A Country Music Conversation, Day 10: “I Hold On” to “If I Die Young”

A Country Music Conversation: Introduction and Index

Previous Entry: Day 9: “Hurt” to “I Fall to Pieces”

Day 10 features tracks from Dierks Bentley, Lee Ann Womack, Keith Urban, Amy Dalley, and The Band Perry.

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“I Hold On”
Dierks Bentley

Written by Dierks Bentley and Brett James

Dierks Bentley is so good when he’s good. “I Hold On” could’ve easily fallen into the clearly laid country music traps of jingoism and maudlin sentiment. But “I Hold On” manages to celebrate love of God and country alongside love of a guitar and a departed father, and it all works.

Other Favorites: “‘Drunk On a Plane,” “Every Mile a Memory,” “Settle For a Slowdown”

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“I May Hate Myself in the Morning”
Lee Ann Womack

Written by Odie Blockmon

I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: the instrumental outro of this song is the best showcase I’ve ever heard for why country instrumentation packs such an emotional punch. That it’s preceded by a brilliant country song lyric and vocal performance almost feels like a bonus, so amazing are the fiddle and steel guitar at the end.

Other Favorites: “One’s a Couple,” “The Last Time,” “Time For Me to Go”

keith-urban-love-pain-the-whole-crazy-thing

“I Told You So”
Keith Urban

Written by Keith Urban

But I love me a good rock and roll production, too. This is my favorite Keith Urban song, and that guitar riff which has no place on the Opry stage is a big reason why. Plus I love how this song is one big “I Told You So,” even as he’s saying he isn’t going to say it to her.  And then he does at the end, and it’s awesome.

Other Favorites: “You’ll Think of Me,” “The Luxury of Knowing,” “You’re Not My God”

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“I Would Cry”
Amy Dalley

Written by Bonnie Baker and Amy Dalley

I’m very frustrated that Amy Dalley didn’t break through, and I blame Curb Records for never releasing the album that produced three top thirty singles. This is the best of the three, and is rivaled only by the lower-charting “Let’s Try Goodbye” for status as her best should’ve been hit.

Other Favorites: “Let’s Try Goodbye,” “Men Don’t Change”

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“If I Die Young”
The Band Perry

Written by Kimberly Perry

The Band Perry sounded like a band that had fully found its voice with “If I Die Young.” Turns out that was just a fluke, and they had no interest in further pursuing music quite this immaculate. Shame, that.

Other Favorites: “Better Dig Two”

Up Next: Day 11: “If I Had Wings” to “I’m No Stranger to the Rain”

11 Comments

  1. My most played songs by these artists are:

    Lee Ann Womack – Does My Ring Burn Your Finger, Mendocino County Line (with Willie Nelson) and The Weight
    Keith Urban – I’m In, Til Summer Comes Around, Everybody,
    The Band Perry – If I Die Young, Gentle on My Mind, Postcard from Paris, Chainsaw

  2. I love that song I Told You So…thanks for that video!!
    I’m a huge fan of Keith’s and of course I love about 95% of all his music. I’m so in love with his RIPCORD album….country or not!

  3. Urban – Tonight I Wanna Cry, You’ll Think of Me, I’m In, You Look Good in My Shirt, Making Memories of Us

    Womack – I’ll think of a Reason Later, Wrong Girl, I May Hate Myself in the Morning

    Dalley – Men Don’t Change

    Band Perry – Better Dig Two, Double Heart, If I Die Young

  4. Womack – definitely I May Hate Myself In The Morning. such an amazing song

    Urban – I really liked his early stuff – Your Everything, Days Go By, You’ll Think Of My, Who Wouldn’t Want To Be Me.

    Bentley – What Was I Thinking, Free And Easy

  5. Re. Amy Dalley–I think the only song of hers that I ever heard from her was “Men Don’t Change”, a fairly neo-traditionalist tune; and yes, it is indeed a shame she didn’t break through in the way so many other womenfolk did in the 1990s. She really unfairly got kicked to the Curb (no pun intended).

