Thursday Open Thread: Recommend a Track

I'm thinking of making this the regular Thursday open thread, so let's see how it goes!

Pick one track – either an album cut or a relatively unknown single – that you think is truly fantastic.  Tell us why you picked it and what album it came from, so we can go download it ourselves!

My choice this week:

George Strait, “I Met a Friend of Yours Today” – from the 1996 album Lead On

I can't believe th

is wasn't a single, though that album produced four great ones anyway.   Strait comes home from work, and tells his wife he's lost his appetite, but he wouldn't mind her fixing him a drink.  “Oh by the way,” he mentions, “I met a friend of yours today.”  He stopped by a bar on the other side of town, and heard a man talking about her, and it was obvious “he knew you well.”   Strait's nuanced vocal builds layers of anger, shame and hurt on a foundation of betrayal and disappointment.   It's a classic performance.

What track do you recommend?



  1. I’ll say “The Lucky” by the Warren Brothers. You can find it on their 2005 album “Well-Deserved Obscurity. ”

    Why they didn’t choose to release this song as a single is beyond me. It’s an acoustic based ballad that is both melodic and lyrically strong. “I wannna go where the grass is green but I guess I’ll have to take myself with me, and I’m not sure that’s who I wanna see…” is just one of the lines in it and the main hook is “Wise men ask why, the lucky just believe.”

  2. I’m gonna go with the sorta-title track to Tift Merritt’s 2004 set Tambourine: “I Am Your Tambourine.” It’s kind of a Jerry Lee Lewis-flavored come-on with figurative language so blatantly sexual that it shouldn’t even really count as innuendo, it features some sweet, cheesy background vocals on the chorus, and it’s a heck of a lot of fun to blast at full volume when you’re feeling hyper.

  3. I’m gonna recommend “Alicia Ross” from Kathleen Edward’s newest album Asking For Flowers. The song is based on a true story about a missing girl. The song is a very haunting song and one of Kathleen’s best.

  4. Another one I love is “Kentucky Mine” from Diamond Rio’s “Love A Little Stronger” album. It’s such a beautiful song about a tough subject and how it impacts a family.

  5. Steve Young’s rendition of Merle Haggard’s “Sometimes I Dream,” which can be found buried on his “Primal Young” album. A desolate, plaintive performance that Young imbues with a undeniable sense of hope.

  6. “a street man named desire”

    saddam hussein still has a job but i dont
    tonight he’ll sleep in a big warm bed but i won’t

    these lines come from a guy who’s lost it after he had lost his job and life as he knew it, thereafter.
    he’s barely hanging in there, something you cannot exactly say about the man in the chorus.

    so much for making predictions about the future. the “pirates of the mississippi” were pretty darn useless at it, as it goes to show. still, great country sound.

  7. “If I Didn’t Know Any Better” by Alison Krauss.

    It was released, but like all AKUS songs, it didn’t make a dent on the country charts. There really wasn’t anything bluegrass about it. It’s haunting, which is enhanced by Jerry Douglas’ sliding dobro that elivates the song to something that I can’t get sick of, no matter how many times I listen to it. Alison sings the heck out of it too, by the way, but that goes without saying.

    As I’ve mentioned before, I’m very susceptible to your artist and song suggestions, so you know I’ll be giving everyone’s recommendations a fair chance on Amazon or wherever I can find them today.

    Kevin, this is a great regular Thursday thread idea!

  8. “Just A Dream” carrie underwood

    country music has not heard voicals nearly as perfect as this in at least a year or two. this shows she is and can hang with the big names, martina, shania, faith, rebe etc. if you just listen closely you can hear all the assortment of ranges and disticnt note changes the melody was written great.

  9. Stand Back Up by Sugarland –

    I love this idea — and does Just A Dream count – this is a single and has been release “hello vp – do you even listen to the radio, that is about the only song I ever hear — “

  10. Kevin said: “Pick one track – either an album cut or a relatively unknown single – that you think is truly fantastic.  Tell us why you picked it and what album it came from, so we can go download it ourselves!”

    So, I guess “Just A Dream” doesn’t quite fit this thread. I am interested, however, to find out a track that is relatively unknown or unreleased that you’d recommend, VP.

    I, myself, didn’t fully follow Kevin’s directions, I realize. I forgot to mention that “If I Didn’t Know Any Better” is from Alison Krauss And Union Station’s Lonely Runs Both Ways album, which I think is a great album title, by the way.

