The list comes to a close with ten classic records from some of the era’s most commercially and critically successful stars.
It’s easy to be cynical about country radio these days, but unlike most of the songs on the lists we compile now, 1993’s best singles got a lot of airplay. All but one of our top ten entries reached the top five of the singles chart. If we could get a success rate today that was anywhere near that, it might be safe to turn on the radio again!
Enjoy the end to this list, and us writers will enjoy that rare downtime that comes between finishing the publication of one of these lists and starting another one!
“Nothin’ But the Wheel”
Written by John Scott Sherrill
#3 – BF | #7 – KJC | #24 – SG
Loveless’ brokenhearted narrator takes to the midnight highway with only the mournful sounds of fiddle and steel for company, sadly aware that she is not being missed at home. In a catalog rich with beautiful ballads, this is one of the finest. – Ben Foster
Angels and Alcohol
Alan Jackson is known as reliably country and not one to chase trends, but rather, somebody who holds steady as a standard-bearer for modern traditional country music. Even so, in an effort not to become stagnant, he has kept us intrigued by also taking some detours into other genres along the way, which have included adult contemporary, bluegrass, orchestral Christmas and two gospel albums.
With these career detours notwithstanding, we still reflexively know that when he announces that he’s releasing a country album, it’s guaranteed to be exactly that, which is what we get with Angels and Alcohol.
How strong a year for country music was 1993? Well, if our Best Albums list revealed how many great artists were overlooked, our Best Singles list reveals why there is so little room at the inn.
Out of the forty singles ranked among our best, all but five reached the top twenty of the Billboard country singles chart. Ten of them made it all the way to #1, and another nine of them stopped at #2. Country radio in 1993 was good.
Our list kicks off today with the first ten entries of the top forty. We’ll reveal ten more every day until we get to the top of the list on Tuesday. Under each entry, you’ll see each single’s peak position on the Billboard chart and the individual ranking for each writer who included it on their own top forty list.
“On the Road”
Lee Roy Parnell
Written by Bob McDill
#11 – KJC | #28 – JK
In one of his finest moments, Lee Roy Parnell weaves the stories of a frustrated housewife, high school underachiever, and retired couple into a seamless narrative of finding both escape and salvation on the road. His signature slide guitar licks provide an undercurrent of tension that heightens the intensity of the storylines as they unfold. – Kevin John Coyne
Written by Kelsea Ballerini, Jason Duke, Ryan Griffin, and Josh Kerr
What is there to say about “Dibs?”
The combined efforts of nine women and three men form the upper echelon of our Best Albums list from 1993. This embarrassment of riches showcases just how much great music there was to choose from that year, especially given how many of the genre’s biggest and most acclaimed stars – Vince Gill, Alan Jackson, Reba McEntire, Mary Chapin Carpenter, and Pam Tillis, just to name a few – were between albums that year.
It was also a strong and diverse enough year that despite some overall consensus among the lists of all of the writers, each one of us has a different album at #1 on our personal lists.
Enjoy the second half of our list, and look for the Singles list to kick off next weekend.
#1 – JK | #3 – SG
In jumping to a major label, Uncle Tupelo was supposed to give alt-country its Nirvana; though that didn’t happen, the critical acclaim and indie following that Anodyne earned served as an impetus for the nascent alt-country scene.
An album that’s both legitimately great and historically important in equal measure, Anodyne proved that alt-country was commercially viable as a refuge for artists and fans who felt at-odds with the increasingly slick mainstream country of the early 1990s. Borne of long-simmering conflicts between co-frontmen Jeff Tweedy and Jay Farrar, Anodyne is a sprawling and ambitious album that finds Uncle Tupelo at their most fully-realized as a band.
Drawing heavily from country-rock, folk, and traditional styles, it’s easy to hear the band’s lingering influence on both contemporary Americana and on modern country acts like Miranda Lambert and Eric Church. – Jonathan Keefe
Recommended Tracks: “Acuff-Rose,” “The Long Cut,” “Chickamunga”
Back in the day, we used to do iPod checks. Seemed so current at the time!
Now, we’re gonna ask you to go to Spotify or your phone or whatever, and just let us know what you’re listening to the most.
Two Daily Top Fives Today: Your five most played songs from a 2015 album, and your most played country songs of all time.
Here are my lists, sticking to one song per artist:
Since he’s back with a new single today, let’s make today’s top five all about Alan Jackson.
What are your favorite albums and tracks from this guy who should already be in the Country Music Hall of Fame?
Here are my picks:
- Like Red on a Rose
- Who I Am
- The Bluegrass Album
- Everything I Love
- Thirty Miles West
- So You Don’t Have to Love Me Anymore
- Blue Ridge Mountain Song
- Monday Morning Church
- Gone Country
- Drive (For Daddy Gene)
“Jim and Jack and Hank”
Written by Alan Jackson
It’s country. It’s clever. It’s funny.
It’s classic Alan Jackson, with his signature attention to details and refusal to do cutesy rhymes at the end of each line.
As we near the end of the first half of 2015, what are the albums coming later in the year that you’re looking forward to the most?
Here’s my list:
- Jason Isbell, Something More Than Free
- Alan Jackson, Angels and Alcohol
- Kip Moore, Wild Ones
- Iris DeMent, The Trackless Woods
- Maddie & Tae, Start Here
Regular posts, including single reviews, will begin again tomorrow.
In the meantime, today’s Daily Top Five is perfect for the day in question.
What are your five favorite country songs about being a dad?
It can be the experience of being the father or being the child, or just songs that you like that don’t bear much relation to your actual relationship with your father or your child.
Here’s my list:
- Sawyer Brown, “The Walk”
- Reba McEntire, “The Greatest Man I Never Knew”
- Alan Jackson, “Drive (For Daddy Gene)”
- Loretta Lynn, “They Don’t Make ‘Em Like My Daddy”
- Doug Supernaw, “I Don’t Call Him Daddy”