Country music is probably one of the most divisive genres to throw on the aux. I’m American, and it took me 20 of my 22 years to open my heart up to the joys of a banjo-guitar collaboration. It’s not just the music that I love though, it’s the line dancing, pickup trucks, and beers that go with it, and just the all-around nationalism that country music fans tend to have. They love America.
Now, whether or not that’s a good thing is a whole other issue that belongs in the politics section, but there’s one thing that I believe most people can agree on. No matter what, when ole’ Darius Rucker plays through the aux, there won’t be a single person refusing to sing along to ‘Wagon Wheel’.
1. ‘I Want Crazy’ by Hunter Hayes: Hunter Hayes is the perfect artist for any entry-level country music listener. He’s the reason I converted and gave all other country music a chance. He’s your run of the mill, good looking country boy that Nicholas Sparks writes novels about, and if that’s not enough to draw you in, his music will be. His sound verges on pop, and he could possibly be the male version of 2006 Taylor Swift (the Taylor that we all loved). And while his songs speak to every female in ways they fantasise about, he’s an insanely talented live guitarist. If you’re looking to dabble in the genre, Hunter is one of the stops you’ve gotta make.
2. ‘Country Girls (Shake it for ME)’ by Luke Bryan: Much like Hunter Hayes, Luke Bryan is the cliché beautiful, rugged country musician that girls flock to. However, on the southern scale, Luke Bryan rates higher than Hunter Hayes. His music seems more heavily influenced by rock and folk than pop. His accent is thicker, and he tends to sing about more country topics: tractors, farms, corn, trucks, dancing with country girls. He’s a real country lad.
3. ‘Billie Jean’ by The Civil Wars: Now, this song is on the more folk end of country music. The Civil Wars (while no longer together, bless their souls) have a very distinct sound. They make heavy use of the fiddle, violin, and piano. Their sound is more sensual and sultry. This song happens to be a cover of the king Michael Jackson. They completely make the song their own. The duo has a pair of powerful voices that work so well together to make a fantastic trademark sound. If there’s one artist on this list that I’m the most passionate about on this playlist, it is The Civil Wars. It would serve you well to listen to ‘Barton Hollow’ and ‘Poison & Wine’ if you decide to peek into their short discography.