December 18, 2007
The countdown continues, with #40-#31.
Rick Trevino, “Separate Ways”
After watching his parents divorce, a love that went “from great to good to bad to worse”, he’s still picking up the pieces years later, and pleading with his wife to promise that they’ll never go their separate ways, like his mother and father did. He sings the hell out of it, too.
Brooks & Dunn, “God Must Be Busy”
Ronnie Dunn is one of the best male vocalists of his generation, so it’s frustrating to wade through the trite cowboy rave-ups and color-by-number ballads he usually wastes his time with. Give him a fantastic song like this one, however, and it’s impossible not to be reminded of his talent.
Kim Richey, “Jack and Jill”
Get Sir George Martin’s son to produce your album, and you’re going to have the Beatles sound seep into your record. Richey bounces around in this sonic landscape like it’s a wonderland, and she takes her voices to places that it’s never gone before. Truly inspired.
Eli Young Band, “When it Rains”
Melancholy and melody go very well together. There’s nothing I love more than a record that makes misery feel so good. All he wants is for it to rain so he can walk outside and see everybody outside being as miserable as him.
Sunny Sweeney, “If I Could”
You can get whiplash trying to keep up with this one. Her rapid-fire delivery and twanged-up band are tremendously entertaining, even if it’s little more than hillbilly camp delivered with a knowing wink.
Faith Hill, “Lost”
Over the years, Faith Hill’s voice has developed this smoky quality that was absent in her earlier recordings, which makes her delivery of sultry love songs like “Lost” so powerfully effective.
Sara Evans, “As If”
You can never go back to the innocence of first love, but you can try. Evans knows that the new guy is too good to be true, but just wants to pretend for a little while until reality kicks in. Hook-laden and catchy, like you’d expect from one of our best singles artists.
Toby Keith, “Get My Drink On”
Keith’s bark rarely matches his bite, but he’s ferocious on this rocking drinking anthem. He knows he screwed up, and that his woman left because he didn’t treat her right, but he’s determined to drink her out of his mind. No pity fest here. There won’t be one tear in his beer and he won’t be going home alone.
Robert Plant & Alison Krauss, “Gone Gone Gone (Done Moved On)”
It’s hard to imagine too many artists that both Robert Plant & Alison Krauss could cite as influences, but The Everly Brothers might fight the bill. They certainly tear into this old Everly track with conviction, hitting that peculiar musical sweet spot that fits no radio format but finds its audience anyway.
Whiskey Falls, “Last Train Running”
Far and away, the best debut single of 2007. The harmonies are tight, the musicianship solid and the lyric powerful, combining to make a record that resonates long after you finish listening to it. Country music loves the faith explorations of the Hallmark variety, but this is what it really sounds like when a man is struggling with the meaning of life and what’s waiting for him when it’s over.