:37 pm

    Interesting, Rick.

    I believe that I legally own about twenty (I didn’t take the time to count them):
    “Back to December” by Taylor Swift; “Lover, Lover” Jerrod Niemann; “Pride (In The Name of Love)” by Dierks Bentley, the Punch Brothers, and Del McCoury; “Draw Me a Map” by Dierks Bentley;
    “If I Die Young” by The Band Perry; Joe Diffie’s cover of “The Grandpa That I Know” from his album In Another World; “What Do You Want” by Jerrod Niemann; “Bad Angel” by Dierks Bentley, Miranda Lambert, and Jamey Johnson; “That’s Why I Write Songs” by Jamey Johnson; “‘Til Death” by Joe Diffie; “Hey Brown Bottle” by Dale Watson; “Route 5 Box 109” by Joe Diffie; “Hello, I’m an Old Country Song” by Dale Watson; “No Regrets” by Gary Allan; “Little White Church” by Little Big Town; “Can’t Cash My Checks” by Jamey Johnson; “Even The Skies Are Blue” by Jamey Johnson; “Lonely at the Top” by Jamey Johnson.

    I actually think that “If I Die Young” is kinda overrated. Personally, I would rather list “Harlem River Blues” by Justin Townes Earle. Props to whomever noted its inclusion. The single Gary Allan tune was a mild surprise to me. Of course, as Dan Milliken pointed out, this is compiled by a group, so I never fully agree with either the rankings or the songs listed (with the possible exception of the 2007 list).

    And I do not intend to start anything, Leann, but I absolutely abhor “Mean.” To each their own, I suppose…

  54. klark
    December 30, 2010 at 9:38 pm

    Lewis, isn’t the criteria clear enough? hrg. In my opinion, I presumed you will be a lot happier if name-any-other-mainstream-artist’s song be included instead of “Back to December”.

  55. Lewis
    December 30, 2010 at 10:19 pm

    Klark: I was glad that Sugarland did not get in there for their stupid “Stuck Like Glue” as well as the much hyped Jason Aldean/Kelly Clarkson duet. Now if I had my way, “Hard Hat And A Hammer” by Alan Jackson would have replaced Taylor Swift’s whiny and droned out pop song “Back To December” but that’s how The9513 does each time that a list like this comes out putting a lot of non-singles and album cuts and giving sympathy votes to people who don’t need it in the first place.

  56. Dan Milliken
    December 30, 2010 at 10:35 pm

    “Taylor Swift got the sympathy vote from The9513 on account that her song is not remotely country thus the very low ranking here and that Taylor’s fans wouldn’t feel cheated by one of her songs not being on here.”

    Since the list was compiled by combining several individual lists, The low ranking is probably due to a small number of contributors including the song on their lists at all (or, alternatively, a lot of people including it only at so-so ranks). I wouldn’t believe for a moment that anyone at The 9513 is concerned with pandering to the Swift fanbase, which hasn’t even been as vocal as, for example, the Carrie Underwood one. Face it: some people – a lot of critics included – just think Taylor Swift is a pretty good artist.

  57. Dan Milliken
    December 30, 2010 at 10:36 pm

    *as vocal here, I meant to say.

  58. Mike Wimmer
    December 30, 2010 at 11:12 pm

    I may post an expanded list later and my list limits one song per artist or I would fill my top 10 with Guitar Song cuts, but here’s my initial top 10

    1.Colder Weather-Zac Brown Band
    2.Playing The Part-Jamey Johnson
    3.Draw Me A Map-Dierks Bentley
    4.No Regrets-Gary Allan
    5.Steal You Away-Randy Rogers Band
    6.Somewhere With You-Kenny Chesney
    7.Best Forever Yet-Reckless Kelly
    8.Delilah-Blake Shelton
    9.Aint Much Left of Loving You-Randy Montana
    10.She Comes To Me-James Otto

  59. Mike Wimmer
    December 30, 2010 at 11:17 pm

    For as much crap as I give Taylor Swift, I have to defend “Back To December” being included on the list. Yes, Taylor isnt Country, but very little of what is played on radio is and “Back To December” is a very well written song. It’s the fist song I have ever heard of hers, which granted just her radio stuff, that actually sounds like it was written by and about an adult situation and not an adolescent fantasy.

  60. Barry Mazor
    December 31, 2010 at 10:30 am

    Mr. Malec has his site’s list up today, it should be noted. Also that my friend Peter Cooper’s gonna be floored:

  61. Saving Country Music
    December 31, 2010 at 12:47 pm

    Excellent list.

    Though I would say “Dear John” by Taylor Swift would be a much better selection than “Back to December.” Though maybe you didn’t consider it yet because it hasn’t been released as a single?

    And for all the whiners: It is a given that lists like this are going to take the flavor of the people putting them together, but I don’t understand why anyone would want to read a list that only reinforces what they already believe with the music they already know. Lists like this are made to catch what you might have missed, and broaden your musical exposure. I think it is an excellent list, because I see some really good songs I already know mixed in with songs I’ve never heard, which gives me the ability to explore more music with more confidence I am going to like what I find as opposed to flying blind or giving blind faith to the radio to give me any sort of musical direction.

