Year in Review: My Top Ten Country Music Songs of 2013

It’s that time of year again. Time to reflect on the year that was. I know…I know. I’ve seen the video that’s circulating that pretty much says that every country music song was exactly the same this year. But I’m not here to support or fight that claim. I’m here to present you with “my” top ten country music songs of 2013.

Now, let me preface this list. I’m not a professional music reviewer. I don’t get paid to promote artists. I don’t go by the Billboard or radio airplay charts. This list consists of the top ten songs that I wanted to come on my radio while driving to and from work, on a road trip, or when I was just sitting at home. You probably heard some of these songs every hour (on the hour) on your local country station. Others may not have been played much (if at all) when they should have been, in my own, personal opinion.

Either way, I’m sure that I’m going to leave quite a few songs off this list that could have easily made it. I know this going in and expect each and every one of you to say “hey, what about this song…or that song.” Please do. Fight for the music and artists that YOU love!!!!

To begin, a few songs that just missed the cut were: “Point at You” by Justin Moore, “Don’t Ya” by Brett Eldridge, “It Goes Like This” by Thomas Rhett, “Outta My Head” by Craig Campbell, “Every Storm (Runs Out of Rain)” by Gary Allan, “Anywhere with You” by Jake Owen, “Drunk Last Night” by Eli Young Band, “Jump on In” by Zac Brown Band, “Runnin’ Outta Moonlight” by Randy Houser and “Crash My Party” by Luke Bryan. Consider these, in no particular order, my numbers 11-20 (and yes, I could have easily gone up to 50).

Without further ado, let’s get this party started:

10. Tyler Farr, Redneck Crazy

Tyler Farr crashed the country music scene this summer with his hit “Redneck Crazy”. The classic story of love and loss…or is it more of an in-your-face, cheating girlfriend, you’re gonna regret it later song? Either way, it was fun and it was a staple on my playlist this year.

9. Steve Holy, Radio Up

You know him from hits such as “Good Morning Beautiful”, “Brand New Girlfriend” and “Love Don’t Run”, but in 2013, Steve Holy definitely turned the “Radio Up” with another fan favorite. “Radio Up” got some great airplay on KRTY in San Jose thanks to DJ’s Indiana Al, Randy Jones and others, but is still fighting for airplay nationwide. If you haven’t heard it yet, take a listen below. Remember, if you like it, please tell your local station to add it to their rotation!



8. Eric Paslay, Friday Night

Eric Paslay seem to have taken the Phil Vassar route: After gaining acclaim for writing hit songs for other artists, he is finally breaking out on his own. He definitely did this in 2013 with his hit “Friday Night”. Great song by an up-and-coming star. Keep an eye out for this guy in 2014.

7. Parmalee, Carolina

California and Carolina once again came together in 2013. No, it wasn’t a Jo Dee Mesina remix. It was the Parmalee hit “Carolina”. Now, I know what you’re thinking: this song came out well before this year. It’s true. The song was first released on their 2008 EP entitled Complicated before being re-released this past February. Either way, it was a huge hit this year and lands at number seven on my list for 2013.

6. Thompson Square, If I Didn’t Have You

“If I Didn’t Have You” was released back in October of 2012 as the first single from Thompson Square’s album Just Feels Good. The song was written by Keifer and Shawna Thompson with Jason Sellers and Paul Jenkins. It’s a powerful song, and one of two ballads that makes my list (see below for the other).

5. James Wesley, Thank a Farmer

Broken Bow recording artist James Wesley was at it again in 2013. Following hits “Real” and “Didn’t I”, Wesley went back to his roots this year with “Thank a Farmer”, an ode to those farmers that put food on all of our tables and takes listeners, wherever they may live, directly into the heart of Middle America. A song that should be on everyone’s playlist, “Thank a Farmer” really drives home the fact that real songwriting is still alive and well in 2013. Go take a listen and enjoy!

4. Kip Moore, Hey Pretty Girl

The second ballad that ends up on my list, “Hey Pretty Girl” seemed to be on my radio constantly for months earlier this year. The song was released back in January as the third single from his debut album, Up All Night and was co-written with Dan Couch. A simple, yet moving ballad, “Hey Pretty Girl” basically tells the story of a man who makes some moves on a woman, dances with her, then marries and has a child with her. Simple enough, right?

