As discussed in the introduction, rock and country have been interchangeable and mixed together since at least the 1960’s. The late 1960’s in American music produced this unique blend as a result of traditionalist backlash within separate genres producing country rock. Early innovators in this new style of music included Bob Dylan, who was the first to revert to country music with his 1967 album John Wesley Harding (and even more so with Nashville Skyline), followed by folk rock band The Byrds, the Grateful Dead, Neil Young, Commander Cody, The Allman Brothers, The Marshall Tucker Band, Poco, Buffalo Springfield, and The Eagles, among many. The Rolling Stones also got into the act with songs like “Honky Tonk Women” and “Dead Flowers“. Described by Allmusic as the “father of country-rock”, Gram Parsons’ work in the early 1970’s was acclaimed for its purity and for his appreciation for aspects of traditional country music. Subsequent to the initial blending of the two polar opposite genres, other offspring soon resulted, including Southern rock, heartland rock and in more recent years, alternative country. In the decades that followed, artists such as Juice Newton, Alabama, Hank Williams, Jr, Gary Allan, Shania Twain, Brooks & Dunn, Faith Hill, Garth Brooks, Dwight Yoakam, Steve Earle, Dolly Parton, Rosanne Cash and Linda Ronstadt moved country further towards rock influence.
I discussed The Eagles and their tango with country in the introduction, Leonard Skynard is well known for his country/rock songs such as “Sweet Home Alabama” which has been adored in the country music community and covered by various artists. Including Kid Rock, who made the cross over in 2007 with, “All summer long” a Skynard re-make and “picture” which both topped the country charts. The Picture above is Steven Tyler with Carrie Underwood during their performance at the 46th Country Music Awards where they sang, “Undo it” by Carrie Underwood and “Walk this Way” an Aerosmith song. These two have also collaborated on “Can’t Stop Lovin’ You” which was released in April 2013. Tyler sang it in an “emotional drawl” similar to the hit “Cryin'” and the song subsequently took on a romantic, country sound. According to a Rolling Stone article about the song, Steven Tyler said, “When it was done, it was discussed that I might have sang it a little too country. And all along we thought, should we get someone in?” and so they called up Underwood! Begin at 1:19:
Def Leppard wrote Songs from the Sparkle Lounge in 2008. The first single was entitled “Nine Lives” and featured country singer Tim McGraw, who co-wrote the song. Later in 2008, they collaborated with Taylor Swift in a taped show in Nashville, Tennessee called CMT Crossroads: Taylor Swift and Def Leppard. Furthermore, their crossover performance of “Photograph” was up for both Performance of the Year and Wide Open Country Video of the Year at the CMT Music Awards in 2009. Here is Taylor Swift and Def Leppard preforming “Shoulda said No/Pour Some Sugar on Me”. Pour Some Sugar on Me Begins at 4:00:
However this country/rock collaboration is more than just two genres getting together for a song, it is also the idea that country artists (and rock artists) test the boarder between country and rock, sometimes teetering more in one direction. Take for example, Brantley Gilbert’s ” Kick it in the Sticks” and Johnny Cash’s “Hurt”.
ps. When Billy Joel played the last-ever shows at New York’s Shea Stadium, he brought out Garth to sing “Shameless,” a song that Garth also recorded. The result was a little ragged but I couldn’t turn it down! Garth Brooks also paired with KISS on The Tonight Show With Jay Leno. If not just for the pure “whoa” factor, Garth, a KISS fan, makes the list with this have-to-see-it-to-believe-it duet with the makeup-less rockers on their “Hard Luck Woman.”
pps. Carrie Underwood also does a cover of Paradise City, its pretty great!
Posted on April 23, 2014, in country, country/rock and tagged aerosmith, brantley gilbert, carrie underwood, country, country fans, country music, country radio, country/rock, for the love of music, Garth Brooks, johnny cash, kx96, LOVE, music, radio, radio statio, rock music. collaboration, steven tyler, the art of persuasion. Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.