20. My Little Secret - Cavo
I totally missed how good the album Bright Nights * Dark Days from this modern rock band when it first came out in 2009. That's probably because the first single, "Champagne" didn't really do it for me. Then, much more recently, I discovered a couple other songs by them, and actually just downloaded the full album tonight. A nice, melodic tune here to kick off the Top 20.
19. Tennessee Line - Daughtry
In actuality, there are three country artists on my countdown, when you consider that Vince Gill contributes backing vocals to this Daughtry ballad. Leave This Town has to be one of the most overlooked albums of the past couple years...and it still went platinum.
18. If It's Love - Train
Any song that references 80's hair band, Winger, is automatically cool in my book...ha! Pat Monahan's lyrics often don't make much sense, and sound like he's just trying to come up with catchy rhymes. And it works. This was a pretty big hit on adult contemporary radio, but it's only the 2nd best Train song on my countdown.
17. Broken Bones - Rev Theory
The awesome album Light It Up, by this New York modern rock band, came out in 2008, but the final single stretched into the new decade. Good enough for me. Looking forward to their new CD in February.
16. Man of Colours - Grace Bawden
This classical/opera crossover singer was a finalist on Australia's Got Talent when she was 15 yrs. old, and subsequently turned down a major label deal. I guess that's why no one in the U.S. knows who she is. I discovered her, of all places, on business social networking site, LinkedIn, where she posted a comment on one of the groups. This is a cover of the amazing title track off of the amazing 1987 CD by Aussie pop band, Icehouse. One of my favorite albums of all-time.
15. September - Daughtry
Another great track from the American Idol "loser." My only regret about their album, is that the standout track, "Call Your Name," was never released as a single. It could very well have been my #1.
14. Familiar Taste of Poison - Halestorm
Ahhhh, Lzzy. That's Halestorm lead singer, Lzzy Hale. I have no idea what happened to her other vowel, but crap, the girl can sing. If she had sung the encyclopedia, I probably would have found a way to include that. Not the best from them, though.
13. All In - Lifehouse
These guys are just catchy rock hook machines. Their latest album was somewhat of a disappointment compared to their recent work, but there are always at least a few songs worth putting on repeat. This is one of them.
12. Jenny - Mike Garrigan
You've seen this North Carolina singer-songwriter on previous lists of mine, and so has he, actually. He was kind enough to subscribe to my blog after having been very gracious in communicating with me via e-mail over a period of several months, taking an interest in my ventures in the music industry and screenwriting. This is what I would have considered to be the "commercial single" off his latest, Voyage of the Malamander, if there had been one released. Nice guy, and talented guy. Doing it all on his own. Show some support if you care to.
11. Save Me, San Francisco - Train
10. Crash - Cavo
Had heard this one on the radio for months before I discovered it was them. Great rock tune.
9. Pull Me Through - Tyrone Wells
Amazing voice. Saw him live at the SXSW festival in 2009. A slight turn back to his more folky roots on his Metal & Wood EP, but this is a poppier sounding track, and a great one.
8. Lesson Learned - Alice in Chains
Comeback album for the grunge outfit, of course, sans the departed Layne Staley. William DuVall does a formidable job of channeling Staley, and this is a really strong rocker.
7. Impossible - Anberlin
Not crazy about the album, but this is an incredibly catchy rock song.
6. Grace - Ed Kowalczyk
Former Live lead singer Kowalczyk bursts out on his own with his debut solo CD, Alive. His band was criminally overlooked for years after their radio hit days were done, so it's no surprise that this one hasn't gained any traction in the U.S. I've seen Live in concert, and I saw E.K. touring with Art Alexakis of Everclear and Leigh Nash of Sixpence None the Richer. Simply one of the best singers out there.
5. Let Me Hear You Scream - Ozzy Osbourne
In my opinion, one of the best tracks he's written in nearly 20 years. Unfortunately, the rest of the Scream album didn't follow suit.
4. Pray For You - Jaron and the Long Road to Love
Don't know what that band name is about, but this is one half of the 90's brotherly pop duo, Evan & Jaron, of one-hit wonder "Crazy For That Girl" fame. JatLRtL's debut CD, Getting Dressed in the Dark is supposedly a country album, but it sounds like pop to me. Good pop. Several strong tracks on there, but this one takes the cake. A really cleverly written kiss-off song. The lyric starts out giving the listener the idea that the singer is heeding advice from his pastor not to hold anger for people, but to pray for them. Well, as it turns out, Jaron had a different kind of prayer in mind; the kind that involves wishing that his ex's brakes go out while she's running down a hill, among other things. With tongue firmly planted in cheek, Jaron Lowenstein has crafted a jangly pop gem.
3. Bet U Wish U Had Me Back - Halestorm
There she is again. Lzzy and the guys just beat my cutoff for the list by releasing this, one of the best tracks on their self-titled debut, Halestorm, as their latest single. Of course, they're not getting the recognition they deserve. How can people not be noticing the strongest female rock singer since Heart's Ann Wilson? Another great kiss-off tune, featuring the year's best line..."Do you close your eyes with her and pretend I'm doing you again, like only I can?" Only a true rocker ego could belt that one out.
2. Time of Our Lives - Tyrone Wells
Again, an incredible new voice on the music scene...even though he's actually been at it for years. Another artist I wish were getting more attention. Tell me this sentimental ballad isn't crying to be included on some High School graduation video montage.
1. She's With Me - Collin Raye
This was one of the first ten or so songs that I made note of this year, hearing the accomplished country singer perform it live on Fox News' Huckabee show. I knew instantly that this would be my #1 of the year, barring anything unforeseen. At the time, it was just a really touching tribute to Raye's granddaughter, Haley Marie Bell, who had long been suffering from an undiagnosed neurological disorder that had left her unable to speak or walk, among other things. A few weeks after I saw the performance, Haley passed away at the age of nine. Now the song is a permanent memorial. Dare you to watch the video HERE and not get choked up. I can't name a single other Collin Raye song, but who cares when there's this? I'm sure it's the only list he's ever appeared on with Ozzy Osbourne.