Jake Owen's new single "Best Thing Since Backroads" is most like his first radio release from a brand-new record. It's a progressive throwback, if one will allow such a contradiction.

An Alabama-esque guitar (this time an acoustic/electric combo) opens this new song, as it did the shuffling "Down to the Honky Tonk" in 2018. But Owen and producer Joey Moi aren't natural traditionalists, so as the first verse closes, the thunder of an eager rhythm section starts to build. From there it's a made-for-radio head-bopper that Owen was fortunate to have claimed first. Ben Johnson, Geoff Warburton, Hunter Phelps and Jordan Minton penned this song — one any superstar artist in Nashville would be happy to have on the radio.

In addition to the vintage guitar vibes, fans may recall songs from the previous decade as they listen to "Best Thing Since Backroads." Familiar scenes of lovemaking by the riverbank and dirt road drives with a cooler in the back dotted many of Moi's best arrangements in the early 2010s, and Owen picks up the baton for this likely hit.

Did You Know?: "Best Thing Since Backroads" is songwriter Geoff Warburton's first country single as a writer. The Canadian started his career writing for Shawn Mendes.

Best Thing Since Back Roads
Big Loud Records

Jake Owen's "Best Thing Since Backroads" Lyrics: 

I got one that I take to a honey hole / Where the bluegill always bite / And one that's a shortcut to anywhere / As long as you ain't short on time / I been down every one in this town / At least a couple thousand times / They can get these four wheels from A to B / Oh, but they can't take me where you take me.

You're the best thing since back roads, baby / Pedal to the medal with the windows down / Sunshine setting on a cross that saved me / Hanging from a rearview in red dirt clouds / Two-lane heaven's one hell of a view / But it ain't got nothing on you / Driving this good old country boy crazy / You're the best thing since back roads, baby.

I can show you one nobody knows / It turns into Cinnamon Creek / We can get a little moonlight, mud on the tires / Baby, if you know what I mean / Angel in the front seat, Yeti in back / Out here connecting dots on a map.

Repeat Chorus

Pretty as a windshield / Painted with a blue sky / Hotter than a leather seat, seat belt buckle / In the middle of July.

Repeat Chorus

Top Country Songs of 2021, Ranked

You'll find much more than just the Top 10 Country Songs of 2021 on this list. Enjoy the 21 best country songs of the year, based on Taste of Country staff and country music fan opinion, plus commercial data (sales, streaming, airplay).

To be considered, the song must have been released in 2021 or have actively charted for a portion of the year (see "Wine, Beer, Whiskey"). New artists including Lainey Wilson, Larry Fleet and Morgan Wade crack the top songs list, while hitmakers including Thomas Rhett, Jason Aldean and Luke Combs make the Top 10.

Let us know your favorite song of 2021 on Twitter, or email us at staff@tasteofcountry.com.

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