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10 Top Country Music Listens

October 12, 2014

From the archives for country music month!

Country music is becoming popular with mainstream attention with fans of artists such as Taylor Swift and Carrie Underwood. It’s “cool” to be country again and there are many redefining what country is. For those who have enjoyed country for some time it can be a means to introduce new and older music to these new fans.

Here are ten albums to help with country introductions, in no particular order other than good music.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAJeff Bates’ latest self titled CD starts my list but as a toss up with his “Rainbow Man” cd. Jeff is as country as they come but with influences that include Elvis he can turn it up too. Country music touches people and the songs on these albums do that from start to finish.

Jimmy Wayne “Do You Believe Me Now” is a solid CD that has several top charting singles from it as well as some solid songs that were not singles. The title cut is a song many relate to but there’s also the toe tapping “Kerosene Kid”, “I Didn’t Come Here to Lose” and “Where You’re Going.”

Alan Jackson’s “Here In The Real World” launched a career that is still going strong two decades later. With this CD it also launched some real country music that Alan has stayed true to over the years.

Ray Scott is as country as it gets on his “My Kind of Music” CD but he did what seemed a tough job in following up with “Crazy Like Me” that is traditional as pulling on well worn jeans for a beer with friends. It celebrates and laments life.

Buddy Jewell continues this with “Country Enough” with easy songs like “The Wheels Turn Slow”, historical ones in “The Southern Side of Heaven”, a bit of controversy in “This Aint Mexico!” and a light hearted look at marital disagreement in “No Grease, No Gravy.” It’s what country is – real life.

Garth Brooks is a phenomenon unto his own in concert and his “Double Live” is as close to capturing it along with the music as a recording can get. Including songs like The Dance, Friends In Low Places, Rodeo and Shameless Garth can squeeze every emotion out of a song. This can be the darkness of “Thunder Rolls” or the crank it up opening of “Callin’ Baton Rouge”.

Darryl Worley has several solid country CDs but Have You Forgotten perhaps highlights the range of country in all emotions. From the patriotic notes of the title song to the escape from work of “I Need a Breather” and “Tennessee River Run” to the history of “Shiloh” and the reflection of “Second Wind” and “The Way Things Are Goin'” it’s just real country.

George Strait is an artist that no country list would be complete without. His “50 Number Ones” not only captures the range of country and of George Strait but also is somewhat of a country music historical trip. From early hits that have become classics like “The Chair” and “Baby Blue” to later hits this is 50 of his best. His signature song is missing – “Amarillo By Morning, didn’t make #1 but there is still a great deal of awesome music here.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAStephen Cochran embraces country as the others, in his own way with his debut CD. There’s little to mistake for anything but country with classic sounding “Angel Choir” and the edgy “Leave My Country Alone.” There’s the literal country setting of “We’re Alright (Just the Way We Are) and the ode to tradition of “Old School”.

Chris Ledoux was so overlooked until his death when the recognition and tributes began. He puts the western in country music and his Classic Chris LeDoux is but one that highlights his own brand of country. He takes the listener into his world but as in “This Cowboy’s Hat” finds a meeting ground in the middle. This was very much a part of who Chris was. Those who love the western way of life will like some of his other cds where he pays tribute to good horses, rodeo, ranching and appreciating the sunset over the Rocky Mountains.

These aren’t the most popular entertainers in all ways but they do give a solid sound of country music. They relate to real life. Give them a listen – you might be surprised to find you like country music. We won’t tell!

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