DAILY DIRT: Tim McGraw with Faith Hill, Alabama anchor list of top songs from country’s finest era

alabama music

Daily Dirt for Wednesday, Feb. 28, 2024

But don’t forget about George, Alan, Garth and Willie … Welcome to today’s three thoughts that make up Vol. 879 of The Daily Dirt.

1. If you ask me — and, really, why wouldn’t you? — the finest era of country music was during the 1980s and 1990s.

That’s when what has been tabbed “mainstream country” was born.

The twang from earlier decades was gone. Electric guitars and drums had been discovered as valuable necessities for an evolving audience. Some contend the 1980s and 1990s country had the feel of 1960s and 1970s pop music, which I kind of subscribe to. (At the turn of the century, I think country music went too far in this direction. The genre lost the simplistic style of its roots that had remained in the ’80s and ’90s, but was replaced by pyrotechnics and a change in tone that alienated a large portion of its fan base, including me. I lost all interest in country music soon afterward. But that’s another story for another day.)

Why we’re here today is to honor what I feel are the 10 best country songs from that 20-year period in the 1980s and 1990s:

  • 1. “It’s Your Love,” by Tim McGraw (and Faith Hill): I’ll admit, this song has a special spot on the personal playlist of yours truly. It’s the song that was playing when I knew I had fallen in love with The Little Woman back in the mid-1990s.
  • 2. “Feels So Right,” by Alabama: Lead singer Randy Owen’s interpretation of these lyrics was simply masterful.
  • 3. “I Cross My Heart,” by George Strait: If this classic does not give you goose bumps, you need to have your pulse checked.
  • 4. “Remember When,” by Alan Jackson: You can’t play this song and not ask, “Where have all the years gone?”
  • 5. “The Dance,” by Garth Brooks: Arguably the saddest country song ever.
  • 6. “You Were Always On My Mind,” by Willie Nelson: Or maybe it was this one.
  • 7. “When You Say Nothing At All,” by Keith Whitley: He was taken from us at far too young of an age. 
  • 8. “Love In The First Degree,” by Alabama: I’ve always said the times I saw this group in concert were among the best shows I have ever attended. EVERY song was great. 
  • 9. “Amazed,” by Lone Star: These guys might not have been the best group of the era, but they definitely deserve a place on the medal stand.
  • 10. “You’re Still The One,” by Shania Twain: Shania was/is one of those rare artists who was/is as appealing singing a ballad as she was/is rocking the house.

2. We have two new members of the medal stand for the Great Plate Debate of 2024.

Following a couple of weeks of close-but-no-cigar license plate entries, we have a new owner of both the silver and bronze medal positions as our third year of competition moves closer to month No. 3 of the current calendar:

  • Gold medal: DA LIFE. This is going to be one tough gold medalist to knock off this lofty perch.
  • Silver Medal: 2 N TENSE. I would probably suggest not driving too close to this person.
  • Bronze medal: HUNEYB 5. I can’t help but smile every time I look at this one. 

Instead of our normal list of honorable mentions this week, here are some out of state plates some readers thought might provide a chuckle:

  • ALIEN (Nevada)
  • FUNTB6T (New Hampshire)
  • A MAZED (Massachusetts)
  • OMG WTF (California)
  • STR WARS (Ohio)
  • GETERDN (Pennsylvania)
  • XQQQSME (Arizona)

3. The best of this week’s “Found On Facebook”:

  • “Life is too short to fold fitted sheets.”
  • “Buy one burger for the price of two and receive a second burger absolutely free.”
  • “Walmart: If I wanted to check myself out I’d stay home and shop on Amazon. Hire cashiers!!”
  • “I’m old enough to remember when ice cream came in a box.”
  • “Tired of being fat and ugly? Just be ugly.”

Steve Thought O’ The Day — Let me add an honorable mention to that list above: “Pancho and Lefty,” by Willie Nelson and Waylon Jennings.

Steve Eighinger writes daily for Muddy River News. Not saying he’s wrong with many of the choices, but he really went for sappy on that country song list.

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