Wednesday, December 13, 2017

That Nashville Sound's Top 100 Songs of 2017 - A Year-End Best Of List

2017 has been another fabulous year of country music. Traditional country, bluegrass, modern country and Americana are all represented well and this list proves that out- we’ve cast a wide net over that definition of roots-oriented music.  Earlier this month, we unveiled our top albums of 2017, but here we tackle our favorite songs. Few are radio singles. But you probably knew that already if you read this site.

Here are the rules by which this list was selected. It had to be released off an album that was released in 2017, is an independent release not on any other project, or is an already-released single off a to-be-released album. If the album came out in 2016 or before, it couldn’t be included- even if it wasn't released as a single until 2017.

Looking back, there's some amazing songs that moved us more than all the others:

2016 - Jack Ingram - "The Sailor and the Sea"
2015-  Chris Stapleton - "Tennessee Whiskey"
2014 - Emily West - "Made for the Radio"
2013 - Kacey Musgraves - "Follow Your Arrow"
2012 - Waylon Jennings - "I Do Believe"
2011 - Ronnie Dunn - "Cost of Livin'"
2010 - Joe Diffie - "Route 5 Box 109"
2009 - Dean Brody - "Cattleman's Gun"
2008 - Jamey Johnson - "In Color"
2007 - Miranda Lambert - "Gunpowder and Lead"

Let us hear what you think. Anything we missed? Without further ado, here is That Nashville Sound’s Top Songs of 2017. Each song is linked so you can hear it for yourself by clicking on the link.

The Very Best:
 1. Sunny Sweeney“Bottle By My Bed” - What stands out as her most astounding musical achievement is the heart-wrenching, emotional powerhouse, honest and autobiographical "Bottle By My Bed." Written about her battle with miscarriage and difficulty conceiving, it easily shows how tragedy can transform a piece of art and give it a substance filled with pain, guilt and regret that oozes from every pore of this song. It makes you ache listening to this song.

          2. Jason Eady“Waiting to Shine” – There are several songs off his outstanding self-titled album that could take this spot, but this particular track stands out above all others. The ultimate singer-songwriter sings of chasing the ultimate song and it's absolute perfection. Eady has done it again with a project that digs deep with a production that allows that storytelling to breathe.

    3. Drew Kennedy – “When I'll Miss You Most” – My family sat around listening to this track earlier this week and had a fascinating experience. This tale of loss and looking back on yesterday was interpreted by my wife as lost love. I envisioned looking back on an old town you were from. My son had the protagonist looking back at his youth. Kennedy says it's a story extrapolated from a 80-something  widowed man going down his drive to pick up his newspaper thinking about his wife. That just might be the genius of the track- so brilliantly and poetically pieced together that the listener can immerse themselves in it and find their own story.

       4. John Mayer“In the Blood” – So it wasn’t officially released as a county single, but some life breathed into it by Sirius XM has uncovered this nugget that has more country roots than more singles played on that station. The song debates just how much we actually control our destiny or how much it controls us. It’s deep nature vs nurture stuff.

         5. Liz Rose“Grocery Money” – She’s written smash hits for the likes of Little Big Town and Taylor Swift, but Rose takes the center stage for the first time this year on her solo debut. And she hits it out of the park on this track about how a Mom turned a weekly shopping trip into a lifetime of special memories for her daughter despite barely making ends meet. This might be the finest image painted in lyrics on any release this year.

  6. Brent Cobb – “Ain't A Road Too Long” – Swampy. Groovy. Soulful. This might have the best guitar riff of anything we've listened to all year long. Cobb's unique vocals are a callback to the best of 1970's southern rock icons like the CDB and Lynyrd Skynyrd. Terrific stuff.

  7. Radney Foster - "Belmont and Sixth" - “For me, the goal of writing is always to touch that one person so much that they wonder how I got a peek into their living room–how I understood exactly what they felt,” says Foster about his process. “More than just rhyming or having a pretty melody, I try to express a part of the human condition that can make someone want to laugh, cry, make love, or all of the above.” One of our favorite tracks of the year comes from this project with “Belmont and Sixth.” It’s a heartbreaking look at the plight of a homeless vet and the reaction he gets (and doesn’t get) from a daily passer-byer.
8. Erin Enderlin - "Broken" - There wasn't a more fragile song released this year. Enderlin takes on the power of a generational shadow and how, like a compass, it points you in directions whether you want to go there or not. "Broken family trees" have a tendency to do that. It's a punch to the gut emotionally. And genius.