    Re. The Band Perry–Apart from “If I Die Young”, I guess “Gentle On My Mind” would be my favorite of their stuff they’ve done, especially given that this is a song that’s been covered by so many people, starting of course with Glen Campbell, and including Elvis, Aretha Franklin, Lucinda Williams, and Terri Clark, to name just a few. If they had blown their version, they’d never have been able to live it down (IMHO).

  6. Not to get too off base. But am I the only one who is amazed at how badly The Band Perry self destructed. Say what you will about Lady Antebellum and their fall from fame. They at least have yet to miss the Top 20 on the country charts. The Band Perry haven’t been in the Top 20 in 2 and a half years.

    They were on the verge of hitting it big and be A listers. Now there careers are done. Or at the very least they’ll probably never have a hit single.

    “If I Die Young” remains a classic and songs like “Double Heart” and especially “Lasso” showed so much promise for them.

    Keith Urban and Dierks Bentley have some of my all time favorite songs “I Told You So” and especially “Long Trip Alone” (the song I would want as my wedding song).

  7. Lee Ann Womack has few peers in country music. I saw her in Philadelphia last year and still have not recovered from her fabulous concert. My favorites of her songs would include Last Call, A Little Past Little Rock, Ashes By Now and Mendocino County (probably my favorite Willie Nelson song) and, of course I May Hate Myself in the Morning. Her most recent album has a stellar version of Don’t Listen to the Wind, a song she also performed beautifully with Buddy Miller at the Americana Music Awards last year. Lee Ann also did a performance of An Empty Glass that you can see on YouTube. Someone claiming to be Dean Dillon posted a comment to the video, arguing that she was the greatest female country singer alive. I have no way to know if it was THE Dean Dillon, but the man does have a more than arguable point there. What a lady!

  8. I agree with “I Told You So”. It’s a truly interesting song to listen to. My other favourite by him is “Everybody”.

    As for The Band Perry, my favourites are “Better Dig Two”, “DONE.” and “You Lie”.

  9. For the first time in this series, I’m actually relatively familiar with every artist mentioned here!

    3 Favorites from Dierks: “Long Trip Alone,” “Settle For A Slowdown,” “Trying To Stop Your Leaving” Three of the best radio singles from the 2000s, IMO.

    …from Le Ann Womack: “Ashes By Now,” “The Last Time,” “I’ll Think Of A Reason Later”
    I’ve listened to the There’s More Where That Came From album a few times, and I remember liking-but-not-loving it, unfortunately for me. The standouts were definitely “The Last Time” and “Stubborn.” But I like Womack when she gets a little looser, and I absolutely love what she did with “Ashes By Now” and “I’ll Think Of A Reason Later.”

    …from Keith Urban: “Days Go By,” “I Told You So,” “Faster Car” (that bass riff…)
    Up until very recently I was a huge fan of Keith Urban, and he definitely hit his peak during the Be Here/Love, Pain… era. “Days Go By” is probably my favorite of his, but there are so many from those albums that I love.

    …The Band Perry: “Postcard From Paris,” “If I Die Young,” “Lasso”
    Like Raymond, I’m also a bit shocked at just how fast The Band Perry disintegrated. They actually came to do a talk at my university two years ago, and I remember being very impressed by how down to Earth and approachable they were. That was a year before “Live Forever” and the ensuing mess. I don’t really know what happened there. One second they were Vocal Group of Year contenders and then they just…weren’t. I do like a lot of their output though, their first album is solid.

  10. Great contemporary set, albeit an accidental one. Completely agree on your Dierks choice – I Hold On is his mission statement. And while I’m not too familiar with Keith’s extensive collection, my favourite from him (+ Love, Pain & the Whole Crazy Thing) has gotta be Stupid Boy.

    (Spotify playlist’s just updated! Really sorry for the delay.)

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