Country and Americana songwriters reflected the grim mood of 2019 in a variety of ways, whether leaning completely into it, retreating to somewhere more fun, or finding ways to rise above.
Kelsey Waldon and Hailey Whitters crafted biographical songs about struggle and success that resonated far and wide. Yola, Morgan Wallen, and Runaway June looked at (or, in Wallen’s case, refused to look at) the dissolution of relationships from different angles. Midland just wanted to cut loose and have some fun, while Runaway June aimed to reclaim independence.
Maren Morris, the Highwomen (of which Morris is a member), and Our Native Daughters all made powerful statements about womanhood. Vince Gill and Emily Scott Robinson both crafted songs about the epidemic of sexual abuse, while acoustic group Che Apalache pledged solidarity with immigrants crossing our southern border.
Luke Combs, Chris Young, and Jason Hawk Harris provided tear-jerking songs about life and death. And Tanya Tucker, making a welcome return, demanded a celebration of her existence while she’s still alive and kickin’.
And, of course, “Old Town Road” took one hell of a ride.
Here are the 25 best country and Americana songs of 2019.