It seems like only yesterday we were taking down the Christmas lights and making our New Year's Eve plans, and now 2011 is already half over! And what a year it has already been for country music, which has provided an awesome, eclectic soundtrack to these past few months. Here are The Boot's picks for the best songs of 2011 so far.


10. 'Just a Kiss,' Lady Antebellum

This song has bragging rights as the highest Billboard 200 debut by a country group in the history of the all-genre chart, hitting No. 7 after just one week on the airwaves. While Lady A's other record-breaking hit, 'Need You Now,' touted the benefits of one more night together, this tune provokes a bit of the opposite. "Baby, I'm alright with just a kiss goodnight," the trio sing, making us think going home alone isn't a bad thing at all.


9. 'Live a Little,' Kenny Chesney

This No. 1 song was penned by renowned tunesmiths Shane Minor and David Lee Murphy, but it certainly sounds like Kenny wrote it himself. "'Live A Little' defines me," Kenny says. "I'm a very focused guy, I keep my eye on the ball, I work really hard and I'm hands on a lot of times to a fault. But you do at some point have to set it down, no matter what you do ... and I'm still learning that." 'Live a Little' marks the Tennessee native's 20th No. 1 single.

Listen to 'Live a Little
' | Download It


8. 'Country Girl (Shake It For Me),' Luke Bryan

Luke manages to make a catchy, memorable hit by singing about women's ... uh, posteriors, in this first single from his upcoming CD, 'Tailgates & Tanlines.' Mixing his trademark country sound with a little bit of hip-hop in this hit, the father of two tells The Boot the song is a "life-changer." Considering its lightning speed of making it to the Top 20 on the country charts, we'd say he's right.


7. 'Heart Like Mine,' Miranda Lambert

Miranda soared to the top of the charts with this song she co-wrote (with Travis Howard and Ashley Monroe), with lyrics that couldn't be more appropriate for the new Mrs. Shelton. "Cause I heard Jesus, He drank wine / I bet we'd get along just fine / He could calm a storm and heal the blind / And I bet He'd understand a heart like mine" -- sounds a whole lot like the tender-hearted animal activist also known for her gun-toting, feisty side.


6. 'Without You,' Keith Urban

One of only three songs Keith didn't write on his latest CD, 'Get Closer,' he nevertheless says this track is the most autobiographical of his career. "The traveling, the singing, it don't mean nothing without you / The fast cars, the guitars, they are all just second to / This life, the love that you and I have been dreaming of for so long / Would all be as good as gone without you." If that's not a personal glimpse into how Keith really feels about wife Nicole Kidman, then we don't know what is!


5. 'Honey Bee,' Blake Shelton

Blake was undoubtedly thinking about his new bride, Miranda Lambert, when he decided to record his latest single. ("You'll be my sunny day, I'll be your shade tree / You'll be my honeysuckle, I'll be your honey bee") He debuted the tune on the ACM Awards in April and just a month later, it was declared the fastest-selling single of his ten-year career. With 'Honey Bee,' 'The Voice' coach unseated Garth Brooks' record, becoming the highest-debuting male country artist on the Billboard Hot 100 chart.


4. 'I Won't Let Go,' Rascal Flatts

The beauty of this song is its universal appeal. Comforting lyrics such as, "I will dry your eyes / I will fight your fight / I will hold you tight / And I won't let go," are applicable to myriad situations, including the farewell episode of the 'Oprah Winfrey Show,' on which the trio had the huge honor of appearing. This song marks the band's 13th No. 1 hit, and it also made it into the Top 40 on Billboard's Hot 100 chart.


3. 'Gone Like That,' Josh Kelley

The second single from his debut country album, Josh penned this song based on his own college memories of a fleeting former flame. "Oh but I can't take another gone like that / Take another hurt so bad that / I can't breathe, I can't sleep, don't wanna eat" proves how memorable the elusive woman was to the rocker-turned-country star. Hopefully his wife, actress Katherine Heigl, has helped dim the painful memory.


2. 'Old Alabama,' Brad Paisley (featuring Alabama)

It's the song that brought one of country music's most-beloved groups, Alabama, back onto the airwaves after an eight-year absence. Brad recorded this single with the band, describing it as a "mind-blowing experience." The generous reigning CMA Entertainer of the Year is donating the proceeds from the single to aid in tornado recovery efforts following Alabama's recent deadly storms.


1. 'Colder Weather,' Zac Brown Band

After humorous, tongue-in-cheek songs such as 'Chicken Fried' and 'Toes,' Zac Brown Band took their fans by surprise by releasing this tender, regretful song that gives us a whole new view of the six-member group. The haunting melody and emotionally-charged lines, "Well, it's a winding road / When you're in the lost and found / You're a lover, I'm a runner / We go 'round and 'round," found a warm spot at the top of the charts.

Zac Brown Band Perform 'Colder Weather' Live