Can’t say that I’m loving country music in its 2009 version, though my steadfast allegiance to the genre runs deep, so I hold out hope as a new decade is about to begin. Tonight, I’m recommending ten tracks from albums that were released this year. I’ve avoided singles so there’s some sense of discovery. I look forward to discovering music that I missed through the comments!
Recommend Ten Tracks: 2009 Edition
Lorrie Morgan, “I’m Always On a Mountain When I Fall” from A Moment in Time
I love the effect that was created by having this album recorded live in the studio. It’s like hearing her in a smoky nightclub. This is by far my favorite track on the album, a loser’s lament that was quite worthy of revival.
Aaron Tippin, “Prisoner of the Highway” from In Overdrive
He already has the default voice of the overworked working man, so his world-weary vocal is a perfect fit for this song about an imprisoned by the freedom of the road.
Miranda Lambert, “The House That Built Me” from Revolution
I find her new album to be a bit unwieldy as a whole, but I love this particular track about a woman asking the new owner of her childhood home to allow her some time alone with the place that raised her. Having just sold our family home of thirty years, this song has been resonating with me, as we truly can’t go home again.
Todd Snider, “Money, Compliments, Publicity (Song Number 10)” from The Excitement Plan
The wry and witty folkster at his most wry and witty, yet still spilling out nuggets of brilliance from the corner of his mouth.
Carrie Underwood, “Someday When I Stop Loving You” from Play On
Don’t count me among the folks that wish that Underwood would just stick to simple songs like this with quiet arrangements that showcase her voice at its most tender. I like my pop-country and want some more, thank you very much. But for those of you who just want to hear that voice and the barest of accompaniment, this track is golden.
Patty Loveless, “When the Last Curtain Falls” from Mountain Soul II
Given the preference, I’ll take my Patty Loveless down from the mountain. I love that pure country voice contrasted against electric instrumentation. But the best reason to listen to Patty Loveless is to hear her wrap her voice around complicated and truly adult material that reflects the reality of life and love. This track could stand toe to toe with the best of her material to date.
Tim McGraw, “If I Died Today” from Southern Voice
It’s not nearly as accessible an assessment on one’s own morality as “Live Like You Were Dying”, but it’s a heck of a lot more believable than sixteen seconds on a bull named Fu Man Chu.
Love and Theft, “Slow Down” from World Wide Open
He’s talking to life and it’s a sadly beautiful conversation.
Holly Williams, “Birds” from Here With Me
This song is hauntingly gorgeous, a requiem for a dying love and a wishful hope for the new love that has yet to come.
Keith Urban, “Thank You” from Defying Gravity
Urban’s explorations of his demons have produced some of his best tracks, like “You’re Not My God”, and this one is a winner, a love letter to the wife that helped pull him away from the precipice.