Country Song of the Year: 2022 Edition

You guys reading this have a major soft side. Although 90% of songs on the radio today are love songs anyway, y’all voted 3 of them out of the 4 total nominees. The first newcomer nominee of the group, Jake Owen, makes his first appearance with “Made For You.” Congrats Jake, we are happy to have you. We also welcome Mrs. Carrie Underwood to the Beats Beer Bonfires nominee family for her duet with Jason Aldean. The other two artists are familiar faces, Luke Combs and Thomas Rhett. Now, for a song to be qualified for the award it had to top either the country airplay chart or the hot country chart in 2021 on billboards website. It then had to stay on top for at least two weeks. This qualifier was tough for artists like Morgan Wallen who had “Wasted on You” top the hot country chart for one week. Eric Church had “Hell of a View” also only peak for one week, as did Chris Young with “Famous Friends.” All three songs are amongst the biggest of last year but don’t make the cut.

So, what does that leave us with you might be asking? Well, we had 13 songs that made the cut and went into the bracket. From 13, we went to four, and they are…

Forever After All
Luke Combs

If I Didn’t Love You
Carrie Underwood
Made For You
Jake Owen
What’s Your Country Song
Thomas Rhett

The winner of this award might surprise you, but it won’t because it’s Luke Combs. I mean, the dudes a fucking living legend. Everything he touches turns to absolute gold. Not only did he have the winning song, but “Better Together” might’ve also made the final four had the two songs not run into each other earlier in the bracket. The question is, has Thomas Rhett surrendered the title of country music love song guy to Luke Combs?

Rhett had “What’s Your Country Song” as a finalist, but that was the only non-love song in the top 4. For a while, he was for sure the guy, with his wife Lauren as his muse. “Die a Happy Man” came out way back in 2015, which led to a string of honeymoon love hits. Relationships grow and evolve though, and what was once a young fling turns into marriage. Luke and Nichole are starting to enter the phase of life Thomas were in all those years ago. They are getting married and starting a family. Until their family starts though, expect the honeymoon phase might be in control of radio airwaves for the future. Luke Combs, once again, is a fucking monster. He won this award, and spoiler alert, you might be seeing his name again.

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2021 Bar Fight Bracket

Here we are, the first debate in Beats, Beer, and Bonfire’s history. We all know that it’s March, and everyone makes brackets for everything, so who are we to be an exception. Unlike other brackets, though, we do one that we think people will actually give a shit about. Country music singers should handle themselves at a bar, but most of them can’t. I don’t think that chart-toppers like Dan and Shay or Sam Hunt would throw hands in a bar, but the old-school rednecks of country music past are a totally different story. On top of not being country at all anyway, they are more Hollywood and pop than gritty country artists. I genuinely like all of the artists in this bracket, and I think they all make fantastic music, which was not a qualifier. If someone had listed Sam Hunt, he would be on the bracket, but obviously, no one thinks he is tough.

I made an Instagram poll and asked people who they thought would win a bar fight to start this bracket. Conveniently enough, 12 artists were nominated, so it was easy to put a bracket together. These artists come from different backgrounds, from more radio-focused names like Morgan Wallen and Tyler Farr to Texas country master Cody Johnson to rap artists Upchurch and Adam Calhoun. We even have women in the bracket, as Carrie Underwood might not be known as the toughest chick, but she did grow up on a farm and has mom instincts. I think that if any modern female artist got nominated, it would behave to be her.

The first round of the bracket had eight artists, while four artists had byes. This means round two had eight artists, round three had four, and round four was the finals. To determine the matchups each round, I put each artist’s name on a wheel. I then had another wheel with the appropriate number of numbers on it. I spun the wheel with the artist’s name, followed by the number. In round one, numbers one through four received the byes into round two. Then in the following rounds, the wheel was spun again. I went through all of this trouble because I wanted it to be random and unbiased throughout the tournament. It also led to some exciting matchups, which can be seen below.

