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Essential Country Songs

Discussion in 'Band Management [BG]' started by Blatz, Feb 11, 2013.

  1. Blatz


    Feb 11, 2012
    What songs are essential for a Country band. You can split it into Traditional and Modern categories if you like
  2. bassbully

    bassbully Endorsed by The PHALEX CORN BASS..mmm...corn!

    Sep 7, 2006
    Blimp City USA
    Neon moon
    The Shake
    Silver wings
    The Fireman
    Boot Scoot boogie
    Always on my mind
    Little Sister
    The Chair
    The Dance
    Friends in low places
    Folsom Prison
    I got stripes

    Gee...so many but these jumped at me as one that always got the dance floor swinging or huggin in my country band days. There are allot of good ones.
  3. jonas_24112


    Jul 11, 2011
    I know it's not what you asked, but I have a different kind of answer. It's easier to look at essential artists:

    Classic/The Greats: (Little of this)
    Hank Sr.
    Hank Jr.
    David A. Coe

    80's-00's: (Little of this)
    Garth Brooks
    George Strait
    Travis Tritt
    Brooks & Dunn
    Charlie Daniels
    Allen Jackson
    Vince Gill
    Daryl Singletary
    Hank Jr.
    Hot Apple Pie
    John Michael Montgomery

    New Country: (more of this)
    Jason Aldean
    Jamey Johnson
    Zac Brown
    Chris Young
    Billy Currington
    Brad Paisley
    Brantley Gilbert
    Little Big Town

    Heck, there's too much to list, but all these artists do well.
  4. jaywa


    May 5, 2008
    Iowa City, IA
    +1 to to all the above. And adding a couple...

    "Dust on the Bottle" (don't know the artist)
    "Don't Close Your Eyes" - Keith Whitley
  5. Bert Slide

    Bert Slide

    May 16, 2012
    Louisville KY
    Where are you and what instrumentation will your band have? Country is a huge category and every part of the nation and the world has it's own local country roots traditions. It's pretty cool I think when possible to incorporate some aspect of the traditional music of your region in your act to some degree whether you play more trad or modern. Knowing what instruments/voices you have to work with too can help determine what direction to go.
    Session1969 likes this.
  6. jaywa


    May 5, 2008
    Iowa City, IA
    You would also probably want some Toby Keith material represented.

    Not a big personal favorite of mine but he's a pretty safe bet with bar crowds.
  7. bassfran


    Mar 1, 2012
    Endorsing artist: Lakland basses
    Don't forget Willie and George Jones.
  8. jchrisk1

    jchrisk1 Supporting Member

    Nov 15, 2009
    Northern MI
    One of my favorites.

  9. kjpollo


    Mar 17, 2008
    We do Who's Your Daddy and Red Solo Cup.

    Also- if you have a female singer:
    Gretchen Wilson
    Miranda Lambert
    Carrie Underwood
    Little Big Town

    You can also look at Lady Antebellum and Sugarland but their stuff is usually more mellow. We have a couple of their songs on our set list right now but as we add more upbeat stuff, we're going to cut out more of the slower ones, maybe just leave in 1 or 2 for the night.
  10. jaywa


    May 5, 2008
    Iowa City, IA
    When I first joined my current band we had co-lead singers (a guy and a gal) and we did the Sugarland, Little Big Town and Lady Antebellum stuff and it just killed.

    Not long afterward we parted ways with the female so all those tunes got tossed out but they're good ones if you have the lineup to pull it off.
  11. kjpollo


    Mar 17, 2008
    Thats us! We're looking for a wider range of upbeat stuff for the gal singer. But she is amazing with the Little Big Town stuff.
  12. jaywa


    May 5, 2008
    Iowa City, IA
    Faith Hill, Shania Twain and Martina McBride are always golden if you've got a good female singer.
  13. Blatz


    Feb 11, 2012
    Many Thanks
  14. Some of ours to help you out;

