Previous Entry: Day 11: “If I Had Wings” to “I’m No Stranger to the Rain”
Day 12 features tracks from Trace Adkins, Toby Keith, Martina McBride, Wynonna, and The Little Willies.
Written by Jeffrey Steele, Anthony Smith, and Chris Wallin
Trace Adkins made the same mistake as Joe Diffie did. He allowed himself to be known for his novelty songs, obscuring his talent for delivering hardcore country ballads. “I’m Tryin'” is as intelligent as it is heartbreaking, and should’ve been a career-defining moment for him. Maybe it even was, until “Chrome” and “Honky Tonk Badonkadonk” and “Swing” and “Hot Mama” came along.
Other Favorites: “‘I Wanna Feel Something,” “Lonely Won’t Leave Me Alone,” “Every Light in the House”
“In a Couple of Days”
Written by Toby Keith and Bobby Pinson
There are so many great moments hidden on Toby Keith albums. He’s one of our most prolific singer-songwriters, and when the radio cycle lengthened to only allow two or three singles per album, some great songs never got a chance to be heard on the radio. This is one of them.
Other Favorites: “As Good as I Once Was,” “A Little Too Late,” “I Like Girls That Drink Beer”
Written by Gretchen Peters
“Independence Day” has been a classic for so long now that it’s hard to remember the impact of hearing it for the first time. I bought the album on the day of release, and remember reading the lyrics on a train ride home from school, back before portable CD players were a thing. I wish I could hear it again with fresh ears, but it remains such a powerful performance that its impact can still sneak up on me from time to time.
Other Favorites: “My Baby Loves Me,” “Safe in the Arms of Love,” “Whatever You Say”
“Is it Over Yet”
Written by Billy Kirsch
A friend of mine once described Wynonna’s vocal talent like this: “Some singers have power, and others have control. Wynonna has power and control.” It’s hard to imagine anyone else being able to alternated between a growl and a teardrop in the same line, and I still get chills each time I hear her do that here. The line in question: “Smile and say goodbye, so you don’t see me dying inside.”
Other Favorites: “Come Some Rainy Day,” “She is His Only Need,” “Sometimes I Feel Like Elvis”
“It’s Not You, It’s Me”
The Little Willies
Written by Richard Julian and Ashley Monroe
Norah Jones makes for a pretty great country singer, as her contributions to the Waylon Jennings and Dolly Parton tribute albums proved. So it’s not a surprise that fronting a country band as a side project has great results. The Little Willies trafficked mostly in classic country covers, but “It’s Not You, It’s Me” was an Ashley Monroe co-write that was the highlight of their first album.
Other Favorites: “I Gotta Get Drunk,” “The Wurlitzer Prize” (Norah Jones), “The Grass is Blue” (Norah Jones)