It’s the days before smartphones, before streaming, and your favorite artist just released their latest album. You go to the store, buy it, and spend the next few weeks memorizing every word, waiting for the day when your favorite song is released as a single to the radio, and you can show off to your friends how you already know all the words. But weeks and months go by and your favorite song keeps getting passed by other, lesser songs to be singles, and internally you complain how music label executives have no idea what they are passing up.
No? Just me? Some of the best country music songs never made it to radio. They are never sung in concerts and only those truly die hard fans know all the words and what number track it was on the album. It’s time to give credit where credit is due —to all those songs that were good enough to make the record, but never saw the light of day after. Here are just 10 of those hidden gems, but trust me, there are dozens, hundreds more.
“That Was Us” Kip Moore Wild Ones
Let’s be honest, this whole list could be made of Kip Moore songs. This song in particular is a fan favorite, one that Moore plays at his live shows. A song that touches on domestic violence, music execs wouldn’t let this song fly, thinking listeners wouldn’t get behind the song.
“These Boots” Eric Church Sinners Like Me
The Church Choir is a dedicated fan base, so there is no doubt that in a concert setting, Eric Church could let the crowd sing the song to him, word for word. It’s classic Church, off his freshman album, and the only qualm is perhaps this album had too many other monster songs, that there simply wasn’t time for another single. There is no other logical reason.
“Choctaw County Affair” Carrie Underwood Storyteller
It still hurts that “Church Bells” was chosen as a single over this song. “Choctaw” is Carrie with even more of an edge. The song is muddy and swampy and gives you a mini movie within a 3 minute song. Carrie sang it at CMA Fest and the Today show, so clearly she was ready for this to be a single (just assuming here). This song would have crushed the charts and the music video would have been dynamic.
“Bottle It Up” Sam Hunt Between the Pines
This is Hunt’s best song, no question. Only sung as an acoustic, on his all acoustic album “Between the Pines.” My only guess is that perhaps it couldn’t be released as a single because it wasn’t on his full length album “Montevallo.” Is it too late to release it now? I’ll start the campaign.
“New Girl” Dustin Lynch Current Mood
I tried to convince my friends for a long time that this was going to be a monster hit for Lynch. It’s too bad I never got the chance to be proven right. Head and shoulders above “Good Girl” this is the song that should have been released to the world.
“Lately” Dan + Shay Obsessed
In my eyes this was the duo’s best album — so many good songs. But “Lately” is my guilty pleasure. Maybe too “pop centric” or not as much depth as “From the Ground Up” and “How Not Too” but it could have been the perfect summer song. Good news: as of March 2019 they still play this at their live shows!
“She Is” Lady Antebellum 747
Again, as with Kip Moore, this list could have been all Lady A songs. They bring their best on everything, every album, every song, every line, every harmony. This song is so catchy and easy listening, and it’s not fair that more people don’t know about it.
“Then I Did” Rascal Flatts Feels Like Today
Yes this is a song from an album that is 15 years old, but 25 year old me loves this song just as much as 10 year old me did — maybe even more. Granted Rascal Flatts has a good track record of releasing great songs, but there is no reason to think that “Then I Did” wouldn’t have become another song on their greatest hits album.
“Lose It All” Brett Eldredge Illinois
Brett Eldredge could sing the phone book and I would still argue it should be released as a single. “Lose It All” is a sad, heartbreaking song, as Eldredge depicts all the things that one must do (and presumably has already done) to lose the love of your life. If you are ever in your feels and need a sad song, this should do it.
“That Was Us” Brantley Gilbert Just As I Am
Not quite the dark and slightly twisty song that Kip Moore’s of the same title is. Brantley’s original song is more reminiscent with longing for those good old days. It’s always fun to see other sides of artists, and while Brantley has showed his rocker side and his softer side with love songs, this song feels maybe more personal than any of that. Crank this one up around the bonfire, because unfortunately you won’t hear it on the radio in your car.
Truth is a book could be written about all the songs that didn’t make it, these are only 10. What other best-kept-secret songs are your favorites?