The Best Songs of The Year
(This article was printed in the January / February 2008 issue of Strictly Country Magazine.)
Where does music come from? Sure we hear it emanating from the radio. We download it from the internet. We play it from a circular disk. But, where does it come from?
For some it comes from deep within. If you take a journey into your heart and soul, you can find it. For others it comes from every where. The trees, the sky, the birds, the animals and even us humans if we listen we can hear it.
Some of the most beautiful music in our world is never heard. Think of the monks in Tibet. They worship with songs that are rarely heard. What about the birds? Have you ever taken the time to sit and listen to the music around you?
We have. It is our job to take the time to listen to all of the music provided to us in country music. Our job is also to tell you about the music that we hear.
Each year we pull the best songs from all of the albums that pass through our offices. Here is our list of Top Songs of 2007... (In no particular order.)
I begin with Wayne Warner’s "God Bless The Children." Written by Warner, this beautiful ballad speaks about the love needed by a child. This song would make the perfect theme song for adoption services around the world.
Our second song comes from Tammy Cochran. Written by Cochran and Patricia Gray, this beautiful ballad speaks about how lonesome one can get.
Our list contains many ballads; including "Homesick Angel" from Cadillac Sky with Sonya Isaacs. Written by Bryan Simpson and Ashley, this bluegrass ballad speaks about the death of a child.
This brings us to Daniel Peck. Daniel makes two appearances on our list. The first song is "Isn’t That Everything," an upbeat song written by Peck, Tommy Lee James and Blair Daly. The second song is "A Woman Does Too," written by Peck and Tommy Lee James. This is a touching ballad that compares the differences, more like similarities, between a man and a woman.
Kellie Pickler makes an appearance with "I Wonder." This heartfelt ballad is about what a child misses by growing up without a mother. This is the same ballad that Pickler performed on the CMA Awards Show.
In 2007, Josh Turner teamed up with Cracker Barrel to release an album, Live At The Ryman. We pulled two songs from this incredible album. "She’ll Go On You," is another beautiful ballad. This speaks about taking the time to spend with that special lady before she leaves. Where as "Loretta Lynn’s Lincoln," is a fun song that tells a great story. The title says it all.
Merle Haggard was another artist who teamed up with Cracker Barrel to bring us Working Man’s Journey. We were intrigued by this album. We pulled three songs from this incredible album. "Shade Tree Fix-it Man," and "Songman" are original Merle Haggard songs. It’s his song "C’mon Sixty-Five" is written by the legendary Harlan Howard. Each is performed in the Haggard style.
Jason Michael Carroll has been the buzz around the industry this past year. It is his song "Alyssa Lies" that has been the buzz around here. This heart felt, powerful ballad is a about a little girl who lies about her abuse.
Dierks Bentley is another talented artist who hits our list twice. The first song is "Prodigal Son’s Prayer" written by Dierks, Deric Ruttan and Brett Beavers. Dierks performs this in the bluegrass style with the help of the Grascals. This inspirational song contains powerful instrumentals that enhance this song to the fullest. His other song, "The Heaven I’m Headed To," is a light hearted song about heaven. Written by Dierks with Paul Nelson and Brett Beavers, this song gives us their outlook on what heaven is all about.
Another ballad is brought to us from Cody McCarver. "It Should’ve Been Me," written by Walt Aldridge and Andrew Dorff, takes us on a journey about things that happen to other people when it should have been us.
In 2007, many artists went on to record gospel or inspirational albums. The Bellamy Brothers were one of those artists. From their Jesus Is Coming album we pulled two songs. "Drug Problem," written by David Bellamy, gives us a different perspective to this problem. It’s a song that teaches us the value of growing up with a home filled with love. The second song, "Beautiful Night," is also written by David. This song reminds us that even the nights can be inspirational.
Coming from Martina McBride’s latest project, Walking Up Laughing, we have "For These Times." In this beautiful bluegrass-country ballad, Martina sings about the times that we live in. The song points out some of the bad and the good of today’s society.
Bluegrass group Steep Canyon Rangers earned a position on our chart with "Call The Captain." Written by Graham Sharp, this song gives us a historical account of the life of a coal miner.
We knew that country music’s most awarded duel wouldn’t let us down. In 2007, Brooks & Dunn released their latest project, Cowboy Town. This album provided fans with twelve great songs. However, it was "God Must Be Busy" that hit our list. Written by Clint Daniels and Michael P. Heeney, this is another song that takes a look at the devastating events in our daily lives and why they happen.
Tracy Byrd was another artist who made a couple of appearances on our list. The first with "The Biggest Thing In Texas." Written by John Ramey, this two-step swing style song entertains us with the life of a Texan. The second song is "Before I Die." Written Trey Matthews and Woody Mullis, this heartfelt ballad is like the bucket list; a list of things to do before you die.
Sometimes you hear a song that sounds good not because of the lyrics or the instrumentals, but because of the tight harmonies. This is the case with Mountain Heart’s "The Gospel Train." Taken from their Road That Never Ends - The Live Album, this bluegrass band performs this acappella. The raw talent that is displayed in this beautiful song is simply amazing!
Last year, Clay Walker released his latest album, Fall. This album contained twelve new cuts. However, it was cut number nine that touched our hearts. "It Ain’t Pretty (But It’s Beautiful)," is a heart felt ballad about being grateful for what we have.
Our next song is another ballad that comes from Bryan White. "When You Come Around," is a song that pleas with estranged fathers to take part in a child's life.
Sometimes a song comes along that you grew up on but, haven’t heard it since. This is the case with our next song. My father used to sing to us the song "Old Shep." I was shocked and reminded of my childhood when Alabama recorded this song on their Songs of Inspiration album.
