Previous Entry: Day 10: “I Hold On” to “If I Die Young”
Day 11 features tracks from Matraca Berg, Mark Chesnutt, Lee Roy Parnell, Rascal Flatts, and Keith Whitley.
“If I Had Wings”
Written by Jessi Alexander and Matraca Berg
A harrowing tale of spousal abuse, Matraca Berg’s talent for writing fully rounded characters through a careful selection of specific details makes this one soar.
Other Favorites: “‘Her Name is Mary,” “Back When We Were Beautiful,” “The Things You Left Undone”
“I’ll Think of Something”
Written by Jerry Foster and Bill Rice
When I look back on the nineties and my favorite artists, I often notice that what made their albums so effective was the expanse of their knowledge of the genre’s history. Mark Chesnutt covered a lesser hit of Hank Williams Jr. from his pre-“Whiskey Bent and Hellbound” days, and turned it into a #1 country hit through his tender and moving reading.
Other Favorites: “Almost Goodbye,” “Trouble,” “I Just Wanted You to Know”
“I’m Holding My Own”
Lee Roy Parnell
Written by Tony Arata
Tony Arata, writer of “The Dance” and “Here I am, ” crafts another deeply layered song, and Lee Roy Parnell’s nuanced performance alternates between bitterness and wistful resignation.
Other Favorites: “The Rock,” “On the Road,” “What Kind of Fool Do You Think I am”
“I’m Movin’ On”
Written by Phillip White and D. Vincent Williams
I can only wonder what Rascal Flatts would’ve become if they’d used their understated performance of this beautifully written ballad as their future template. Maybe they wouldn’t have filled as many arenas, but they’d have quite a few more spins on my iPod.
Other Favorites: “These Days,” “What Hurts the Most”
“I’m No Stranger to the Rain”
Written by Sonny Curtis and Ron Hellard
So many of Keith Whitley’s recordings have a haunted feeling because of his untimely death; it’s impossible to separate that event from the listening experience. This has always been my favorite Whitley track, made more poignant by the last time he “wrestled with the devil.”
Other Favorites: “Tell Lorrie I Love Her,” “Don’t Close Your Eyes,” “I Wonder Do You Think of Me”
Up Next: Day 12: “I’m Tryin'” to “It’s Not You, It’s Me”