Round 1

Round 1 featured some exciting matchups and a few upsets right off the bat. The artists that received byes were Brantley Gilbert, Trace Adkins, Trey Lewis, and Cody Johnson. Artists like Gilbert and Adkins are favorites in this tournament and didn’t really need help. However, Trey Lewis, who isn’t a household name, and Cody Johnson, who isn’t nearly as physically big as some other contenders, might have benefited from the early advantage. The rest of the matchups are as follows…

Carrie Underwood 28% vs. Hank Williams Jr. 72%

           The first matchup, Underwood vs. Williams Jr, I didn’t think would be much of a discussion. I think Carrie Underwood might have gotten a boost against most people due to being the lone female, but it’s hard to vote against a legend. The one argument that could be made is that Carrie Underwood is a super athletic 38-year-old, and Hank is 71 years old who has spent more of his life at a bar than at a gym. Personally, I would expect Underwood to be able to beat Hank. Still, I didn’t expect the majority to agree with me. At the end of the day, Hank Williams Jr. took this matchup by a considerable margin. I think we will see the trend throughout this tournament that people are voting on legends like they are in their prime. That isn’t necessarily the way I intended this bracket to go. Still, at the same time, I didn’t really make rules, so it was up to interpretation. 

Morgan Wallen 81% vs Tyler Farr 19%

           In my opinion, the first upset of the tournament, I expected Tyler Farr would take Morgan Wallen down. Honestly, if this fight actually happened, I would still expect Farr to win. Still, Morgan Wallen has a considerable following, so I think his fans stepped up this round. Not that I don’t think Morgan Wallen is a tough dude, and I’m sure he has been in a bar fight or two in the past based on his drinking habits, but I don’t think he would beat Farr. Regardless my opinion doesn’t matter. The people have spoken, so Morgan Wallen will move on round to, and really the voting wasn’t even close.

Adam Calhoun 51% vs. Toby Keith 49%

           In the best matchup of round one, Adam Calhoun was pitted up against the man who admits he is only as good once as he ever was, Toby Keith. Adam Calhoun has gone to jail for aggravated assault, which I would’ve assumed gave Calhoun a massive advantage, but I was wrong. Toby Keith made it close, and for about 22 of the 24 hours, the two went back and forth; in hour 23, they were tied. At the last minute, one final person gave Adam Calhoun the nod. This was a crazy close poll, and I hope this isn’t the last one like this. 

Randy Houser 37% vs. Ryan Upchurch 63%

           The final matchup started very similar to the Calhoun vs. Keith matchup. Both of them were back and forth,  as I would check one minute and see Upchurch winning, but the next minute Randy Houser would pull ahead. However, about halfway through, Upchurch started to pull away from Houser. I think physically, I would take Randy Houser, but Upchurch just has a dog in him that I think would overcome Houser. Again in a super close pull, the general public agreed with me as Upchurch pulled ahead and moved onto round two.

Round 2

           Round two saw every artist who received a bye in round one facing off against a last-round winner. I think that we might see some close matchups again. Looking at these matchups, I believe I know who would win in real life, but this isn’t reality, and the underdogs with big fanbases have been showing up. Also, Adam Calhoun himself voted on all of these polls, so we will let you know what he voted as we go. Without further ado, round 2 results… 

Cody Johnson 31% vs. Hank Williams Jr. 69%

           The Texas cowboy went up again, Bocephus, and based on the last round, I wasn’t surprised by the outcome. I voted for CoJo because, again, he’s a 33-year-old cowboy going up against a 71-year-old legend who, let’s be honest, isn’t exactly in fighting shape. However, like I’ve said before and will probably say again, I didn’t make rules, and I think many people are picking Hank Jr. in his prime, so that is why he took down Cody Johnson. As for Adam Calhoun, he was on the winning side as he voted Hank Jr. to win.

