Essential country songs to learn style

Anthony Gring

Gold Supporting Member
Messages
4,080
I'm in a rut. I'm bored with my classic rock band. I want to try a new direction and need help. I don't want to be Brad Paisley, though his chops blow me away. I'm looking for your advice on essential songs to listen to to understand and learn country. I'm talking about the " classic " stuff. I figure that's probably the best place to start. I'm pretty good at copping stuff off records. I know there are B bender guitars involved on some stuff that'll throw me. Maybe I need a guitar teacher too? Anyhow, If someone asked me how to play blues, I'd say start listening to the three Kings amongst others. What is Essential listening for learning country?
 

RickNew

Member
Messages
647
You can start with the old school basics, Haggard and Buck Owens wll give you a foundation of licks. My suggestion would be going to where the old school chops meet the modern era, namely early Alan Jackson with Brent Mason on guitar. A perfect place to spend some time would be "Don't rock the jukebox"
If you can play half the licks on that record, you can apply that to 75 per cent of the country songs you come across.
When you have a handle on that step up to what I consider one of the Holy Grails of modern hot country licks....Jackson's "I don't even know your name" where Mason writes a textbook of the things Brad Paisley and others are doing today

Have fun
 

bluesbreaker59

Gold Supporting Member
Messages
3,708
Since you're a guitarist, go to the early Bakersfield stuff:

Buck - my favorite country twanger, Don Rich on lead, some Buck too
Merle - Roy Nichols, James Burton, Reggie Young on guitar
Wynn Stewart - Roy Nichols, Buck and I believe Grady Martin on guitar
Red Simpson - Gene Moles on lead guitar (phenomenal player)

Other cool older stuff for a great foundation:

Johnny Horton - Grady Martin is all over this
Wanda Jackson - Joe Maphis and Grady Martin
Bob Wills - especially the stuff with Junior Barnard on lead, he sounds like a pissed off Charlie Christian
Waylon - Waylon Live has lots of good licks played by old Hoss himself
Ernest Tubb - Billy Byrd on guitar, he's insane
George Jones
Lefty Frizzell
Elvis - not country, but you do need to fingerpick and Scotty Moore was really great at that stuff.

For "more modern" stuff:

Dwight Yoakam - Pete Anderson on all the classic stuff
Marty Stuart - early 90's Honky Tonk stuff and also "Soul's Chapel" is great
Dale Watson - Dave Biller, Redd Volkaert and Dale Watson
Junior Brown
Alan Jackson - early stuff is a little simpler, but only slightly, its still Brent
Rodney Crowell - Diamonds & Dirt cd with Stuart Smith on lead is great

"Master level":

Redd Volkaert - he's a MONSTER PLAYER
Brad Paisley
Anything with Brent Mason
Joe Maphis stuff
Setzer - more rockabilly of course, but again fingerpicking, swing, and cool chords and licks that you can easily apply.
 

Kingpin

Member
Messages
622
Two Must Haves:

Merle Haggard - Live at Billy Bobs (Redd Volkaert on guitar) CD, not the DVD which is a different show.

Dwight Yoakam - Just Lookin' For a Hit (Pete Anderson on guitar)
 

guitgator

Member
Messages
3,969
lots of good suggestions here.....especially Don Rich, Pete Anderson etc. Anything Waylon from the 70s also has great guitar stuff on it.

as for particular songs with hardcore country guitar here are a few

That's How I Got To Memphis - Deryl Dodd
Workin' Man's Blues - Haggard
Highway Forty Blues - Ricky Skaggs w/ Ray Flacke on guitar
 

cbguy

Green & Gold Supporter
Messages
2,556
Don't forget Willie:
"Blue Eyes Crying in the Rain"
and maybe
"You Were Always on my Mind"
 

robelinda2

Member
Messages
2,648
Vince Gill tunes for sure, everything you need.

Then go to Albert lee's tunes with Emmylou Harris and his solo work.
 

Anthony Gring

Gold Supporting Member
Messages
4,080
for the suggestions so far- keep 'em coming. I'll be buying CD's soon and woodshedding...
 

stratlad

Member
Messages
517
Bluesbreaker 59 - you covered it dude - great recommendations!

