Rita’s Top Ten Favorite Songs of 2013…Not That Anyone Asked Her


I worked on this list ALL afternoon and it was chock full of snarky-Rita’esk goodness and I was SO proud of it. Honestly, it was a masterpiece.

I have no idea what happened, but when I hit PUBLISH…it was gone. Poof. GONE.


Here is my half hearted attempt to recreate it. (It came across a bit angrier the second time around.)

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It is the a time of the year where all of us bloggers put together our “Best of 2013…” lists and then we make sure to tag everyone we put on out lists on Twitter so they can then retweet to all of their followers that they made it on an end of the year list and then the Search Engine Search Optimization Gods smile upon us all.

I really did make an effort to NOT look at all of the other lists that were floating around the inter-webs because I didn’t want to be biased or be a copy-catter.

I decided instead of doing a list of best albums or best singles, I wanted to do a “Rita’s Top Ten Favorite Songs of 2013″…not that anyone asked me.

(Y’all please don’t debate me on if these songs really came out in 2012, etc…blah, blah…my list, my rules.)

I had a really hard time putting together my list this year, but I don’t think that is necessarily the music’s fault. I think it is my fault. I can’t remember ever being less emotionally attached to music as I have been this year. Maybe I am just getting older, maybe I am just getting bitter or maybe it is a new occupational hazard.

I dunno.

Either way, I have always flown the flag for the “scene” because that IS where my heart is now and has always been, but looking at this list…I may have branched out a little this year. I don’t think I did that purposely, these are just the songs for whatever reason bonded with ME this year, not vice versa.

10. Wade Bowen-Songs About Trucks

I can’t put together a list without including a Wader Potater Tomater song. I am a stalker, that is what I do. And PLEASE save me the email/blog comments telling me that I am fat and don’t know anything about music because Wade didn’t write the song. Duh to all of the above. Does that really matter? Hell no. Get down off your “we write our own songs in Texas” pedestals, go rhyme Enchanted Rock with Shiner Bock and shut up the hell up. This is a great song and at least when Wade sings it, I believe it. Besides, why does every single hate mail I get start off with someone commenting on my weight? Wait, what?

Sidenote: The “lyric” video for this song was much better than the “real” music video. I’m sorry fancy, famous video making dude, that video was bad. (And when I say I am sorry, I’m not sorry.)

9.  Randy Rogers Band-Speak of the Devil

This was hands down my favorite song on the Trouble album.

Got a real good memory and a hair trigger heart
one little spark and I’m goin through hell again


While I didn’t love the new record as much as I loved the previous Burning The Day album, you can all take your “Randy Sold Out” and all your “Blah-blah Rollercoaster Blah-blah” cards and play them somewhere else…because this is a bad ass song.

8.  Chris Stapleton-What Are You Listening To?

I know this was the year that we all took to the internet to sing the praises of Mr. Stapleton and we also all pretended we all had his ridiculously awesome catalog of hit songs memorized because we were all the biggest fans of The SteelDrivers…but I wasn’t. I can’t lie. I hadn’t heard of him OR the SteelDrivers until Mr. Eric Raines introduced me to the music. I am sure glad he did, even if he has yet to acknowledge our relentless cyber stalking attempts to get his attention on Twitter and beg him to come in and do our radio show.

This song peeked at #46 on Country Airplay.

It took FIVE people to write Florida-Georgia Line’s “Cruise”.

No, really.

Let that sink in.

7.  Charlie Robinson-Brand New Me

I am ate up with this song and I have been since the first time I heard it. Why this song didn’t/hasn’t shot to the top of the 3894332980 Texas Music Charts is beyond me. When it comes on my radio I crank it up and sing as loud as I can. Every. Single. Time.

Besides, forty IS the brand new thirty.

6.  Will Hoge-Another Song Nobody Will Hear

Will is the shit.