    Classic Country

    Mama Tried- Merle Haggard
    Good Hearted Woman- Waylon/Willie
    Luckenback Texas- Waylon/Willie
    Help Me Make It Through The Night- Sammi Smith (original)
    On The Road Again- Willie Nelson
    Silver Wings- Merle Haggard
    Workin' Man Blues- Merle Haggard
    Tulsa Time- Don Williams
    Amanda- Don Williams
    Your Cheatin' Heart- Hank Williams
    The Race (Is On)- George Jones (actually, we have two versions of this, George Jones and Sawyer Brown)
    Tiger By The Tail- Buck Owens
    Folsom Prison Blues- Johnny Cash
    Ring Of Fire- Johnny Cash (actually we do Joaquin Phoenix's recording from Walk The Line)
    Girl From The North Country- Bob Dylan/Johnny Cash

    Modern Country Tunes

    People Are Crazy- Billy Currington
    That's How Country Boys Roll- Billy Currington
    Hicktown- Jason Aldean
    CrazyTown- Jason Aldean
    Country Girl Shake It For Me- Luke Bryan
    I Ain't As Good As I Once Was- Toby Keith
    A Little Less Talk (A Lot More Action)- Toby Keith
    Fast As You- Dwight Yoakam
    Guitars, Cadillacs- Dwight Yoakam
    Play Something Country- Brooks And Dunn
    Save A Horse (Ride A Cowboy)- Big-N-Rich
    Coming To Your City- Big-N-Rich
    Honky Tonk World- Chris LeDoux
    T-R-O-U-B-L-E- Travis Tritt
    Friends In Low Places- Garth Brooks
    If Tomorrow Never Comes- Garth Brooks
    Little Sister- Dwight Yoakam (cover of Elvis Presley)
    What Was I Thinking- Dierks Bentley
    5-1-5-0- Dierks Bentley
    Am I The Only One- Dierks Bentley
    Tip It On Back- Dierks Bentley (we just started on this one)
    Country Must Be Country Wide- Brantley Gilbert
    Drink In My Hand- Eric Church
    Smoke A Little Smoke- Eric Church
    Springsteen- Eric Church (we don't do this but a lot of "modern" country bands do)
    Six Days On The Road- Sawyer Brown (not the original artist but it's the version we cover)

    Crossover songs that appeal to country crowds;

    Can't You See- Marshall Tucker Band
    Sweet Home Alabama- Lynyrd Skynyrd
    Call Me The Breeze- Lynyrd Skynyrd
    Gimme Three Steps- Lynyrd Skynyrd
    Keep Your Hands To Yourself- Georgia Satellites

    As you can see we are a guitar-oriented band.

    These are just a few of what we do.

    Good luck!
  15. jungleheat

    jungleheat Banned

    Jun 19, 2011
    Here's my list:
  16. bassbully

    bassbully Endorsed by The PHALEX CORN BASS..mmm...corn!

    Sep 7, 2006
    Blimp City USA
    Ohh... yea those were always good ones. Looks like I might have to dust off my country chops. The BL from the country band I used to play allot of these songs in called and wants me back. I am sitting in tonight at their practice to see where we are all at.:smug:
  17. Oh, and if you have the right crowd and the right vocalist, Steve Earle's "Copperhead Road" is fun. Not really country at all, but in my mind it's an influential song because to me it was a great predictor of what country would meld into 20 years later.

    Bear one thing in mind.......country music fans either like the new country or hate it. The modern stuff is really not country music, per se, it's really 3 and 4 chord rock with a country twang and a southern drawl. When it comes to country, you need to know your audience.

    Just a thought.
  18. MegaSwing

    MegaSwing Your Obedient Bassist® Gold Supporting Member

    Nov 26, 2002
    Baltimore, MD USA
    My favorite country songs I ever played:

    "On a Good Night" by Wade Hayes
    "Silver Wings" by Merle Haggard
  19. jaywa


    May 5, 2008
    Iowa City, IA
    "Don't Close Your Eyes" ... the first time I ever heard that song was when I played it live. Literally. I was subbing for my former band and their new LG/singer called it and I was like, what the eff is this but instantly the dance floor filled up.

    It was pretty harrowing to follow the first time cause the changes aren't exactly conventional for a country song but it's not hard once you get it down. And it's a huge crowd pleaser at least in these parts. Devastating lyrics.

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