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Old 11-25-2009, 05:53 PM   #1
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Country music that's actually listenable

A tall order, I realize, but this thread is for that rare moment when you come across a track somewhere within the spectrum of country that's altogether inspired and avoids the usual hackneyed contemporary bullshit. I'm from western Maryland, which is essentially West Virginia runoff, so I have a lot of experience with it. I'm no purist, so feel free to post/discuss anything that would qualify.

A recent, highly wonderful discovery of mine is Flying Burrito Brothers. This track right here boasts probably the coolest pedal steel tone ever. It's practically squirming out of the speakers:



Probably borderline, but Townes Van Zandt's voice is pure country. Gorgeous:



And, of course, some awesome outlaw country shit:









I intend to check out Emmylou Harris and Lucinda Williams very soon. Those two have wonderful voices, and boast some seminal albums.
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Old 11-25-2009, 06:10 PM   #2
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If you go to the Flying Burrito Brothers, you go to Gram Parsons, which leads to Emmylou Harris - you MUST check her out. Put her at the top of your list.



Dolly Parton - no, seriously! She has a recent bluegrass album that's very good. Quite simply, she's awesome.



I'm also a fan of Mindy Smith, who does a really good cover of Dolly's song Jolene(which also features Dolly):



Lyle Lovett - I love his voice.



Mary Chapin Carpenter - more great singer-songwriter stuff



And one of my all-time favorite songs. It makes me cry:



Dixie Chicks - their album Home is one of my all-time favorite albums





And yeah, you can't ignore Mr. Cash and the Red-Headed Stranger. I'll be back when I think of more - I've developed an appreciation for country music (the good stuff) in recent years.
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Old 11-25-2009, 06:35 PM   #3
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Ack, I forgot Allison Krauss (with or without Union Station)! One of my favorite voices:



And speaking of bluegrass, Sarah Jarosz is young, talented and has a good CD that came out this year. Music starts about :37 into the video.



Then there's the whole alt-country thing - do they really use that label anymore? Neko Case and Ryan Adams have albums that are downright COUNTRY, but they're not labelled as being country artists.

Miranda Lambert is pretty good as well, she's pretty kick-ass. She leans toward the more twangy side of country, but she's getting raves for her latest album. (I know I'd rather listen to her than Taylor Swift, in any case.)

One more for the road:



Emmylou, Linda and Dolly. Sweeter harmonies, you have never heard. (I wish the sound were better on this one - you have to turn it up quite a bit.) Both of their Trio albums are excellent.
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Old 11-25-2009, 06:44 PM   #4
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I swear I'm almost done spamming the thread.

Sometimes you just need some down-home old-timey country. Or a reasonable facsimile.

kd lang, before she went all MOR crooner on us, kicked the shit out of country up and down the block. One of my all-time favorite voices. Her Shadowland CD is awesome.



And, of course, the real thing:



One more from my main man Lyle:



I just adore that song. And I'm not even from Texas (That's Right!)!
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Old 11-25-2009, 06:46 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by corianderstem View Post
Then there's the whole alt-country thing - do they really use that label anymore? Neko Case and Ryan Adams have albums that are downright COUNTRY, but they're not labelled as being country artists.
Oh yes, I very much consider alt-country to be under the country umbrella. Again, I'm no purist though, so the boundaries those people make tend to blur for me. All I know is, these songs kick ass:





Speaking of Ryan Adams and Wilco, anyone here into Whiskeytown and/or Uncle Tupelo? I've always had a mild curiosity, but was always more interested in wrapping up the discographies of their more well-known incarnations.
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Old 11-25-2009, 06:49 PM   #6
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Whiskeytown is very good.



I'm not sure I've ever actually heard any Uncle Tupelo.
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Old 11-25-2009, 06:58 PM   #7
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Shelby Lynne gets lumped into country sometimes, but really just does whatever the hell she wants. Blues, country, Dusty Springfield covers, whatever. She's flipping fantastic.

Her I Am Shelby Lynne album is amazing and features this gem:



Her sister, Allison Moorer, is also very good. Probably more "country" than Shelby. I can't find anything on YouTube for my favorite song of hers, "Once Upon a Time She Said."
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Old 11-25-2009, 07:07 PM   #8
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Jacksonville Skyline one of my favorite songs of all time...

I actually love a lot of country music, everything noted here

Country music, is a weird genre in the sense that ever since probably 1985 there hasn't been any good country music to go mainstream. All genres have their Nickelbacks and Puff Daddys, but there's always some good rap, rock, pop that will slip through the cracks and make it to the mainstream.
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Old 11-25-2009, 08:10 PM   #9
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Steve Earle has a few great albums, including Transcendental Blues, El Corazon, and Jerusalem. The title track from the latter is just a great piece of songwriting. He's pretty close to rock, but technically still country, I guess.



Also, listen to Cori; she speaks the truth re: Emmylou Harris, Gram Parsons, Lyle Lovett, among others.
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Old 11-26-2009, 12:13 AM   #10
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(Waiting for GAF to bring up Taylor Swift.)
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Old 11-26-2009, 12:17 AM   #11
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I hope not. I mean, the pop thread is thataway.
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Old 11-26-2009, 01:35 AM   #12
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Unfortunately, I'm much more well versed in country music that is not listenable by any stretch of the imagination.
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Old 11-26-2009, 02:34 AM   #13
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Old 11-26-2009, 06:13 AM   #14
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Ah fuck it.

Here was the video for Carrie Underwood's 'So Small' but youtube isn't letting me "embed" it. Pffft.
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Old 11-26-2009, 09:29 AM   #15
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I will admit to enjoying the heck out of Before He Cheats, and I have a copy of her first album, but only because I have a good handful of CDs by American Idol spawn.

She's too much the "pop country" genre for my country tastes, though.
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