  11. “…then I introduced myself…man, you shoulda seen his face…” Gah, what a GREAT line, and hella delivery of it!
    Speaking of unknown singles and album tracks, I am reminded of one of each from Alan Jackson’s Who I Am cd, from the same year as Strait’s Lead On: “Song for the Life” and “Thank God For the Radio.” I just love the sentiments expressed in both of those songs. More than a few songs I hear on the radio remind me of the one I love when she’s away from me, and she indeed does keep my feet on the ground…

  12. If I remember correctly, he talks in that song? I love it when Strait talks, he always sounds young to me.

  13. Leeann – I guess I did not follow directions either —

    Stand Back Up is from Twice the Speed of Life –

  14. “Song For the Life” really isn’t one of the songs that Jackson is known for, but I love it too. It’s so understated.

  15. I was on a plane yesterday randomly listening to my mp3 player and heard Chely Wright’s “The River” from The Metropolitan Hotel. It was released as a single, but of course went no where on the charts even thought it is one of the most haunting, true-story lyrics I’ve heard. Essentially, its about several friends who were killed in a river near her hometown at different times. The song ends with,
    “I was baptized in that same water
    Gave my soul to Jesus
    How can such a peaceful place
    Be filled with so much pain

    ‘Cause two young mothers lost their daughters
    Right there for no reason
    I swear I’ll never go down there again

    Back to the river
    That mean ole’ river
    That beautiful river
    That damn ole’ river
    That damn ole’ river”

    So powerful, and well performed.

  16. Leann…you’re completely right. I was actually thinking that yesterday listening to it how much he adds to the song. Forgot to mention it in my quick write up though :)

    And good call on Wake up Older, Joseph.

  17. I have to pick two. From Mary Chapin Carpenter’s ‘Wherever You Are’ from her pseudo-greatest hits disc Party Doll and Other Favorites. I always thought it was just a crime how radio ignored Carpenter after her Come On, Come On album and this is one of my favorite tracks from her entire career. Sweeping chorus and damn clever lyrics – but that’s just the magic that is Mary Chapin Carpenter.

    And from Reba’s Read My Mind album, the track ‘I Wish That I Could Tell You’. Nobody likes to end a relationship, especially when the right words escape you. Here, Reba’s lover is at an apparent loss for words – and while it’s most definitely over – she is simply telling him she can’t find the answers for him … ‘When it comes to leaving, you’re on your own’ … A masterpiece written by Anthony Sharp, Van Stephenson, and Reese Wilson. Wilson was also the writer of possibly my favorite Reba track ever, the also-forgotten ‘Lonely Alone’.

    Great thread topic today …

  18. Tim McGraw//Why We Said Goodbye from 2001 album “Set This Circus Down”.

    Everytime chen i heard this song it bring me a tear, a great ballad

  19. I will second Reba’s “I Wish That I Could Tell You”. Hands down my favorite Reba song ever. Such a powerful, yet wistful vocal performance from her. The song is revered by Reba’s hardcore fans, but unforunately few others have heard it. Download this song now!

  20. “‘Lonely Alone’”
    Ah, a reminder of another great song. I don’t know if the Forester Sisters song of the same name would be classified as “forgotten,” but it’s a great one too. The theme of not knowing what you have till it’s gone is a well-explored one, but I really liked their take on it. “It’s only midnight, but baby, with you gone, it’s forever since sundown, and forever till dawn…”
    And yes, Leeann, Strait does talk in the song Kevin picked…in the line I mentioned, believe it or not. ;-) I like the spoken word delivery as well when he pulls it out.

  21. Okay then, I’ll pick “I Wish I Were The Rain” by SHeDAISY. It’s from their underrated Knock on the Sky album- an amazing album in my opinion.

    In the song, the narrator sees life’s not perfect, and instead wishes to be the rain because it can “Fall as hard as it wants to” or “cry for hours and weeks on end and never feel a bit out of place.” It has a great performance from Kassidy (lead vocalist) as well as interesting harmonies from her sisters. The music isn’t very country, more poppish, but the song is incredibly cleverly sung and well-written. It’s an overlooked gem from an album that was much better than most people gave credit for.

    BTW, I love this feature if you can’t tell! xD

  22. I would have to say “Live This Life” from big & Rich’s “Horse of a Different Color” album.

    “Met a man on the street last night
    Said his name was Jesus
    Met a man on the street last night
    Thought he was crazy ’til
    I watched him heal a blind
    I watched him heal a blind man
    Now I see”

    The lyrics are very original, each verse has a bit of a twist, and the harmonies are very done.

