By Emily Wagner
While we are all stuck inside and can’t see our friends or family, there is at least one good thing coming from this quarantine. All of our favorite country artists are reaching out, connecting with their fans by giving us mini concerts on Instagram or Facebook Live.
Lately there is a “Deep Cuts” trend going around, where each artist is playing us one of their favorite unknown songs from some of their favorite artists. Then of course they nominate their buddies and the wheel goes around and around. Below we have an extension of the list we made last year, or some of the best unknown songs that never saw the light of country radio, but probably should have.
Wonder Woman: Kacey Musgraves
Kacey’s Golden Hour album has so many incredible songs that I can almost understand why Wonder Woman wasn’t a single cut. Not that Kacey gets much love from country radio anyway, but I love this whimsical song. Admitting flaws and shortcomings is Musgraves best writing, especially within the line “I don’t need a superman to win my lovin’/ ‘cause baby I ain’t wonder woman.” Her writing genius should never be overlooked.
Live Those Songs: Kenny Chesney
This song can be found on two of Chesney’s albums. It was first cut for No Shoes, No Shirt, No Problems and then the live version (which is recommended) was released on When The Sun Goes Down. Kenny used to open his shows with this song- a song that was never released to radio, but it’s the perfect song to rev up a summertime crowd. The song follows the life a Vietnam vet and the problems life throws his way, and how if only he could escape back to those songs of his youth. We all tend to look back on songs at a certain time in our lives, and believe things were better back then.
I Need a Ride Home: Carly Pearce
Carly can tell a story better than any of her counterparts in country music. Her debut album Every Little Thing was cut short in terms of singles released from it. I would have loved for this simple, warm song, about going home again, to be released to country radio.
Dancing Forever: Michael Ray
This is easily my favorite Michael Ray song, single or not. The song generated a lot of buzz when Ray’s 2018 album “Amos” was released, that it’s shocking that Dancing Forever was never put to the radio.
Written by songwriting heavyweights, Shane McAnally, Ross Copperman, & Old Dominion’s Matthew Ramsey and Trevor Rosen, Ray himself interprets the song as a thank you to all his family and friends who supported his dream of making it in Nashville. It can be about anyone who supports another, without asking for anything in return. Petitioning this song to be the next single cut before Ray comes out with a new album.
We Run This Town: Luke Bryan
I’m totally okay with song being a hidden gem. It was on Luke’s Crash My Party album, wedged between “Roller Coaster” and “Drink A Beer.” Critics will call Luke “Bro-Country” but in fact this might be another small-town song, about causing trouble with your friends and drinking beer around a fire, but from the opening piano solo, this song feels different. The clichés don’t feel forced, the lyrics don’t come off as cheesy. It’s an easy listening country song.
No Time For Tears: Jo Dee Messina
Jo Dee was a giant voice in the break up song department, and the majority of those songs tended to be fun, uplifting, ‘better off without you’ songs. “No Time For Tears” is exactly one of those songs. Found on her 1998 album I’m Alright this deep cut is easily overlooked by “Lesson In Leavin’” and “Bye-Bye” but it is such a fun, self-empowering song, that it’s a shame more people didn’t get to hear it through their radios.
I Can’t Trust Myself: Devin Dawson
Perhaps the deepest cut of the list is the version that needs to be listened to is found off Devin Dawson’s Dark Horse: Songs in the Key of F. For those who aren’t Devin Dawson diehards, Dawson took his debut album Dark Horse and flipped all the songs slightly into a different key, and a slightly different arrangement. Neither version of the song made it to country radio. The best part about the deep cut on Songs in The Key of F is that Dawson is joined by his cowriter, Jillian Jacqueline. I love their voices together and this little song that tows the line with infidelity and feelings for the wrong person, is easily the best Devin Dawson song out there.
Beautiful Believer: Brett Young
The inspiration behind the final track on Brett Young’s debut album, is in itself beautiful. Young was at a number one party for David Nail’s “Whatever She’s Got” when one of the writers of the song, Jon Nite, told his story of coming to Nashville with his wife when they were only 18, with a 1.5 year old baby. Things were tough at first, with Nite trying to find other jobs to just pay the bills. His wife was the one who encouraged him to focus on his songwriting, to not worry as much about the bills and how things were going to be paid; but to do what he came to Nashville to do. Nite ended his story by calling his wife his “Beautiful Believer.” Young took that home and created the song that made it to the album. And it’s a true testament how the support and encouragement of just one person can lead us to where we need to be.
Had Me By Halftime: Morgan Wallen
Any song from Wallen’s debut album that did not find its way to country radio, deserves to be recognized. “Had Me By Halftime” is the quintessential, small town America love story-falling in love at a football game. With first down and home team jersey references, this song oozes nostalgia and hometown feelings. Definitely one to turn up at your next bonfire.