Ain't nobody asking his opinion, but here it is anyhow...
UNCLE JESSE’S FAVORITE SONGS of 2013
10) LEE BRICE – I Drive Your Truck
A pure country song giving equal time to themes of bereavement and trucks.
09) AARON LEWIS – Granddaddy’s Gun
Nostalgia at its finest for me. Reminds me of my own grandpa taking me out shooting.
08) LUKE BRYAN – That’s My Kind of Night
I know it doesn’t sound much like a country song, but another hilarious redneck anthem to add to Luke’s repertoire.
07) TIM McGRAW / TAYLOR SWIFT / KEITH URBAN – Highway Don’t Care
Great story song with an eerie hook from Tater that I just can’t forget. I particularly like the line, “probably bendin’ God’s ear talkin’ ‘bout me.”
06) KEITH URBAN / MIRANDA LAMBERT – We Were Us
Love it when the heavy rhythm comes in on the chorus. This one rips it up. Maybe Keith and Miranda should join forces more often.
05) SHOOTER JENNINGS – Outlaw You
Legacy country artist musically thumbing his nose at the no-talent pretty boys he sees populating the country music universe these days: “Hey pretty boy in the baseball hat, you couldn’t hit country with a baseball bat” is one of my favorite lyrics of all time.
04) THE BAND PERRY – Done
After about a zillion love-story-gone-wrong songs over the years, the Perry clan somehow manages to put a new twist on it, and totally rocks in the process. Kimberly Perry makes a great fed-up, disgusted grunt toward the end which sums it all up nicely.
03) GEORGE STRAIT – Give It All We Got Tonight
The King of Country holds on to his crown for a while longer yet and proves he can still pick a great song out of the mountain of pitches he must receive. The delivery, arrangement and production are flawless. If this turns out to be his “one to go out on,” it’s certainly a high note.
02) LEE BRICE – Parking Lot Party
I’m surprised Luke Bryan didn’t record this one. This is not the kind of brainless, good-timey party anthem I expect from Lee, but he serves it up just right. Had the chorus of this one stuck in my head for, literally, weeks. Thomas Rhett Akins (Sr. and Jr.) and the ubiquitous Luke Laird share the writing credit. My hat’s off to all y’all!
01) BLAKE SHELTON / PISTOL ANNIES – Boys ‘Round Here
The year’s most memorable party anthem has the perfect-storm songwriting team of Rhett Akins, Dallas Davidson and Craig Wiseman behind it and a very memorable tongue-in-cheek performance up front from the reigning CMA male and female vocalists of the year. Warning to parents who think their kids don’t already know all the good swears: the album version replaces “Don’t take no lip” with “Don’t take no sh*t.” Put this on at a party and watch everyone eat it up.
UNCLE JESSE’S FAVORITE ALBUMS of 2013
ASHLEY MONROE – Like a Rose
My vote for heir to Loretta Lynn’s uppity-women-of-country crown is Ashley Monroe. Particularly hilarious are the songs “Weed Instead of Roses” and “You Ain’t Dolly (and You Ain’t Porter).” The latter co-stars Ashley’s Pistol Annies band-mate’s hubby, Blake Shelton.
THE MAVERICKS – In Time
It’s been 10 years since we’ve heard a new album from these Miami-based Tex-Mex country rogues, and if this is the result, I suggest they take another 10 years to make the next one. This is a fantastic piece of ear candy, especially “Come unto Me,” which appears in both English- and Spanish-language versions.
HANK3 – Brothers of the 4x4
They don’t come much more rowdy, cantankerous, and just plain fun than Shelton Hank Williams, or Hank Williams III, as he’s sometimes known. This album is definitely not going to be everyone’s cup of tea, and he doesn’t seem interested in pleasing the country traditionalists anyhow. This is about as “punk rock” as country gets, and it’s a total hoot.
UNCLE JESSE’S FAVORITE LOCAL ALBUM of 2013
ANTHONY LEON & the CHAIN – Hell to Pay
I was sad to hear about their breaking up, but glad they got this album out through Santa Fe’s Frogville Records before it all disintegrated. This is the kind of loud, rockin’ country music that really gets me going, and Anthony is one of the best songwriters to ever grace a Santa Fe honky tonk stage. Best of luck to him on his future endeavors and I hope he’ll keep us posted as to what he’s up to in 2014.
UNCLE JESSE’S VOTE for ENTERTAINER of the YEAR
Keith Urban. Holy cow, have y’all seen him live? He didn’t hardly play a lick of what I would consider country, but boy, could he play that guitar! He really knows how to work a crowd, too. My favorite moment was when he appeared at the back of the crowd on a spotlit riser and played a “Days Go By” medley which incorporated Adele’s “Rumor Has It” and the Who’s “Won’t Get Fooled Again.” Like I said, not really country but damn good!