For some of us, it’s the one distant relative; for others, it’s the whole family: that person that just doesn’t understand our love for country music. For those that think true country died with Merle Haggard to the rap fan that thinks country is a redneck waste of time, we’ve got your counterargument: country songs that that hard-to-please relative will love based on their taste in music.
For the Foo Fighters fan, CJ Solar’s “Tall Boy”:
CJ Solar sounds like if the Foo Fighters and southern rock had a love child – rocking, high energy sets paired with Solar’s undeniably country vocal. The entire EP Hard One To Turn Down is a steering-wheel-drumming-sesh waiting to happen, but to turn the rock lover’s ear, start with his first single “Tall Boy.”
If they love Fifth Harmony or Tori Kelley, try Lauren Alaina’s “Road Less Traveled”:
The latest from Lauren Alaina, “Road Less Traveled,” shows the artist at pop country’s best – catchy and uplifting, with a driving beat and a strong vocal. Alaina herself is both relatable and compelling, and both your picky cousin in 7th grade and your sister in grad school will find themselves jamming.
If they love new Daya or old Britney Spears, play Kelsea Ballerini’s “Yeah Boy”:
Kelsea Ballerini has been country music’s queen of attitude, from her debut demanding men love her “like they mean it” to calling “Dibs” on a potential fling and dissing a disappointing “Peter Pan.” “Yeah Boy” is a go-to bar pregame, so when you and your high school friends hit the town Friday night to meet a new ‘maybe’ or rekindle an old flame, throw this on beforehand.
If they’re a Black Keys fan, try the Brothers Osborne’s “It Ain’t My Fault”:
The Brothers Osborne’s gritty electrics, gravely vocals, and sharp percussion will click strongly with fans of artists like the Black Keys. The duo are TJ (the voice) and John (the guitar) and lean towards groove, blues, and organic rootsy grit, for an offering that’ll feel like a new home for fans of the indie rock twosome.
If they love Bonnie Raitt or Carole King, try Maren Morris‘ “I Wish I Was”:
Bluesy, emotive, powerful. It’s really hard to beat legends like Raitt or King, but for those stirred by the strength of their songs, have them try out Maren Morris’ “I Wish I Was.” The song is heartwrenching and her delivery is top notch.
If they like Neko Case or First Aid Kit, put on Natalie Hemby’s “Return”:
Natalie Hemby’s recent release “Return” doesn’t exactly check all the country boxes, but as the writer behind some of Miranda Lambert’s biggest hits, the Nashville native is clearly steeped in country sound. For those that lean indie with a base of alt-rock, Hemby’s effort will feel like an instant new favorite.
For fans of Usher or Ne-Yo, throw on Sam Hunt’s “Make You Miss Me”:
Sam Hunt may have raised a lot of country-gatekeeper eyebrows when he put out his R&B-infused debut album Montevallo, but one group that wasn’t complaining was the listeners. Now on the fifth single from the album, Hunt is catching the ears of anyone raised on multiple genres, giving R&B melody and phrasing a rural Georgia twist.