If you listen to the Steep Canyon Rangers’ new album the way it’s meant to be listened to, you will find the song “Recommend Me” at the very end, waiting to blow you away.

Or maybe, the reason it sits there is far simpler.

“Well, it was among the last songs we cut,” Steep Canyon Rangers’ vocalist and banjo extraordinaire Graham Sharp tells Taste of Country about the third and final single from their upcoming album, Morning Shift.

“To be honest, it was just a weird album in general to sequence because there's a lot of variety across the record. I guess we just wanted to let the record have some momentum at the top and let it ease from there."

"I mean, ‘Recommend Me’ emotionally crushed me.”

It's Track 12 on a twelve-track album and an emotional crusher, to say the least. "Recommend Me" is a deep dive into the story of a couple who have silently battled their share of challenges.

“I think they're good in the end,” Sharp says of the (fictional) couple’s storyline, which plays out in the song, which is premiering exclusively on Taste of Country and The Boot on Aug. 7.  “I think they've come to peace with everything, and I think they're okay in the end.”

However, the fellow members of the Asheville-based group — Mike Guggino, Aaron Burdett, Nicky Sanders, Mike Ashworth and Barrett Smith — seem to have their own thoughts about “Recommend Me.”

“They think it’s the saddest song in the world,” Sharp says of his bandmates, laughing, "But if you ask me, it's not sad. They're kind of celebrating. I mean, they made it ... at least that’s my take on it.”

Referring to “Recommend Me” as one of the most "emotional" songs off Morning Shift, Sharp says it was that way from the moment he and Burdett sat down to write it.

“There's a writer who has become a friend of ours named Wiley Cash, who has written some great novels,” he explains. “He sent me an advanced copy of his latest one called When Ghosts Come Home. I like to write songs when something in a book inspires me. And sure enough, the first line of (‘Recommend Me’) is ‘don't look down, don't look back.’ That was the line that I pulled from the book.”

While the music video for “Recommend Me” doesn’t follow a strict storyline, it does showcase the undeniable vibe between the members of Steep Canyon Rangers.

“It's just sort of a room of people,” Sharp says of the casual treatment for the music video. “It kind of shows you what it’s like sitting in and having a conversation and hanging out with us.”

However, despite the laid-back nature of the video shoot, Sharp says he poured all he could into the song’s delivery.

“There were places in the song where honestly, the song did a little bit more melodically than I've been asked or asked myself to do before. I kind of had to just close my eyes and take a chance in places. And it feels like it paid off.”

The Top Country Songs of 2023, Ranked

The best country songs of 2023 fit snug over your life and experiences. Each is written from personal experiences, but somehow, that translates as if it were custom to each of us. We've loved, we've longed, we've lost and we've cut loose in the country.

Airplay charts, sales data and streaming numbers helped make this list of country music's top songs of 2023, but staff and Taste of Country reader opinion were most influential. Songs included on previous Top Country Songs lists were not eligible. A song may have been released in 2022, but it had to have the majority of recorded airplay or impact this year to count.

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