  62. Saving Country Music
    December 31, 2010 at 12:58 pm

    Also there is a song called “Wish” by a group Left Arm Tan out of Texas that I would encourage everyone to check out.!/leftarmtan

  63. ShoresLady
    January 1, 2011 at 1:07 am

    I’m with Emmy (a few notches above), what a reasonable response. I was excited that “Lover, Lover” made the list which almost makes up for the slag I also paid for on that CD. in the case of “As She’s Walking Away” has a brighter, more delightful song ever had such a downer video? This has been Dierka year for sure, interesting to see what he doesn with it now — retreat or full speed ahead? and I understand why “Thia Ain’t No Love Song’ didn’t turn you on but Trace is today’s Conway Twitty and there’s room right next to me here in the front seat of my pick-up truck, baby.

  64. ShoresLady
    January 1, 2011 at 2:04 am

    You tube has several well-meant fan videos of Jackson and womack’s “Till the End” making up for the lack of an official release. That trail also takes you to the sweetened up Gosden-Fricke original, or to Vern and his band on ‘Nashville Now” but best of all, Vern with Emmy lou Harris.
    Vern — they don’t make ‘em like that anymore.

  65. ShoresLady
    January 1, 2011 at 2:10 am

    correction, Emmy Lou did not record ’till the end’ with Vern. sorry.

  66. Drew
    January 1, 2011 at 8:59 pm

    I don’t understand why everyone is loving “As She’s Walking Away”. I think it’s fine, but why is it one of the best songs of the year?

  67. Devin
    January 1, 2011 at 10:11 pm

    Well, it certainly has more going for it than most songs on radio right now. It offers a fairly unique perspective on the plain ‘love song’ idea, the music and the harmonies are very good, and Alan Jackson certainly ups its appeal. I’m a ZBB fan, but even when I heard it for the first time, it was one of those, “this is gonna be a really great song” moment.

    That’s why I think it’s good; I don’t know about others.

  68. Ryan
    January 1, 2011 at 11:13 pm

    This is a great list. And the reason I love the 9513 is that it helps you to check out bands like Hellbound Glory and others I haven’t heard of before.

  69. Susan K.
    January 1, 2011 at 11:28 pm

    Everything Elizabeth Cook – YES! Everything Dierks Bentley – is it just that he doesn’t suck as bad as he once did??

  70. Leeann Ward
    January 2, 2011 at 12:22 am

    No, the album is truly good. Then again, I don’t think his first three albums sucked at all, though the fourth left a lot to be desired.

  71. Leeann Ward
    January 2, 2011 at 12:23 am

    I’ve never fallen in love with it either.

  72. Thomas
    January 2, 2011 at 9:34 am

    …finding alan jackson’s name three times in the top twenty is remarkable. even more remarkable is the quality of the songs he’s related to. it seems that the list of “things” that get even better with age grew by a major item last year.

  73. Kyle
    January 2, 2011 at 4:06 pm

    Nice list overall with a lot of stuff I need to check out. Seems like the toughest part would have been deciding where to put all the Jamey Johnson songs, but I think they’re about right. I would have put Good Morning Sunrise and Front Porch Swing Afternoon on there somewhere and bumped Lonely At The Top down a lot (I think it’s pretty forgettable, despite where it came from), but that’s just me.

    A couple omissions I would have had near the top are Trace Adkins’ version of “Between The Rainbows and the Rain” and George Strait’s “Where’ve I Been All My Life”. I love songs like that that give you some perspective on life without shoving it down your throat (see: “Breath You Take, The”).

  74. Barry Mazor
    January 2, 2011 at 4:25 pm

    That people can (and do!) debate WHICH three or four of the Jamey Johnson songs are among the best of the year speaks volumes about the depth of that album..There seem to be reasonable cases for whichever bunch people raise..

  75. ShoresLady
    January 3, 2011 at 6:48 pm

    That, plus it demonstrates the difference between this site and those where the readers would bicker about why Carrie Underwood is missing. This can be very challenging conversation to join in, if you haven’t noticed. Not exactly warm ‘n fuzzy.

  76. MIA
    January 4, 2011 at 4:52 pm

    Everything Dierks Bentley – is it just that he doesn’t suck as bad as he once did??

    A Toby Keith song (or spin-off) in the making…

    Good list. I’m excited to see Elizabeth Cook and Sunny Sweeney high up there. However, I will definitely have to check some of these songs out, as I haven’t heard them yet. Thanks for the recommendations.

  77. Steve
    January 5, 2011 at 8:47 am

    Temporary Home is a million times better than Back To December.

    Intentional dig aside, I think this is a very good list. I especially agree about Sunny Sweeney. That song is the most country sounding single on the radio there’s been in a long time, definitely the best Big Machine has to offer as far as country music goes. Unfortunately, every label is out to make money so they have to give the bulk of the attention to their biggest cash cow. That’s too bad because Sunny Sweeney could be a huge star in country music if she didn’t have to play backseat to the cash cow.

  78. Rick
    January 7, 2011 at 8:25 pm

    Eddie Stubbs recently played a song on WSM which I would rank as one of the best newly recorded songs I’ve heard in quite awhile! The song is “Cowgirl Yodel #3″ from the recent self titled album by Nora Jane Struthers! By doggies, they don’t write ‘em much like that any more. The rest of the album sounds kinda sleepy in comparison. Oh well…

    Check out this YouTube video from a live show to bask in the sonic splendor! (lol)


  79. Emgee
    January 9, 2011 at 12:23 pm

    Very surprised only one Gary Allan song made the list, and that he didn’t even make your top 10 albums of the year.

  80. Buddy Brown
    February 11, 2011 at 6:49 pm

    Great list, quite a few I haven’t heard of and will try to find them to listen. Looking forward to the new talent that is coming out in 2011, thanks for the post.

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