There are many fans of music who declare they like “everything but country” often this statement faces many laughs and smiles in agreement. People who do not like country music have many good reasons, from the repeated themes of beer, trains, tractors, and trucks, to the rock instrumentation that has not changed or shown much evolution in the last 15 or so years.

Despite these criticisms, there are many country artists who are pushing the envelope. This playlist is just a small glimpse of those artists from past and present.

  1. Lone Pine Hill – Justin Townes Earle
    1. Earle’s song explores the fears of a Confederate soldier realizing what he was fighting for, and trying to escape the war, and go back to his home, and to his girl.
  2. Silver Ships of Andilar – Townes Van Zandt
    1. This was Zandt’s most experimental song including A crazy ballad detailing a fantastical naval battle leaving one man alive.
  3. Reasons Why -Nickel Creek
    1. Nickel Creek draw mostly from the bluegrass tradition, but add poppy melodies to bridge genres, and reach more listeners.
  4. Pretty Girl From San Diego – The Avett Brothers
    1. The Avett Brothers can be loud and in your face, as well as being intimate, and personal. This tune of their has a very Caribbean feel, and just begs you to dance.
  5. Broken Arrow – Buffalo Springfield
    1. Buffalo Springfield had a pivotal role in the popularization of folk-rock, and country-rock. They are most known for the song “For What It’s Worth”. “Broken Arrow” is certainly one of their most bizarre tracks. Just to name two, It samples from fans screaming at the Beatles, and from “Take Me Out to the Ballgame”.
  6. Aw Heck – John Prine
    1. Prine’s first album released in 1971 is still influencing artists today. His Song “Aw Heck” is just an example of his ability to write such goofy lyrics such as “I could get the electric chair for a phony rap, as long as she (his love) is sitting in my lap”.
  7. Something On Your Mind – Karen Dalton
    1. Her totally unique voice is often compared to jazz singer Billie Holiday. The prominent bass line of this song is unique to the country music of its time.
  8. Morning – The Lighthouse and the Whaler
    1. They have impeccable harmonies, and the acoustic guitar buzzes, giving so much feeling to the lines “I want to know where you go to”.
  9. Indiana – The Strumbellas
    1. Before the Strumbellas hit it big as a alternative rock band with the song “Spirits”, they were making country tunes. “Indiana” is a great example of their early work.
  10. California Stars – Billy Bragg, Wilco, Woody Guthrie
    1. “California Stars” features a great lap steel guitar solos, and beautiful lyrics written by Woody Guthrie.