Trey Lewis 21% vs. Adam Calhoun 79%

           This is an interesting one, and not because of the results. This is the first poll so far is the first time that BOTH of the guys voted for themselves. Trey Lewis and Adam Calhoun each picked themselves to win, which led me to put up a poll asking them if it was time to put on the gloves. Neither replied to that, which is a little unfortunate, but probably better off for Lewis. I still am siding with the guy who literally has gotten arrested for aggravated assault, and I think that I will until the end. Most people agreed with me, and Calhoun moves onto the semifinals.

Morgan Wallen 38% vs. Brantley Gilbert 62%

           This is the matchup that I was the most nervous about. I think everyone knows who would win the fight. Brantley Gilbert would absolutely dominate Morgan Wallen. I’m sorry, Morgan, I like you, but damn son, you would go down. I think that Wallen still was being voted on by fans, but it just isn’t happening. Adam Calhoun agrees with me, as he voted for Gilbert as well. Brantley Gilbert will be moving on into the semifinals, and I think he has a legitimate shot at making the finals.

Ryan Upchurch 53% vs. Trace Adkins 47%

           Last round, Upchurch and Randy Houser were both close for a lot of the poll, until closer to the end when Upchurch pulled away and took a commanding lead. This one was almost the opposite of when Upchurch was out to a massive lead before Trace came surging back. However, it was too little too late, as Upchurch held off the charge and won this fight. Adam Calhoun had his boys back, so he ended up picking perfectly this round.

Round 3

           I don’t expect this round to produce any close results. Nothing against Upchurch, but I think that people realize that Calhoun is just a physically bigger human, which will propel him to the win. On the other side, Hank Jr. has taken out Carrie Underwood and Cody Johnson, who aren’t exactly known for putting off fighter vibes. I think that if we don’t see a Brantley Gilbert, Adam Calhoun finale, it would be a shock. However, I don’t want to count out Hank Williams Jr.

Ryan Upchurch 54% vs. Adam Calhoun 46%

           Well, I guess I got the first part of my shocker. When I went to bed last night, Calhoun was leading Upchurch by a few votes. I wasn’t ready to call it, but when I woke up, and the lead changed, I was shocked. Upchurch received a streak of at least ten votes in a row, which took him from down four to up six votes. I would be interested to see this fight in real life because as much as I love Upchurch, I wouldn’t be putting money on him. Maybe this came down to a popularity contest a little bit, but that’s the risk you run with a public poll. Well, congratulations are in order for Ryan Upchurch and welcome to the finals.

Brantley Gilbert 38% vs. Hank Williams Jr. 62%

           The other matchup, and the other upset, in my opinion, in the semifinals. Again, just like the first matchup, Brantley Gilbert led for well over half of the time. However, Hank overcame Gilbert last night and into this morning to move onto the finals. I personally looked at this bracket like it was a 71-year-old man vs. Brantley Gilbert, but I think most people were voting for vintage Hank, and he took it. The final round will feature a legend and the biggest name in country rap.

The Finals

           It all comes down to this. Two men have bested the other ten artists in the bracket. Upchurch had the tougher road to get here and really never beat anyone by a large margin. He took down Randy Houser, Trace Adkins, and Adam Calhoun in his path to the finals. On the other hand, this might be Hanks’s biggest challenge, as he had Carrie Underwood, Cody Johnson, and Brantley Gilbert. The first two aren’t exactly known for their hillbilly bar fight vibes, so it wasn’t much of a shocker that he went past them. Brantley Gilbert was my favorite in the previous matchup, but Hank proved that he still has the following to pass the artist. I’m excited to see this final round, I would have to say Upchurch has the edge, but I have slept on Hank enough and don’t want to anymore. I think it is a 50-50 tossup but let’s see how it goes!

Ryan Upchurch 33% vs. Hank Williams Jr. 67%

           I can’t say I’m surprised by the result, but I can say the split was much bigger than I expected. I expected this to be at least a 45 to 55 percent amount, but Hank didn’t even give Upchurch a chance. From the beginning to the end, Hank took a quick lead and never looked back. With that being said, congratulations on Hank Williams Jr. on being the first-ever Beats Beer and Bonfires Bar Fight Champion!

