Country music videos are making a comeback in a big way. While MTV may not play music videos like it used to, artists still love making great ones. Why? Well, it’s pretty fun, for starters.
But even if CMT, GAC and all the acronyms are moving towards fewer videos and more shows, fans love watching good music videos. In fact, YouTube is the No. 1 music streaming platform and accounts for 40% of online music consumption. So even just uploading some album artwork with a song in the background is worth it to a lot of artists.
But these 10 country music videos show artists are interested in a lot more than just throwing any ol’ video up. Some of these have small budgets, and some have (what appear to be) very big budgets. Some are super sad, or super funny, or inspirational. But they all show great detail, whether it’s in their storytelling, visual direction, or both.
Sit back and enjoy 10 of the best country music videos of 2017 (at least so far).
10. Rodney Crowell feat. Rosanne Cash & John Paul White — “It Aint’ Over Yet”
The simplest video on the list, Rodney Crowell’s “It Ain’t Over Yet” is a masterful performance video, featuring the three singers in the song in different rooms of an empty house. It’s beautifully understated and captures a bit of the underlying history between Crowell and Cash. Without distracting too much from the song, this video shows you can make something powerful on a small budget.
9. Zac Brown Band — “Roots”
It’s technically a lyric video, but nowadays some lyric videos are more interesting that music videos. “Roots” does an amazing job of sourcing old footage to play along with the song. Starting at the top (winning a Grammy) and then immediately showing the road to get there, “Roots” is a rare collection of images and videos that kind of views like an inspirational Ken Burns documentary.
8. Maren Morris — “I Could Use A Love Song”
The tragic video wins for best use of natural lighting, hands down. But don’t watch it if you’re in some kind of mood, because the story is painfully sad (and painfully real for a lot of people). It’s also a great example of when to insert dialogue into your video without making it seem clunky or awkward.
7. Brett Eldredge — “Something I’m Good At”
If you went ahead and watched the super sad Maren Morris video above, quickly transition to this cute, undeniably fun video from Brett Eldredge. Everything from the suburban staging to the lighting to the tone to Eldredge’s performance is picture perfect for capturing the wacky vibe of this eclectic song. And that 360 degree shot in the cul-de-sac is really cool.
6. Midland — “Drinkin’ Problem”
Besides showing us where Midland got the money to make their record (selling bootleg alcohol, duh), the video for “Drinkin’ Problem” is a masterfully executed throwback to 70s and 80s cinematography, complete with the plethora of zooms and camera movement that overtook the industry as technology allowed it. It makes sense they delivered such a top-notch video. Bass player Cameron Duddy directed the video. He’s won awards directing videos for other megastars, including Bruno Mars.
5. Sam Outlaw — “Trouble”
Another fun story at the expense of our artist, “Trouble” shows how you can still make a great video without tons of gear. While most videographers can spot the difference between a $100,000 camera and a $2,000 one, most normal fans can’t. The fact this video was probably shot on a budget doesn’t hamper it from bringing in quality shots and good acting.
4. Brothers Osborne — “It Ain’t My Fault”
The band barely appears in the video at all, making just a brief cameo at the beginning, but that doesn’t stop this highly entertaining video from being one of the best. Beyond the humor and obvious athleticism of the actors, the video contains plenty of ironic nods to pop culture. Trump fans better be able to take a joke if they’re going to enjoy this one, though.
3. Kenny Chesney — “Rich and Miserable”
Employing the talents of the remarkably underrated John C. McGinley, “Rich And Miserable” is easily the most inspirational video on the list. It’s also the longest, at over six minutes. But the two-minute intro is well worth it. Also, the foggy, washed out, faded aesthetic is really great for this performance.
2. Old Dominion — “No Such Thing As A Broken Heart”
Fans of Scott Pilgrim vs. the World will really get a kick out of this video game-themed video that follows the band as they level up together. There’s a ton going on, so it merits a few different views. Also, major props to the editor and the person in charge of special effects, because this probably took a ton of work.
1. Thomas Rhett feat. Maren Morris — “Craving You”
This video turns Thomas Rhett into a badass action movie star, and honestly who can blame him for going this route? It’s a little ironic that Maren Morris gets a bigger part in the video than in the song, but this is just a downright awesome, high-budget video. The song almost becomes second to the video, which is totally fine because you’re so caught up in the story and production quality. Plus, way to use his real-life pregnant wife. The incredible effort behind this country music video definitely lands it at No. 1.
MORE NEW COUNTRY MUSIC VIDEOs: Dierks Bentley, “What The Hell Did I Say?” ｜Lady Antebellum, “Party in a Bathrobe” ｜Shania Twain, “Poor Me” ｜Scotty McCreery, “Five More Minutes” ｜Blake Shelton, “Doing It To Country Songs”｜Brett Young, “In Case You Didn’t Know”｜Jon Pardi, “Heartache on the Dance Floor”｜Sara Evans, “I Don’t Trust Myself”｜Brad Paisley, “Gold All Over The Ground”｜Tim McGraw + Faith Hill, “Speak To A Girl”