If Jennifer Hart's new single "18" is a good indicator of what's to come on her debut EP, then fans of traditional and contemporary country have something to look forward to.

The acoustic guitar-led, steel-filled, mid-tempo love song is reminiscent of some of the best country songs of the last 20 years. Nashville song pros Paul DiGiovanni, Derrick Southerland and Brandon Hood helped her write a lyric that finds a woman reimagining a love story so it begins much earlier, thus avoiding some the pitfalls of a broken heart.

"I’ve always looked up to and admired my parents’ relationship and because of that I’ve always wished I would’ve met my person sooner so I could’ve loved him longer," Hart tells Taste of Country ahead of this exclusive premiere of her new lyric video.

"I can’t help but wonder what life would’ve been like if all of my experiences from 18 on were shared with that one person," she continues. "There would’ve been a lot of memories made and it would’ve saved me from a lot of heartbreak."

A bad breakup actually proved to be the impetus for Hart to move from Gilbert, Ariz., to Nashville to pursue country music as a career. In May 2019 she tasted success for the first time with a song called "Half the Man" (more than 12 million Spotify streams to date), released under the name Jennifer Smestad. This viral success gave her the confidence to create a more organic blend of country music that fans will find on the 1992 EP when it's released on Sept. 30. The four remaining new songs on the 7-song project were co-written by Hart with some of Music City's top writers. "This record is my life," the almost 30-year-old says.

"I know that's not how our story goes / Just wasn't our time it / Took a lot of broken dead end roads / For us to find it's perfect, it's worth it / Timing's everything / But if it were up to me / I probably would've met you at 18," she sings during the chorus of 18.

The acoustic arrangement and her patient melody recall Miranda Lambert's best moments of nostalgia. Hood produced a project that promises a mix of contemporary songwriting and traditional instrumentation.

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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