“Try country music, don’t judge!”

Any given day, in any given room, I’m either the only, or one of few, country music fans in the room. My music library is huge. When I’m with friends though and throw my iPod on shuffle, I end up having to skip over a bunch of country songs to “get to the good ones”. Country songs CAN be the good ones!

Today, you’re trying country music.

My plan is not to convert you. This is not a punishment, it’s an education.

I’m a sucker for a truth and a connection in the music I listen to. I’ll guarantee there’s a country music song for every situation you can find yourself in! (Challenge me, I dare you.)

 

Part one:

Have a listen to Keith Urban’s acoustic version of “You’ll Think Of Me. THIS is a clip from “Livin’ Right Now”, a live concert DVD shot in 2005.

Listen to the whole song. Around 4:15, you’ll hear the song take its turn. Around 4:54 you’ll hear his truth. Read the emotion in his face. Watch how much harder he strums the guitar and how he can’t help but let that energy out by stomping his foot on the ground. He went through that. You probably have too.

[[[You’ll only get that part if you see him live. The original doesn’t do it justice, but have a listen to it HERE if you like, to compare.]]]

What do you feel?

 

Part two: Mixtape.

For this exercise, I’m staying away from catalogue artists like Johnny Cash, Tammy Wynette, George Strait and Waylon Jennings. There is a ton of classic or obvious-choice country songs out there, which I also love. Sometimes it’s an easier transition to get into something newer that you can hear more of, rather than pick from a collection so huge, it’s tough to wrap your mind around.

 

Know that this is a recommended list, to try.

Here’s why:

Jamey Johnson is probably better known for his songwriting. He doesn’t look the “country” part but he can tell a story. His voice stands out, makes you want to hear more of what he has to say. [Here’s an acoustic of “In Color”]

Zac Brown Band hasn’t won over the critics, yet. The band’s southern sound works anywhere, anytime. Every song on  every album is great – that’s very hard to come by.

Blake Shelton is a joker. (Brad Paisley is great for this too. Try “I’m Gonna Miss Her (The Fishin’ Song))

Dean Brody is finally getting the recognition he deserves. “Brothers” means something to everyone.

Eli Young Band is on my radar. It’s hard to get attention as a new band when your first single explodes like “Crazy Girl” did. The follow up, “Even if it Breaks Your Heart” is my favorite so far.

The Band Perry is a family band. Kimberly’s voice is pretty. She writes about breakups with an angry message, but in an artsy way.

Darius Rucker is Hootie. He’s genuine. That comes through in his recognizable voice to make him perfectly versatile. He’s crossed over and you still believe every word he sings.

Eric Church is reviving old school badass country. Photo: news.mansfield.edu

Miranda Lambert is punching the innocence often associated with female country artists in the face.Photo: people.com

Song list to get you started:

1-     Eric Church – Smoke a Little Smoke

2-     Luke Bryan – Drunk on You (summer serenade by a Georgia country boy? Yes please.)

3-     Jamey Johnson – In Color

4-     Miranda Lambert – Only Prettier

5-     Zac Brown Band – Natural Disaster

6-     Blake Shelton – Some Beach

7-     Dean Brody – Brothers

8-     Eli Young Band – Even If It Breaks Your Heart

9-     The Band Perry – Postcard From Paris

10-  Darius Rucker – Alright

 

How do you feel now? Was there a song you liked best? Will you listen more? Did you listen to any of the artists’ other songs?
My hope here was to share and get you to try something new. Want more recommendations?
Comment on this post or tweet @Sarah_Tone!
Keep listening!
Enjoy the ride.
– Sarah Tone
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