CMT Certified: November Picks from CMT Staffers

Embedded from

Welcome to the first edition of CMT Certified. This is our monthly playlist — hand-picked and certified fresh — from the music lovers at CMT. Keep reading to find out why these 22 songs made our list.

Cody Alan
CMT Radio Live

Kelleigh Bannen
“John Who”
“I love this woman and all her music. But the song that hooked me to Kelleigh was this one, John Who. It’s a mid-tempo heart break song about saying good bye to the past. Forgetting your last love can be one of the hardest things we deal with as humans. I dig the sass of these lyrics, “I need a don’t look back kiss that stops me in my tracks. Someone who makes me say, ‘John Who?!’” Consider this song your Kelleigh Bannen gateway song. Thank me later.”

Luke Combs
“1,2 Many”

Craig Shelburne

Tanya Tucker
“The Wheels of Laredo”
“The cinematic Texas imagery here is perfectly suited for Tucker’s weathered voice. Her new album, While I’m Livin’, was worth the wait.”

Trisha Yearwood ft. Kelly Clarkson
“Tell Me Something I Don’t Know”
“One of the country music’s best voices gets a boost from a pop superstar — and this self-aware ballad is sturdy enough to survive it.”

Quinn Brown
Hot 20

Actual Wolf
“Faded Days”
“Channeling Laurel Canyon via Minnesota. Eric Pollard (the wolf himself) plays some tasty space folk Americana.”

The latest from the goldmine that is Athens, Georgia. These guys took the mantle from My Morning Jacket for making perfect roadtrip tunes.

Shanna Strassberg
Music & Talent

The Avett Brothers
“Bang Bang”
“One person’s ’take’ on a challenging and important subject. Hopefully the song will promote discussion on the subject of violence in our lives.”

Joy Williams
“The Trouble With Wanting”

Jordan Hatton
Music & Talent

Lennon Stella
“Kissing Other People”
“It’s been really cool to see Lennon grow up and explore different genres of music. Regardless of genre or style her voice is always incredible!

Old Dominion
“Some People Do”
“This song is just so honest and vulnerable. I don’t usually look to Old Dominion for ballads so this change of tempo is a nice change”

Alison Bonaguro

Miranda Lambert ft. Maren Morris
“Way Too Pretty For Prison”
“I tend to think that some of the best country songs are about the worst things. Like prison. Those songs are my jam. Tim McGraw’s “No. 37405” and Eric Church’s “Lightning” paint a very vivid picture of the hopelessness inside, but then along comes Miranda Lambert with a new perspective on the ugliness of being locked up. With no eyelash extensions, no Chardonnay, and no rhinestone ball and chain. The takeaway is, if you’re pretty, you’d better avoid any jailable offences.”

Hailey Whitters
“The title might’ve made me dismiss this song from newcomer Hailey Whitters, because I’ve already heard enough country songs about the rustic, rural part of America known as the heartland. But then I listened, and discovered that this is not a song about the Midwest. It’s a song about when life is out of your hands, you’ve gotta let your heart land. Whitters’ way with words makes her the kind of songwriter that I hope and pray lets her heart land in Nashville forever.”

Leslie Fram
Music & Talent

Sophie Allison
“Soccer Mommy”
“‘Soccer Mommy’ lives in Nashville and is channeling everything I loved about indie music in the 90’s. She is writing her truth and reflecting the ups and downs of life bring us.”

Miranda Lambert
“Dark Bars”
“You can feel her vunerability in this song, the lonliness yet comfort we have all felt in our dark bar.”

Melissa Goldberg
Digital & Social

Rustin Kelly
“We’ve seen more than a handful of emo / punk musicians find their way to alt-country so it makes sense that the path goes both ways, and Ruston Kelly kills it. He takes the melodic sensibilities of tracks like Dammit and strips the angst to let raw emotion shine.”

Tanya Tucker
“Mustang Ridge
“A rootsy tune from country’s queen badass!”

Alexes Aiken
Digital & Social

The Highwomen
“If She Ever Leaves Me”
“This song is overflowing with true honesty. Brandi’s vocals on this are unlike anything I’ve heard from her, and the lyrics and story of this song are unapologetic and unlike anything on country radio right now, which I love.

Robert Counts
“Backsteat Driver”
“The emotion in this song is so raw and tear-jerking. Robert’s voice is the bluesy country vibe this genre needs.”

Stacey Cato
Music & Talent

Blanco Brown
“Temporary Insanity”
“One of the freshest and smartest tracks I’ve heard in a long time!”

Maddie & Tae
“Everywhere I’m Goin’”
“So well written! Every word in every line is in the right place and I love the melody!”

Katrina Lothamer
Music & Talent

Jeremie Albino
“Hard Time”
“Jeremie is one of my favorite artists in the Edge scene and this song just makes me want to dance.”

Maren Morris, Hozier
“The Bones”
“This song reminds me of being home with my family and being with each other during hard times. Hozier’s voice adds a perfect touch as the song builds. The melody and lyrics fit together perfectly and makes me realize just how true the song is”