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These are the 10 Hottest Women in Country Music Right Now: 2021 Edition

Update: 2022 Edition available here

In one of the most enjoyable articles I’ve written. I’m going to count down the ten hottest girls in country music right now. There were no specifics on how to judge hot, besides just who is attractive. This list was formed by voting from both men and women, so don’t come at me with any sexiest bullshit. I’m just the messenger in this operation. The list was taken from any female artist who had a hot 100 country song in 2020. I disqualified Taylor Swift because fuck Taylor Swift. After the dust settled here are who my crew picked as the ten hottest females in country.

        I just wanted to say that while writing this article I realized the quality of country music by women is higher than it’s been in a while. I wrote multiple times that I really like a song by an artist, and I completely mean it. As a true country music fan, I don’t want to hear “80s Mercedes” or “Miss Me More.” I want stuff that feels like it actually belongs on country radio. All ten of these women did that last year, and while I might not be a big fan of “Bluebird” at least I feel like it’s a country song. Without further adue, here are our top ten hottest women in country music.

10. Ingrid Andress

            With her first single, “More Hearts Than Mine” reaching top 5 on country radio, Andress came out of the gates hard on her career. The song is one of the best female sang songs I’ve heard in a while. The 29-year-old also released the album “Lady Like” which was met with outstanding reviews. Andress gains points because she often posts pictures of herself in attractive outfits but loses points because she doesn’t really fit the country girl mold that a lot of people on this site enjoy in a girl. She gives off Los Angeles vibes, which doesn’t help her in the country genre.

Mandatory Credit: Photo by Matt Baron/Shutterstock (10474303j) Ingrid Andress 53rd Annual CMA Awards, Arrivals, Bridgestone Arena, Nashville, USA – 13 Nov 2019

9. Maddie Font

            The blonde member of Maddie and Tae, Maddie gives off the more relatable cute girl vibes than other celebrities give. Maddie recently got married, which is good for her husband, but hurts the bachelors of the world. Her Instagram is a mix of goofy pictures, husband appreciation posts, and career highlights.

8. Nelly Joy

            Most people don’t know her by name, but Nelly Joy is a member of Gone West, a band who had moderate success in 2020 with the single, “What Could’ve Been.” I couldn’t really tell you much about Nelly Joy, besides that she is a good looking blonde from Texas. I’m not really sure what she does in the band, I’m not sure what her background is, I don’t even really know anything about her band. However she got voted onto this list because she isn’t bad to look at.

7. Miranda Lambert

            She isn’t my type, which might have hurt her a little bit, but she is many other guys types. Out of everyone who voted, I was the only person to leave Lambert off my list. She has been a staple of country music for a long time, and finally got the success that she hasn’t been getting in a few years now when “Bluebird” topped the radio charts. Lambert is another female who recently got married, and isn’t the last one on the list, to a New York cop. Lambert has a mix of a country girl but also hippie vibe going, one pic she is walking with her horses, and in another she is wearing feather earrings. Although Lambert isn’t one of my favorites, she is one of the top women in a genre that is incredibly harsh on women and deserves more recognition than she gets.

6. Taylor Dye

            The other half of Maddie and Tae, I admit that I had a huge crush on her from the early days of her career. Since then we have both grown up a bit more, and the crush has faded, but she still isn’t bad to look at. Another member of the newly married crew, Tae is similar to Maddie in a lot of ways. Neither of them hide their husbands, in fact they often post about them, which a lot of women don’t do because it creates a situation where a part of their audience might be lost if they aren’t “available.” Public relationships create a lot of scrutiny, something that artists like Lauren Alaina and Carly Pearce discuss. (possible teaser?)   I think I will always have a small crush on Tae, but apparently the rest of my friends don’t share the same sentiment, so she gets number 6 on the list.

5. Lauren Alaina

            Lauren Alaina has had an interesting past with her looks. She said that she grew up having body image issues, and a few problems as a result. However after her days on American Idol, she seemed to have gotten the help she needed, and now has accepted and celebrated who she is. Alaina is a super funny, bubbly girl, which gets her points for a lot of us. She also might be the only girl on the list who doesn’t fit into a mold like the other girls on the list do.

