Here at NYCountry Swag we still love to listen to albums all the way through, hearing the intricate details of what an artist and their teams decided when making a full-length album. Artists sometimes write or listen to hundreds of songs before narrowing it down to just 10-14 to finally make it on the album, so we think those songs, even though they don’t become radio singles should be recognized. Although each of our writers found it extremely hard to pick just one, here is a list of each of their favorite deep album cuts.
Pick: “Faith When I Fall” – Kip Moore
Album Title: Up All Night
“This was hands down one of the hardest picks we ever had to do for a piece. As I started thinking about the song I would choose, so many of my favorite tracks came to mind that were never released as singles. After making a list, ultimately I realized I had about 5 or 6 Kip Moore songs written down. In my opinion, Moore is one of the most underrated artists of all time. He’s truly one of the most entertaining performers, an incredible songwriter, and gifted musician. Give a listen to any song on any one of his records and it’s immediately clear how much heart and soul he puts into everything he does. Go to his show and every single fan is singing back every word to every song, not just the singles. “Faith When I Fall” has easily become one of my favorite songs and one of my favorite parts of his live show. The heartfelt lyrics beautifully illustrate the desire to need someone to have faith in you when things are tough and just trust that they will get better.
“Give me love when I ain’t got nobody // A little hope when I ain’t got none at all //
Give me light up ahead on the journey // Give me strength when I’m standing // And faith when I fall”
Moore’s sweet instrumentals paired with his distinct vocals add emotion to the track. The song depicts a familiar and relatable scenario whether in a relationship, in your career or in life in general. Everybody needs somebody to have a little faith in them.“
Pick: “Village’ – Cam
Album Title: Untamed
I know each writer has said it, but this was the hardest song to decide on. As I am writing this I am going back and forth between 7 different songs that I love, that have touched my heart in different ways and have never seen radio play. Ultimately, the song that started this idea for this blog piece is the one I decided to go with, “Village” by Cam. The track closes out Cam’s debut full-length album and is told from the perspective from someone who is no longer alive. Whether or not you chose to believe in an afterlife, I certainly do and this song touches every fiber of my being. Losing a cousin when we were both 2o years old, I choose to believe that she is in heaven, watching over me and cheering me on during all of my big accomplishments.
“I know it feels like I have let you down, but I’m still around / Cause your whole heart’s a village, and everyone you love has built it / and I’ve been working there myself / That’s where I’ll be, with a front row seat, to watch you live your life well”
Her angelic voice carries over the notes, telling the story of reassurance as well as demonstrating a love that is everlasting. For anyone who has lost someone, longing for their presence in your life, take a listen here and try not to smile.
Pick: “Learned It From The Radio” – Thomas Rhett
Album Title: Tangled Up
How to live, how to love / Everything I need to know / I learned it from the radio
“This song puts an emphasis on how important music is to us; it helps us cope with things that are going on it our lives. Rhett mentions different situations like dreaming big, working hard, chasing girls and writing music, claiming all of his success came from listening to music. It was the radio that told him what to say to that girl, how to work hard and achieve his dreams.
Being able to relate to a song or an artist can help you learn and get perspective of your own life. It was Kane Brown’s song “What Ifs” that motivated me to ask my friend of four years out on a date. After saying no, she listened to the song and decided to give me a chance because “what if”. We’ve been dating ever since. Just goes to show the impact music can have on people.
Tangled Up is stacked with hits and is my favorite Thomas Rhett album thus far. With the amount great songs this album has (plus the ones from the deluxe album) it was unlikely “Learned It From the Radio” was going to become a radio hit. In my opinion, this song was not only one of the best songs on the album, but one of the best ever put out by Thomas Rhett. “
Pick: “Can’t Get You” – Old Dominion
Album Title: Happy Endings
“Old Dominion has a lot of hits that you hear on the radio and are classified as singles. However, “Can’t Get You” is one of the most underrated songs from their album Happy Endings. This song is probably one of my favorite songs to hear live and I was really happy when they added the live version to the album. A studio version of this song would not do it justice. It’s one of those songs that gets you so pumped up when you hear it live, that you never want it to end. Now let’s not forget about the Matt Ramsey wiggle that takes place during this song and the amped-up introduction of the band in concert. Definitely one of my favorite moments during their performance. I know we will probably never see this track as single, but that will never stop me from loving it as much as I do.”
Pick: “Leaving Nashville” – Charles Kelley
Album Title: The Driver
“This song hits home for anyone chasing a dream, whether in the music business or not, whether in Nashville or not. Charles Kelley sings with a tear in his voice about the pains of chasing this beautiful yet painful dream, the highs of getting a cut from an artist, and the lows like “throwing up in parking lots all by yourself” and being commodified as a songwriter. I remember hearing this song back in 2015 in NYC when Kelley was headlining his “The Driver” tour to promote his debut solo album of the same title. Even before the album was released, he performed this song at his show, and you could hear pin drop in the room. I looked around, and people were visibly captivated by this song. That’s when I knew this song was more than just a song. For me, my heart ached as “Leaving Nashville” spoke to me in more ways than one, and continues to even today. There are some songs that are pure album cut gems, and this song is one of them.”
Pick: “If I Know Me” – Morgan Wallen
Album Title: If I Know Me
“If I Know Me” by Morgan Wallen. This track has been my favorite cut ever since his album dropped. I’ve been telling everyone how obsessed I am with this track and how surprised I’ll be if it doesn’t get picked for a future single. It has that “roll the windows down” kind of melody. if he ever puts this track as a single, it’s definitely a summer hit. Wallen’s album is full of hidden songs that I think deserve to be heard on the radio in the near future.
