Don Schlitz

Daily Top Five: Texas Songs

August 13, 2015 // 11 Comments

Texas is the most sung about state in country music. Musicians and singers can even make a good living by just touring around Texas. So, it’s no wonder that even those of us who have no  physical or emotional connection to Texas might still have numerous Texas related songs that we love. Just like the state of Texas, my list of Texas songs is very large, but I did my best to narrow my list down to five of my favorites. Bill Chambers, “Dreaming ’bout Texas” Charlie Robison, “the Girls from Texas” Don Schlitz, “Death in Texas” Laura Bell Bundy, “Texas” Mac Davis, “Texas in My Rearview Mirror”

The Best Singles of 1993, Part Four: #10-#1

July 28, 2015 // 6 Comments

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! #10 “Nothin’ But the Wheel” Patty Loveless Written by John Scott Sherrill Peak: #20 #3 – BF | #7 – KJC | #24 – SG Loveless’ brokenhearted narrator takes to the Read More

The Best Singles of 1994, Part 2: #30-#21

December 9, 2014 // 7 Comments

The list continues with big hits from Clay Walker, Neal McCoy, and Mary Chapin Carpenter, along with should’ve been hits from Carlene Carter and Merle Haggard. #30 “Daddy Never was the Cadillac Kind” Confederate Railroad Written by Dave Gibson and Bernie Nelson KJC #10 | JK #22 | SG #39 Confederate Railroad made it big by balancing party anthems with thoughtful songs about growing up in the south.  This was their best “growing up” song, a thoughtful tribute from a son to his late father.  As tends to happen, the lessons taught to us in our youth aren’t fully appreciated or understood until it’s too late to truly say “thank you.”  – Kevin John Coyne

The Best Country Albums of 2010, Part 1: #20-#11

January 5, 2011 // 19 Comments

Countless albums were released in 2010, in mainstream country music, Americana, bluegrass, and all the other loosely associated sub-genres that make up the country universe. Of those albums, our writers particularly enjoyed the following twenty. All four writers submitted top ten lists for th year, and amazingly enough, there were exactly twenty different albums among them. So if you’re wondering if your favorite album just missed the list…it didn’t. But we’d love to hear why we were wrong in the comments.

Enjoy part one now, and look for the top ten on Friday.

A Crooked Road
Darrell Scott

Tomorrow’s hits today, should the current crop of hitmakers want something as good on the radio as “Long Time Gone” or “It’s a Great Day to Be Alive”, or just want to have an album cut for the ages like “You’ll Never Leave Harlan Alive.” Scott’s a singer’s songwriter, delivering his songs with enough personality to elevate them above demos but leaving enough room for improvisation, so that any singer can put their own spin on it.

Don Schlitz

October 11, 2008 // 4 Comments

Few songwriters in Nashville have reached the dizzying heights of Don Schlitz. His mantle full of awards and his prominence on the charts for the better part of three decades has made Schlitz an integral part of country music’s rich heritage of storytelling songs. Don Schlitz was born and raised in Durham, North Carolina. He briefly attended Duke University before moving to Nashville in 1973. After his arrival, Schlitz served as a computer operator at Vanderbilt University, but continued to write songs for five years before his big break.  With “The Gambler”, Schlitz’ career finally moved forward. The classic tale of a man learning how to “know when to hold ’em and know when to fold ’em” enraptured country music audiences upon its release in 1978. The story of a young man and a train-traveling sage earned the Grammy for Best Country Song in 1979 and received the CMA honor for Single Read More

Classic Country Singles: Kenny Rogers, “The Gambler”

August 26, 2008 // 3 Comments

The Gambler Kenny Rogers 1978 Written by Don Schlitz Although responsible for one of country music’s most famous lines (“You’ve got to know when to hold ‘em, know when to fold ‘em…”), Don Schlitz’s premier story song, “The Gambler” is far deeper than what first appears. The game of poker is disguised as a metaphor for life and shows that it’s not what cards one is dealt, but how the player handles those cards, that is truly the secret of life. Kenny Rogers’ gruff and gritty vocal tells the story of two travelers, one barely living and one barely alive. It’s a strong connection between a couple of strangers, and shows that we may not be so different at all. They travel on through the darkness, passengers at a crossroads, and the old man gives his secrets to survival because he’s “made a living reading other people’s faces.” The two Read More