Country artist Neal McCoy’s appeal comes across clearest on stage. He’s a fantastic live performer and all-around entertainer, making new albums an excuse to catch his show when he comes back to town. That’s not to downplay the quality of his mid-’90s output, as that batch of noteworthy singles first pointed country fans to his live performances.
Born Hubert Neal McGaughey Jr., the Jacksonville, Texas native won an opening spot on a Charley Pride tour in a 1981 talent contest. Fans finally took notice in the ’90s because of his Atlantic Records output. Since then, chart success has been limited, aside from the light-hearted 2005 hit “Billy’s Got His Beer Goggles On,” but country music fans have stuck with McCoy — a consistent performer and proud American.
He got attention, both positive and negative, recently for the anti-NFL, pro-national anthem song “Take a Knee My Ass” and his daily social media posting of the pledge of allegiance. Hopefully, that brought more eyes to McCoy’s live show and more ears to these 10 songs.
10. “You Gotta Love That”
His faster-driving material, the type you want to play at full-blast on road trips, makes McCoy a potent song interpreter and one heck of a live performer.
9. “If I Was a Drinkin’ Man”
While a lot of country songs are about drinking to forget, McCoy met someone who’d made remembering the tough times worthwhile.
8. “Going, Going, Gone”
This is the more subdued Bryan White tune, not the raucous George Strait song. McCoy has the chops to handle either, when you consider this performance along with some of his more upbeat material.
7. “Then You Can Tell Me Goodbye”
McCoy’s a talented song interpreter beyond country songs, as heard on this reimagining of a John D. Loudermilk-penned doo-wop classic. It’s the best country version of a song once recorded by the legendary Eddy Arnold.
6. “Now I Pray For Rain”
Pop-accessible country songs that rely on traditional-sounding vocal harmonies and instrumentation rarely sounded better.
5. “For a Change”
Intentional or not, this song about long-awaited life changes applies to McCoy’s delay in cracking the country charts’ glass ceiling.
4. “The City Put the Country Back in Me”
This one hits home for anyone raised in a rural area who couldn’t wait to ditch the countryside for the big city, only to find out that you’re more old-fashioned than you’d realized.
3. “The Shake”
This is either about a particular dance move or butts in general. Either way, it’s one of those fiery, fiddle-driven line dance tunes that makes ’90s country fun.
2. “No Doubt About It”
The title track off McCoy’s career-breaking album became the first of consecutive number one Billboard singles. It simply and sweetly says that the narrator and his woman belong together like biscuits and gravy — no doubt about it!
The 1994 single that helped make McCoy a household name is this fun, clap-along song about appreciating the little things in a loving relationship.