Double the artists on the track means double the fun, right?
2023 was a great year for country music. As the year quickly comes to a close, I find myself looking back on all of the music released over the year. From who shined with their album artworkto songs we thought should have been hit singlesand some of the songs that were a waste of studio time,we are recapping all of the year’s highs and lows of music.
As the highly anticipated Whiskey Riff Albums of the Year will soon be announced, I am looking back at some of the collaborations that shined bright this year. While some received recognition from award associations, I just thought others were dang good and needed to have their moment in the limelight.
Here are my top ten musical collaborations of 2023.
“I Remember Everything” by Zach Bryan and Kacey Musgraves
This song was hands down one of the most loved collaborations among the country music collective. The heartfelt yet heartbreaking message captures the hearts of listeners everywhere and continues to build on the already insane stardom that Zach Bryan has achieved.
The single skyrocketed to number one on the charts and has already achieved an RIAA Certified Gold record status. The song was one of my most streamed since the release of Zach Bryan’s self-titled album, and Kacey Musgraves thinks it “sick as f*ck,” from her unbiased opinion,
“Fun fact, y’all: I had full-blown strep when I recorded this song, but somehow, I pushed through. So it’s confirmed: this song is sick as f*ck.”
“Night Moves” by Dolly Parton and Chris Stapleton
“That’s Why We Fight” by Ella Langley And Koe Wetzel
Ella Langley came out of the gate SWINGING with this release. The Alabama native recruited Koe Wetzel to make a powerful punch with one of her first major singles. This song is grungy, catchy, rock ‘n roll, and just damn good. I have nothing else to say about this song other than to turn it ALL the way up.
Koe and Ella knocked this one out of the park.
“Fly On The Wall” by Lauren Watkins and Jake Worthington
“How I Learned To Pray” by Charlie Worsham and Luke Combs
Charlie Worsham’s Compadres album has gotten rave reviews. While the whole album features collaborations with his favorite friends and artists, “How I Learned To Pray” was a quick favorite, with Luke Combs being the guest on the single. The lyrics are so moving, and Worsham’s voice combined with Combs is addicting to the ears.
“It wasn’t in a church with a chapter and a verse Some preacher made sure everybody heard Or just some words somebody taught me to say…”
“Ghost In This House” by Matt Koziol and Vince Gill
“Listen To The Radio” by Molly Tuttle and Billy Strings
Bluegrass gold on this track. Molly Tuttle and Billy Strings are two of the biggest bluegrass stars right now, and every time they get together, you know it’s going to be filled with insane guitar picking, stellar vocals, and quick-paced beats, but this one strays from that formula, and it’s even better than I could imagine.
Their duet covering Nanci Griffith’s iconic 1989 track, “Listen To The Radio,” is heartfelt, beautifully done, and shines a light on their adaptability as musicians.
“Cry Myself To Sleep” by Wynonna Judd and Trisha Yearwood
“Sarah’s Place” by Zach Bryan and Noah Kahan
Noah Kahan broke into the country music space big time near the end of 2023, and this ZB collaboration was the start of something special. Followed by his collaboration for a reimagination of his song “She Calls Me Back” with Kacey Musgraves, “Sarah’s Place” was the starting point.
The upbeat and happy-go-lucky sound of the song highlights a mesh of both Bryan’s and Kahan’s sounds. The lyrics transport you to a movie scene of kids running around a neighborhood in the ’50s, getting into trouble, falling in love with each other, and then later reminiscing on the times they shared at “Sarah’s Place.”
“I love your mother’s stories ’bout you as a kid I heard you scored a job in the east village While working for some folks who don’t know your name Well, ain’t you gonna miss all of them wasted days? We’d sit around, drinkin’ out at Sarah’s place.”
“Herassment” by Hot Country Knights and Darla McFarland
Last but not least….”Herassment.” Hot Country Knights never miss, and bringing on Darla McFarland made this track a certified twanger.