3. Lee Brice, Parking Lot Party

“Parking Lot Party” was a huge hit for Lee Brice in 2013. It was released in May as the fourth single from his 2012 album Hard 2 Love and was co-written with Rhett Akins, Thomas Rhett and Luke Laird. In simple terms, this was a song about partying with your friends before a concert. Talk about a fun song. Who hasn’t done that??? Every time this song came on the radio, I immediately turned the volume up to ten. I suggest you do the same!

2. Darius Rucker, Wagon Wheel

Where do I begin with “Wagon Wheel”. I absolutely love this song, and especially the cover in 2013 by Darius Rucker. As a bit of background, “Wagon Wheel” was originally written by Bob Dylan and later completed by Ketch Secor of Old Crow Medicine Show. Rucker, with some help from Lady Antebellum, took the song to a new level this year. I heard this song everywhere, from my cousins wedding to my living room (where I danced to it with my one year old every night to help put her to sleep).

1. Florida Georgia Line, Cruise

Could I go anywhere else with my selection for number one song of 2013? “Cruise” was everywhere this year. It crossed genre’s with the Nelly remix and spent more than 20 weeks at the top of the charts. Brian Kelley (from Ormond Beach, Florida) and Tyler Hubbard (from Monroe, Georgia) have been performing the hit on every major show out there and after starting the year doing club shows, are now selling out arenas nationwide. More hits followed with “Get Your Shine On”, “Round Here” and “Stay” and their album is FULL of more hits (not to mention their cover of Alabama’s “I’m in a Hurry”). I’ve followed Florida Georgia Line for a couple of years now and it’s great to see that they have finally “made it”.

So that’s it. My top ten country music songs for 2013. I know that there were a good 10-15 more songs that could have easily fit onto this list, but in the end, I had to go with the ones that would be on my ten song playlist.

Thoughts? Who/what did I miss? Please leave your thoughts (or your list) in the comments below.

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5 Comments on “Year in Review: My Top Ten Country Music Songs of 2013”

  1. Kristin Says:

    Great list and reviews John! So happy for FGL and the year they had all beginning with Cruise ๐Ÿ™‚

  2. Kreuzer33 Says:

    It’s been fun to watch FGL over the past couple of years rise to where they are today. Will 2014 be bigger? Could they actually top it??

  3. Honeydog Says:

    Okay, you asked for it, so here goes….
    I’m not an Expert on the subject, but, among other Genres of Music, I’ve been a Fan of Country and its various Styles and Artists for many years (I’m alot older than you) and I just know Who and What I like, and what I don’t.
    Although I’m sure I’ve seen/heard them, a few of the Artists/Songs which made your List I can’t speak for, as I can only guess I just wasn’t impressed enough for them to stick in my Mind. Some of the rest I like Okay (ie, Kip Moore & “Thompson Square”), some alot (Lee Brice), and some not at all (Paslay, Rucker, and “Florida Georgia Line” (I think Darius was much better in his former Music stylings…. With FGL, “Cruise” and “Get Your Shine On” was played to Death and made me sick of them, and they, and their Performing, strike me as Cheesey). Overall, I guess I could say that none of them would be my personal Top Picks, but hey, all is Fair in Love and Music!
    For myself, I would have instead picked many of the Names/Bands/Songs that missed the Cut— Especially Gary Allan, Randy Houser, and Luke Bryan— without even mentioning quite a few others that deserve Inclusion.
    In the end, it was a Fun and Interesting Year for Country Music, with some Fresh Faces and Sounds, the old Favorites making some great new Tunes, and the growing Popularity of “Crossroads” (i.e, Vince Gill and Kelly Clarkson, just to name one…. And the two, in my Opinion, NObody can beat on a Country “Power Ballad”— Keith Urban and John Mayer).
    Anyway, Long Live “Country”… No matter Who blows us away, whether it be in the good OR the bad way!

  4. Kreuzer33 Says:

    All is fair. That’s why it’s always open for discussion ๐Ÿ™‚ I don’t listen to the radio a lot these days, but I’ve followed bands like FGL and others for years. Long before they were “played out” on the radio. Others aren’t played much on the radio at all (James Wesley/Steve Holy). Those are two artists that I love and hope they have huge success in 2014!

  5. Honeydog Says:

    Well, I’ll be keeping my Ears out and watching for them— whether for the first time, or taking a “2nd Listen”.
    Thanks for the Post!


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