Most of the people who voted don’t know Alaina’s story, and don’t give a shit about her past, they think she is attractive now, and I hope that says a lot about how being proud of who you are. Alaina is part of the not single club, as are most of the girls on this list, meaning there are a bunch of guys who won’t see this that should be proud of themselves.

4. Carrie Underwood

            Carrie Underwood might have been number one on the list before she fell down her stairs a few years ago. There were rumors that she didn’t actually fall, and she had bad plastic surgery, but either way the events dropped her a little. In a list full of girls in their twenties, Underwood is approaching forty and still looks good despite the incident. Carrie Underwood is the perfect storm; she came from some farm in bum fuck nowhere and won American Idol. Her voice is the best in the entire genre, and only Lauren Alaina is close to her in my opinion. She recently took a little hiatus to her country music career to make Christmas and gospel albums, but I have a feeling by summer she will have a new single out. She has her own clothing line too, and often models the clothes herself on her Instagram.

3. Gabby Barrett

            Gabby Barrett probably gets tired of hearing this, but she is Carrie Underwood Jr. She is a very attractive blonde, who can sing really well. When “I Hope” first hit radio, I thought it was Carrie Underwood for a few weeks, and I wasn’t alone. Barrett is only twenty-one years old and is already married with a kid. Its bold for a new artist to have a kid, because it takes a lot of attention to your career to grow it. Based on how “I Hope” did and her new single “The Good Ones” is going up the charts, Barrett is in good shape. Unless the magical world of radio fucks her over like the rest of the women in country, Barret is going to be leading the charge of young females very soon.

2. Carly Pearce

            It took until number two, but we finally have a confirmed bachelorette on the list! Nothing against Carly, I wouldn’t wish divorce on anyone, but something about her changed for the better after she became single. I think that it also has something to do with the fact that her career really started to take off the same time she became single. Her song “I Hope Your Happy Now” was easily the best song by a female last year, and yes it has Lee Brice on it, but when Charles Kelly sang the song live with her at the CMA awards, it became clear that Pearce was the essential part of the song.

Her newest song “Next Girl” a fuck you to Michael Ray (who has a next girl girl now) is an absolute jam. I really want to like female artists, but when the music is coming from Maren Morris or Gwen Stefani, its hard to like. Carly Pearce is different, she actually makes enjoyable music. I listened to “29” her newest album, and while I wouldn’t necessarily suggest it on this platform, I would suggest it to anyone who really like country. Its super personal, and it comes through as that, but it comes across well, not just a money grab based on her highly public divorce. Stock in Carly Pearce is on the way up, and I’m jumping on the bandwagon super early.

1. Kelsea Ballerini

            Finally, we arrive at number one. Kelsea Ballerini has worked her way up to the top spot, and the vote was nearly unanimous. Kelsea is the hot blonde in country music, she always looks good, and knows how to work the crowd. In the past year, she seems to have gotten more confident in her own skin and started to wear some good-looking outfits. The ironic part of the list, none of us really like her music. She’s super poppy, and in an interview said she released “Hole in a Bottle” because “if she’s a country singer she needs to have a drinking song.”

At the end of the day, she’s just a better-looking Taylor Swift, and to be honest I wouldn’t be surprised if she only stayed country for a few years and then took the pop route. None of us really hate Ballerini, there are artists that qualified for this list that a few of us agree are physically attractive, but annoying as fuck, so they didn’t get as many votes.  Its still early in the year, but “Hole in a Bottle” just hit number one recently, so I expect Ballerini to be right back in this position next year.

            That’s our list, what do you guys think? It’s hard to narrow down the artists that qualify for the list, so I found this to be the best. Other artists that might have cracked the top ten include Lindsey Ell, and Kacey Musgraves, but if we included them where do we stop? I think 2021 will be a year in which a lot more females have success, so I expect next year the pool to be much deeper of options. But for now, these are the top ten hottest women in country music.

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