Country Gig!!!???

Discussion in 'Miscellaneous [BG]' started by kbaxter26, Aug 10, 2013.

  1. :hyper:Not sure where to put this...Sorry.:help:

    I have an opportunity to audition for a Classic Country band. I have never played country before. My only other gigs were OLD-SCHOOL Punk and Classic Rock. 30 years ago!!!!:bassist:

    The question? What would be a few good songs to learn that MIGHT get me a second chance?:hyper::bassist:
  2. Tonight The Bottle Let Me Down..Merle Haggard
    Silver Wings..Merle Haggard
    Ring Of Fire..Johnny Cash
    Folsom Prison Blues..Johnny Cash
    Walking After Midnight..Patsy Cline
    Wagon Wheel (not classic but someone will request it) Old Crow Medicine Show
    **Clyde Played Electric Bass..Waylon Jennings
    He Stopped Loving her Today..George Jones
    Rocky Top
    Country Roads..John Denver
    Dont' rock The Juke Box ..Alan Jackson

    I have played these tunes on every country gig (except **) I have done in the last 15 years..they're all easy and you should be able to learn them all in about 2 hours.
  3. Blake,

    Thanks. Now that was fast. Do you have anything written down on how to play any of them? Tabs, notations, sheet music?
  4. hover


    Oct 4, 2008
    You gotta develop your ear and chops if you're gonna hang in an old-school country gig. You can't fake that feel.
  5. Now you're talking my language, bro!

    First of all, a few things you should realize going in. Classic country is simple music, simple progressions, but it's all about HOW you play, and not HOW MUCH you play. It's equally important to know what NOT TO play and when. You do an awful lot of root/5th work, but the chord changes aren't where you'd expect if you are a rock or blues player. It's all about feeling the music and giving character to what you're doing. And dynamics are important. Country music is all about the lyrics and story of the song, the instruments are secondary, so don't overplay and for all that is holy don't play too loud, be very conscious of your volume and back it way off when the vocals come in.

    In any case, here's a short list of "must knows" if you are going to play classic country (Note; many of these fall into the Outlaw Country category, but by today's standards they are considered Classic Country);

    Tiger By The Tail- Buck Owens
    Mama Tried- Merle Haggard
    Silver Wings- Merle Haggard
    Help Me Make It Through The Night- Sammi Smith
    Good Hearted Woman- Waylon Jennings
    Luckenback, Texas- Waylon Jennings/Willie Nelson
    Six Days On The Road- Dave Dudley
    The Race (Is On)- George Jones
    He Stopped Loving Her Today- George Jones
    Folsom Prison Blues- Johnny Cash
    Ring Of Fire- Johnny Cash
    On The Road Again- Willie Nelson
    Your Cheatin' Heart- Hank Williams
    East Bound And Down- Jerry Reed
    Amanda- Don Williams
    Tulsa Time- Don Williams

    These are just a few that come to mind. But for a classic country band, if you walk in for an audition and don't know Mama Tried or Good Hearted Woman, you'll probably get the door pretty quickly.

    I loved playing real country music. It was a lot of fun and the songs are really, really great. Good luck, and have fun!
  6. Thanks. That is GREAT advise. I have read that other places as well. As for feel...I hope and pray I got that down. I think I do. But, never know until I get out there and try.
  7. bass32


    Jan 30, 2012
    Country is pretty Deep and goes back a long time. Lot's of artist and songs. Here's a few suggestions and I'll try to think of good dance songs;

    Any George Strait song, but here's a few for sure - The Chair, All My Ex's, Amarillo By Morning
    Merle Haggard - Big City, That's The way Love Goes, Let's Chase each Other
    Brooks & Dunn - Boot Scootin' Boogie, Play Somethin' Country, Workin' On My Next Broken Heart
    Garth Brooks - Friends In Low Places
    Tracy Lawrence - Alibi's

    Then there's the oldies but goodies that have been recorded by many such as Heart Over Mind - Don't You Ever Get Tired Of Hurtin' Me - Heartaches By The Number - Pass Me By.....the list just goes on and on.