Last year, many artists released Greatest Hits albums. Collin Raye was one of those entertainers. Taken from this album we have "Quitters." This inspiring ballad speaks of how the less fortunate are always the ones who don’t quit. The second song, "A Soldier’s Prayer," is one of three songs on our list that is dedicated to our soldiers.
The second song dedicated to our soldiers comes from a new artist. John Tigert shocked all of us with his "Coming Home." This song is a strong ballad about the emotions of a soldier coming home.
The third song dedicated to our soldiers comes from Darryl Worley. Worley, had originally released "I Just Came Back From A War" in 2006. However, the single was re-released as a video in 2007.
Our list continues with an incredible new group with an amazing story. We named TaVeran our power pick of 2008. The group is made up of three brothers who sing what is truly in their heart. "Laugh A Little" is a song that we all need to hear. It’s a song that reminds us that things work out, if we just laugh a little.
Some entertainers never die, they just fade away to come back in Greatest Hits format. This is the case with our next artist. For Crystal Gayle, 2007 was an exciting year. Her tour bus was stolen out of a parking lot and later found hundreds of miles away. But, she continues to entertain us with her beautiful music. Taken from her Greatest Hits album we have re-releases of her great hits like "Somebody Loves You," "Don’t Make Your Brown Eyes Blue," "Talking In Your Sleep," "Why Have You Left The One You Left Me For," and "You And I" with the late Eddie Rabbit. They just don’t make songs like these any more!
We continue with with a unique artist by the name of Antsy McClain. McClain is one of those rare artists who is able to take everyday life and enhance it with music. Antsy hits our list with four songs. Coming from his Time-Sweetened Lies album we took "Sparky’s Lament." This song takes on a new twist to heart break. Antsy utilizes a dog to portray the loss of a loved one after a break-up. "Drowning In You," also comes from the same album. This heartfelt ballad contains a beautiful symbolism to dealing with the loss of a loved one, whether it be a difficult break-up or a death. Coming from his Trailercana album we have "Ron Howard’s Brother." Like the title states this is a song about being Ron Howard’s brother. Yes, the entire Howard family did get to hear Antsy’s song. The family enjoyed the song thus bringing Antsy and his entire band out to dinner. The last song from Antsy is perhaps one of the most beautiful and well written songs I have ever heard. "Falling In Love In America," is a beautiful ballad about love.
We now come to our top five albums of 2007. We begin with Trisha Yearwood. Yearwood surprised the industry by signing a new record deal with an independent label, Big Machine. However, she proved her decision was the right one when she released Heaven, Heartache And The Power of Love. Trisha entertains us with thirteen incredible songs. From this album we pulled four songs. First is the title cut, a fun country tune. The next, "Cowboys Are My Weakness," is a swinging song. Where as "Sing You Back To Me," is a beautiful ballad. However, the best song on this incredible album is "The Dreaming Fields." This is another ballad that everyone should take time to experience. This is simply beautiful and perfect in every way.
We now come to another great album, Love’s Funny That Way, by Kathie Baillie. I can always tell when a record label gives a talented artist the freedom to record what they want the way they want too. This is the case with this one. From this album we pulled three incredible songs. The first song, "Never Knew Lonely," was originally recorded by Vince Gill. In this version, Gill adds his vocal talents to harmonies. This brings a new life to this classic song. Kathie, then teams up with her daughter Alyssa and good friend Paulette Carlson in "Old Glass Case;" a beautiful ballad that reminiscences about days gone by. The final song that we pulled from this incredible album is "All Fall Down" with Tony Kerr. Written by Kerr and Greg Trooper, the song is a wonderful song about life. What makes this song so special is the power of the instruments that were used.
This brings us to our next artist, Suzy Bogguss. It has been a while since Suzy entertained us with new music. However, we were in for a treat when she released her new album Sweet Danger this past year. The album consisted of twelve incredible songs. However, it was "In Heaven" that touched us. Written by Doug Crider, this beautiful ballad tells the story about a person who moves on after losing someone so dear. This song took third place for the Spirit Award’s Song of The Year Award.
Taking second place is a song that comes from one of country music’s most talented and humble man, Charlie Daniels. In 2007, Charlie Daniels entertained us with two albums. The first, Live From Iraq, was in honor of our troops serving. The second, Deuces, was a collection of thirteen songs in which Charlie teams up with fellow entertainers for duets. What made this album so incredible is that Daniels carefully chose the right entertainer for the right songs. Daniels asked Dolly Parton for her help. Parton responded with one of her self penned songs entitled "Daddy’s Old Fiddle." How appropriate of a song for these two incredible artists. The song contains the vast fiddle and vocal talents of Charlie Daniels mixed with Dolly Parton’s incredible writing and vocal talents. Truly a remarkable masterpiece!
We now come to our fifth top album of 2007. This album produced four songs that hit our list of Top Songs of 2007, including the winner of the Song of The Year award from the Spirit Awards. On My Way To You recorded by Daniel Lee Martin on ChinMusic Records is a collection of sixteen incredible songs. We begin with "Through And Through," is a light hearted ballad with a beautiful message of love. We continue with "You Can’t Be Everything To Everybody." This is a song that reminds us that none of us are perfect. We each have our faults mixed with our good qualities. Which brings us to our next song, "It’s All How You Look At It." These two songs are nearly a part one to the part two of the other song. It’s a great song to share with everyone.
So, there you have it, our list of Top Songs of 2007. Each of these songs are more than worthy of airplay. However, politics stand in the way.
What’s that? Yes, there is one final song on this list. By an overwhelming response it won the 2008 Spirit Award for Song of The Year. It’s not a secret, just click here to find out!
Where does music come from? It comes from the heart and souls of talented people all around us! See you next year, when we count down the Top Songs of 2008!
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