It’s easy to get lost on mainstream terrestrial radio, peppered with groovy beats, red-dirt stories and party anthems. But often times, the best music never sees the light of day at radio. In 2014, many of the should-be-hits were hidden away on some truly great records, for only diehard fans to enjoy. Country Outfitter Style has put together the Top 10 Songs of 2014 that you (probably) didn’t listen to.
10. Little Big Town // “Live Forever” (Painkiller)
Harkening to early Fleetwood Mac, this powerful gem is like a shot through the heart. It’s a haunting tune about romance and delivered in a way that no other country act could. It also helps that this CMA Vocal Group of the Year has never sounded so deliciously good.
9. Sturgill Simpson // “Life Of Sin” (Metamodern Sounds In Country Music)
A bit of tradition and a bit of southern rock, this truly underrated Americana-folk singer gives a swift kick to country music.
8. American Young // “God Sends A Train” (American Young)
The duo has been performing this song for awhile now (way back in 2013), but it didn’t find a home until 2014’s self-titled EP. For that, it lands on this list as a truly heartbreaking (but true) tale.
7. Caitlyn Smith // “Tacoma”
One of the finest songwriters in Nashville, she landed this song on Garth Brooks‘ new album Man Against Machine. While the best-selling country artist of all time does a great job, Smith’s soulful version is even more captivating.
6. Johnny Cash //”I Drover Her Out Of My Mind” (Out Among The Stars)
Typically, post-humous albums are dudes, but Cash‘s is by far the most enveloping. It possesses the same charm as his previous records, but there’s something truly special about of his earthy, honest “I Drover Her Out Of My Mind.”
5. Miranda Lambert // “Bathroom Sink” (Platinum)
Miranda has a way of crafting a song as honest and bold as her personality. She takes an everyday object to represent her relationship with her family and her perspective on life, in general.
4. Nickel Creek // “Destination” (A Dotted Line)
After a lengthy hiatus, the trio came back stronger than ever. This track is a particularly electric representation of their new-found creativity.
3. Sunny Sweeney & Will Hoge // “My Bed” (Provoked)
A lamentation of a dying relationship, this searing track is one of the finest most-emotional duets of the year. The embers of their love are just not enough to ever ignite them again.
2. Shovels & Rope // “The Devil Is All Around” (Swimmin’ Time)
A story about someone coming to terms with their lives, through love, loss and faith, they journey down a long road of turmoil. One of the best of any group, any genre.
1. Lee Ann Womack // “Send It On Down” (The Way I’m Livin‘)
There’s a reason Lee Ann is one of country music’s greatest assets: her voice cuts through the noise in a powerful way. This just may be in her top 3 best songs she’s ever recorded.
Honorable Mentions: Rachele Lynae’s “Words In Red,” Brad Paisley’s “High Life” (featuring Carrie Underwood), Willie Nelson’s “Whenever You Come Around,” Dierks Bentley‘s “Here On Earth,” Trisha Yearwood’s “End of the World”