  23. “the “pirates of the mississippi” were pretty darn useless at it, as it goes to show.”

    I don’t know, I think that’s pretty harsh. Even if they didn’t have many hits, “Feed Jake” is still a classic, in my opinion, probably one of the most underrated songs ever.

  24. “Blank Sheet of Paper” from Tim McGraw’s 2004 Live Like You Were Dying release. Beautifully words, lyrics and music. I would have much rather seen this released as a single instead of “Drugs or Jesus” or “Do You Want Fries With That”. Tim McGraw is my favorite artist, and has been ever since he hit the charts in 1992, but the single releases have perplexed me a bit over the past few years…

  25. Eric,

    I believe Tom meant that their ability to predict the future was useless, not their ability to have decent songs.

  26. Thanks Chad and Joseph for mentioning to of my other favs — I also like “Between a Mother and a Child” from Metropolitan Hotel — that is such an underrated album and I have always liked Julie Roberts and like “Chasin Whiskey” from Men & Mascara.

  27. Another one I was thinking of today:

    Collin Raye’s “The Time Machine.” from his “I Think About You” album. That record had 6 singles as it is but that one is one even Collin still does in concert from time to time. It’s just a classic Gary Burr lyric:

    He circled and stared,
    nervous and scared,
    he knew both the thrill and the cost
    but he didn’t think thought twice
    of this amazing device Was his last chance to see what he lost
    now if time is really a river,
    and up stream’s where he needed to be
    he set his sights on the past
    and finished his glass
    and went back in history

    To the casual eye it’s a barstool…

  28. if you head over to the audio page at Roughstock you can listen to “Kentucky Mine,” “The Time Machine” and Ty Herndon’s version of “I Know How The River Feels” a song that’s so good that both he and Diamond Rio recorded them. Ty’s version is on his “Living in a Moment” album while Diamond Rio’s version can be found on their “Unbelievable” album. I believe it was th first time in their career that an outside artist appeared on their record (the strings).

  29. Good thread.

    Kasey Chambers – Dam
    From 2000’s “The Captain”
    Track 2 on the Bonus Disc

    Soft yet powerful, soft guitar, simple. Great example of her strong rough-around-the-edges voice. Incredible.

    Hands down my favorite Kasey song.

  30. ‘Chasin’ my whiskey with you …’ What a great song. I can’t believe Julie Roberts didn’t become a megastar!

  31. Crystal Yoakum – Barrel Of Rain

    The song is originally by Berkley Hart, but I love her sweet voice… The song tells about a couple who was affected by drought and… well, listen! =] Is so simple, but at the same time is great to me… I think it’s like “Cologne” by Dolly Parton, the song uses a simple thing to develop others bigger that wasn’t on the surface…

    I hope all of you understand my poor English!

  32. “Stronger” Faith Hill. Amazing vocals, should have been released to country radio in 2002. Hearing her do this live is breathtaking.
    This is the window to my heart
    I just want us to be free
    baby I’m sorry for the way things are
    goodbye is always hard
    but we both will be stronger

  33. Lanibug…its funny you mentioned “Between a Mother and a Child” I was going back and forth on which one to write about first–thinking I’d pick the other one for next week. Possibly an even sadder song than the River…amazing lyrics.

  34. Chris Jones – “Hero in Harlan” from his 2006 record Too Far Down the Road

    Chris is mostly known as a bluegrass singer, but he cut this record with Pete Anderson (of Dwight Yoakam, Adam Hood, Sara Evans “three chords and the truth” fame) that walks the line between bluegrass and acoustic country. It’s a great record across the board but….

    the song “Hero in Harlan” is a Tom T. Hall song (I think this is the first recording of it) and it’s really something special.

    (full disclosure: I have professional dealing with Chris, but don’t let that fool you)

  35. for the record: i love the music of the “pirates of the mississippi” even if they possessed only limited qualities as an “oracle”.

  36. “A Better Rain” from George Strait’s It Just Comes Natural album. Should’ve been a single. Brilliant delivery, even when he sings it live!

  37. Alyson,

    Regarding your Tim McGraw comment — I completely agree. Tim is in my top 3, and I own almost every one of his CDs (his “Live Like You Were Dying” CD being my favorite). But his recent singles off that album and pretty much every single release off of “Let It Go” have baffled me. Much better material could have been chosen.

    Anywho, in regards to the question, I’ll have to say Dierks Bentley’s “Gonna Get There Someday.” It’s quite possibly the most beautiful song he’s done, and the instrumentals are spot on. Anyone like this song?

