WPGU Playlist: “I Listen to All Music EXCEPT Country”

“I listen to everything except country.” A tale as old as time; you’ve heard someone say it or you’ve said it yourself. It is the social consensus of our time that country music lacks depth. That it all sounds the same, that it only speaks to drinkin’ beers and drivin’ trucks (even though similar things can be said for other genres like pop and rap, but that’s for another time). But I’m here to tell you this opinion stating all music is superior to country is a misconception. Sure, pop-country gets a bit repetitive. Yes, country singers do seem to love drinkin’ beer and drivin’ trucks. But there is so much more to the genre that goes unspoken, so much soul and heart that can be extracted from good country music, the hidden gems of the genre. And for those who truly just don’t enjoy the sound, there are subcategories of country (like folk, that is a large portion of this playlist) that may make appreciating it easier, may incline you to want to listen. 

This playlist is a collective of country music songs that will shake your views on the genre. Country is a genre whose roots grew from soul music, from church gospel and the blues. It is easy to see how pop-country has slightly stepped away from this history, but there are still musicians who keep to these traditional genres to make their country music. This is for all who have ever said they listen to “everything but country music”, and I’ll take you through the songs that will get you started and give you a whole new perspective on what country music is truly about. And if you’re a fan of the genre already, I hope you enjoy the selection of songs I’ve chosen to represent the genre to those who are new to it!

A Playlist for anyone who has ever said: “I Listen to everything Except Country”:


Lost on where to start? Try these first:

Tyler Childers

Anything this man writes, and sings is the embodiment of folk-country. Finger strumming an acoustic guitar, raw, drawn-out lyrics, a southern twang to his voice. His music is the epitome of the beauty that can come from country. You cannot go wrong with any song of his from this playlist, but I suggest starting with “Charleston Girl” or “Feathered Indians”.

John Denver

You may be surprised to see John Denver on this list, but he is like the father of folk/folk-country. Songs like “Leaving on a Jet Plane” and “Back Home Again” are significantly resemblant of blue-grass tunes that originated in Appalachian country. 

Johnny Cash

Another classic country artist, Johnny Cash is known for his country-rock music, his deep inviting voice, and his beautiful chord work on the guitar. “Girl From the North County” is a personal favorite of mine.

Dolly Parton

The queen herself. Her voice – so unique in its own right – made her the queen of country. All songs of hers on this playlist are highly recommended.

Some more current country classics also made their way onto this playlist, so if you are looking for less folky, bluegrass gospel type country, try songs from Chris Stapleton, Maren Morris, and Jon Pardi (he is fantastic, try “Heartache on the Dance floor”).


About Ava Mamary

Ava is an English and Communications major who believes filling her backpack with iron-on patches and pins is a personality trait. When not listening to older folk/rock music from before her time, she enjoys indie pop/rock, alternative R&B, and will talk to anyone about how she believes SZA’s CTRL album has no skips.

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