Originally, this was going to be a top 25 chart but I had many more songs under consideration. My top 25 became 30, then 40, and finally, 50. As you’ll see, I’m enjoying new Country Music, with less of an emphasis on new pop and rock. I heard a lot of pop, though, and a few songs are here. As for new rock, except for very few songs, I didn’t hear much that made me interested. For the most part, Country is my new pop and rock. I love live music and guitar!
As for this chart, I only included songs that were released in 2016 or the end of 2015. I made a couple of exceptions for songs that were slow to be picked up by radio and their major exposure was in 2016. Additionally, two songs were not released as singles. An important note: The copyrights belong with the artists and their publishing companies, as I don’t imply any ownership. If you enjoy any of these songs, please buy and stream them, and request them on your favourite station. This is a long, long post so let’s get to it. These are my Top 50 Songs of 2016.
1. Black – Dierks Bentley
Make my world go black, hit me like a heart attack… “Drunk on a Plane” from Dierks Bentley’s, last album, “Riser,” was released about the same time as I rediscovered Country Music two years ago and I was a big fan from the moment I heard it. I eagerly anticipated Dierk’s new album, “Black,” and wasn’t disappointed. You’ll find three songs from “Black” in the top 25 of my chart but there were two more that fell just outside of the top 50. The title track really hit my emotions. Such a beautiful song, it’s my #1 of the year. This is Dierks Bentley and “Black.”
2. Hold On (The Break) – Walk off the Earth
I knew of Walk Off The Earth from the Juno awards but didn’t know of any of their songs. If I had never been at the gym during a certain time in June, I may never have heard “Hold On (The Break).” I’m bewildered that this wasn’t a hit. So catchy and a cool video too. If you like it, please request and buy it. I was thrilled to see the band play this live on Labour Day in Richmond, Canada, before the power blew and they had to cut the concert short. Did I say it’s catchy? This is Walk off the Earth and “Hold On (The Break).”
3. My Church – Maren Morris
Can I get a hallelujah? Wow, what a major label debut! Maren Morris had spent years writing songs for other artists but was having trouble breaking through with her own recordings. All of that changed in 2016 when she put out one of the best albums of the year. The first single, “My Church,” has a retro Country feel while sounding new at the same time. A great song and I always enjoy a reference to Johnny Cash. My #3 song is Maren Morris and “My Church.”
4. War Paint – Madeline Merlo
It’s okay to not be okay… Canada’s Madeline Merlo continues to get recognition and released her first full length album in 2016. I first heard “War Paint” at her Canada Day concert in Burnaby and bought the song when I arrived home. If you are affected or know someone who is affected by depression, you will understand the heartfelt lyrics. Another song that should have been a bigger hit, this is Madeline Merlo and “War Paint.”
5. Kill A Word – Eric Church ft. Rhiannon Giddens
“Kill A Word” is a song that shows the power of words. You have a choice which words to use. Between the lines, there is a positive, inspiring message. “Kill A Word” had no official video at the time of writing so I included this brilliant performance from the CMA Awards on ABC. Such a well-written song and I love Rhiannon Giddens’ vocals. This is “Kill A Word” by Eric Church featuring Rhiannon Giddens.
6. May We All – Florida Georgia Line ft. Tim McGraw
May we all do a little bit better than the first time
Learn a little something from the worst times
Get a little stronger from the hurt times…
Those lyrics in the bridge sung by Tim McGraw are so true! Florida Georgia Line brought me back to Country Music with “This is How We Roll.” While the first single off of their new album was a ballad, the second one is more upbeat and you can’t argue that Tim McGraw is a wonderful addition. While this video tells a story, check out the trio’s performance from the CMA Awards on YouTube. From their “Dig Your Roots” album, this is “May We All” by Florida Georgia Line featuring Tim McGraw.
7. I Know Somebody – LoCash
Locash, in my opinion, is so underrated! I don’t know if it’s from being on a small label but I can’t understand why their latest album “The Fighters” wasn’t a massive hit. Their inspiring, upbeat single “I Love This Life” started it off for me and if I had a 2015 chart, it would have been at, or near, the top. I was disappointed that Locash didn’t even get a chance to perform at either the ACM or CMA awards in 2016. Another great song and excellent production by Lindsay Rimes, this is “I Know Somebody” by LoCash.
