Country music is filled with passion and storytelling but sometimes we’re reminded that it’s also a business. From time to time, for whatever reason, spectacular hit songs never make it to your radio. Maybe it was controversial. Maybe there’s legality with copyrights and record companies. Maybe someone felt that it was a great album cut, but just not single material. Whatever the reason, sometimes great songs are barely heard.
Here’s a list of tunes that you might have missed, but really should give a shot:
1. Brad Paisley // “A Man Don’t Have to Die”
Brad Paisley‘s This Is Country Music album contained several hits, but this is one you may have missed from the 2011 release. The song begins with a man who is down on his luck interrupting a sermon from a new preacher, who is taking a fire and brimstone approach to a congregation that needs to hear of hope and redemption.
2. Ashley Monroe // “Weed Instead of Roses”
In 2013, Ashley Monroe released her second album, Like a Rose, that included a string of should’ve been hits including “Weed Instead of Roses.” The tune is a comical request from a woman to her spouse, suggesting different ways they can spice up their love life. “I don’t need a card from Hallmark / Box of candy, heaven knows / Give me weed instead of roses / Let’s see where it goes,” Ashley sings.
3. Kacey Musgraves // “The Trailer Song”
Kacey Musgraves has made a name for herself in country music with songs focusing on the idea of “Judge not, that ye be not judged.” In 2014, she released this retort to Gladys Kravitzs everywhere, singing, “Keep your two cents on your side of the fence / Girl we ain’t friends we’re just neighbors / There ain’t nothing to see here / Go back to your trailer.”
4. Kristian Bush // “Love or Money”
“Nobody likes to lose love or money,” Kristian sang in his first solo song after Sugarland’s hiatus. An infectious beat moves us along the storyline of a Romeo professing his love for his Juliet but knowing that she’s got richer offers.
5. Joanna Smith // “Gettin’ Married”
Any single 20-something (or 30-something) can relate to the hook of this song, “All my girlfriends are gettin’ married!” Joanna released this tune as her lead single in 2010, lamenting the age when everyone seems to be settling down. “I’m so sick and tired of hearing their vows / this being made of honor is keeping me from making out,” she wails.
6. Will Hoge // “Jesus Came to Tennessee”
What would happen if Jesus spent an afternoon with Will Hoge? The hit songwriter explores that issue in this tongue-in-check tune from his EP Modern American Protest Songs. Hoge even pokes fun at himself, ending the tune with, “I yelled one more thing, Jesus / Could you help me write some hits? / And in a big voice he said that I will, if you quit writing songs like this.”
7. Brandy Clark // “Hold My Hand”
12 Stories is likely the most critically acclaimed country album with no radio airplay in the past five years. It’s impossible to pick just one song that should’ve been a hit, so this time let’s highlight “Hold My Hand.” An awkward meeting with her main squeeze’s ex has just cheering Brandy on as she sings, “This would be a real good time to hold my hand.”
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