The last 3 or 4 years have been pretty dismal as far as the country music top 40 has been concerned. Many bloggers have written about the awful scourge of "bro country". Give the term a google and you'll find numerous articles on this genre that is giving country music a bad name. Here are a few non-bro songs that I like. Maybe you'll like them too:
She Don't Love You - Eric Paslay (Jennifer Wayne & Eric Paslay) from his debut album. According to wiki, it will be released as a single on Ocober 13th. He sings of a woman who's been hurt in a relationship in which she felt happy and secure. She's wary of being burned again. When he sees her with other guys, he tries to convince himself that she really still loves only him by mentally telling the other guys "She don't love you, she's just lonely" and "You'll never be her one and only". He wishes he had her back. In the end he admits that he blew it. She was mine.
"She don't love you, she's just lonely
She wasn't once upon a time
She used to dance when the band played
She used to be the trustin' kind"
"She don't love you, she's just lonely
She don't know another way
To break free from what's been broken
Too many cowboys roll away
So, forgive her if she's distant
She can't tell her heart to lie, no
You'll never be her one and only
She don't love you, she's just lonely"
the song concludes:
"I remember her in the sunlight
I remember her when she was mine
Besides the Paslay song, I'd like to see the next two ballads on the charts:
I Cried - Brandy Clark (solely written by Brandy Clark) Her website offered a free download of this song if you would join her mailing list. I joined without any hesitation. I guess it will be on her next album.
The singer cries over the death of her father and its effect on her mother. (those cried over are not specifically identified as her parents.) The first verse begins "he was tough" and then describes a man of 82 who's seen a lot. The second verse begins "and he was brave"; he knows he's about to die but you couldn't see any fear on his face. The chorus:
"And I cried, oh I cried
tried to hold my head up high but it ended up in my hands
I cried, oh I cried
there was nothing I could do, so that was all I could do"
The 3rd and 4th verses deal with the mother, "She was strong" and
"now she's alone,
livin' a life that's too much her own
just last night on the telephone
I could hear the lonely in her laugh".
You Can Come Over - Craig Campbell (Brandy Clark, Jessie Jo Dillon & Mark Narmore) "but you can't come in". Why? - "you'd just stay long enough, to leave me again". An album track from CC's "Never Regret" album. I bought it after hearing Brandy sing it at the Bluebird last November.
"I'd put on that record,
You'd give me that look,
Oh, you know the one.
Girl, I can betcha
By the end of that first verse,
The damage would be done.
One glass of wine always leads to two,
When it comes to me and you".
And now to lighten up the proceedings:
Wide Awake - Jamie O'Neal (Jamie O'Neal & Jimmy Murphy) from "Eternal", her 2014 album of covers of old country songs. "Wide Awake", a song about a snoring husband, is the lone original recording. Sadly, funny songs rarely get released as singles and don't usually fare well if they do.
"He's snorin' again and I'm wide awake
It's like a Nascar race bein' run on his face
and the bed starts to tremble and shake
I try to roll him over, I kick him with my feet
Hell, I gotta wake him up so I can get some sleep
For a moment he quiet and then
he's snorin' again".
And finally a song that could have been great:
Friend of a Friend - Tim McGraw (Mark Irwin, Josh Kear & Andrew Dorff) an album track from his "Two Lanes of Freedom" cd. Since Tim has already come out with a new album, this song obviously will never be a single. The production of the song gets a bit carried away, especially in the last minute and a half of noise. I wish the song could be re-recorded with a more acoustic sound and lop off that last minute or so. I like the lyrics a lot. He "heard it from a friend of a friend" about his former love, her meeting someone, getting married. In the chorus he denies missing her. In the last verse, things change:
"I heard it from a friend of a friend
He didn't mean it when he took those vows
You've been stayin' with your mama, a couple weeks now
Been asking everybody about me".