Tuesday, July 24, 2012

An On-Again, Off-Again Country Music Fan's 20 Favorites

For most of my life, I have gone back and forth between being a die-hard country music fan to a casual country fan to a country music hater. I'm wishy-washy by nature anyway, but on this matter I have wavered more than usual. Here lately, I've been listening to some of the newer popular country music, but still only occasionally. Which got me thinking, what are some of my...  A) favorite country music songs all-time?  B) favorite country music artists/bands of all time?  and C) which do I like better, classic old-school country music or the country/pop hybrid that's so prevalent today? In predictable wishy-washy fashion, my answer to that last question is "a little of both." In answer to the first two questions, I present this list. Some of the songs below are among my favorite all-time country songs. Some of the artists/bands are my favorites, but the songs I've picked are not. I'll leave it to you to figure out which is which. It doesn't really matter either way. Here goes...
1)  Keith Whitley ~ "When You Say Nothing At All"  Keith's was a voice that country music lost too soon. This song is his legacy, and it's still amazing twenty-some years later.

2)  Sara Evans ~ "Born To Fly"  You can't help but admire the plucky optimism of Sara Evans. Well, at least I can't.

3)  Willie Nelson ~ "Always On My Mind"  Politics and weird behavior aside, Willie's one of the best there ever was.

4)  SherriĆ© Austin ~ "Lucky In Love"  I think I'm the only person who had this girl's album, but I still remember most of the songs off it after a decade and a half.

5)  Johnny Cash ~ "Rusty Cage"  Who can take a hard-rock song (originally written and recorded by Soundgarden) and make it his own? Johnny Cash, that's who.

6)  Taylor Swift ~ "Speak Now"  I know, I know...I'm not a teenage girl, so I shouldn't like this poppy drivel. But I do. I can't help it. The kid cracks me up, and she can carry a tune to boot.

7)  Kenny Rogers ~ "The Gambler"  The movie's better than the video, but the song's still a classic. You gotta know when...

8)  Lady Antebellum ~ "Just A Kiss"  Play. Repeat. Play. Repeat. I've got this group on loop on my iTunes as we speak.

9)  Ronnie Milsap ~ "Any Day Now"  This guy was a favorite of mine and my parents growing up. We even saw him in concert a few times. These days, nobody seems to even remember who he is, though he was quite popular in his day. This video's really lame, but the song's good.

10)  Martina McBride ~ "A Broken Wing"  Man, can she sing! Get it, girl! (Okay, that wasn't very manly of me. Um...go, Pirates! Or something...)

11)  Shania Twain ~ "From This Moment On"  Overly commercial? Yeah. Overly poppy? Yeah. Good music? Yeah.

12)  George Strait ~ "Amarillo By Morning"  This guy has had so many good songs, it's hard to pick just one.

13)  Alison Krauss ~ "When You Say Nothing At All"  Yes, I know this is a repeat. There's a reason for that, though. Nobody can sing this song like Keith Whitley. No man at least. Alison, on the other hand – well, she's in a league of her own. It's got a completely different vibe than Whitley's original, but Krauss's version is equally as beautiful.

14)  Edens Edge ~ "Too Good To Be True"  New-wave country pop at its finest. You can keep your Sugarland. I'll take this group any day.

15)  Alabama ~ "Song Of The South"  Sweet potato pie, and a-shut my mouth! 'Nuff said.

16)  Little Big Town ~ "Little White Church"  I absolutely love a group that can harmonize really well. This group absolutely can. Really well.

17)  Charley Pride ~ "Kiss An Angel Good Morning"  One of the few African Americans to achieve great success in country music, Charley Pride has always been one of my favorites.

18)  The Judds ~ "Love Can Build A Bridge"  Remember what I said before about a group that can harmonize really well? Yeah? Well, it still applies. I loved, loved, loved The Judds back in the day! (P.S. I don't really think you need "cute little 3-D glasses" to enjoy this video/mini-movie.)

19)  Lindi Ortega ~ "Little Lie"  A little bit country, a little bit alternative, a lot of awesome. Mix well and enjoy!

20)  George Jones ~ "He Stopped Loving Her Today"  One of the saddest yet most hauntingly beautiful songs you'll ever hear. (Or hear again, if you already know it.)

1 comment:

  1. Have mercy.... Some of those classics I grew up listening to!! I think I have heard all but three. I even used "song of the south" as a lesson for my honors students once on the great depression. They LOVED it!! I loved the Gambler movies as a kid, and used to walk around the house and sing his songs (look up Tomb of the unknown lover, another fav of mine)