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At long last, summer has arrived! With a year that hasn’t necessarily offered all that much to look forward to, at least we had the promise of sunny weather on the horizon to keep us going. Now that it’s here, I can think of no better time to get out in the garden, crank up your speakers, and blast some country songs. Want to know my top five songs that should definitely make your summer playlist? Read on! In no particular order…

1.     Summertime – Kenny Chesney

Kenny Chesney might as well be called ‘the king of summer’ with his plethora of summery tracks like Beer in Mexico and No Shoes, No Shirt, No Problem (which should also definitely make your summer playlist!), but for me, there’s one Kenny song that stands out as a pinnacle of summer songs – Summertime. Kenny says what we’re all thinking in first line “Summertime is finally here,” before jumping in to an upbeat love song to all of the best things about summer – “two bare feet on the dashboard, young love and an old Ford, cheap shades and a tattoo…perfect song on the radio.” It’s full of Kenny’s unique vocals and some awesome guitar riffs – this is definitely the song to kick off your summer and get you in the right mood for any of your sunny day activities.

2.     Soak Up The Sun – Sheryl Crow

This might well be the most summery summer song to exist. The lyrics, the melody, Sheryl Crow, everything screams summer vibes and I can guarantee this song will put you in a fantastic mood. In the midst of some of the weirdest years of our lives, it also offers some great advice, from “It’s not having what you want, it’s wanting what you’ve got,” to the chorus, “I’m gonna soak up the sun, I’m gonna tell everyone to lighten up, I’m gonna tell em that I’ve got no one to blame, for every time I feel lame, I’m looking up.” I haven’t heard a song like this in years, and I mean that in the best way – it sounds straight out of an early 2000s rom-com, and if that doesn’t sell it to you, I don’t know what will!

3.     Summer – Cassadee Pope

Perhaps not an artist or a song that’s currently on your summer playlist radar, but I hope after reading this list, you might be inspired to add it to yours! Cassadee Pope, winner of The Voice back in 2012, definitely has a voice to be reckoned with, and is still ridiculously underrated. In Summer, she sings about a short-lived summer fling, and let me tell you, after hearing this song, you’ll be wanting one too. Just listen to the way she describes him: “Rolled in as wild and free as a clear water beach at seventeen memory, eyes blue as the July sky, sent shivers down my spine every time that he smiled at me.” Me too, Cassadee. He might have driven away the first of September, but he certainly left his mark on her as the guy who talked, walked, looked like, and in particular, burned like summer. The imagery is perfect, and it’s just a really catchy song that blurs the lines between pop and country, but if that’s up your street, then I reckon you’ll love this summer anthem.

4.     Bringing Back The Sunshine – Blake Shelton

From a The Voice winner to one of its judges, this is definitely the rockiest song to make today’s list. We start with what I can only describe as church music, before a super strong guitar line hits that makes its way throughout the whole song. Blake comes in to tell us about a lover he hasn’t seen in so long: “Miss you more than words can say, guess we’ve got a little off track, but love knows a way back through the storms and pouring rain,” and I’d say the same can be said about my relationship with summer and sunshine. The chorus is insanely powerful with true Blake charm, “Got my hands on the wheel and I’m flying, heart beat loud as the thunder rolls, riding in on a stampede of lightning, whoa, I’m bringing back the sunshine.” This is 100% the song you sing at the top of your lungs at a show, or these days, that’ll have your head bobbing, and get you dancing as you tend to the barbeque.

5.     Summer Nights – Rascal Flatts

I challenge you not to get in a good mood once you hear this song. Gary LeVox has a voice that could put a smile on anyone’s face, and I think Rascal Flatts could well be reading everyone’s mind as they sing “We went crazy, cooped up all winter long” (make that all year long), Like Cassadee’s SummerSummer Nights is full of glorious summer imagery – flip-flop tans, white sand, big bonfires on the beach – and coupled with the ‘live show vibe’ the song has, starting with a cheering crowd and Gary saying ‘It’s summer nights, baby!’, it’s exactly the song we need to transport ourselves from boring days inside to those gorgeous summer nights. The chorus tells us to “holler if you’re ready for some summer nights,” and believe me, I’m hollerin’ as loud as I can!

I hope today’s Top 5 helped to get you in a summery groove! What summer songs do you love to listen to? Keith Urban’s Long Hot Summer? Florida Georgia Line’s Summerland? Luke Bryan’s Sunrise, Sunburn, Sunset? Let us know on Twitter @Think_Country and @CiarasCountry, and if you want to hear even more connected country songs, tune in for Ciara’s Country Connections every Friday from 5-8pm on www.UKCountryRadio.com. Thanks for reading!

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