The Country Way of Life Fabulous Fifty of 2022

NB Each act is limited to one song as a lead artist (guest appearances are allowed) which must have been first released in 2022

Hear all 50 songs in one handy playlist here.

50 49 Winchester – Annabel. Yearning folk-rock.

49 Dustin Lynch – Party Mode. Simple and effective twangin’ pop.

48 Sean Stemaly – Comeback Town. Brooding production and a fine voice to match it.

47 Maren Morris – What Would This World Do. A career song, expertly sung.

46 Joshua Hedley – Let’s Make a Memory. Mr Jukebox can spin his own shuffle too.

45 Molly Tuttle & Golden Highway – Castilleja. Awards beckon for the dextrous prodigy, keeping bluegrass alive.

44 Raleigh Keegan – Paris Wheel. Piano-driven picaresque love song.

43 American Aquarium – Built To Last. There’s a soft core within BJ Barham’s hard exterior.

42 Aaron Raitiere – Can’t Rain All The Time. An optimistic singalong from a master craftsman.

41 Scotty McCreery – Damn Strait. The best of the many songs on country radio that quote other songs from country radio.

40 Wade Bowen – Knowing Me Like I Do. An effortlessly Texan break-up ballad.

39 Flatland Cavalry & Ashley Monroe – Parallel. Grown-up love song with affecting harmonies.

38 Ronnie Dunn – Broken Neon Hearts. Typical honky-tonker elevated by a terrific vocal.

37 Jaret Ray Reddick ft. Frank Turner – Drunk As It Takes. Sombre transatlantic collaboration for Bowling For Soup bloke’s 50th birthday.

36 Willie Nelson – I’ll Love You Till The Day I Die. The result of Crowell, Stapleton and one of country’s finest voices.

35 Erin Kinsey – Hate This Hometown. Melodic way of saying ‘always remember where you did your raisin’.

34 Steve Moakler – Pack It Up. An ode to moving house full of pathos.

33 Nate Smith – Whiskey On You. Wallenish wide-open country, set to four familiar chords

32 Ashley McBryde and friends – When Will I Be Loved. A singalong cover.

31 Kelsea Ballerini – The Little Things. Pop and country married perfectly.

30 Hailey Whitters – Everything She Ain’t. Catchy and melodic from Dixie Musgraves.

29 Jillian Jacqueline – Sure. Career song with love in every note and syllable.

28 Lainey Wilson – Heart Like A Truck. Builds up to one long held note.

27 Jon Pardi – Reverse Cowgirl. A misleading title, which makes the break-up all the more solemn.

26 Luke Combs – The Kind of Love We Make. Stadium-ready slow burning love song.

25 Kassi Ashton – Dates In Pickup Trucks. Hooky and sweet.

24 Pat Green – Build You A Bar. Chat-up line packed with imagery.

23 Sunny Sweeney – Easy As Hello. A very adult kiss-off.

22 Casey Donahew – Built Different. A no-nonsense heir to Steve Earle.

21 Everette – Gonna Be A Problem. A fine duo in the Eric Church tradition.

20 Nashvillains – Chickasaw Bayou. Swampy and lyrically astute work song.

19 Randy Rogers Band – Nothing But Love Songs. Country-rock tinged with sadness.

18 Mike Ryan – Longcut. Smart title, effortless vocal.

17 Caleb Caudle – I Don’t Fit In. A song for people who stand out from the crowd.

16 The Wilder Blue – The Birds of Youth. Superlative reminiscin’ song full of rural tableaux.

15 CJ Solar – All I Can Think About Lately. Love is the drug and he needs to score.

14 Thomas Rhett – Bass Pro Hat. Product placement never sounded so wonderful.

13 Paul Cauthen – Country Clubbin’. Swampy and with a sense of humour.

12 Eli Young Band – Love Talking. Sweet come-on with a smart lyric.

11 Ernest – What It’s Come To. Three chords and the truth.

10 Maddie & Tae – Grown Man Cry. Very on-brand, immaculately produced.

9 Madeline Edwards – Heart You Can’t Break. Stapleton-approved star, electric slide-worthy tune.

8 Gabe Lee – Never Rained Again. An extremely good love song.

7 Old Crow Medicine Show – Gloryland. Their own genre, with a Springsteen feel.

6 Jesse Daniel – Lookin’ Back. An arrangement to match the melancholy lyric.

5 A Thousand Horses – Broken Heartland. Pulsating Southern rock.

4 Will Hoge – John Prine’s Cadillac. A fine tribute to the late songwriter.

3 Miranda Lambert – Country Money. Bad mother clucker!!!

2 Kenny Foster – Said To Somebody. Carpe diem, country style

1 Carrie Underwood – Velvet Heartbreak. Effortlessly well sung, smart metaphor

Hear every song in full in this Spotify playlist.

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