February 13, 2009

Top 5 Post-Waylon Jennings Country Songs

Seven years ago today, Waylon Jennings passed away after a long bout with outlaw diabetes. In tribute to his legacy and impact on music, here is Nightrain's Top 5 post-Waylon Jennings Country Songs, in no particular order...

Hank Williams III - “Country Heroes” from Straight To Hell (2006)
The pedigree is incontestable. Hank III was born to write and sing country music, and very good country music is what he writes (in addition to his psycho-billy / punk that is... not as good as his country). This is just a great song that pays homage to all the greats: "I'm drinkin' some George Jones and a little bit of Coe / Haggard's easin' my misery and Waylon's keepin' me from home / Hank's givin' me those high times / Cash is gonna sing it low / I'm here gettin' wasted here with my country heroes." 'nuf said.

Shooter Jennings - “Lonesome Blues” from Put The O Back In Country (2005)
C'mon now, he had to make the list. This song could be pulled directly from his father's catalog, although their vocals do not sound exactly the same. "Lonesome Blues" is the most country of the tracks off of Put The O Back In Country, and personally, I think that it is the best song. Additionally, you can't go wrong with a country song with both "Lonesome" and "Blues" in the title.

John Prine - “Glory of True Love” from Fair & Square (2005)
There is something really honest and "been-there-done-that" about Prine's music. He can go slow, he can go fast, and he can tell a damn good story in a song. "Glory" is not a story song, but it is one of those songs where the lyrics all fit together, perfectly placed and sang in just the right way, like an old man sharing his wisdom with his grandkids. Listen and you might lean something.

Old Crow Medicine Show - “Wagon Wheel” from O.C.M.S. (2004)
With a chorus borrowed from from Dylan, and an old-timey sound, OCMS create a classic with "Wagon Wheel." Excellent country vocals, violin, banjo... to the point where everything has a feel of a slightly broken, perfectly imperfect, back-porch bbq jam session.

Hayward Williams - "Redwoods" from Another Sailor's Dream (2007)
With a warm, full, heartfelt voice leading the way (a little like Waylon), Williams pieces together a very pleasant and catchy track that features harmonica, acoustic and electric guitar over a steady trot of drums. Sounds like a solid country music formula to me.

Note: I intentionally limited my selection to songs with male vocalists that were, in my view, relatively traditional country songs (non-southern rock, non-pop country, non-alternative country) in sound and style. Also, in no way am I claiming to be an authority on this subject, so I would enjoy hearing additional song suggestions and comments.

R.I.P. Watasha


awmercy said...

Wow. I only have two of these songs, the two descendant tracks.

Nightrain said...

Any additions or suggestions?

Brasilliant said...

You inspired me to compile a best of Waylon Jennings cd for my grandparents. They're huge fans.

sandenuts said...

David Allan Coe - "You Never Even Called Me By My Name" can't have a Waylon Tribute without this jam.

Merle Haggard - "Mamma Tried" Cause why not? Side note, transported a patient named Waymond Dennings, we had much to discuss...

Nightrain said...

I agree that those are excellent country songs; however, "You Never Even Called Me by My Name" is from 1975, and "Mama Tried" is from 1968.

These songs probably would have made the list if they were written after February 13, 2002, but since this is the Post-Waylon Jennings list, they do not qualify.

Limit yourself to the last 7 years and it becomes a little more difficult to find truly excellent "traditional" country songs.

Waymond!?! How did his parents come up with that? Difficulty pronouncing the letter R maybe?