By Aaron Wagner
2020 has been….well….unique.
While in the last 3 months it became apparent that festivals and concerts weren’t going to happen this year, at least we were blessed with some fantastic new music. We got new albums from Kenny, Kip, Sam, and Gabby along with a ton of single releases from country stars and country risers.
Honestly, I had a list of 40-50 songs I was considering from my 10 favorite from the last three months. That’s how much I enjoyed all the new music.
Below are my 10 favorites so please don’t yell at me. It was hard and it still is 2020 after all.
10. Somebody’s Gonna – SixForty1
This is my favorite song the duo has ever released. It’s such a fun, uptempo song that is perfect for summer and I’m sure would be great at a live show.
9. Thank God – Gabby Barrett
I’ve had Gabby’s album on repeat since it dropped, I enjoy it so much. There’s a half dozen songs I considered but this is my favorite from the album. Love how she weaves in her faith with chasing her dreams and falling in love. It’s so authentically Gabby and that’s why it works so well.
8. Church in a Chevy – Jordan Davis
This dude is quickly becoming a star. Other songs on his EP like “A Little Lime” and “Almost Maybes” are jams, but this song hits different. The songwriting and concept of the song takes me back to my youth growing up in the country and going for drives just to think and enjoy the scenery.
7. Spur of the Moment – Kylie Frey
What a song this is. Again, it’s the unique storytelling around an object as mundane as a spur and relating it to emotions and feelings of a relationship. Kylie’s vocals on the chorus are so pure that it makes it more than just a great song lyrically, but a great song all around.
6. Happy Does – Kenny Chesney
I was fortunate enough to hear this back in early March at The Listening Room as Greylan James, one of the songwriters performed it. It was such a feel good song in the moment and different from a lot of other country songs that it stood out. With what’s happened in the world since that night, I’m so glad Kenny decided to release it as his next single. This one is hitting #1 in a couple months.
5. Paper Airplanes – Taylor Acorn
Sometimes songs just hit you you like a ton of bricks. Taylor sings about torn between chasing her dreams, missing her family and friends, and always wanting to be somewhere else. Emotions that we all go through, myself included when I moved to Nashville last year. This isn’t going to be Taylor’s biggest song, but the powerful thing about music is that it can be a powerful and special song for someone.
4. Southpaw – Kip Moore
I’ll admit, I’m not a diehard Kip Moore fan. But his album is easily going to be my most listened to album this year. There’s not one song on the album one wants to skip. They’re all so great. “Southpaw” stood out for me as Kip’s autobiographical song. He doesn’t follow trends and marches to the beat of his own drum and it’s worked out for him.
3. Here – Mitchell Tenpenny
Similar to Jordan Davis earlier, Mitchell is on the fast track to becoming a bonafide star in country music. EVERYTHING he releases is gold and with his trademark raspy voice it makes his songs stand out even more. This one is so well written as he sings about living in the moment, living each day to its fullest, and to never waste a single thing.
2. Breaking Up Was Easy in the 90s – Sam Hunt
I remember looking at the tracklist prior to Sam releasing his new album and this song title stood out so much that I told myself it had to be the best song on the project. I hyped it up so much just off of the title, but I stand by it as the best song on the project. “Hard to Forget” became a #1 and a smash this year, but the storyline and midtempo pace to this is what Sam does best. Only a matter of time before this flies up the chart.
1.One Of Them Girls – Lee Brice
Again, similar to Kip I’m not a diehard Lee Brice fan but the dude can absolutely sing. This song stood out with such an infectious chorus that’s easy to sing along to. It’s racing up the charts now on its way to becoming an absolute smash for Brice. Ashley Gorley and Dallas Davidson are the songwriters on this song, so that’s another hint as to how good this song is. Add a clever and cute music video to the song and you pull me all the way in and have me declare it as my #1.