If you think you don’t like country music, like any… none at all…. I’m here to tell you that you probably already do and don’t even know it (or are trying hard to deny it.) That was me, for quite some time. I fought it like it was the lamest kind of music ever to enjoy. I would say to myself and everyone else “oh, well yeah, I guess I like this country song by so and so, but I don’t even really like country music, so….” So what? So I’m still cool? Well, it turns out I’m not too cool to like country music and one day I gave in – I like country music! I can’t say I like all of it – there’s a lot of it that I don’t really care for (you’ll get that with any genre I suppose), but I like enough to say for real, I like it! Here’s a little of the who and why.
Outlaw country – Johnny Cash. Willie Nelson. Merle Haggard. Waylon Jennings. David Allan Coe. I know you like at least one song by at least one of these fine musicians. I didn’t grow up listening to any of these gents (not even close…. we were a Bee Gee’s, Jackson 5 and Carpenters household) but growing up and getting older, while on occasion hearing the songs that made those artists famous, surely started to form an appreciation for this style of country music. And as such, I feel outlaw country for me was the gateway to what I like today, not just in country music, but in all music – all of the artists those timeless musicians have influenced over the years.
Speaking of outlaw country, let’s talk about the next first lady of outlaw country, and my personal favorite – Nikki Lane. Her most recent album Highway Queen is an eclectic group of songs about love, heartache, loss, las vegas and broads (you all know one) who just need to shut up. She and her band put on a hell of a live show no matter how big or small the venue, and I highly recommend checking them out if you get the chance. In addition to songwriting and singing, she owns a vintage store in Nashville called High Class Hillbilly. She’s pretty much the coolest in my book.
Soul Country – I dare you to listen to Chris Stapleton and not be moved. He has a voice that can make me cry. This is how country should be – old school, southern rock, blues – soul country. I’ve been trying to find a chance to catch him live for a while now…. he’s right up there on the top of my list. Grab your favorite person and dance real close and slow to this:
Margo Price has been performing in and around Nashville for over a decade before releasing her debut album, Midwest Farmer’s Daughter in March of 2016 and has been rising fast ever since. Drawing from many personal tragedies, her songs are honest and sometimes somber. And if you’re singing about drinking whiskey, you best believe I’m singing with you.
Pop Country – Probably my least favorite of country, but I also do have a favorite or two. One of which is Sam Hunt. I’m just gonna leave this right here……
Yeah. He’s really super hot AND a really good singer. Many of his songs don’t feel totally country to me, and in fact his most recent single, Body Like a Back Road, is gaining some crossover popularity. He’s currently on tour with Maren Morris, who similarly has a more universal appeal, I think. Also she has a song called 80’s Mercedes. We own an 80’s Mercedes, so it’s pretty much my theme song (in my head because the radio in it is broken) when I get to drive it.
So there’s a handful of my current favorite country artists. Maybe you’ll find one song you like, maybe you’ll find no songs you like. I hope you do give a listen though…. you might be surprised.
*Disclaimer: I am by no means a country music expert, but I do drive a Ford F150 and I still adore “country” Taylor Swift.