A Country Music Conversation: Spotify Playlist (thanks to reader Justin Lai)
Previous Entry: Day 6: “Cry, Cry, Cry” to “Elephant”
Day 7 features tracks from Mark Collie, Terri Clark, Reba McEntire, Pirates of the Mississippi, and Kacey Musgraves.
“Even the Man in the Moon is Crying”
Written by Mark Collie and Don Cook
Mark Collie had the biggest hit of his career here, finally garnering him a top ten hit. I don’t remember loving the song at the time that it came out, but now it brings back waves of nostalgia as one of the songs that was in heavy rotation on CMT and on the radio when I was really getting into country music. It holds up very well today.
Other Favorites: “‘She’s Never Coming Back,” “Hard Lovin’ Woman,” “It is No Secret”
“Every Time I Cry”
Written by Bob Regan and Karen Staley
Terri Clark is at her best when she combines strength and vulnerability on the same track. I think it’s the fact that she can have both a growl and a teardrop in her voice. I love this song, which chronicles the back-and-forth of a destructive, unhealthy relationship with clear eyes and resilience. The accompanying video does a great job of bringing the song’s underlying meanings to the surface.
Other Favorites: “I Cheated on You,” “Three Mississippi,” “I Just Wanna Be Mad”
“The Fear of Being Alone”
Written by Walt Aldridge and Bruce Miller
What If its You was Reba McEntire’s first post-Shania Twain album, and it helped her reassert her place in the country music landscape, leaving the heartbreak diva image behind for a refreshingly adult, intelligent approach. This is one of the smartest songs she ever recorded, and the crisp production, courtesy of her road band, still sounds vibrant today.
Other Favorites: “Consider Me Gone,” “The Greatest Man I Never Knew,” “One Promise Too Late”
Pirates of the Mississippi
Written by Danny “Bear” Mayo
“Feed Jake” takes the old stereotype about country songs and turns it on its head. Yes, he’s singing about his dog in the chorus. But the verses are pointed social commentary, and a plea for tolerance and understanding that was way ahead of its time.
Other Favorites: “A Street Man Named Desire,” “Dream You”
“Follow Your Arrow”
Written by Brandy Clark, Shane McAnally, and Kacey Musgraves
And by virtue of alphabetical order, the next song is our modern day equivalent of “Feed Jake,” which radio was even more resistant to, but that country consumers (and CMA voters) embraced. The progressive elements of the song got all of the attention, but note that she’s also speaking up for those who don’t drink, don’t smoke, save themselves for marriage, and sit in the front row of church every Sunday. I’ve always been lukewarm about “I Hope You Dance” because sometimes it takes more courage to sit it out while everyone else is dancing, if that’s what you want to do. “Follow Your Arrow” understands that either choice is fine, and since everyone is judgmental anyway, you’re better off following your own heart instead of trying to please others.
Other Favorites: “Merry ‘Go Round,” “Biscuits,” “Cup of Tea”