Pick: “I Worship The Woman You Walked On” – Ronnie Dunn
Album Title: Tattooed Heart
“People say the Brooks and Dunn were not successful as solo artists once they split and I beg to differ. Ronnie Dunn’s Tattooed Heart album is pure gold and one song that I love that never made it as a single is “I Worship The Woman You Walked On”. The song is from a man’s perspective who loves a woman that just got out of a bad relationship. The man calls out the woman’s ex-lover in the song, blaming him for her broken heart. “I hold her at night, ’til she’s satisfied. Oh, I try to right all you did wrong. I worship the woman you walked on.” Doesn’t every woman want a man like this? The lyrics stand strong alone, although Dunn’s powerful vocals behind them have made this song one of my favorites.”
Pick: “Green Bananas” – Jake Owen
Album Title: Easy Does It
“Green Bananas” is a deep cut from Jake Owen’s second album, Easy Does It, the follow-up to Startin’ With Me. While the album’s biggest radio hits were “Don’t Think I Can’t Love You” and “Eight Second Ride,” it’s “Green Bananas” that holds a special place for me as one of my all-time favorite album cuts. Co-written by Owen, Jimmy Ritchey, and Bob Regan, “Green Bananas” is an ode to living in the moment and seizing the day. According to Owen, the song is a true story about a real boat by the name “Green Bananas,” which reminds listeners to celebrate the fact that life is short and that we should live it while we’re still able to. “So I don’t buy green bananas/ Well I don’t play the lottery,” Owen sings on the twangy mid-tempo tune. “Right now’s all I’ve got going/ Yeah and that’s just fine for me/ And I don’t own an umbrella/ If it rains, I’m gonna get wet/ So I don’t buy green bananas/ ‘Cause I don’t plan that far ahead.”
Pick: “Crazy Dreams” – Carrie Underwood
Album Title: Carnival Ride
My all-time favorite deep cut and one of my favorite songs is “Crazy Dreams” by Carrie Underwood. It was immediately one of my favorite songs on her album, Carnival Ride, the first time I listened to it. I love how upbeat and optimistic it is, with a great relatable message, yet not too serious. It’s a great song to jam out to, for those “dashboard drummers” and “air guitar players,” but is genuinely encouraging for everyone not to give up on their dreams no matter how difficult they may seem, because “There’s a lot of wonder left inside of me and you / Thank God even crazy dreams come true.”
Pick: “Machine Heart” – Kelsea Ballerini
Album Title: Unapologetically
“From the moment I first heard Kelsea Ballerini’s sophomore album, Unapologetically, I instantly fell in love with her song “Machine Heart.” I love the way Kelsea tells a story through her lyrics, she is so honest with her emotions, giving everyone a song that they can relate to. It’s one of my favorite songs off her album, that I wish she would have made a single so those who may not have listened to her entire album can hear how vulnerable she is with her music. “Machine Heart” is the perfect song to heal a broken heart.”
Pick: “Second Wind” – Maren Morris
Album Title: Hero
“This song has meant so much to me since the very moment I first heard it back in 2016. Maren Morris’ entire HERO album means more than words could ever express, but this one song, in particular, has gotten me through some tough times. The message being told through these lyrics is so powerful, I can always turn to this song whenever I’m doubting myself or facing a difficult situation. It’s taught me to believe in myself and never give up, only come back stronger.
“Say what you want about me / Your words are gasoline on my fire / You can hate me, underestimate me / Do what you do cause what you do don’t phase me / Just when you think I’m at the end / Any second imma catch my second wind”
Pick: “Big Day In A Small Town” – Brandy Clark
Album Title: Big Day In A Small Town
I was first introduced to Brandy Clark when I saw her open for Jennifer Nettles on “The ‘That Girl Tour’ in 2014, and again in 2016. Clark is an extremely talented songwriter with a witty way of singing about the ups and downs of life we all experience. She does a great job at depicting real-life drama and events in her song “Big Day In A Small Town” and adds humor to lighten it up.
Working in Manhattan, I would listen to it and smile and wonder what it would be like living in a small town especially with lyrics: “There ain’t no mall, no waffle house/but there’s always something to talk about/around here, somebody shot a deer/ somebody’s getting married or buried, or carried away/ if the sun goes up, and the sun goes down/its a big day in a small town.”
Back on June 10th, 2016 Brandy Clark released her second album Big Day In A Small Town, and although the title track “Big Day In A Small Town” was never released as a single, it is one of my absolute favorite songs by her.”
Pick: “Why” – Rascal Flatts
Album Title: Unstoppable
“Oftentimes, the songs that really showcase an artist’s talents are the deep album cuts off a record, the songs that don’t make their way to the radio or sometimes, not even to live performances. I went back and forth trying to pick a song for this segment, considering songs by Eric Church and Jon Langston, before I settled on Rascal Flatt’s song “Why.”
This ballad is a deeply heartbreaking and raw track. The painful lyrics express feelings stemming from a life ending too early. I first discovered this song nearly ten years ago, at a time, where my town and peers needed it most. Although it’s not a happy song or a tailgating song, it is one of those songs that will comfort you when you most need it or speak for you, during trying times, when you can’t formulate the words. I’ll always be a lyric girl at heart, and this song opens up dialogue for an important conversation on mental health and the residual effects.”