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Ten Tunes We Hope Will Be Singles in 2012

Jemal Countess, WireImage

We’ve had a great time this year discovering new country music off the radio airwaves. Some of our favorite songs have been the album tracks that aren’t singles … yet. So, take this as our plea to the Nashville record labels: here are the ten songs we hope they’ll release to radio in 2012.

10. ‘Swinging Door,’ Edens Edge

Once the awesome Arkansas trio have scaled the charts with their debut single, ‘Amen,’ we hope they’ll follow up with ‘Swinging Door,’ a catchy, mid-tempo shuffle that appears on their five-song EP.

Watch Edens Edge Perform ‘Swingin’ Door’

9. ‘Dirt Road Prayer,’ Lauren Alaina

With her debut album, ‘Wildflower,’ the ‘American Idol’ album proves a convincing storyteller, tackling age-appropriate material with a warm, rich voice that reaches way beyond her 16 years. Nothing on the 12-song collection better displays this authenticity than ‘Dirt Road Prayer,’ an acoustic ballad that tugs at your heartstrings.

Listen to ‘Dirt Road Prayer’

8. ‘I Love You,’ Eli Young Band

After four albums under three different music labels, the Texas natives broke through this year with ‘Crazy Girl,’ the band’s first No. 1 single. With ‘I Love You,’ the lyrics are simple, but lead singer Mike Eli’s expressive vocals, combined with the building arrangement in the chorus, make the soaring tune a focal point of their ‘Life At Best’ album, and a serious contender for the band’s second consecutive chart-topper.

Listen to ‘I Love You’

7. ‘Breaking Your Own Heart,’ Kelly Clarkson

With her recent CMA award win and two massive country singles with pals Reba McEntire and Jason Aldean, the big-voiced singer inches further into country territory. Although much of her latest album features the angsty singer’s signature pop-rock sound, the stripped-down, album-closer ‘Breaking Your Own Heart,’ co-written by country singer Jennifer Hanson, proves Kelly has the versatility to become a full-fledged country artist, should she chose to do so.R

Read the ‘Breaking Your Own Heart’ Lyrics

6. ‘Heaven,’ Jake Owen

Belinda Carlisle may have coined the phrase “heaven is a place on earth,” but Jake made it sexy. This stand-out song from his ‘Barefoot Blue Jean Night’ album likens heaven to a spot on a hill with a pretty view — a place that’s clearly where couples go to get a little frisky. Sadly, the lyrics don’t provide directions to ‘heaven’ … just the soundtrack.

Watch Jake Sing ‘Heaven’ Live in Our Studio
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5. ‘When I Call Your Name,’ LeAnn Rimes

Vince Gill first won a Grammy for this beautiful ballad in 1990, long before the country legend co-produced the track for LeAnn’s recent covers project, ‘Lady and Gentlemen.’ In the hands of a less-seasoned vocalist, the remake would have probably annoyed us, but LeAnn’s impressive interpretive skills differentiates enough from the original to sound current without degrading the integrity of the county classic.

Listen to LeAnn’s ‘When I Call Your Name’

4. ‘Rainy Season,’ Hunter Hayes

Hunter must have an affinity for inclement weather, penning two tracks for his self-titled debut that discuss stormy conditions. Despite their similar subject matter, our choice for the follow up to ‘Storm Warning’ would be ‘Rainy Season,’ a bluesy ballad that features impressive vocals and guitar riffs from the multi-talented musician.

Watch Hunter Perform ‘Rainy Season’

3. ‘Songs for Sale,’ David Nail

The intricately woven, introspective lyrics of this song encourage fans to pursue their life passions. With Lee Ann Womack providing subtle but beautiful background vocals, ‘Songs for Sale’ is the highlight of David’s outstanding new album, ‘The Sound of a Million Dreams.’

Listen to ‘Songs for Sale’

2. ‘A Showman’s Life,’ George Strait

George scored his record-breaking 44th chart-topper in 2008, making the Texas native the most celebrated artist in country music history. What better way to celebrate his illustrious career than by releasing ‘A Showman’s Life,’ which proves that George still has the ear — and the voice — to churn out some of the genre’s best material.

Listen to ‘A Showman’s Life’

1. ‘Springsteen,’ Eric Church

This generation’s country outlaw shows his softer side (well, just a little bit) with ‘Springsteen,’ the soundtrack to his teenage years. “I can remember being 15 or 16 years old and going to my first amphitheater concert with a group of friends,” Eric tells The Boot of the inspiration behind the song. “There was a girl … We spread the blanket up on the lawn. I can remember our relationship didn’t last that long — maybe two weeks — but it sparked there. ‘Til this day, when I hear that artist I think about her, and I wonder if she thinks about me even though nothing really ever happened between us. It’s just neat that music can connect you to a time and to a place.”

Watch Eric Perform ‘Springsteen’ Live in Our Studio
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