I got an email from a buddy of mine who was on travel and (oddly) in the mood for country western music. He lives in a part of the United States that has pretty much never heard of country music. “Country” to his neighbors is the brown strip of grass between freeway lanes. “Western” is anything not east of Interstate 95.
He posed a hypothetical question: If I were stuck on a desert island and could only choose 10 country songs to listen to, what would they be?
He came up with a list of his own, and challenged me to come up with mine. Here are his choices:
Friends in Low Places – Garth Brooks
Coal Miner’s Daughter – Loretta Lynn (Sissy Spacek version not bad either)
I Love This Bar – Toby Keith
I Changed the Locks – Lucinda Williams
Seven Spanish Angels – Willie Nelson and Ray Charles
The Sweetest Gift – The Seldom Scene (the version with them and Linda Ronstadt is also good)
To Know Him is to Love Him – Emmylou Harris
Amazing Grace – The Statler Brothers
Forever and Ever, Amen – Randy Travis
Some of his choices are OK, but we were on a different wavelength. Here was my list:
Stuff that works – Guy Clark
Luckenbach, Texas – Waylon Jennings
When I Get Where I’m Going – Brad Paisley/Dolly Parton
The Dance – Garth Brooks
Rocky Mountain High – John Denver
Where were you when the world stopped turning – Alan Jackson (live version)
Mud on the Tires – Brad Paisley (this was my retirement walk-off song)
Somewhere other than the night – Garth Brooks
Letters from home – John Michael Montgomery
Go Rest High on That Mountain – Vince Gill
Star Spangled Banner – The Isaacs (once you have heard this version you’ll see what I mean)
Man of Constant Sorrow – Soggy Bottom Boys
Old Rugged Cross – Brad Paisley (live at the Grand Old Oprey)
Didn’t have to be – Brad Paisley (I could choose 10 of his songs pretty easily)
Please Remember Me – Tim McGraw (this became my remembrance song for my dog Lobo after he died – still chokes me up when I hear it)
Highway 20 – Zac Brown Band
This had become a midwatch conversation.
Try my list – you’ll see why they are good ones to have on your MP3 player.
But you might want to bring batteries. Desert islands don’t have a lot of places to plug in your charger.