Songs with a little bit of Southern.
UNCLE TUPELO – “Wait Up” – as described by nick burns
This song is about the twangiest thing you can get that is still somewhat recognizable as rock music. Wilco frontman Jeff Tweedy’s earlier work under the moniker Uncle Tupelo started as an experiment in trying to get staid St. Louis audiences to listen to hardcore punk by disguising it with blues rock and rockabilly. In many ways Tweedy’s project has stayed the same: how far can I push my music, experiment with noise and texture, without destroying the folk-rock substrate on which everything rests? I love the banjo dueling with the guitar on this track, Tweedy’s shy smoker voice. An early gem in his crown.
NEIL YOUNG – “Harvest Moon” – as described by ena alvarado
Full disclaimer here: I am not a big fan of country music. I am, however, in love with Neil Young’s harmonica and, most importantly, the moon. Menstrual cycles, Sun Kil Moon, The Dark Side of the Moon, Beach Moon/Peach Moon, Full Moon on the Quad, Moonlight—the mere word conjures up so many lovely associations! Not to mention its mesmerizing phases, its impact on tidal waves, and best of all, the fact it’s always, always female.
JILLIAN JACQUELINE – “Overdue” – as described by som-mai nguyen
As much as I adore Kacey Musgraves, Jillian Jacqueline is another, criminally underappreciated member of the Millennial vanguard that’s showing us: at least in terms of country music, the future is female. If I were pressed for a single favorite song in the world, this is it — bare, restless, and hopeful.
Taylor Swift – “You Belong With Me” – as described by brandon truong
I remember laying down at the top of a hill in Berkeley at 2 a. m., playing this song on my phone, singing along at the top of my lungs, almost crying. I watched the faint lights around the bay and ruminated about this girl I was really gunning for, who I’d recently found out had a boyfriend. Then the song faded out. Then it started playing again.
BRANDON RHYDER – “Freeze Frame Time” – as described by tara mccullough
Texas country kind of lives in its own niche of the country music world, but I feel like this one can transcend those lines. As my last moments of ~college~ are fleeting, I feel like there are more and more times where this song comes to mind.
TOBY KEITH – “Red Solo Cup” – as described by andrew huang
My dad told me that when I was five years old, at our family’s Super Bowl party, I snuck a red solo cup of beer to my room. Well, that cup is now decomposable. I think it’s important in these troublesome times to occasionally embrace our inner Toby Keith; grab a red solo cup, fill it with some Natty, and have a party.
DIXIE CHICKS – “Landslide” – as described by kevin garcia
I am not afraid to say that the Dixie Chicks’ cover of “Landslide” easily eclipses both the Fleetwood Mac and Stevie Nicks versions. Natalie Maines didn’t have to go as hard as she did on this song, but she did and now this beautiful song has graced the ears of those both inside the scope of country music, and beyond.
STUART DUNCAN, EDGAR MEYER, CHRIS THILE, AND YO-YO MA – “Attaboy” – as described by chloe rickards
The Goat Rodeo Sessions is a masterpiece of an album that fuses bluegrass and classical together seamlessly. It’s an album that’s surprisingly underground, even though it features both Chris Thile (Punch Brothers, Nickel Creek, world’s greatest mandolinist) and Yo-Yo Ma. This is the album that made me pay attention to bluegrass and folk.
THE DIXIE CHICKS – “Wide Open Spaces” – as described by jessica chow
A 1998 throwback for everyone trying to follow their dreams in this shape of a place out west. A tribute to coming of age and for many of us, a reminder of the leap you made in leaving home for Stanford and trying to make it out here on your own. Reminder to breathe in the midst of your week 5 stresses and learning these life lessons.
HISS GOLDEN MESSENGER – “Heart Like a Levee” – as described by anthony milki
Just wait for doo-doo-doos to kick in.
BRIAN ENO – “Deep Blue Day” – as described by katie nesser
As a Texas gal, I felt a bit of pressure to submit a song by one of my people, but Brian Eno’s “Deep Blue Day” is one of the most beautiful things I’ve ever heard, and makes me wholeheartedly believe there’s a lonely cowboy on the moon, dreamily strumming this song.
Image from here.