The backbone of country music has always been, and will continue to be, songwriting.
And while country music is littered with great songwriters, there’s been a special crop over the past few years that have managed to grab my attention and never let it go. Writers with the unique ability to tap into the deepest corners of the human experience, and tell their stories with unrivaled honesty, conviction and beauty.
And, those 4 songwriters are…
I know when you think of Bradley Cooper, you think of the Hollywood actor that has starred in films such as The Hangover, Silver Linings Playbook, American Sniper, and The Hangover Part II, but after his musical chops were on full display in A Star Is Born, that is how I’ll always remember him.
Exhibit A: “Maybe It’s Time”
A redemptive song about reaching deep down into your soul in an effort to change your own path, “Maybe It’s Time” is unequivocally Cooper’s best work, firmly establishing his place in the conversation of this generation’s best songwriters.
While Zac Brown Band’s latest album, The Owl, might have left many, if not nearly all, of their fans shell-shocked with incredibly mindless and shallow lyrics like, “Gucci bags, stacks on stacks,” history will prove that it hasn’t always been the case.
Exhibit A: “Dress Blues”
“Dress Blues” is the gut-wrenching story of a solider that is killed in action, leaving behind his wife, his newborn baby, and a whole town of friends and family members that loved him dearly. A song that hits painfully close to home for many across small town America. If this isn’t A+ songwriting, then I don’t know what is.
Rodney Atkins has had a bit of a career resurgence as of late. After a slew of #1 songs in the mid-to-late 2000’s, and relative radio silence since then, Rodney’s country music compass is once pointing north.
Exhibit A: “Cover Me Up”
Quite possibly one of the greatest love songs I’ve ever heard, and maybe ever will hear in my lifetime, “Cover Me Up” is everything a good country song should be. It’s real, it’s raw, it’s incredibly vulnerable, it’s the songwriter ripping open his soul and laying it all on the line. It takes guts to write a song like that, and sheer talent to do it so well.
Morgan Wallen is one of the fastest rising stars in all of country music. Singer, songwriter, rocker of country music’s sickest flow, and therefore subsequent purveyor of “Big Mullet Energy,” Morgan should mirror the great Eric Church and keep those shades on 24/7. Why? Because the future is BRIGHT.
Exhibit A: “Cover Me Up”
Now, I know what you’re thinking… “Wes, isn’t this the same title as the Rodney Atkins song?” Why yes, yes it is. In fact, it’s word-for-word the exact same song.
You see, that’s the mind-blowing thing about really good songwriting, it’s like an uncontrollable virus of divinely-inspired genius that flows through the energies of the universe, implanting its meticulously crafted poetry into the prophetic voices of country music’s finest. “Cover Me Up” is so incredible that two different artists released the same exact song within a month of each other, with no other explanation other than pure happenstance and divine intervention. It’s almost as if God himself smiled down on the Earth and said, “the world must hear this song twice.”