Country music has an unbelievable amount of spectacular songs — just turn on the radio and you will hear them in tandem for hours on end. However, it’s not just the songs that play on the radio that country music has in its pocket of perfection. In fact, there are a great many songs that find their ways to albums, but never quite make it past “filler” status. Some of those tracks are even better than the ones that graduate to radio, making it rather tragic that they seem to get lost on a disc or buried on a playlist.
That is why Country Music #CMchat decided to pay homage to some of the tracks that deserve recognition, should be excavated from the pile of songs that surround them, and provided with their due opportunities to shine. We call these songs our hidden musical gems and hereby declare them unburied.
***Warning: What you will proceed to learn about me is that it appears music makes me cry often. This was quite the self-discovery post. You will also come to find that I like ballads. A lot.***
1. Brantley Gilbert – “Grown Ass Man”
Ladies and gentlemen, meet the song that made me fall in love with Brantley Gilbert. It was a long, winding road that we traveled down and I, admittedly, was somewhat resistant to taking the journey. When Brantley crooned to me about how grown ass he was though, well, I fell to my own and wept tears of sorrow and regret for the time we lost together. You can find “Grown Ass Man” on Just As I Am.
2. Brooke Eden – “I Took Your Picture Down Today”
So, I love Brooke Eden. As a singer, a musician, a writer, and a person. In fact, if I had a cloning device, I would make many more Brookes because I think the world would be a better, more beautiful place if there was an assemblage of this incredibly special person. I remember the first time I heard “I Took Your Picture Down Today” … I’m actually still lifting my jaw off the floor (and we are talking quite some time ago). Every time I see Brooke live, I wait, anticipate, hope and send little telepathic messages to her to sing this song. When she doesn’t, I cry. When she does, heck, I cry. I want to take you all on this tear-stained ride with me. You can find “I Took Your Picture Down Today” on her self-titled EP on iTunes.
3. Cassadee Pope – “Easier to Lie”
It isn’t often you feel bad for the cheater. The cheater is bad; the cheater should be punished. But, when Cassadee Pope plays the role of “cheater” in “Easier to Lie,” you can’t help but feel her pain and sympathize for her. The lyrics are honest and forthcoming while the story proves that the person Cassadee portrays in this song is the exact opposite. However, you still feel terrible for her because she has the innate ability to suck you in and is just so darn lovable that you can’t leave once you’re there. The emotion, the melody, and words are a trifecta and everything that country music stands for; phenomenally raw talent, truth, and scandal. You can find “Easier to Lie” on Cassadee’s hit debut album Frame by Frame.
4. Jo Dee Messina – “Say Goodbye to Superman”
Let’s take a moment and bow our heads in prayer. Repeat after me. I, state your name, do solemnly swear to listen to “Say Goodbye to Superman” in its entirety and allow the musical goddess that is Jo Dee Messina to captivate me and win me over, mind, heart, and soul, through her amazing talent and the breathtaking and heartbreaking words of this song. Amen. No other words can suffice. Listen. Be transported. Ugly cry. Lather, rinse, repeat. “Say Goodbye to Superman” can be found on Jo Dee’s most recent album, Me.
5. Kenny Chesney – “The Road and the Radio”
For those of you who have ever hopped in a car, turned the ignition, stepped on the gas, and just driven the open road in pursuit of self-exploration and answers, this song will strike a chord. If you are here and you have gotten this far in my wordy post, the chances are pretty good that you love music. In this song, so does Kenny Chesney, and he makes no secret of the fact that he feels like the road and the radio are the two friends he needs the most in his life at this time. We’ve all been there and we’ve all relied upon the lyrics of a song that seems to be speaking directly to us. When you’re feeling that feeling and only music can soothe your soul, “The Road and the Radio” is your anthem. This song can be found on Kenny’s like-named album, The Road and the Radio.
6. Kip Moore – Faith When I Fall
There comes a time in all of our lives when we become too occupied with life to stop for a minute and talk to the man or woman upstairs. Then comes that time when it seems as though there is nobody else with whom to speak. Kip’s “Faith When I Fall” recognizes the error of his ways and his failure to maintain his relationship with a higher power and, most vulnerably, begs for Him to be there when nothing seems to be going right. Kip not only takes us to church on this track, but he makes us want to check in with the congregation a bit more often with a little message of faith and love. “Faith When I Fall” can be found on Kip’s full length album Up All Night.
7. Tim McGraw – “Can’t Be Really Gone”
This choice goes slightly against the digital grain, as it was actually a single released by Tim McGraw in 1995. While it had its moment in the sun, “Can’t Be Really Gone” has long since been retired and it is of grave concern to me that a vast majority of our readers would not have heard of this song before right now. That makes this tune a hidden gem in its own right. From the moment I became a country music fan, this was one of my absolute favorite songs. It wasn’t until a few years ago that Tim shocked me senselessly during a pre-show acoustic set that he performed this live. If you go to Cruzan Amphitheater in West Palm Beach, Florida, you can still find me as a pool of Alex Mack-like goo where the tent formerly stood. You can fall in love with “Can’t Be Really Gone” now and then download it from his All I Want album.
Kelly Clarkson – “Cry”
I made Kelly Clarkson a bonus because I realize there are critics regarding whether she is country and I respect that. I am still willing to face off against those who drank their Haterade today and don’t think this song has a place on this list for the sake of those who have yet to hear it and will discover their new favorite song right here. I remember where I was sitting when I first listened to Kelly’s fourth studio album and the third track came on … I recall distinctly being a sitting cliche and crying during “Cry.” I may also be guilty of quoting “Is it over yet? Can I open my eyes? Is this as hard as it gets? Is this what it feels like to really cry?” when I’m having a not-so-good day and my emotional everything hurts. You can add “Cry” to your every day life by checking out Kelly’s All I Ever Wanted album.
Follow me on Twitter @JenSwirsky
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