Here are the rules by which this list was selected. It had to be released off an album that was released in 2011 or is an already-released single off a to-be-released album. If the album came out in 2010 or before, it couldn’t be included- even if it wasn't released as a single until 2011.
Let us hear what you think. Anything we missed? Without further ado, here is That Nashville Sound’s Top 100 Songs of 2011.
1 Ronnie Dunn - Cost of Livin'
A masterpiece that is as timely as it is well written and sung. Stripped down acoustically and emotionally, this song about struggling through this economic malaise just could be the anthem of our times. It's head and shoulders above everything else.
2 Chris Young - Neon
Neon” is a one word stud in song- a terrifically written track that is perfect for his voice and targeted genre. Young's vocals are rich, distinctive and powerful and impart just enough emotion to rope in the listener and not let go.
3 Pistol Annies - Takin' Pills
While a number of songs off the Pistol Annies' debut album could have been here in the top ten, this one embodies the album the best. It is told from fascinatingly flawed characters. They’ve taken subjects that are typically associated with backwoods mentality and told stories with wit and grit that are smart as hell.
4 Stoney LaRue - Velvet
"Velvet” closes the curtain on his album with a lush, warm, and sensual slow number that is not overly sexual, but one of those songs that is just perfect to hold your girl to. Sarah Buxton chiming in on background vocals just adds to the heat.
5 Joey+Rory - "Headache"
I'm pretty sure that Joey, the female piece to this wife/husband duo, could sing the phone book and it would sound gorgeous. However, when she gets sassy and utilizes Rory's deft touch at humor in song, something magical happens. That this wasn't a giant hit on radio is the crime of 2011.
6 Vince Gill - The Old Lucky Diamond Motel
From my review over at Engine 145: “Old Lucky Diamond Hotel,” a delicious slice of Americana, was inspired by the razing of several classic Route 66 landmarks. It’s wrapped up in great, gritty 70s country themes like losing your virginity to a sweet Spanish stripper, filtered Pall Malls, pool shooting, and raising hell as a teenager. Gill gives the hotel more admiring description in four minutes than do most newspaper stories. At the end of the song, it’s hard not to lament that they’re demolishing a fictional location with such character.
7 Matraca Berg - Your Husband's Cheating On Us
My pal CM Wilcox over at Country California called this the "Best Slithering, Sassy Story Song in Which a Cheater Is Brought to Justice by Unlikely Accomplices."
8 Jason Eady - AM Country Heaven
For anyone who believes that the takeover of pop-oriented country music across the FM radio leaves something missing, this could be your new anthem. Eady performs a terrifically written tale of how AM country radio is still keeping the genre honest.
9 Emmylou Harris - The Story of Emmett Till
Using the true story of a gruesome killing of a southern black boy as the base, the song is at once sorrowful, historical and powerful. It caused me to spend another hour looking into the back-story of the song- not because it didn’t provide enough details, but it wove a story so incredibly well, I had to know more.
10 Miranda Lambert - Dear Diamond
My music critic friend Sam Gazdziak of Engine 145 says, "The self-penned “Dear Diamond” should be required listening for any singer out there who believes that vocal gymnastics trump emotional delivery."
11 Emily West - I Hate You, I Love You Again
Haunting lyrics. Impeccable vocals. Throwback stylings. Damn near perfection in song.
12 Justin Haigh - All My Best Friends (Are Behind Bars)
13 Dirt Drifters - Name On My Shirt
14 Connie Smith - Ain't You Even Gonna Cry
15 Holly Williams - Blue Is My Heart
16 Jimmy Rankin - The Hurtin' Part
17 Randy Houser - In God's Time
18 Pistol Annies - Hell on Heels
19 Donna Ulisse - Hand Me Down Home
20 Eddie Bush - We Shared Time
21 Sawyer Brown - Travlin' Band
22 Chris Young - Flashlight
23 Michael Martin Murphey - Trusty Lariat
24 David Serby - I Just Stole Back What Was Mine
25 George Strait - Drinkin' Man
26 Pistol Annies - Lemon Drop
27 Jonathan Byrd - Father's Day
28 David Nail - Songs For Sale
29 Dierks Bentley - Home
30 Donna Ulisse - Shady Glen
31 Big Kenny & Jaron and the Long Road To Love - Beautiful Lies
32 Sarah Darling (with Vince Gill) - Bad Habit
33 Brett Eldridge - Raymond
34 Foster and Lloyd - Picasso's Mandolin
35 Mark Wills - Crazy Being Home
36 Miranda Lambert - All Kinds of Kinds
37 Toby Keith - Clancy's Tavern
38 Alison Krauss & Union Station - Dimming of the Day
39 George Strait - Poison
40 Bradley Gaskin- Mr. Bartender
41 Blake Shelton - Red River Blue
42 Sonia Leigh - 1978 December
43 Vince Gill - Bread and Water
44 David Nail - Sound of a Million Dreams
45 Steve Earle - The City
46 Erin Enderlin - You Don't Know Jack
47 Martina McBride - Marry Me
48 Sara Evans - What That Drink Cost Me
49 Dirt Drifters - Married Men and Hotel Rooms
50 Brad Paisley - One Of Those Lives
51 Jimmy Rankin - Maybe Nothing
52 Joe Nichols - She's Just Like That
53 Nell Robinson - Don’t Light My Fire
54 Chris Young - Tomorrow
55 Alison Krauss & Union Station - Dustbowl Children
56 Tommy Shaw - Sawmill
57 Coy Bowles - This Ole Town
58 Glen Campbell - A Better Place
59 Sierra Hull - Tell Me Tomorrow
60 Steve Earle - Heaven or Hell
61 Ronnie Dunn - How Far To Waco
62 Steve and Ryan Wariner - Sting Ray
63 Shooter Jennings - Outlaw You
64 Edens Edge - Amen
65 Eli Young Band - My Old Man's Son
66 Randy Travis (with Don Henley) - More Life
67 Trent Tomlinson - A Man Without A Woman
68 Alison Krauss & Union Station - Paper Airplane
69 The Trishas- Drive
70 George Strait - A Showman's Life
71 David Adam Byrnes - When I Get There
72 David Nail - Half Mile Hill
73 David Serby - Sugar Creek
74 The Henningsens - Thirst
75 Dirt Drifters - Something Better
76 Dolly Parton - Better Day
77 Sunny Sweeney and Jessi Colter - Good Hearted Woman
78 Terri Clark - Northern Girl
79 The Civil Wars - Barton Hallow
80 The Harters - If I Run
81 Gord Bamford - Hank Williams Lonesome
82 Gwendolyn - Sing This Song
83 Lauren Alaina - The Locket
84 Tommy Shaw - Give Em' Hell Harry
85 Wood Brothers - Shoofly Pie
86 Matraca Berg - The Dreaming Fields
87 Matt Kennon - I Can't Get Back
88 Miss Willie Brown - Freeland
89 Scotty McCreery - Dirty Dishes
90 Brad Paisley - New Favorite Memory
91 Alabama - Are You Sure Hank Done It This Way?
92 Sara Evans - A Little Bit Stronger
93 Stoney LaRue - Dresses
94 Blake Shelton - I'm Sorry
95 Thompson Square - Glass
96 Sierra Hull - All Because of You
97 Trace Adkins - Just Fishin'
98 Brad Paisley - A Man Don't Have To Die
99 Tiffany - Just That Girl
100 Michael Martin Murphey - The James Gang Song Trilogy