Country is almost certainly the genre that gets the least attention around these parts. In previous 3 Of The Week posts, MEB staff members (myself included) have written about the artists and songs that helped shape our tastes in music to this point. When I was younger, more or less the only music I listened to was country. Despite this, I’ve never really done any writing about the great songs that I grew up on and still love to this day. That is, until now. The following three songs are some of my favorites from my younger days that I enjoy a great deal now. If you don’t think you’re a fan of the genre, just give these three a shot. Maybe you’ll be pleasantly surprised.
1. “Riding With Private Malone” – David Ball
For some reason, this song has always been one of my favorites. It’s kind of weird actually. In short, “Riding With Private Malone” tells the story of a man who buys a car that used to belong to a soldier, how he fixes it up and drives it around, having the feeling that there’s some sort of ghost with him in the car, and and how the ghost saves his life when he wrecks the car one night. Soldiers, cars, and ghosts aren’t particularly my sort of thing. Well, ghosts are, but the former two, not so much. Still, I never fail to get chills towards the bridge of the song, regardless of how many times I listen to it and the fact that I know what’s coming. The song’s melodies are flawless, the guitar strumming is simple but infectious, and the overall structure and buildup of the track make it really effective as a whole.
2. “Angel Boy” – Tim McGraw
It was a bit of a struggle for me to decide which Tim McGraw song to include in this article. Part of me really wanted to go with “Live Like You’re Dying,” but this is the one that really got me hooked on McGraw’s music and made me fall in love with Set This Circus Down, which still remains to be one of my favorite albums, country or otherwise. The musicianship on this track is great, with tons of great instrumental parts surrounding soaring vocal melodies and their accompanying harmonies. The ending guitar solo is flawless, and the song as a whole is proof that incredible musicianship is present in a genre that’s had a bit of a declining reputation in recent years. If you ever want to hear a truly moving work, I highly recommend this record.
3. “Who Wouldn’t Wanna Be Me” – Keith Urban
Speaking of great musicianship, just listen to the opening guitar part of this song. While this isn’t the most inspired song in terms of Urban’s lyricism, it certainly features some wonderful instrumental parts, from the endless string of guitar licks to the banjo part that runs throughout the track. I saved this song for last for a reason. This is one of the most upbeat songs you’ll ever hear, and that’s the one point where the lyrics definitely meet the same level as the music. Everything about the track just screams optimism, and it’s done in a way that’s incredibly fun. Just hit play, kick back, and enjoy yourself. That’s what this song’s there for.