Julie Roberts – “Why Can’t I Have You?”
Why you should be listening: Julie Roberts has one of the most unique and sonically beautiful voices in country music. Her voice paired with the production (completed by Shooter Jennings) results in one of the grooviest country songs to be released this year!
Miranda Lambert – “We Should Be Friends”
Why you should be listening: Miranda delivers a fun and witty song about reaching out and becoming friends with those that share similar values, thoughts, and interests. Based on the lyrics, I think it’s safe to say Miranda is willing to be anyone’s friend!
Aubrie Sellers – “Sit Here and Cry”
Why you should be listening: In a world where country radio prefers to play songs that sound the same, this Aubrie Sellers tune is a refreshing blow of fresh air we all need. The distinctive sound (pegged by Sellers as “garage country”) includes heavily distorted electric guitars and a raucous percussion line that give it the “garage” type sound; yet, everything else, including her vocal performance, make it sound more country than anything on country radio.
Runaway June – “Lipstick”
Why you should be listening: The trio delivers clever and witty lyrics with exceptional harmonies and a pleasing country-pop (more emphasis on the country) production. “If you’re gonna love somebody, yeah you better love somebody, who ruins your lipstick, not your mascara.” I mean, c’mon! How many ladies need advice like that?!
Drake White – “Makin’ Me Look Good Again”
Why you should be listening: This is a powerful love song to a woman that relies more on romance and charm rather than the misogynistic themes found in popular “bro-country” songs. Drake White is easily one of the best male vocalists I’ve EVER heard in country music and he pours every ounce of soul he has in him into this song. The opening lines are so brilliant that it forces you stop what you’re doing and listen. The last song to make me do that was Little Big Town’s “Girl Crush.” I hope this song gains momentum at radio because it’s too good for people not to hear!
Little Big Town – “Better Man”
Why you should be listening: First off, Taylor Swift wrote this. Second, it’s a painfully honest look into the mixed emotions that come with a necessary breakup. Though the narrator misses her old flame, she realizes that he simply wasn’t the one, but had he been a better man, it may have worked. If you’re currently looking to maybe get back together with someone who wasn’t right for you, give this song a listen! I guarantee it’ll force you to look at your relationship differently.
Brandy Clark – “Love Can Go to Hell”
Why you should be listening: If you followed my advice above and maybe decided to finally end your tumultuous relationship for good and are looking for something to blame, then give this song a listen. Brandy Clark offers a brilliant tell-off to love by simply telling it to go to hell. Filled with heartbreakingly honest lyrics and a brilliant production, this song is a good one to listen to if you’re looking for someone or something to blame for your heartache.
Beyonce featuring Dixie Chicks – “Daddy Lessons”
Why you should be listening: It doesn’t get more epic than the biggest superstar on the planet collaborating with the biggest all-female group in history. Beyonce and the Dixie Chicks surprised us with this performance at this year’s CMA awards and blew everyone away. The recorded version is just as fun, fresh, and funky as the live performance. The combination of Bey and the Chicks is perfect as they trade verses and even include a bit of the Dixie Chicks’ hit, “Long Time Gone.” It doesn’t get more fun than this song.
Jennifer Nettles – “Hey Heartbreak”
Why you should be listening: Jennifer Nettles delivers a fun, witty, and sassy tell-off to heartbreak, loneliness, and sadness in this up tempo ditty. The lyrics don’t offer anything we haven’t heard before, but it’s Nettles’ cute and perky vocal performance that makes you love this song. Her infectious voice forces you to clap, sing, and dance (because we all know she’s getting down while singing) along with her.
Leann Rimes – “How to Kiss a Boy”
Why you should be listening: The past few years we’ve been treated to some downright brilliant music from Leann Rimes. This song is no different. It’s an incredibly heartbreaking look into a woman being destroyed when her first love goes terribly awry. Written by Lori McKenna (2-time CMA Song of the Year winner) and Barry Dean, the lyrics read almost like a play that tells a 3-part story detailing how to kiss a boy during times of love and happiness, pain and forgiveness, and eventually to how kiss a boy goodbye. Once again, McKenna proves she is one of the best songwriters that country music has ever had and Rimes proves she’s still a vocal powerhouse that needs to be rediscovered by the masses. Much like the Drake White song above, this one instantly stops you dead in your tracks and grabs every bit of your attention from start to finish.