Clint Black Starter Kit

clint_black1Clint Black burst onto the country music landscape with the famed Class of ’89, as one of the group’s leading members. With his neo-traditionalist sound, he caught people off guard with his uncanny channeling of his hero, Merle Haggard.

As time passed, we would quickly learn that Black was his own man as he earned two triple Platinum albums, four Platinum albums and one gold album. Moreover, he would soon establish his own sound, which the country music audience was more than willing to accept.

Ten Essential Tracks

“A Better Man”
From the 1989 album Killin’ Time

It is impossible not to include Clint Black’s first single in his Starter Kit. Not only is it a great song from a seminal album, it sprung to the top of the charts and introduced people to a voice that eerily resembled that of Merle Haggard’s.

“Killin’ Time”
From the 1989 album Killin’ Time

Black was known for his clever wordplay, which showed up in “Killin’ Time” with “This Killin’ time is Killin’ me.”

“Put Yourself in My Shoes”
From the 1990 album Put Yourself in My Shoes

This bluesy song pleads for understanding and forgiveness in a failed relationship. He boldly proclaims: “Put yourself in my shoes/Walk a mile for me/I’ll put myself in your shoes/Maybe then we’d see/That if you put yourself in my shoes/You’d have some sympathy/And if I could only put myself in your shoes/I’d walk right back to me.”

“Burn One Down”
From the 1992 album The Hard Way

This is just a cleverly written song all around. It demonstrates Black’s intriguing poetic ability.

“A Bad Goodbye” (with Wynonna Judd)
From the 1993 album No Time to Kill

As Clint seems to do very well on his duets, he leans into this emotional song with full force. Of course, Wynonna Judd is always a force to be reckoned with, but both of them aptly capture the complicated emotion of loving someone but no longer being in love.

“No Time to Kill”
From the 1993 album No Time to Kill

In this dobro and fiddle laden tune, Clint revisits the theme of killing time. This time, he determines that there’s no time to kill.

“State of Mind”
From the 1993 album No Time to Kill

Clint’s harmonica chops are displayed on this catchy song, especially on the album version. The song is built around the simple, yet factual, observation: “Ain’t it funny how a melody can bring back a memory/Take you to another place in time/Completely change your state of mind?”

“Untanglin’ My Mind”
From the 1994 album One Emotion

Can you imagine a song like this being played on today’s country radio? What’s more, can you imagine a Merle Haggard co-write reaching the top five on today’s country charts? Apparently, both were possible in the mid nineties. Those were the days, weren’t they?

“Still Holding On” (with Martina McBride)
From the 1997 album Nothin’ But the Taillights

Clint Black isn’t immune from veering away from the neo-traditional sound, especially toward the latter half of his career. This is a straight pop country ballad done well, particularly thanks to killer vocal performances by both Black and Martina McBride.

“Something that We Do”
From the 1997 album Nothin’ But the Taillights

Clint extols the simple truth that love is a verb: “It’s not just something that we have; it’s something that we do.” At the time of this song’s release, I was pretty bored by its simple melody. It wasn’t until my adulthood that I truly understood the sentiment.

Two Hidden Treasures

“Our Kind of Love”
From the 1997 album Nothin’ but the Taillights

Clint has a version of this gorgeous song with Carolyn Dawn Johnson, but this rootsy version featuring Alison Krauss is superior.

“Hand in the Fire”
From the 1999 album D’Lectrified

This whole album is a gem that was somewhat overlooked, though it still reached gold status. As the album title cleverly indicates, this is his version of an unplugged project. He reworks some of his old hits and adds some originals as well. This is one of the standout originals, which is a fun, matter-of-fact, declaration of love.


  1. Great list, Leann! I love “Burn One Down” and many of the others you mentioned but I would probably replace a few of them with “Nothing’s News”, “When My Ship Comes In” and “You Don’t Need Me Now”. I wish August were longer because I don’t want 90s month to end! :)

  2. Great stuff Leeann! One of my favorites, for sure. When I hear Clint Black I hear musical timelessness, destined to be considered one of the all time greats, no doubt.

    And ain’t it the truth about the melody/state of mind thing. :)

  3. I also love “Nothing’s News.” His phrasing in the line “…down at Ernie’s Icehouse drinkin’ longnecks to that good old country sound” is one of my favorites. I think Clint was probably hoping for a career boost from Celebrity Apprentice (a la Trace Adkins), but it doesn’t seem to have happened. Good call on the D’lectrified album as well Leeann and thanks for the post.

  4. ‘Burn One Down’ is my favorite Clint Black song by a mile, but I like pretty much all these. Still loving this 90s coverage – it’s causing me to dig deep in my CD collection and rip more music to the computer every time I read one of these too.

  5. Good list. Clint Black is an early favorite of mine, and I also miss hearing him on the radio. I’m glad to see “Burn One Down,” “State Of Mind,” “Untanglin’ My Mind,” and “Something That We Do” included. “A Better Man,” as I mentioned in the Firsts topic, is a special song for me as well.

    Some of my other favorites:
    “Nobody’s Home”
    “Nothing’s News”
    “Loving Blind”
    “Where Are You Now”
    “When My Ship Comes In”

    More hidden treasures:
    “The Goodnight-Loving” and “A Heart Like Mine” from Put Yourself In My Shoes

    My favorite albums are still his first three.

  6. I like the other songs you’ve all mentioned here. I’ll say that “When My Ship Comes In” almost made the cut and I still wonder if it should have over “Still Holding On.”

  7. “Still Holding On” is very well worth mentioning. I recently watched the performance of that one from the 1997 CMA’s. Good stuff.

  8. While I liked Clint Black when he first came out, for an album or two, he quickly became one of those voices I find unbearable.
    Like Darius Rucker, his voice is so incredibly grating and monotonous. Very talented otherwise.

  9. I very much liked his last album 2005’s DRINKIN’ SONGS AND OTHER LOGIC and would have “Heartaches” and “Drinkin’ Songs and Other Logic” in my essentials list

  10. I don’t know much Clint Black at all, so this list was very informative. Just listened to it on Spotify, very enjoyable, thanks!

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