The Country Way of Life Fabulous Fifty of 2021

NB Each act is limited to one song as a lead artist (guest appearances are allowed) which must have been first released in 2020

Hear all 50 songs in one handy playlist here.

50 Walker Hayes – Fancy Like. As catchy as a virus, and a great Appleby’s commercial.

49 Brandi Carlile – Stay Gentle. A career song from this generation’s Joni Mitchell.

48 Triston Marez – Whole Lotta You. Red Dirt music with character.

47 Blake Shelton – Minimum Wage. Decent chorus and a fine vocal.

46 Hardy, Dierks Bentley and Matt Stell – Hometown Boys. A hymn to rural bros.

45 Thomas Rhett – What’s Your Country Song. A Spotify throwback playlist in a song.

44 Chris Young – One of Them Nights. Supercharged drinking song.

43 Dierks Bentley – Gone. Three chords and a schlubb.

42 Gabby Barrett – Footprints On The Moon. Pop production and a great vocal.

41 Raelynn – Only in a Small Town. Full of character and an addictive chorus.

40 Eric Church – Heart on Fire. Fine barroom rock’n’roll.

39 Cody Johnson – Til You Can’t. The best final minute of a song this year.

38 Parker McCollum – Wait Outside. A new spin on eternal love

37 Callista Clark – It’s Cause I Am. Melodic pop with a great vocal

36 Scotty McCreery & Chris Lane – Small Town On It. A new way to say ‘I’m from the country’.

35 Natalie Hemby – Pins and Needles. Groovy tune about love and stuff.

34 Charlie Worsham – Sugarcane. ‘Nothing makes good gooder’…

33 Jon Randall – Keep On Moving. Gentle troubadour anthem.

32 Ava Rowland – Love Away The Lonely. Retro soul from a new voice.

31 Drake Milligan – Kiss Goodbye All Night. Honkytonk tune with lots of character.

30 Midland – Sunrise Tells The Story. A one-night stand with the moon as a witness.

29 Sterling Drake – Roll The Dice. Western swing with a mighty fine vocal.

28 Miranda Lambert & Elle King – Drunk and I Don’t Wanna Go Home. Hen party anthem.

27 Laci Kaye Booth – Treasure. Slinky pop song.

26 Jameson Rodgers & Luke Combs – Cold Beer Calling My Name. A song for quittin’ time.

25 Elvie Shane – Love, Cold Beer, Cheap Smoke. The best song Eric Church never wrote.

24 Terry McBride – Callin All Hearts. The best fiddle hook of the year.

23 Matt Stell – That Ain’t Me No More. The best ‘pull back and reveal’ of the year.

22 Dillon Carmichael – Hot Beer. The best song Luke Combs never wrote.

21 Old Dominion – I Was On A Boat That Day. The best song Kenny Chesney never wrote.

20 Morgan Wallen – Still Going Down. He’s not wonderful but this song is.

19 Toby Keith – Old School. A fine reminiscin’ song.

18 Caitlyn Smith & Old Dominion – I Can’t. Expert songwriting about the struggle to move on.

17 Lady A – Like A Lady. The lead track on Now That’s What I Call Mom Jeans.

16 Walker County – Bits & Pieces. So full of energy and character it threatens to explode.

15 Chris Stapleton – You Should Probably Leave. Old song finally gets a studio release.

14 Carly Pearce – Liability. Michael Ray won’t be getting a Christmas card. Fine wordplay.

13 Alex Hall ft Brad Tursi – Other End of the Phone. Come-hither song with great guitar workouts.

12 Luke Combs – Forever After All. Wedding song of the year.

11 The Marfa Tapes – In His Arms. Three voices in harmony, with Miranda taking a fine lead vocal.

10 Sean McConnell ft The Wood Brothers – The 13th Apostle. Master craftsman brings in Jesus’ blokes.

9 Jimmie Allen & Brad Paisley – Freedom Was A Highway. The best driving song of the year.

8 David Lee Murphy, Ben Burgess & ERNEST – Red Dirt Clouds. A hymn for doing nothing.

7 Ryan Hurd & Maren Morris – Chasing After You. Ballad of the year, worthy of award nominations.

6 Brad Paisley – Off Road. Character song with Brad’s trademark heart and soul.

5 Asleep at the Wheel – All I’m Asking. Let’s go honkytonking!

4 Chase Bryant – Red Light. Kissing at a stoplight never sounded so great.

3 Aaron Watson – Silverado Saturday Night. ‘They don’t call it a truck bed for nothin’…

2 Brett Young – You Got Away With It. Funky pop song with the year’s best chorus.

1 Jarrod Morris – I Didn’t Think About Rain. Majestic power ballad from a Texan farrier.

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