Craig Cummings Music

My Favorite Songs Of 2014
January 5, 2015, 1:24 pm
Filed under: Musical Notes | Tags: , ,


I’m really not in favor of posting any sort of “best of” lists…invariably someone will point out why I’m wrong about a certain song, or offer other choices that think are more deserving. Plus, I think artists and songwriters should avoid competing with one another. It seems healthier to be competing with yourself – trying to be better writer or a better performer than you were this time last year. The notion that I’m better than you, or he’s better than her…it just doesn’t sit right with me, and I think there are enough challenges in the music business without us constantly comparing ourselves to one another. So with that thought in mind, I share with you my favorite songs of 2014. I’m not arguing there were the “best.” I just loved them because they made me sing along, because the poetry in the lyrics moved me, or because they had that certain something that made me want to hit the replay button. Please note – they are in random order. This is not a ranking of my favorites, just a compilation.

  1. Etta’s Tune (Rosanne Cash and John Levanthal) – This songs starts with the lines, “What’s the temperature, darlin’?” “A hundred and one.” It reflects a daily conversation that occurred between the main characters of the song. The way Rosanne sings it just draws you in, and the song gets better from there.
  2. Fault Lines (Tom Petty and Mike Campbell) – This song reminds me of why I fell in love with rock n’ roll music. From Mike Campbell’s opening guitar riff to Tom’s expressive, reedy vocals, this song just kicks. “I’ve got a few of my own fault lines…running under my life.” Well, don’t we all. Turn up the volume on this one!
  3. Protection (Lucinda Williams) – Alright, a confession. I love Lucinda Williams. On her 2014 release, Down Where The Spirit Meets The Bone, this song especially grabs me, but I could have also listed East Side Of Town, Burning Bridges, West Memphis, or almost any other song on this 2-disc set. Protection has a swampy-sounding guitar (courtesy of Stuart Mathis), a kick-ass rhythm track (thank you Pete Thomas and Davey Faragher), and those classic Lucinda vocals to go along with her always finely written lyrics. She needs protection from, “the enemies of love,” from “the enemies of kindness,” from “the enemies of soul.” I need protection from playing this song one too many times.
  4. American Kids (Shane McAnally, Rodney Clawson & Luke Laird) – This fantastic song, recorded by Kenny Chesney, is impossible to get out of your head. I mean, you just want to sing the chorus over and over again at the top of your lungs. This was the most unforgettable top 40 country tune of the year. “Growin’ up in little pink houses, makin’ out on living room couches, blowin’ that smoke on Saturday night, a little messed up, but we’re all alright.” Hey!
  5. Homegrown Honey (Darius Rucker, Nathan Chapman & Charles Kelley) – This is another country top 40 hit that is hard to get out of your head. Darius Rucker is masterful at knowing how to pick songs that take best advantage of his vocal style and his ability to bridge more traditional country sounds with evolving trends in newer country music. This one has a killer instrumental track and is rhythmically arresting. “Honey, honey, honey, you’re so money, money, money, you got a country road Carolina soul…”
  6. Talk Myself Out Of Falling In Love With You (Foster/Sampson/McCormick) – It may not be one of the the more heralded releases of 2014, but Radney’s newest effort, Everything I Should Have Said, reminds us that sometimes even the best artists/songwriters struggle to get the recognition they deserve. Radney’s been doing it for a long time. He didn’t pen this one, but many of the songs on this album are his. This cut is a beautiful tale of a man scared of commitment and of falling in love.
  7. Automatic (Miranda Lambert, Nicolle Galyon & Natalie Hemby) – This song won all of those awards for a reason… it’s damn good. My favorite part of this song is when she says, “Yeah!” right after she sings, “Automaaaatic.” As a singer I doubt that she’s faking that…she’s feeling it, and that is what really sells the song – it feels honest.
  8. King Of Broken Hearts (Jim Lauderdale) – This song has been released before by Jim and by George Strait, but Jim included it on his newest release, I’m A Song. The melody line in the verse just knocks me out every time. I’m gonna learn how to play this song just so I can sing it. It’s tricky, but so beautiful…
  9. When A Woman Goes Cold (Mary Gauthier, Gretchen Peters) – I love New Orleans, and the studio version of this song just reminds me of that swampy, spooky, down home feeling you get walking down Royal Street in the rain at night. Few writers today have the lyrical skills that Mary possesses. This is a tale of losing a lover…it hurts to listen, but it’s so good. The live versions you can find on YouTube make you want to find her next show and buy a ticket.
  10. Stripes (Brandy Clark) – Ok, I’m cheating on this a bit, because Brandy Clark’s 12 Stories album was technically released in 2013. But, 2014 was really the year that people finally realized how incredibly talented she is. Every song on 12 Stories is great but Stripes takes the prize. As a fan of the Netflix show Orange Is The New Black, I insist that they get rid of the current soundtrack song and replace it with Stripes. “‘Cause no crime of passion’s worth a crime of fashion, the only thing saving your life, is I don’t look good in orange and I hate stripes.” I wish I wrote that.

Take some time to listen to these if you haven’t already. There are some talented writers and performers out there.

Peace And A Cold Beer,



4 Comments so far
Leave a comment

Seems to be some kinda mis-print, I can’t find myself ; )

Comment by

LOL Woody! You deserve some props. Congrats on your recent award in the Mid-Atlantic Songwriting Contest.

Comment by craigcummingsmusic

Great, Craig! Thanks for the suggestions! I’ll check them out, as I am looking to expand my music collection!

Comment by lisa bertucci

Hey Lisa – Happy New Year! Thanks for responding. I think you’ll like these tunes.

Comment by craigcummingsmusic

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