This year is country music was filled with the usuals and the unusuals. The charts were filled with Lukes and Bretts. Aldean had another stellar year and Stapleton was ever present. But 2018 also had newcomers like Jimmie Allen and Mitchell Tenpenny scoring their first number ones! When it comes to women in country, the struggle is still real. Carly Pearce was a force, Carrie was back, in a big way, Kelsea and Maren continued to slay, and newcomers Rachel Wammack and Abby Anderson were able to make their mark. Who knew we’d be hearing Lady Gaga on country radio, with Bradley Cooper?
There was no science involved in the making of my list, just some passion, maybe a good hook, or a welcome fresh new sound… oh, and that thing that makes you want to turn it up to 10!
In no particular order…
- Eric Church: “Desperate Man”- YES! Church with an in your face, stand out smokin’ hot hit!
- Jason Aldean and Miranda Lambert: “Drowns The Whiskey”- Jason gets his country on and it feels so right, but what sounds so right is accompaniment from Miranda Lambert
- Carrie Underwood: “Cry Pretty”- absolutely brilliant vocals on this not-your-typical Carrie cut (co-written by Stoughton’s Lori McKenna)
- Dan and Shay: “Tequila”- Seriously, the sing-a-long song of the year! Great lyics, amazing vocals
- Dierks Bentley: “Woman Amen”- this is the Dierks I missed so much, stripped down, real.
- Kenny Chesney: “Get Along”- This has become one of my all time favorite Kenny songs now. He digs deep but still manages to be hooky and fun.
- Pistol Annies: “Got My Name Changed Back”- Just what country music needs! Sassy women who can write, sing and play! Love, love, love!
- Luke Combs: “Beautiful Crazy”- Undeniably a record year for “the other Luke” who is quickly becoming just as popular! Bound to become his 5th #1
- Cam: “Diane”: Sing it sister! Soaring vocals, great story song. Jumps out of your radio kinda jam
- Justin Moore: “Kinda Don’t Care”- Underrated, underappreciated! Dude is so country it hurts. Hurts so good.
- Luke Bryan: “What Makes You Country”- Yay, for the return of this Luke Bryan. The mid-tempo stuff just got stale. This the “huntin’ fishin’, all my friends say Luke I love.
- Sugarland: “Babe”- Finally, the return of Sugarland, and Taylor Swift! Much anticipated and much appreciated. Jennifer can sing her face off, but tones it down just the right amount on this Taylor composition
- Keith Urban: “Never Comin Down”- Edgy, innovative…Keith just keeps growing and pushing the limits
- Old Dominion; “Make It Sweet”- The CMA Vocal Group of the Year with a positive, poppy, infectious gem. The hit making machine does not disappoint.
- Devin Dawson: “All On Me” – The newbie on the list makes his voice heard with this soulful treasure