9. Lee Brice - "Boy" - Brice's stint on Curb Records has been a steady output of songs of content and consequence. "Boy" continues this streak. In this observation on fatherhood, he sends a dedication to his son filled with advice and subtle reminders that it's all been done before with Brice himself. It's a loving tribute that anyone with a child of their own will find common ground with and personalize.

10. Chris Stapleton - "Midnight Train To Memphis" -  Yes, we know this is a cover of his own song with the Steeldrivers. But this is a whole new Stapleton this time around. With a raucous array of gritty guitars backing him up, he lets his vocal rip through this fantastic rocker.

Cream of the Crop (Top 35):

Alan Jackson - "The Older I Get"
Jason Eady“Where I’ve Been”
Jason Eady“Not Too Loud”
Love & Theft“Love Wins”
Scotty McCreery - "Five More Minutes"
Steve Moakler“Wheels”
Chris Stapleton“Second One To Know”
Chris Stapleton - "Tryin' To Untangle My Mind"
Chris Stapleton - "A Simple Song"
Tony Jackson“The Grand Tour”
Glen Campbell“Just Like Always”
Jason Isbell“White Mans’ World”
Jason Isbell“If We Were Vampires”
Pistol Annies“Tulsa Time”
Carly Pearce“Every Little Thing”
Rhonda Vincent & Daryle Singletary - "Golden Ring" and "After the Fire Is Gone"
Hannah Blaylock - "Fences"
Big & Rich - "My Son" (featuring the Issacs)
Drew Kennedy - "House"
Lee Ann Womack - "The Lonely, The Lonesome & The Gone"
Blake Shelton - "I Lived It"
Dillon Carmichael - "Old Songs Like That"

Upper Crust: (Top 70)

Jennifer Paige – “January”
John Baumann“Old Stone Church”
Saints Eleven (featuring Courtney Patton)“Let Them Go”
Candi Carpenter“Burn the Bed”
Aaron Watson“Run Wild Horses”
Band of Heathens“All I’m Asking”
Jason Eady“Black Jesus”
Jason Eady“Barrabas”
Sunny Sweeney“Pass the Pain”
The Mavericks“Damned (If You Do)”
Joey Feek“See You There”
Trace Adkins“Watered Down”
Brad Paisley (with John Fogerty)“Love and War”
Chris Stapleton“Either Way”
Tony Jackson“Old Porch Swing”
Maggie Rose“Body on Fire”
Jake Worthington“A Lot of Room To Talk”
Natalie Hemby“Cairo, IL”
Brantley Gilbert“Three Feet of Water”
Brett Eldredge“Somethin’ I’m Good At”
Will Hoge - "Little Bit of Rust"
Erin Enderlin - "Ain't It Just Like A Cowboy"
Joe Nichols - "We All Carry Something"
Brett Eldredge - "Superhero"
Lee Roy Parnell - "Tied Up and Tangled"
Cadillac Three - "Demolition Man"
Emily West - "Symphonies"
Hannah Blaylock - "Should've Been"
Chris Young - "Where I Go When I Drink"
Lee Ann Womack - "Mama Lost Her Smile"
Carly Pearce - "I Need A Ride Home"
Granger Smith - "When The Good Guys Win"
Donna Ulisse - "A Little Past Lonely"

Best of the Rest (Top 100):

Ray Scott – “Growin’ Old”
Tony Jackson“They Lived It Up”
Lady Antebellum“Hurt”
Steve Moakler“Steel Town”
Lila McCann“Still ChooseYou”
Little Big Town“Drivin’ Around”
Marty Stuart – “Air Mail Special”
Marty Stuart“Wait for the Morning”
Joey Feek“Southern Girl”
Chris Stapleton“Broken Halos”
Zac Brown Band“My Old Man”
Natalie Hemby“Worn”
Natalie Hemby“This Town Still Talks About You”
Will Hoge - "The Grand Charade"
Will Hoge - "17"
Parmalee - "Savannah"
Caroline Jones - "Country Girl"
Cadillac Three - "American Slang"
Hannah Blaylock - "Bandit Queen"
Big & Rich - "Freedom Road"
Midland - "Out of Sight"
Jerrod Niemann - "God Made A Woman"
Drew Kennedy - "Cream and Sugar"
Radney Foster - "For You To See The Stars"
Blake Shelton - "The Wave"


  1. Man there's a lot to like on that list. What are your thoughts on Bobby Bare's song "I Drink"? I was shocked it wasn't on here.

  2. I would recommend "Heartache Is An Uphill Climb", a track off of Tift Merritt's early 2017 album release STITCH OF THE WORLD--Americana in nature, but also a touch of old-school country-rock a la Linda Ronstadt and Emmylou Harris, two big influences on Tift's music.

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