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Day 9 features tracks from Johnny Cash, Don Williams, Alison Krauss & Union Station, Linda Ronstadt, and Patsy Cline.
Written by Trent Reznor
Johnny Cash was a favorite of my parents, who played his Columbia Years anthology all of the time. But I became a fan through the American Recordings series he did with Rick Rubin, and while American IV was my least favorite entry, “Hurt” captured the brilliance of their collaboration as well as anything they ever did together.
Other Favorites: “‘Flesh and Blood,” “No Earthly Good,” “Solitary Man”
“I Believe in You”
Written by Roger Cook and Sam Hogin
Don Williams is known for his understatement as a singer, an approach to singing best described by Patty Loveless: “Don’t get in the way of the song.” There is no place for vocal histrionics in “I Believe in You.” It’s so well written that Williams just needs to deliver it in his low-key way for it to pack a mighty punch.
Other Favorites: “Lord I Hope This Day is Good,” “I Just Come Here For the Music” (with Alison Krauss), “If I Needed You” (with Emmylou Harris)
“I Can Let Go Now”
Alison Krauss & Union Station
Written by Michael McDonald
One of the things that Alison Krauss does best is stripping down a song to its essence. I didn’t even know Michael McDonald wrote and recorded “I Can Let Go Now” until researching the track for this feature, and it is to Krauss’ eternal credit that she found a beautiful acoustic country song underneath his original performance.
Other Favorites: “Doesn’t Have to Be This Way,” “Ghost in This House,” “The Lucky One”
“I Can’t Help it (If I’m Still in Love With You)”
Written by Hank Williams
Exhibit A of why I could care less about country artists crossing over to pop and pop artists crossing over to country. Put Linda Ronstadt’s cover of this Hank Williams classic up against any mainstream country hit of the same era and it’s as country as all of them, and usually quite a bit more. That she has Emmylou Harris singing harmony – a year before Harris released her own debut album – gives the record some extra historical significance, but every second of it is already as good as country music gets.
Other Favorites: “It Doesn’t Matter Anymore, “You’re No Good,” “Heart is Like a Wheel”
“I Fall to Pieces”
Written by Hank Cochran and Harlan Howard
The record where Patsy Cline became Patsy Cline, embodying the Nashville Sound and setting the bar so high that few vocalists that followed could jump high enough to even see it, let alone clear it.
Other Favorites: “Crazy,” “She’s Got You,” “Faded Love”