In my head we are best friends and he comes over on Saturday afternoons and we drink Mimosas in my big fluffy bed, paint each other’s toenails with 99 cent pink glitter nail polish from the Dollar Tree and watch mini-marathons of Sex and City on Netflix…but in reality, the times I have had the chance to talk to him I am fairly certain I come across like a ditzy weirdo spazzy geek. I am okay with that. I am a ditzy weirdo spazzy geek. It is part of my charm.


Sidenote: I was lucky enough to be in the ballroom the afternoon Will did his acoustic set at the Music Fest this year in Steamboat Springs and after he sang this song with Wade, I remember it being a moment. A real-life moment. A DAMN, did that just happen…goose bumps from the hair on your toes all the way to the top of your head moment. Screw Miley Cyrus grinding on the son from the dad on Growing Pains, this performance was the music event of my year.

5.  Charlie Worsham-You Can’t Break What’s Broken

Hey Billboard…I found the Banjo Boy long before you did…and way before he had a record deal. I am willing to share him, but he’s mine.

He’s magical. This is the best song on the Rubberband album.

4.  Cody Johnson Band-I Don’t Care About You

I LOVE this song. I LOVE any angry song that is all up in your face with “suck it, I hate you” emotions, but still has that vulnerable “I hate you, but I really want you to like me” side to it. This song is the perfect combination of both of those things.

I know Kevin Fowler said it years ago, but I am pretending I said it first…this guy is going to be the next biggest thing out of this state. He puts on a great live show and genuinely appears to be having a good time on stage. I think there is a fine line between confident and cocky and I think Cody walks it with likable grace that not many other artist can do. I am not sure if this makes any sense to anyone, but to me…Cody Johnson is the type of “cowboy” that “wouldn’t ride away until everyone else is mounted up”. I don’t know him that well and I could be wrong. He could be the biggest asshole ever, but he’s got me fooled.

This is another song that I can’t help but sing as loud as I can in the car as well as beat on the steering wheel during the chorus. I have almost worked up an entire interpretive dance to it.

3.  Holly Williams-Drinkin’

Holly is another artist I can thank ERay for introducing me to. I had a hard time choosing between this song and “The Highway” because I loved them both. Truthfully, I would have gone with “The Highway” but Ike Turner Ballou and I had a spirited debate over the two songs and I gave in and let him have HIS favorite. Holly is officially on Ike’s “Celebrity Fuck-et” List and since THAT Hall Pass is never going to happen, I did him a solid and gave him “Drinkin’”.

He is welcome.

2.  Jason Isbell and John Paul White-Old Flame

I don’t think I can say I am a huge Jason Isbell fan. The more I listen to his music, the more I have grown to appreciate it, but we all know I am as deep as the shallow end of the kiddie pool. I didn’t personally bond with the Southeastern album as much as all the music snobs seemed to this year, but THIS cover of the Alabama classic rocked my closed little mind.

The first time I heard it I blogged HERE and said:

Do you know how you have heard a song a trillion times in your life and then you hear a different version and the song takes on an entirely new meaning? That is what this version of the song did for me. I felt EVERY SINGLE WORD. It felt like someone had kicked me right square in the baby maker and before it was over I was crying the ugly snot sucking Farrah from Teen Mom cry.

I stand by those words.

And…without further adieu…here is my #1 favorite song of 2013!

Drumroll please…

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I LOVE LOVE LOVE LOVE the 12 Stories album by Brandy Clark. This is the only album from the year that I listen to from start to finish almost everyday…but because this is MY blog and I have a magical talent for making EVERYTHING about me…here is some personal backstory.

This fancy fella from “the ‘Ville” dropbox’d me some of this album a while back and told me it was something I had to hear because the record was going to be huge. Truthfully, I think he has really shitty taste in music and the last thing he sent me was a band that scared the crap out of me. (It was THIS.) I let the folder sit in my dropbox a few weeks before I finally got around to listening to it, but when I did…I was blown away.

