The Best Songs of The Year
(This article was printed in the January / February 2007 issue of Strictly Country Magazine)
2006 was a great year for music. We heard everything from heart felt ballads to high octane country. No matter what, it was all good.
This year marks the first year in which the Spirit Awards honored the top songs with the award for Song of the Year. Voted by the fans, this award was quite popular. Many fans took advantage of voting for their favorite song. Some, questioned the choice of songs.
Each of the songs chosen came from new albums released in 2006. Each song had to meet a certain criteria. The first and foremost, the song must have been recorded on an album released in 2006. Each album must have been submitted to Strictly Country, by a member of the country music industry.
Let me share with you the list of Top Songs of 2006. In no particular order...
We begin with "365 Days To Go" by Brad Paisley. This song was found on his new Christmas album. It’s a song that speaks of the let down after Christmas is over and how we get to look forward to next Christmas. Brad makes another appearance with one of the first songs he ever wrote, "Born On Christmas Day." However, the popular song around here was when Paisley teamed up with Bill Anderson, George Jones and Little Jimmy Dickens in "Kung Pao Buckaroo Holiday." In this song the guys make fun of a politically correct holiday.
Rhonda Vincent made our list with two of her holiday songs. "Christmas Time At Home" and her rendition of "Twelve Days Of Christmas." It was the later that entertained us the most. Vincent teams up with her entire crew, including the bus driver, to entertain us. The only thing missing was the two old guys from The Muppets television show.
Rhonda Vincent was one of many who showed their support for America’s military personnel. Vincent’s "’Till They Come Home" is simply beautiful. Paulette Carlson, former member of Highway 101, honored her Veteran brother with "Thank You Vets." Ex-soldier Luke Stricklin recorded "American By God’s Amazing Grace" while serving on the streets of Baghdad, Iraq. New group Cowboy Crush added their "He’s Coming Home" to the songs of military support. Where as Darryl Worley pointed out some things in "I Just Came Back From A War."
However, it was a song from a no-name that hit the hearts of many. Megan Conner was the performer on "Red White And Blue Night In Georgia." A song about a wife of a soldier serving in war.
Next on our list is a legendary song. "A Boy Named Sue," by Johnny Cash. This song was part of an album that was released to celebrate and honor Johnny Cash. To this day this is still a fan favorite. Other hit songs from this album that made our list include "One Piece At A Time," and the ever popular "Ring of Fire."
Actor now singer John Corbett honors Johnny Cash in "Cash." A song that was a must on our list.
Ronnie Milsap makes our list several times. First with "A Day In The Life Of America." This is a strong song that really needs to be heard. The other two that made our list include "If It’s Gonna Rain," and "Local Girls."
Wynonna Judd made our list several times as well. Her live rendition of "No One Else On Earth" knocked us out. Her ever popular rendition of "I Can Only Imagine" was the best. But, for us the best song of 2006 was her rendition of "Ave-Maria." Wynonna included this on her new Christmas album. The true nature of her vocal talents were expressed in this song. At times, one can not hear Wynonna’s distinctive vocals. Trust us, it’s that good!
What would country music be with out gospel? One of the first country gospel songs to hit our list was "Jesus, Take The Wheel" by Carrie Underwood. However, it was the powerful song "Still Feel The Nails" by Daughters of Bluegrass that hit our hearts. The Daughters provided us with two more in "Go Back To The Well" and "Grass Angels." The later is one of my favorite.
The newest all girl group, Lantana presented us with "Give." A song that shows us the importance of giving.
Rhonda Vincent gives us another great song in "Rhythm Of The Wheels." A light and airy song about life.
Other notable songs include Rhonda Towns’s "Storm Before The Calm," Jarred Birmingham’s "Walk Away," Heartland’s "Built To Last," Brian McComas’s "All Comes Floodin’ Down," Montgomery Gentry’s "Didn’t I," Robin English’s "Child In Me," Teresa Jordan’s "Dancin’ On Daddy’s Feet," and Tom Wurth’s "Higher Ground."
Collin Raye hit the list twice with "Josephine" and "Hurricane Jane." Another entertainer who hit the list twice was Kim McAbee. Her first with "Doesn’t Always Have To End This Way" and her second as a duet with Buck Owens in "I’ll Still Be Waiting For You."
Kinky Friedman is a great songwriter. His "Autograph" hit the list due to it’s subject matter. Another one with a great message comes from Mark McGuinn in "Bring ‘Em Back."
However the biggest message came from John Cowan. His powerful song "Drown" is helping to heal many victims of sexual abuse. It’s a song that really needs to be heard. Not to exploit the subject but to educate. Thanks John.
Other songs that were included on our list of Top songs of 2006 include "Cupid’s Got A Gun" by the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band. Alabama made the list with the re-release of a live version of "If You’re Gonna Play In Texas."
Jake Owen made the list with his "Ghosts." Another new group by the name of PovertyNeck Hillbillies made it with "She Rides Wild Horses." Deryl Dodd’s "Thanks To The Men" and Darryl Worley’s "Things I’ll Never Do Again" made it as well.
Chris Young’s "Flowers," Aaron Tippin’s "Ready To Rock" and Carrie Hassler & Hard Rain’s "Least That I Can Do" all made the list.
However, it was the return of The Pirates Of The Mississippi that made the biggest impact. Their song "Fish Bait" made the list. The song is about surviving in today’s world.
But, it was the over whelming support of their fans that made "A Snowman In Birmingham" the number one song of 2006. The Pirates, Richard A. Alves and William H. McCorvey, teamed up with legendary songwriter Don Goodman to write this incredible song.
On January 15th, it was announced that "A Snowman In Birmingham" won the first Spirit Award for Song of the Year in 2007. The award will be presented to the Pirates at a later date.
So there you have it. The top songs of 2006. Tune in next January when we count down the Top Songs of 2007!
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