Welcome back to this week’s playlist! So remember how I said last week’s poll was a plot twist? WELL, I TAKE IT BACK. Y’all, I haven’t seen a vote so divisive until I brought up country music again. Case and point:
The poll was split evenly. Every “yes” was met with a “no” (lmao thanks for the love guys – appreciate you all trying to keep me real). But hear me out for a second here – if you know me well, you already know I have really eclectic taste in music. Truth be told, I’ve actually been listening to country music for a long time.
However, the real reason country music has me so inspired recently is because of the yodeling Wal-Mart kid (what a l e g e n d)! As soon as I listened closely to what he was singing, I knew it was Hank William’s “Lovesick Blues” – a classic country tune. So frankly, when the vote tilted before the poll closed, I was pretty stoked to be able to make this playlist.
My real intent with this though is to not to force country music on y’all, but to show how multi-faceted the genre is. I know most people, myself included, can’t always really relate to the white, working-class “struggles” or the Southern lifestyle, AND we might get fed up with hearing people singing song after song about their Chevy trucks and dirt roads. So my challenge was to gather a group of songs to demonstrate that there’s more to country music than we might initially give it credit for. Hopefully this playlist does that and changes your opinions of the genre! (I’ve split up the playlist into categories below, with some of my own commentary as well). So go on, give it a listen! Embrace the adventure and have a swingin’ time (I think you will)! Yeehaw, here we go folks!
Let’s start off with some sad/emotional songs, because why not? Some of the most expressive songs I’ve listened to have surprisingly been country songs. I remember listening to “The House That Built Me” for the first time – I bawled my eyes out because the lyrics were hitting close to home. Also, there’s just something about the dobro (that twangy instrument you usually hear in country music) that helps enhance the sharpness of some emotions.
Great song song about heartbreak and trying to get over someone. Especially love the music and melody, it is slow and soothing enough to ease pain, but still captures enough emotion for you to wallow if that’s what you want to do.
Another song about heartbreak (wow, is there a pattern here?) – actually heard the version Carrie Underwood sang with Randy Travis and was moved by it. (Bonus: here’s Carrie’s version live at the Grand Ole Opry).
So before the haters hate me even more I will be upfront and preface this by saying that Taylor Swift wrote this song. But let me tell you, as much as we love to hate her, she truly has a knack for song writing, and Little Big Town blew my socks off with this. AND it went on the win a Grammy so there’s that. (Bonus Song: if you’re really feeling country listen to, Pontoon).
TBH still cry when I listen to this song, so what’s new?
I mean… is a country playlist complete without Keith Urban?
That’s Country Music?
So this is probably one of my favorite categories in this playlist. Here is a compilation ofmold-breaking country artists who’ve challenged the conventional country look/sound/identity/etc. Country is more than banjos and dobros – it can have rock, it can have the blues, it can have folk, it can have pop. You name it.
Shout out to my Kingsman fans here, you’ll recognize this song from that iconic church scene. Also, sick guitar shredding in the last half of the song – clear rock influences here. Worth all 9 minutes. (Bonus Song: if you don’t know this one, you definitely live under a rock).
Wow, Sam Hunt blew up the scene a few years back with this song. Let me tell you, this was this on repeat for me for a while. The rest of Montevallo was pretty catchy too, but this was definitely the standout.
Hootie and the Blowfish fans unite, because who would’ve thought that Darius Rucker would become a country hit?! Honestly, I had no idea these songs were his when I heard them. Makes it all the more better that he is bringing diversity into the genre. (Side note, but would love to see more black country artists nowadays! Don’t forget, country has a lot of roots with soul/folk music which all have strong ties to Black history and slavery). (Bonus Song: Wagon Wheel).
LOVE Janis Joplin’s version of this classic Kris Kristofferson song – way to take a country song and make it rock!
So I was really torn on which song of Kacey’s to use, because she has some really great lyric writing chops. What I love about her songs is how raw and thought-provoking they are. A lot of her earlier music really cuts into stereotypical small town, country life, but in an intelligent and witty way (it’s almost satirical in a sense – definitely a breath of fresh air from what we all think country music is like). (Bonus Song: to get a sense of what I’m trying to get at with Kacey’s lyrical abilities, listen to this).
I’ll just let these songs speak for themselves. They are iconic songs from legendary singers who have helped shape the genre. You’ll probably recognize them.
(Bonus: Miley Cyrus’ version – don’t @ me that Miley isn’t cut out to sing country).
The man, the myth, the legend. And the inspiration for the yodeling kid and thus, this playlist. #embracetheyodel
I would be sorely remiss to not include Johnny Cash in this playlist – absolutely would not be a complete collection without his presence.
For the Country Gals
Who said country music was only for the guys? Wave those country boys bye, and giddy yap on your way so you can keep slayin’ all day. Jam to these industry legends and their hits.
“You keep lyin’ when you oughta been truthin’…” (Bonus: here’s the original version by Nancy Sinatra).
(Bonus Song: Crazy)
YAS GURL, shoot that whiskey and tell ’em off.
AN ICONIC SONG IF THERE EVER WAS ONE – this song was a bop and we all know it. Major 4th-5th grade throwback for me – no shame, us kiddos got turnt to this song.
Country’s for the Boys
My initial goal for this playlist was to avoid all the stereotypical country songs – anything thing that had a reference to trucks, tractors, girls in jeans/shorts/boots/etc., drinking, etc. was off-limits. But then I realized that there are a few songs, that are just too dang catchy to eliminate which capture that country vibe. You’re also probably lying if you haven’t caught yourself ~ low key ~ jamming to these.
This is the song I know everyone’s high key raged to. You can’t deny how catchy it is! (Bonus Song: “Baby, you a song, you make me wanna roll my windows down and cruuuuuuuise” – y’all definitely jammed to this too).
So there you have it! Hope y’all took something away from this and maybe “enlightened” yourselves on country music. I’m definitely not a know-it-all when it comes to this genre, but I’m always for expanding my knowledge and taste, so this was a really fun challenge to take on.
Next week’s playlist is rap and hip-hop inspired (voting was so heavily in favor of this, it was a clean sweep) – so get ready for a whole 180 up in here! Feel free to share any recommendations for the next playlist, and of course share your thoughts/opinions/favorite song(s) from this country playlist. Until then, catch y’all next time and keep jamming!