8. Pick Up – Dierks Bentley
“Pick Up” was not officially released as a single at the time of writing, but there was a video released earlier in 2016. I was a little sad that it wan’t played on Dierks Bentley’s What The Hell Tour concert in Vancouver because it’s another brilliant song off of “Black.” I love the lyrics too. My #8 song is “Pick Up” by Dierks Bentley.
9. Wasted Time – Keith Urban
I don’t like wasting time, but when it’s fun and memorable, time doesn’t feel wasted. What did I just say? Okay, I better shut up. “Wasted Time” is another fun and memorable song from Keith Urban. If you can find it, check out his performance on the ACM awards. Got to love the banjo too. This is “Wasted Time” by Keith Urban.
10. Somethin’ We Shouldn’t Do – Chad Brownlee
Hey baby do you miss me tonight? Another Canadian artist that is not well-known in the United States but should be. If you get a chance, listen to some of Chad Brownlee’s songs on YouTube. “When The Lights Go Down,” “Fallin’ Over You,” “Love Me or Leave Me” and “Hood of My Car” are just some of my favourites. I couldn’t stop listening to this song once I bought it. It has such a beautiful chorus melody! My #10 song is Chad Brownlee and “Somethin’ We Shouldn’t Do.”
11. Our Town – Cold Creek County
“Our Town” was released in 2015 but I don’t believe it received the airplay it deserved. I never heard it until I saw the band on the CCMA Awards last September. It’s the kind of song that I miss from Florida Georgia Line. Upbeat and fun! Another emerging Canadian act, this is “Our Town” by Cold Creek County.
12. Setting the World On Fire – Kenny Chesney ft. Pink
I have mixed feelings when a Country artist features a pop singer. In this case, it’s Pink and I don’t suspect that she would feature Kenny Chesney on one of her songs. Nevertheless, her vocal here is beautiful on this very pop-like production. A hit from last Summer, this is “Setting the World On Fire” by Kenny Chesney featuring Pink.
13. Snapback – Old Dominion
Another favourite new band, Old Dominion has released three smash single in a row off of their first album, “Meat and Candy.” The first one, “Break Up With Him,” was from 2015 and their second, “Snapback” followed early in 2016. I commend the band with keeping their Country roots but not shy to venture into pop and rock. It’s another fun song, this is “Snapback” by Old Dominion.
14. Send My Love (To Your New Lover) – Adele
Another powerful song by Adele! Along with her vocals, listen closely to the rhythm track. Both are mesmerizing. It’s my favourite song off of her album, “25,” and my #14 song of the year. This is “Send My Love (To Your New Lover)” by Adele.
15. ALLL DAY – LoCash
Not released as a single at the time of writing, it was definitely one of my most played songs of 2016. Perfect for driving in the Summer, especially with a left hand in my right hand. I could only find this version off of YouTube but please buy the song. This is LoCash and “ALLL DAY.”
16. Fire Away – Chris Stapleton
Not only did I listen to Chris Stapleton more in 2016, I also discovered his former rock band, The Jompson Brothers. If you haven’t heard them, check out “Inside Your Head” and especially “On The Run.” “Fire Away” is my favourite off of his breakthrough album, Traveller. A very touching song from one of best stories of any music genre over the last couple of years. Morgane Hayes’ vocals are stunning! It’s my #16 song of 2016, this is “Fire Away” by Chris Stapleton.
17. Daddy Lessons – Beyonce
Good job, B. I was quite surprised when I first heard Beyonce’s “Daddy Lessons” at the CMA awards. It really fit in and what a great collaboration with the Dixie Chicks! I had never heard the song before and it certainly wasn’t played on the pop stations that I listened to. I like the album version better but check out both. A mix of country, jazz, and pop, it’s Beyonce and “Daddy Lessons.”
18. American Country Love Song – Jake Owen
You know what I’m talking about. Great vocal on that line! Another hit song by Jake Owen and perfect for Summer. It’s about freedom, and being young and adventurous. Oh, how I wish I was young and adventurous again! My #18 song is “American Country Love Song” by Jake Owen.
19. Dirt on My Boots – Jon Pardi
I first heard Jon Pardi on “Head Over Boots,” the first single off of his latest album, “California Sunrise.” This song is my favourite, although it took a few plays to catch on. Once I bought it, I listened to it for a few days. This is “Dirt on My Boots” by Jon Pardi.