    Of course there are lot's more, but maybe those will help you. I tried to think of 4/4 shuffles, 2/4 2 steppers and even threw in a waltz.

    Good advice by BayStateBass. Also keep in mind - stay on top of the beat and lead 'em in and out of the chord changes.
  8. Luckydog


    Dec 25, 1999
    1. Get the band's set list. If you don't feel comfortable asking for it, find out through other means...go to a show, ask a fan, check their website, check youtube for them. You should get familiar with the band before auditioning. Its kind of unfair for them to spring surprise audition tunes on you. Its worth you aking them nicely for their list.

    2. If they have a male and female lead, and you are asked to audition, they will most likely pick a few "guy" songs and a few "girl" songs to change it up. Also would likely pick a mix of faster and slower ones.

    3. There are tons of classic country tunes. The likelihood that you will somehow blindly pick the ones that this band covers is remote. So if you're not already a classic country fan and have played a lot of this stuff, then simply picking some haggard, willie, waylon, jackson, cash etc to woodshed on, is just going to get you nervous as hell and be counterproductive. Refer back to asking them for the song list.

    4. Bring a bass you're comfortable with. Personally, I'd bring a 4 string P or J, with some nickel rounds, or a 4 string MM. Something that looks and sounds "traditional" to them.

    5. Be honest with them that you've not played country before, but convince them that you are a superfast learner, and that this is something you have wanted to do for a long time, but never had the opportunity.

    6. Smile a lot, be on time, be courteous, yadda yadda. If you dont get the gig, ask them to please keep you in mind for any future opening. Things happen, and if you're fun and friendly, they'll remember you in a positive way, and might call you back.
  9. Johnny Crab

    Johnny Crab HELIX user & BOSE Abuser

    Feb 11, 2004
    You might have a 5 string handy in case AND...ALWAYS be ready for that sit-in/guest of honor singer who only sings the song in a key different from the original. Doing key changes on the fly is a good tool to have.
  10. Listen to the songs, listen to the stories and the emotion in the music. Imagine yourself as part of the story. A lot of people think of it as $h*tkicker music, but it's not. It's by far the best and most emotionally touching music I ever played, and I'm primarily a blues player and rocker. I did a stint with a Country band and I loved the music, and found I was good at it. The band, well I didn't like them much.

    To play classic country well, you have to respect it. Guys like Merle, Willie, Waylon....they're the REAL DEAL. Not "airbrushed cowboys" put out there by record companies because they look nice and have a pop sound. A lot of what they sing and play about are actual things from their lives.

    You'll do fine. If you're already in the mode of "feeling it", you're halfway there, if not more. Classic country is not technically demanding, it's rather basic. The real key is finding the nuances of the songs and understanding the dynamics of the instruments and vocals.

    Good luck, and if they ask you for a song you'd like to do, and they're REAL country players, throw out Mama Tried or Luckenback, TX. Those are two that every country artist has to know on an audition.

    Good luck! And keep playing that good music! :)
  11. Man Guys,

    Love all this advise. I am going to call tomorrow and try to get the set list. I know nothing about the band...nothing.
    As for instrument, all I have is my 1992 Fender MIM Jazz burst. It plays very nicely. I will bring my Sansamp BDDI set to where I think it should be. And, if they do not have a PA to run it through, all I have is my Bassman 60.
    I am excited and nervous. It has been so many years since I have played in a live band enviroment.
  12. These are GREAT suggestions to learn if the band plays classic country and a mixture of "newer stuff".

