The 30 Day Song Challenge: Day 28

Today’s category is…

A Song From Your Favorite Songwriter.

Here are the staff picks:

Leeann Ward: “You’ll Never Leave Harlan Alive” – Darrell Scott

A modern masterpiece.

Dan Milliken: “Restless” – Robert Lee Castleman  (performed by Alison Krauss & Union Station)

No one writes individualist cud-chew better than Castleman, and no one sings it better than Krauss. Each new pairing of theirs is a gift to all over-thinkers with secret over-feeling streaks, those who revel in connection but resent constraint, who ask only for honesty because that’s all they themselves can promise sometimes.

Tara Seetharam: “Cowboy Take Me Away” – Marcus Hummon and Martie Seidel (performed by Dixie Chicks)

I don’t really have a favorite songwriter, but I guess Marcus Hummon is the closest thing. I won’t even try to speak more poignantly about this song than Dan did back when we counted down the greatest singles of the 90s; he nails its transcendental sparkle that makes it more than just another love song.

Kevin Coyne: “Don’t Let it Trouble Your Mind” – Dolly Parton

Writing great songs for more than forty years.  What’s amazing  isn’t so much how great she still is, but how great she’s been all along, as this early track demonstrates.


  1. Great list. My mind went pretty quickly to Gretchen Peters, as I have found much of her music resonates with me no matter who records it. If I had to pick a specific song, it would be “On a Bus to St Cloud.”

  2. All great picks! Whenever I think of Marcus Hummon, I’m almost always reminded of “Born to Fly,” which is a song that just never gets old.

    I’ve never chosen a specific songwriter as a favorite, but I have a few who would be up there. I’ve gotten to be a huge Matraca Berg fan (Loving her new album The Dreaming Fields). I often find myself coming back to one of Matraca’s earliest hits, “I’m That Kind of Girl,” recorded by Patty Loveless. There’s also Dean Dillon, who’s written many great George Strait hits, as well as others like Vern Gosdin’s “Set ‘Em Up Joe” and Pam Tillis’s “Spilled Perfume.”

    And of course, you can never go wrong with a timeless Harlan Howard classic like “I Fall to Pieces” or “Hearteaches by the Number.”

  3. I love Matraca Berg. “The Last One to Know, “Strawberry Wine,” and “The Dreaming Fields” are my favorites!

  4. Like many other Matraca Berg with “Strawberry Wine” “You and Tequila” and “Back When We Were Beautiful” followed by Dolly Parton and Shania Twain (yes I know many will disagree about Shania but she is a genius at what she does!)

  5. “There Goes My Everything” by Jack Greene (and later by Engelbert Humperdinck and Elvis Presley). Frazier wrote so many great songs it is hard to pick one, but this song, or the Charley Pride hit “All I Have to Offer You (Is Me)” would be my choice

  6. I don’t necessarily have a favourite single song writer, although I would have to say the Peach-pickers are my favourites…they’re soooo original…

    …kidding… :P

    I like Josh Turner’s “Long Black Train”. Although I don’t generally think that Josh is a great songwriter, considering the message, delivery and bravery of releasing this song he wrote to radio, this is a standout song in his catalog and a prime example of a country song :)

  7. Since we’re talking about songwriters, here’s my choice:

    WALK ON (Matraca Berg/Ronnie Samoset) (recorded by Linda Ronstadt)–Matraca, of course, is featured heavily in this segment, and rightly so (she is one of the most covered songwriters of the last thirty years, country or otherwise); but it’s a shame that not enough people have heard this particular rendition of one of her best known songs by one of her biggest heroes. When she heard Linda’s version the first time (it’s on Linda’s 1995 album Feels Like Home), she urged everyone who was in the room with her to stay silent; and she came away feeling overwhelmed by the end result.

  8. I’d have to go with “The Secret of Life” by Gretchen Peters and recorded by Faith Hill. It is simple yet effective with it’s message.

    I also think Shania is an underrated songwriter. Adele is on her way to becoming one of my new favorite songwriters/singers.

  9. Bob McDill, “Gone Country” and “Everything That Glitters (Is Not Gold).” (The latter was co-written by Dan Seals.) McDill has written a slew of legendary hits over the years, but those two are my favorites.

  10. After thinking long and hard about this, and not really ever putting much attention on a favorite songwriter before, I’m going with Mac McAnally.

    I’d genuinely loved a lot of the songs he’s written or co-written. I love how he can write a simple lyric yet say something profound.

    My favorite songs he’s written include: “All These Years,” “Old Flame,” “Two Dozen Roses,” “Cafe On The Corner,” “Down The Road,” and “The Boys In Me.”

    It’s hard for me to pick a favorite among those many songs, but I’d go with either “All These Years” or “Cafe On The Corner.” I love the partnership between McAnally and Sawyer Brown.

    And as a close second, it’s hard not to talk about favorite songwriters without giving a nod to one of the best of the genre, Kris Kristofferson. There isn’t a song he wrote that isn’t a classic.

  11. “Stawberry Wine” is the first one that comes to mind, but there are other songwriters, Garth, Tony Arata, Harlan Howard, brett Beavers…

  12. Let’s go with the newest HOFer Bobby Braddock and “Would You Catch a Falling Star” performed by John Anderson. I learned that song because my uncle has sung it since before I knew of John Anderson much less Bobby Braddock. If we were talking singer/songwriter, I’d go with “Dublin Blues” – Guy Clark. That man can make me laugh and cry.

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