20. Savior’s Shadow – Blake Shelton
What a beautiful ballad! “Savior’s Shadow” was released as a single with a video but I don’t think a lot of people have heard it. The song faired better on gospel radio as I don’t think Country radio gave it much of a chance. No matter your religion, an inspiring song about losing and regaining faith. A song of hope, this is “Savior’s Shadow” by Blake Shelton.
21. The Sound Of Silence – Disturbed
Hello darkness, my old friend… I know this song may seem out of place on my chart, but it’s the kind of powerful ballad that I used to love from the hard rock bands of yesteryear. When I first heard “The Sound Of Silence,” I thought it sounded familiar. It took a little Google search to find out that this was a Simon and Garfunkel song from 1964 and written by one of my heroes, Paul Simon. Personally, this version reminded me of Queensryche’s “Silent Lucidity” in the sense of the powerfulness of the vocal, lyrics, and production. A massive rock hit from last year, it’s Disturbed and the “The Sound Of Silence.”
22. Said No One Ever – Jana Kramer
Oh, I love politics (Said no one ever)… I never heard this on the radio so I have to credit a YouTube suggestion for my #22 song (thanks Google). I first heard Jana Kramer with her second single, “I Got The Boy” from her latest album “Thirty-One,” but “Said No One Ever” is my favourite. A fun, colourful video for a very catchy pop song, this is Jana Kramer and “Said No One Ever.”
23. Somewhere on a Beach – Dierks Bentley
Bet you think I’m sitting at home, no… “Somewhere on a Beach” could be looked at as a sequel to “Drunk on a Plane” from Dierks Bentley 2014 album “Riser.” At least, they are very comparable in terms hit writing and production. Dierks Bentley has three songs in my top 25 and is quickly becoming one of my top artists. Sit back, have a drink, and lighten up. This is “Somewhere on a Beach” by Dierks Bentley.
24. 80s Mercedes – Maren Morris
I’m a ’90s baby in my ’80s Mercedes… Well, not me but Maren Morris certainly is as sung in the chorus of her follow-up to “My Church.” “80s Mercedes” is catchy pop all the way and she found a perfect writing and production collaborator with busbee (that’s not a typo). It’s my #24 song, this is “80s Mercedes” by Maren Morris.
25. Song for Another Time – Old Dominion
Another great song off of Old Dominion’s debut album, “Song for Another Time” was not actually recorded on the initial “Meat and Candy” sessions. The band thought the album was finished but wrote this while on tour and wanted to get it on the album. It was a smart choice as “Song for Another Time” turned out to be the third single and another hit. A retro feel but definitely new, this is “Song for Another Time” by Old Dominion.
I will stop with the introductions here but please check out the rest of my Top 50 because there are a lot more great songs of 2016 to follow.
26. Holy – Florida Georgia Line
27. Rock On – Tucker Beathard
28. Sleep Without You – Brett Young
29. Better Man – Little Big Town
30. You Look Like I Need A Drink – Justin Moore
31. T-Shirt – Thomas Rhett
32. Wanna Be That Song – Brett Eldredge
33. Autograph – Dallas Smith
34. Let’s Hurt Tonight – OneRepublic
35. Came Here to Forget – Blake Shelton
36. Humble and Kind – Tim McGraw
37. I Didn’t Fall in Love with Your Hair – Brett Kissel ft. Carolyn Dawn Johnson
38. Lawn Chair Lazy – James Barker Band
39. Cheap Thrills – Sia ft. Sean Paul
40. Play That Song – Train
41. Vice – Miranda Lambert
42. Peter Pan – Kelsea Ballerini
43. Robbin’ Trains – Justin Moore
44. Road Less Traveled – Lauren Alaina
45. Love Me Now – John Legend
46. Backroad Song – Granger Smith
47. A Guy With A Girl – Blake Shelton
48. Blue Ain’t Your Color – Keith Urban
49. Time – Dean Brody
50. Say You Won’t Let Go – James Arthur
These songs fell just outside my top 50.
Save Today – Seether
If I Told You – Darius Rucker
Different For Girls – Dierks Bentley ft. Elle King
You probably have an idea of my current taste in music. If you know anything that I missed and would like, I would love to hear from you. Please connect with me on social media or leave a comment below. I hope you enjoyed my top 50 songs of 2016. Thanks for your time 🙂
If you have my book, Camino de Santiago In 20 Days, or have ordered it, I really appreciate your support. It’s also out on Kindle and Kobo. My Goodreads and Amazon pages have reviews and more information. Please share this post, and thanks for your time.