top 5 country songs i wish i had written

by guest blogger & newest member of the ispeaknashville team, zach carter

as a songwriter, i’m constantly listening to songs on the radio and records that i love with a different set of ears.  questioning things like, ‘what would i have done differently?’  and ‘would i have done that melody in verse 2?’ these songs that i’m about to tell you about, i wouldn’t change a thing.  i like to tell myself they just forgot to call me when they needed another co-writer…it’s fine, i’m fine.  i’m gonna start it out with an oldie but a goodie.

lo-fi, john oates, zach & josh carter at tin pan south

1. “i hope you dance” lee ann womack – mark d. sanders / tia sillers

lee ann delivered a killer vocal on this but the songwriting slays me. mark and tia are songwriting machines. i’ve known tia for a long time and i still look at her like she might be from a different planet sometimes.  her ability to deliver metaphorically genius lyrics in a way that is so conversational still blows my mind. 

my favorite line i wish i would’ve written:

time is a wheel in constant motion always rolling us along,

tell me who wants to look back on their years and wonder where those years have gone”

2. “the house that built me” miranda lambert – tom douglas / allen shamblin

my favorite miranda lambert song. fun fact: the house that built me was written 6 years before miranda ever made it the country number 1 you know and love.  this song gives me all the feels. within the first few lines i’m back standing in front of my childhood home. that is some good songwriting. it’s pure brilliance.

my favorite line i wish i would’ve written:

if I could just come in, i swear i’ll leave,

won’t take nothing but a memory

from the house that built me”

3. “monday morning church” alan jackson – erin enderlin / brent baxter 

alan jackson is a legend; but so is erin enderlin. she is one of my top favorite songwriters in this town. her country metaphors and brilliant hook twists leave me wishing i was as cool as her. if you read the lyrics and you will see exactly why she deserves to be on this list and why she should be in a gaudy gold frame on display in the country music hall of fame.

my favorite line i wish i would’ve written:

“the preacher came by sunday said he missed me at the service

he told me Jesus loves me but I’m not sure I deserve it”

4. “these days” jeffrey steele / steve robson –

who doesn’t love old school rascal flatts? this is probably my favorite song of theirs.  you might sense a pattern by now. i love conversational lyrics. this is the epitome of a conversational lyric.

yeah, life throws you curves

but you’ve learned to swerve me,

i swung and i missed and the next thing ya know

i’m reminiscing”

to be able to craft lyrics like you are having a conversation put to a melody is not only hard work but is the mark of a great songwriter.  the verses in this song are my favorite.  i can close my eyes and i feel like i’m there; i’m the singer talking to that someone.

5. “begin again” taylor swift

ok, i’ll admit it, i’m a swiftie. don’t know what to say. the haters gonna hate. anyone who can write a song by themselves or an entire album  by themselves deserves to be recognized. 

i’ve been spending the last 8 months thinking all love ever does is break and burn and end

but on a wednesday in a cafe i watched it begin again”

i love this song because the hook is so simple but the way she set it up was so cool and different. very real and relatable which has been he keystone of her success really and why her audience connects with her. those types are always my favorite songs.  the ones that i can immediately be transported into the thick of the story. 

speaking of cafes, i’m signing off from my small wooden table at this quaint coffee shop, sipping on hipster coffee.  i love geeking out over killer songwriters and the talent that this community has.  thanks for geeking out with me.  now go write a song or sell something.   

*insert something emotional*


about the blogger:

although he’s the newest ispeaknashville team member, zach, along with his twin brother, were first introduced to nashville and it’s music scene in 2009 with their debut ep the carter twins.  they have written with some of the top songwriters in town and shared the stage with the likes of lady antebellum, jason aldean, toby keith, john oates, eli young band and faith hill. with two grand ole opry performances under his belt, zach definitely has his finger on the pulse of everything music city.


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