OFFSTAGE: The Gift of a Country Song

(CMT Offstage keeps a 24/7 watch on everything that’s happening with country music artists behind the scenes and out of the spotlight.)

You can’t really wrap a country song. There’s no good way to tie a red velvet ribbon on one and put it under the Christmas tree. Which is so sad, because for just about everyone on my list, there’s a perfect song. Each one would say so much and would say so much more than any candle, scarf, bracelet, frame, or bottle of wine ever could. So if I could find a way, here are the songs I’d give as gifts this year:

To those guys out in my garage, who I’m pretty sure are my husband and my son: “Flashlight,” Chris Young

To my daughter, who is practically packed for college eight months early: “You’re Gonna Miss This,” Trace Adkins

To my parish priest: “Better Believer,” Dierks Bentley

To my girlfriends: “Only Prettier,” Miranda Lambert

To my first editor: “How Do You Like Me Now?!” Toby Keith

To my rodeo-lovin’ sister: “That Girl Is a Cowboy,” Garth Brooks

To the friend whose son is fighting for our country: “I Drive Your Truck,” Lee Brice

To the friend coping with an alcoholic husband: “When You Love a Sinner,” Martina McBride

To those busy moms and dads with their busy to-do lists: “My List,” Toby Keith

To that mother who married too young: “Is There Life Out There,” Reba McEntire

To that couple who fights incessantly: “100 Proof,” Kellie Pickler

To my daughter who plays her fiddle every day, all day: “Even if It Breaks Your Heart,” the Eli Young Band

To the friend who doesn’t know how good he has it: “The Good Stuff,” Kenny Chesney

To the neighbor with cancer so aggressive no one wants to talk about it: “Green Bananas,” Jake Owen

To my entire family: “Where Did I Go Right,” the Warren Brothers

To my mom, in heaven: “Good Ride, Cowboy,” Garth Brooks

Alison makes her living loving country music. She's based in Chicago, but she's always leaving her heart in Nashville.