Like to see Johnny Horton is remembered - he died too young and was underrated (probably because he did too many novelty / historical songs) . His voice was great
 

stratlad

Member
Messages
517
Peter Anderson is killer

BTW, Johnny A (not though of as country) does some great countryesque tunes on his 2 CDs with amazing stuff on a few songs.

Albert Lee is a great one too (listen to him on Emmylou's Hot Band)
 

Teleman

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
1,887
As a guitar player with a classic rock background I'd recommend the following:L
Vince Gill
Albert Lee
Brad Paisley
Brent Mason (can be found on a million nashville recordings)
Steve Wariner
LeeRoy Parnell
 

Gas-man

Unrepentant Massaganist
Messages
18,611
That's How I Got To Memphis - Deryl Dodd
I think the definitive version of this classic.

Deryl is pretty much forgotten but he killed this song and BM's b-bender licks will scramble your gourd trying to figure them out.

:bow

He probably dashed the licks off in about 20 minutes too, the SOB! :D
 

Gas-man

Unrepentant Massaganist
Messages
18,611
for the suggestions so far- keep 'em coming. I'll be buying CD's soon and woodshedding...

The most important thing to learn = hybrid picking.

It will make you sound more "country" than anything else.

I've said it a million times, but it's really where it's at with country.
 

puckhead

Member
Messages
2,098
15 posts to get to Johnny Cash?

"Ring of Fire" and "I walk the Line" are classic country guitar songs for me
 

fierce_carrot

Member
Messages
1,879
Since you're coming out of the rock genre, I'd suggest starting with some Hank Williams Jr.

Check out early Lynyrd Skynrd, they would be a country band today. Allen Collins was a fantastic geetar picker! Also check out The Outlaws, The Byrds, and of course, Charlie Daniels...

The first couple of Eagles albums are country to the core...
 

GtrWiz

Member
Messages
3,972
Since you're a guitarist, go to the early Bakersfield stuff:

Buck - my favorite country twanger, Don Rich on lead, some Buck too
Merle - Roy Nichols, James Burton, Reggie Young on guitar
Wynn Stewart - Roy Nichols, Buck and I believe Grady Martin on guitar
Red Simpson - Gene Moles on lead guitar (phenomenal player)

Other cool older stuff for a great foundation:

Johnny Horton - Grady Martin is all over this
Wanda Jackson - Joe Maphis and Grady Martin
Bob Wills - especially the stuff with Junior Barnard on lead, he sounds like a pissed off Charlie Christian
Waylon - Waylon Live has lots of good licks played by old Hoss himself
Ernest Tubb - Billy Byrd on guitar, he's insane
George Jones
Lefty Frizzell
Elvis - not country, but you do need to fingerpick and Scotty Moore was really great at that stuff.

For "more modern" stuff:

Dwight Yoakam - Pete Anderson on all the classic stuff
Marty Stuart - early 90's Honky Tonk stuff and also "Soul's Chapel" is great
Dale Watson - Dave Biller, Redd Volkaert and Dale Watson
Junior Brown
Alan Jackson - early stuff is a little simpler, but only slightly, its still Brent
Rodney Crowell - Diamonds & Dirt cd with Stuart Smith on lead is great

"Master level":

Redd Volkaert - he's a MONSTER PLAYER
Brad Paisley
Anything with Brent Mason
Joe Maphis stuff
Setzer - more rockabilly of course, but again fingerpicking, swing, and cool chords and licks that you can easily apply.
+1000
 

twangbanger

Member
Messages
1,492
You can start with the old school basics, Haggard and Buck Owens wll give you a foundation of licks. My suggestion would be going to where the old school chops meet the modern era, namely early Alan Jackson with Brent Mason on guitar. A perfect place to spend some time would be "Don't rock the jukebox"
If you can play half the licks on that record, you can apply that to 75 per cent of the country songs you come across.
When you have a handle on that step up to what I consider one of the Holy Grails of modern hot country licks....Jackson's "I don't even know your name" where Mason writes a textbook of the things Brad Paisley and others are doing today

Have fun
This sounds like it to me!!
 






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