    This also brings up something really important.....what the band considers "classic country". In country music, there was a real shift in style and and how it was done around the time Garth Brooks hit the scene. Many look at him as the "savior" of country music at a time when it was losing popularity and hitting the skids. With hits like "Papa Loved Mama", "Friends In Low Places", and "The Thunder Rolls", the genre seemed re-invigorated and gained popularity in mainstream radio play. If their idea of "classic country" is Brooks And Dunn, Garth Brooks, older Toby Keith, Dixie Chicks, Reba McEntire, Juice Newton, Shania Twain, Lonestar, etc..., then it's a whole different ball game. Technically, a lot of that music is 20 years old or older, so some may see it as "classic".

    Get a list of songs from the band. That will tell you what they are looking for. If they want Willie, Waylon, Kris Kristofferson, Jerry Reed, Dave Dudley, George Jones, Conway Twitty, etc.... then you know what to do.

    A great crossover tune in my mind is Merle Haggard's "Workin' Man Blues". It's truly a blues progression with a country twist. A great song for out-of-genre players to learn going into the country scene.
  13. Don't be nervous. Country players are among the coolest guys out there and it was always the friendliest people I worked with in the music business. They truly love the music and enjoy working with people who respect the songs. At least 50% of your "personality test" will be how easygoing you are and if you are a good person to work with, and willing to learn, and your attitude toward the songs. A good attitude goes a long way with a country band. They are going to look for good timing, solid meter, and the ability to follow the changes. Fancy turnarounds and arpeggios won't get you the gig. Be solid and stick to those root/5th patterns/changes, and be ready for a few 7th chords. You find a lot of them in Country. And know when to back off!!! :)

    As far as worries. Your Bassman will be fine on an audition. As far as a bass, I can't think of a single classic country song that would require a 5'er in any way. Modern Country.....don't show up unless you have a 5'er. As far as tone, I found that the band really, really liked when I used flatwound strings on my 4. Dead thump is good, no "zing", any standard P or J is just fine for the music. Turn your tone control down, they aren't going to want to hear a lot of brightness or "boing" in the songs. Imagine you are trying to mimic a double bass.

    Go out there and knock them dead. And have a blast. I'd love to have a run with another classic country band. It was a ton of fun and the crowds and people were among the nicest I've ever met.
  14. Marginal Tom

    Marginal Tom

    Apr 28, 2010
    O'Fallon, IL
    Most fast or half-fast songs are played with four quarter notes per bar (walking bass). Most ballads are played root-fifth, with passing tones announcing the chord changes.

    Keep it simple, stupid ("KISS") is the order of the day. Fancy will get you replaced soonest.

    If you're not familiar with the Nashville Numbering System, learn it quickly.

    Most country songs are either 1-5 or 1-4-5. Minor 2nd chords are far more common than minor thirds, minor sixths or flatted seventh chords.
  15. You all seem to know exactly what you are talking about. Have most of you "been there done that"? Looks like some are STILL there. COOL.
  16. MarkH_129

    MarkH_129 noob

    Jun 22, 2013
    Santa Rosa, CA
    As a beginning bass player I thank you. I mostly like old rock and blues as Im an older Dude, I want to be a rounded out player and able to pick up and play most anything. Thanks for the pointers.
  17. I agree. Some killer advise and direction here. I might fit that older dude mold too, at 49.
  18. Lee Moses

    Lee Moses

    Apr 2, 2013
    Not much to add to the good points given here.

    Use mostly root-5th bass lines, keep your ears open, lock in with the kick drum, and you should do fine.
  19. georgestrings

    georgestrings Inactive

    Nov 5, 2005
    Yup, lots of good stuff here - I joined my 1st country act at the end of May, playing top 40, and some old school stuff... since then, I've played 28 gigs - just got home from one, actually... Prepare to have fun, and see lots of good looking women - they're actually younger and hotter than the ones that used to come see my modern rock bands...

    FWIW, I've been playing Fender P Basses or Jazzes, Music Man 5ers, amps and cabs by Mesa and Genz-Benz, and it's worked out great...

    - georgestrings
  20. Zootsuitbass


    Mar 13, 2011
    If your playing the Four and it's headed back to one.... Remember root,root.
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