  38. I’m sorta addicted to “This Town” off of Gretchen Peters’ excellent Burnt Toast and Offerings CD. I don’t have anything really smart to say about it, but it has an almost hypnotic effect on me. One of those songs you can play over and over. I find myself returning to it often.

  39. okay, everyone probably knows/has this song but since it is not a single yet (as of 8/15/08) I must say “Sleeping With The Telephone” by Reba (FT. Faith Hill) Its the best on the Reba Duets album ^^

    In terms of old songs I must say “Restless” by Sara Evans from her Restless album is one of my fav songs she has ever recorded…

  40. “I Know You Won’t” by Carrie U. is an amazing song that will probably never be released as a single. For something completely different, how about a fav from the 70s: “Chicken Train” by the Ozark Mountain Daredevils.

  41. “Chicken Train”?! I know that one. My friend (and former college roommate), Sara, would always torture me with that song. To this day, when we talk on the phone, she’ll start singing it to me to get a reaction out of me, which I always deliver on.:)

  42. I personally like “Cupid” from Sara’s No Place That Far album, sung with Jim Lauderdale. I always like it when he shows up on songs.

  43. Leeann:

    Your “Chicken Train” story had me laughing. I admit, it’s not everyone’s taste. The Daredevils were really very good, and I thought they’d make it bigger than they did.

  44. My friend claims that she truly loves that song, but I never quite believed her. I suppose I should put more stock in it now, since there’s someone else out there who actually likes it.:)

  45. Sometimes I feel like “Between a Mother & a Child” describes my relationship with my mother.

    I also think “GOnna Get There Someday” has the same effect on me too.

  46. I got your six VP! :-o

    Carrie’s cover of Patsy’s Crazy:

    Do I REALLY have to explain why I like that one? If I do will you still respect me in the morning? ;-)

    [Disclaimer: If you’re not an old rocker/blues/jazz fan don’t click on the next one!]

    Humble Pie’s Groovin’ With Jesus:

    I always wanted that one released as a single back in the day. Only thing I can figure for not releasing it is back when Pie did this blues/rock album, radio was into the whole “album rock” FM stuff and this cut didn’t fit the profile.

    Or is this thread strictly about country music? I’m easily confused you know! :-o

  47. Yeah Matt. It used to be you could post two links (or one) and you wouldn’t have to go through moderation. Oh well, it’ll come up sooner or later.

  48. Just because I’m paranoid doesn’t mean they aren’t out to get me! :-o

    I gotta’ hit the rack. Way too much good stuff this week guys!

  49. Joseph Says:
    August 15, 2008 at 7:07 pm

    My favorite song from Sara’s Restless is actually “Rocking Horse.” Great song/performance.

    Completely agree, I love that song.

  50. “I believe Tom meant that their ability to predict the future was useless, not their ability to have decent songs.”

    Ahhh! My apologies. Someone brought up Strait’s ‘It Just Comes Natural” cd, which reminds me of another unreleased gem from it, “She Told Me So.” I loved the lyrical twist in it, and the stone-country arrangement.

  51. One of my favorite songs from Martina McBride is a song called “Strangers” from her “The Way That I Am” album. It was so popular among her fan base that it was on her Greatest Hits album even though it was never released. Take a listen:

  52. “My Wild Frontier” from Faith’s “Faith” album is absolutely fantastic.

    “Long Distance Lover” from Reba’s “Feel The Fire” album is my favourite track ever.

  53. Speaking of Bobby Cryner there is a song on her self titled album called “I Don’t Care” written by Buck Owens. It was a duet with Dwight Yoakam and it was only a little over 2 minutes long. Something about combining those two voices was magical.

    With her looks and that voice I can’t for the life of me figure out how she didn’t become huge. I heard stories about a divorce and and a battle with alcoholism but, man, they just don’t make them like her anymore. Vocally, the female version of George Jones.

  54. I loved both of Cryner’s albums including the Dwight duet. My favorite on her first album was “Leavin’ Houston Blues”. I really wish she had mad more albums.

  55. gavin, roger,
    if you need another one for crying into our beers over bobby cryner – i’d join you any day.

  56. Nice to “meet” some fellow Bobbie Cryner fans. Aside from cuts by Trisha and Suzy (and Lorrie remade a song from Bobbie’s second album), what else has she done? Are there other cuts out there I have missed? Aside from her smokey vocals, I thought she was an incredible songwriter and expected to hear her songs for years to come.

    Kevin, I think I suggest a “where are they now” feature at one point. I would love something like that with Bobbie.

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