Evan Paul hosts Taste of Country Nights, On Demand, a weekly country music interview podcast that focuses on the music. Follow wherever podcasts are found, like Apple Podcasts and Spotify and leave a rating and review. ​​​​​​​​​​​This show is part of the Townsquare Media On Demand network.

I recently had the time of my life chatting with Ben Rector. Ben started out the interview by telling me that his album had collaborations on it — everyone from a children's choir, to Kenny G and Snoop Dogg. I was instantly drawn to his collaboration with Snoop Dogg, of course. If you have ever heard Ben's music, or his recent collaboration with Thomas Rhett, you know that he doesn't rap or usually feature rap music on his albums. I had to know more.

Growing up, Ben was a big Snoop Dogg fan, and he had a song that he thought would sound so cool with Snoop on it. He was worried that it had to be clean, because Ben's audience expects his music to be family-friendly. He was telling me how Snoop promised it would be clean, and it was, but there was a line about marijuana in there, so Ben was worried how his audience might react to it.

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You have to hear the whole story about what happened next during Ep. 49 of Taste of Country Nights, On Demand. If you fast-forward to 4:34 I won't be mad, but if you do that you'll miss him talking about his new collaboration with Thomas came about. It's called "What Makes a Man" and it's very, very good.

Another aspect of his Snoop Dogg collaboration? The price he paid for Snoop's verse. I had read somewhere recently that a Snoop verse commands about $200,000. Ben said he couldn't confirm or deny that, and that he and Snoop's people worked out a nice deal that he thought made sense for the both of them and made it happen. The song "Sunday" is on his recently-released The Joy of Music album.

If you are familiar with Ben Rector you might also know his best friend, a real life mascot named Joy. I learned that the outfit was custom created by some of the people that make the Muppets, and Ben and his crew had no clue it was going to be as large of a costume as it is. They created a whole backstory of Joy though, it's quite funny and Ben shares it all with me in this Taste of Country Nights, On Demand episode.

Top 10 Country Songs of 2022 So Far, Ranked

There are plenty of feel-good country jams on this list of the top country songs of 2022, but the No. 1 song is a gut punch. These 10 songs are ranked by critical acclaim, radio and sales success, and importance to the genre.

Five of the 10 artists made our Top Country Songs list from 2021 as well, but there are no repeats. If a song made a previous list or didn't spend most of its time on the charts in 2022, it's not eligible. So, before you ask where your favorite song is, be sure the miss isn't just a technicality.

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