Well, a great year of country music is almost officially in the books.
There was so much great music released this year, and if you haven’t checked out out Top 40 albums list, make sure you take a second to do that now.
It was a nearly impossible task to narrow down all those good records, and of course, they’re all filled with great tunes that’ll make you laugh, cry, and just about everything in between.
And though there were quite a few solid singles released to country radio, like Carly Pearce’s “What He Didn’t Do,” and even Zach Bryan’s “Something in the Orange,” which is still climbing the charts and approaching the Top 30, I wanted to pick six deep cuts that really resonated deeply and stood out to me above the rest.
From Texas country, to Appalachia, and even a couple great songs from some of my favorite mainstream ladies, they’re all deep cuts from each of the records they’re featured on and have become songs I constantly go back to and love so much that I had to share with all of y’all.
Cheers to a great year of country music in 2022 and plenty more to come in 2023:
“Waxahachie” — Miranda Lambert
I was torn between “Waxahachie” and “Carousel” for this list, both from Miranda’s recent studio album Palomino.
But since I’ve already dedicated an entire post to “Carousel,” I wanted to stoplight “Waxahachie,” because it’s truly one of my favorite Miranda Lambert songs, and I’m really hoping they’ll push it as her next radio single.
The opening lines, “nobody ever left New Orleans as mad as I was, I wrote a lipstick letter on the mirror with a bourbon buzz,” are by far my favorites from this year, and considering it was my top-played song on Apple Music, I had to share it with all of y’all on this list.
“Oklahoma Sun” — Koe Wetzel
I feel like “Oklahoma Sun” is kind of a sleeper on Koe Wetzel’s fifth studio album Hell Paso, and I absolutely love the sound of it, which is very reminiscent of early 2000’s rock like My Chemical Romance, and even more alternative-leaning bands like Jimmy Eat World, for example.
The song was actually a co-write by Ernest, and I just love Koe’s vocals on that last line, “and my baby ain’t comin’ around,” and the picture he paints comparing his feelings about his heartbreak to the anticipation of waiting for a storm he knows is brewing, even if the sun is still shining outside right now.
If you somehow skipped over it on the initial release of Hell Paso, give it another chance now, because it’s one of the best on the tracklist in my opinion.
“Atta Girl” — Lainey Wilson
I’ve been loving Lainey Wilson’s new album Bell Bottom Country,and “Atta Girl” is quickly becoming one of my most-played on the tracklist that if fantastic from top to bottom.
She encourages the listener to find the strength to move on after a breakup, because “he can’t take all your happiness, go and get it now, atta girl.” Lainey delivers it with such sincerity, too, and I love the message she sends here about picking yourself up in the wake of heartbreak.
A tribute to their home in Russell County, deep in the hollers and hills of the Appalachian mountains in southwest Virginia and the love that awaits there when they return from the road, I had this one on repeat quite a bit in 2022.
“This Road I Know” — Zach Bryan
“This Road I Know” is more of a spoken-word poem than a song, but I’m not kidding when I tell you I listened to it non-stop after the release of Zach Bryan’s behemoth of a 34-song debut studio album, American Heartbreak.
It was a really interesting choice to close out the lengthy record with a poem, but there’s something so soothing and calming about it, as Zach paints a beautiful and vibrant picture of going home, wherever that place may be for you.
“Started A Band” — Ben Burgess
The best part about this song… it’s a 100% true story.
A co-write by Ben with Chris Lacorte and Hunter Phelps, he tells the story of how he lost a girl to the lead singer of a band at a concert he took her to… so he left the venue and started his own band.
You can listen to him tell the story on a recent episode the Whiskey Riff Raff podcast, but make sure you add the song to your playlist, too.
That’ll do it for my list… what are some of your favorite deep cuts released this year?