Country music has had plenty of highlights in 2014. Read on for our list of the 10 best country singles of the year. (And see our list of the 10 best country albums here.)
10. “Meanwhile Back At Mama’s” – Tim McGraw with Faith Hill
The quickest path between artist and listener is a simple and heartfelt lyric. This is one of the singer’s most laid-back performances and sometimes simpler is better.
9. “Mean To Me” – Brett Eldredge
Simple and understated, this single showcases the singer doing what he does best. He’s already doing great things in the industry, but this is just the beginning.
8. “Give Me Back My Hometown” – Eric Church
The art of reminiscing is a heavy topic in country music during 2014. And Church’s wistful single more than deserves a slot on this list.
7. “American Kids” – Kenny Chesney
When this one was released during the summer, we were a little bit unsure. The organic track was more than a little different from anything Chesney had ever done — but with each passing listen, this track grew on us. A great kick-off to the second phase of his career.
6. “A Girl In A Country Song” – Maddie & Tae
Everyone has an opinion about this one, but let’s face the facts: There’s more than a little bit of truth in this one, and the rising duo manage to make their point without coming off as attacking the industry. And, we do hope this single leads to more girls singing country songs. It’s time! Plus, any name-check of Conway Twitty scores a few extra points!
5. “Leave The Night On” – Sam Hunt
For his debut single, Hunt released a song that is very hard to define from a stylistic standpoint — other than to say it’s good. Damn good. And, we believe the first of many!
4. “Automatic” – Miranda Lambert
The five-time CMA Female Vocalist of the Year continues to dazzle with her song selection choices, and this single — which scored Single of the Year honors — struck a very nostalgic chord for a lot of listeners to remember a simpler time.
3. “Whatever She’s Got” – David Nail
Ask us who the best pure male vocalist is in Nashville, and depending on the day, you might get the aforementioned Brett Eldredge — or you might get Missouri-born David Nail. Whether it be one of his soulful ballads or an uptempo number like this, Nail’s vocal chops are flawless. This song manages to jump off of the speakers whether it’s the first time you’ve heard it — or the thousandth.
2. “Beat Of The Music” – Brett Eldredge
The word groove might come up in more than a few of the selections on the singles list for 2014. And this song has that — and then some. Combine a catchy groove with some stellar vocal talent of Eldredge and you’ve got a surefire recipe for a No. 1 hit, which this song achieved.
1. “Makes Me Wanna” – Thomas Rhett
OK, this track mentions trucks and tailgates, and gives the female character in the song a request to “slide on over.” So, you’re probably thinking — What sets this one apart? The answer is the ’70s R&B-influenced production that melds with Rhett’s southern twang to make for a record that would make Otis Redding smile. It’s an undeniable pick for the top of this list!