I know I can’t say anything about this record that all the real music bloggers haven’t already said, so I won’t even try. This is going to make me sound so self-important and extra twatty…but I do feel an emotional attachment to this album because this was the first time as a radio “sidekick” I sent a song I “discovered” to my station’s Program Director (I know he’s just Eric, but he is kind of a big deal around here). I told him “Look, we HAVE to play this song because the chicks are going to LOVE it”.

That song was “Stripes”.

I remember the first time he played it because we were both sitting in the studio. Before the song was even over we had two different back to back female listeners call in and ask for the name of the song and ask about who was singing it. I know that might not be that big of a deal to most season’d radio people, but it was a first for me.

Being the only person on this on-air staff that has a vagina…especially a damn near forty year old vagina, that for all practical purposes has NO radio experience or education in broadcasting and really has no business working at such a respected legendary radio station like KOKE FM…that was the day I think I realized that maybe I actually CAN have a career in radio and maybe throwing away my tenured position with the state and taking a $30,000 pay cut just to “follow my dreams” and to do something I am really PASSIONATE about wasn’t crazy.

Maybe this IS what I was meant to do.

(See how I just made that all about me?  I told you. This is my God-given gift.)

The song “Stripes” didn’t make my list…this one did…and it gets me #1 spot.

1.  Brandy Clark-What’ll Keep Me Outta Heaven

I also have a short Honorable Mention list that includes:

Chris King-Homeland

I really liked Chris’s record and I really like him. Chris isn’t afraid to back down in a Twitter war, even if it burns bridges. I gotta respect that.

JB and the Moonshine Band featuring Angaleena Presley-Black and White

This song took on an entirely different meaning for me when it became a duet and I wanted to include it because I knew Buddy Logan from Radio Texas Live was going to put it on a list and I wanted to beat him to it.

Plus when JB came into the studio he literally had to use a Clorox Clean Up wipey-wipe to wipe down his entire area, including the inside of the headphones. I thought that was awesome.

Pistol Annies-Being Pretty Ain’t Pretty

I don’t know if these three chicks all hate each other or not, but I suspect they do. That sucks because the Annie Up album was awesome, didn’t get enough attention this year and this might one might be my theme-song. Damn those fake eyelashes!

Cory Morrow-Glass Houses

I hope this song gets recored on Cory’s next record and I hope it sells a million copies and both Brian Keane and Cory Morrow win Grammys. If you haven’t heard it and are in a crunch for time, fast forward to the 3:15 mark.

I know there are songs that I am forgetting that I could/should include, but this is all I could come up with this year!  I am contemplating my Top Ten LEAST favorite songs too. Should I dare?

The End.



  • Reply December 23, 2013


    I like your top ten! It’s different and those are all good songs.

  • Reply December 23, 2013


    I have heard great things about Brandy Clark’s album, and this finally convinced me.

  • Reply December 23, 2013


    I made a HUGE mistake in this blog…and so far no one caught it. My bad. I’ll change it when I get to a computer. Hashtag embarrassing.

    • Reply December 24, 2013

      Mark H

      Not being afraid to back down?

    • Reply February 12, 2014


      You mean Robinson instead of Robison?

  • Reply December 24, 2013

    san angelo

    Initially I was totally confused about the double entry for spot #1. You know we all hate to read these days (especially hate to read screeds of self-absorbing Ballou babble); instead we like to scroll, baby! Like the “What’ll Keep me Out of Heaven” better than “Stripes.” The latter is just a pissed off girl song that doesn’t tell the entire story.

    • Reply December 24, 2013


      If you don’t like it…don’t read it. Some people enjoy the babble…that ain’t my fault.

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  • […] Rita Ballou of Rawhide and Velvet named Brandy Clark’s “Stripes” the best song of 2013. […]

  • Reply December 31, 2013

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    This is my first time to hear Brandy Clark and I’m in LOVE. Thank you

  • Reply February 12, 2014


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