Already inside the country radio Top 30 and rising, Shane Profitt has a hit-in-the-making on his hands with his debut single, "How It Oughta Be." A message-heavy song that establishes how the singer sees the world, "How It Oughta Be" quickly won the hearts of listeners who connected to lyrics including, "Teachers oughta get doctor's and lawyer's pay" and "A buggy full of groceries oughta be cheaper than rent."

Profitt is proud that his flagship hit shows where his heart lies, he tells Taste of Country. But he also wants fans to have a summer-ready party anthem from him, and that's why he chose to follow up "How It Oughta Be" with "Country Boys," a new song that arrived on Friday (Dec. 2.)

"['How It Oughta Be' is] a fun song, but it's also kind of serious," the singer explains. "['Country Boys'], it's a lifestyle song, and it's just one of those that as a listener, I would want to roll the windows down and just cruise, and keep the song on repeat. It's just fun.

"We wanted something to follow up that people would go, 'Man, this guy has something to say, but at the same time, he's also a really good time," Profitt continues.

"Country Boys" is also ready-made for the stage, and fans will have plenty of chances to hear it live in the near future: On Thursday (Dec. 1), Profitt announced that he's joining the bill of Chris Janson's Heavy & Western Tour, after previously jumping on Janson's Halfway to Crazy Tour earlier in 2022.

Not only is Profitt a huge fan of Janson's — before he'd gotten signed, he'd been to seven concerts in his life, and five of those had been Chris Janson shows — but a chance encounter between Profitt and Janson in late 2021 was what first gave the younger singer the momentum he needed to snag a publishing deal, and ultimately, a record deal, too.

That fateful day never would have happened if Profitt hadn't needed guitar strings — and it also wouldn't have happened if he hadn't been planning a date. At the time, Profitt was busy — he was still working full-time cutting grass on highway medians in his hometown of Columbia, Tenn., and he would squeeze in his musical pursuits anytime he could.

So, when he wanted to plan a date with a new love interest, he decided to multi-task: He needed guitar strings, and he invited her along on the 45-minute drive to the closest music store, promising her a meal afterward.

Profitt's date suggested sushi, and as they walked into the restaurant together, the singer was shocked to see Janson holding the door for him. As a longtime fan, he knew he had to talk to his country music idol, so he waited for the perfect moment to approach Janson's table and introduce himself. Janson was with his family, including his wife Kelly — who is also his manager, as well as a music publisher. Kelly offered her email and asked Profitt to send along some of his songs, but the courteous way that Profitt spoke caught Janson's attention.

"Chris looked up at me and said, 'Did you just say, 'Yes ma'am'?' And I said, 'Yes sir,'" the singer recounts. "He said, 'I like that a lot. Pull up a chair and talk to me.'"

Not wanting to give away how starstruck he was, Profitt started out the conversation by asking Janson about one of their mutual pastimes — hunting.

"We started talking about deer hunting, we started talking about dove hunting, we started talking about fishing — and then the music came about," he details. "I ended up actually sitting there at that table with them for over an hour that night. And two weeks after me sending them songs, he offered me a publishing deal, and asked me to come out and open for him on his Halfway to Crazy Tour. And when we were on that tour is when the record deal came about."

As for Profitt's date? At least she got a good story out of the experience, the singer adds with a chuckle. "She went back and finished eating her sushi roll, and that was our first and last date," he says.

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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