Miranda Lambert’s mud-soaked romp in “It All Comes Out in the Wash,” Tyler Childers’ psychedelic reverie in “All Your’n,” and Lil Nas X’s delightful Wild West-goes-to-Cali saga for “Old Town Road” are among the clips that stood out in a year full of great visuals. Here are the 10 best country videos of 2019.
The Cadillac Three, “Slow Rollin'”
This ain’t no Fast & Furious soundtrack. “Slow Rollin'” preaches the fuzz-guitar gospel of inching down the asphalt at a cool, confident crawl, with Foghat on the radio and a Sonic Drive-In Slush in the drink holder. The video shows frontman Jaren Johnston getting behind the wheel for what seems like the world’s slowest joyride. . .until the camera pulls out, revealing that the busted car is being pushed by his bandmates Kelby Ray and Neil Mason. The Cadillac Three, indeed.
Tanya Tucker, “Hard Luck”
Who wouldn’t want to close down a bar with Tanya Tucker? In “Hard Luck,” the long-reigning outlaw hits up her local dive (here, East Nashville’s American Legion Post 82), kicks some friends’ asses at poker, and steals the spotlight from the house band. This clip sports an ensemble cast, too, with co-producers Brandi Carlile and Shooter Jennings joining Tucker for their own share of hell-raising.
Dierks Bentley, “Living”
The father-of-the-year award goes to Dierks Bentley, who spends his time during the “Living” video blowing his 5-year-old son’s mind. As the two square off in a Nerf war, grab ice cream cones, and hit up the local waterpark, the song’s carpe diem message springs to vivid, movie-montage-worthy life.
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Che Apalache, “The Dreamer”
Powerful, topical, and crushingly real, “The Dreamer” stars multiple families of North Carolinian immigrants who, like the song’s protagonist, are battling the threat of deportation. The video ends with a message to support the state’s undocumented newcomers, turning this video not only into a piece of art, but into a call to action.
Maren Morris, “Girl”
“Girl” shines its light on women in situations both run-of-the-mill and extraordinary: taking vocal lessons, waxing their armpits, boxing, shoplifting from a grocery store, and playing an arena show. The message is clear: modern-day women are faced with challenges from every side. The clip was directed by Dave Meyers, who also helmed Ariana Grande’s “God Is a Woman.”
Todd Snider, “Talking Reality Television Blues”
Donald Trump takes a beating in Snider’s animated video for “Talking Reality Television Blues,” whose storyline whisks us through a three-minute history of the medium’s highs (the moon landing, MTV’s infancy, Milton Berle’s golden years) and lows (The Apprentice, The Bachelor, Trump’s presidency). The cartoonish visuals help soften the all-too-real punch of Snider’s lyrics, which he delivers in a half-spoken, half-sung voice that’s both stinging and stoned.
Tyler Childers, “All Your’n”
A wake-and-bake morning takes a psychedelic turn in this Alice in Wonderland-worthy clip, which features a forest of talking trees, a dive bar staffed by a multi-armed bartender, and a stage occupied by the trippiest house band this side of The Muppet Show‘s Dr. Teeth and the Electric Mayhem.
Miranda Lambert, “It All Comes Out in the Wash”
Lambert hops in a four-wheel-drive and goes mudding in this Trey Fanjoy-directed video, which highlights the good, clean fun of dirty driving. There’s plenty of slow-motion splatter, revving engines, and car-wash cleansing, making “It All Comes Out in the Wash” the sort of clip that could easily double as a car commercial.
Little Big Town, “The Daughters”
Little Big Town kicked off the album cycle for next month’s Nightfall with this ballad about gender inequality and unfair expectations. The video bounces between hazily-lit footage of the band inside a high-school gym, flanked by a troupe of female dancers, and a storyline involving a small-town cheerleader who trades her pompoms for a basketball. By the clip’s end, we learn that the former cheerleader has passed that trailblazing spirit to her daughter, who winds up playing competitive ball for the same school.
Lil Nas X, “Old Town Road” ft. Billy Ray Cyrus
The most inescapable hit of 2019 found a Gen Z country rapper blazing his own trail from sleeping-on-his-sister’s-floor obscurity to the penthouse suite of Diamond-certified success. In the song’s Grammy-nominated video, Lil Nas X teams up with Billy Ray Cyrus for a day of Wild West gun fights, time travel and a horse-backed joyride down the streets of Los Angeles. It’s a mash-up of cowboy archetypes, urban imagery, and tongue-in-cheek humor — an appropriate accompaniment, in other words, for a song that gleefully ignores the boundaries between genres.