Discussion: Classic Songs, Contemporary Artists

In the 1950s and 60s, it was common practice for country artists to make their own versions of previously-recorded classics.  Although these instances are few and far between in mainstream country music, a number of artists such as Martina McBride and Patty Loveless have recently revisited these old sounds and songs.

Imagine a feisty Miranda Lambert recording Loretta Lynn’s “You Ain’t Woman Enough” or Josh Turner putting his own stamp on Merle Haggard’s “That’s the Way Love Goes”, or Dierks Bentley getting right to the heart of the Harlan Howard-penned “Streets of Baltimore”.  Those are three of my personal choices at least.

What classic song would you like a current country artist to record?


  1. Maybe, to counteract “Alcohol” or “I’m Still A Guy”, Brad Paisley ought to do “What Made Milwaukee Famous (Has Made A Loser Out Of Me)”, though he’ll be hard-pressed to make people forget Jerry Lee Lewis’ classic 1968 original.

  2. Josh Turner did do “That’s the Way Love Goes” as part of a CMT special (photographic evidence), but there don’t appear to be any videos of it available online. I too would love to hear his studio recording of that song. I’ll have to think about some other ideas and revisit this thread later.

  3. I would like to hear Josh Turner sing “He Stopped Loving Her Today.” I know that song is pretty much untouchable, but I think he could pull it off

  4. Joe Nichols has already done some classic songs like “If I Could Only Fly” and “Farewell Party” but to hear him do “She’s Acting Single (I’m Drinking Doubles)” would be a treat.

  5. Josh Turner has already covered “He Stopped Loving Her Today” and the video for it is available on youtube. I would love to hear a studio cover of Hank Williams “Ramblin’ Man” by Dierks Bentley. I heard it in concert once and loved it.

  6. It would be great to hear Jennifer Nettles do a take on one of Tanya Tucker’s classics such as ‘What’s Your Mama’s Name’ or ‘Would You Lay With Me’ … I could even dig Jennifer singing ‘Harper Valley PTA’ or one of Dolly’s pop songs like ‘Two Doors Down’ …

  7. Josh Turner sings “He Stopped Loving Her Today” along with “Silver Wings” and “Never Get Out of this World Alive” on a Live at the Ryman album that was sold in Cracker Barrell a couple years ago. Not a bad live album come to think of it.

  8. I’d love to see George Strait record “There Stands the Glass,” more so live with his Ace in the Hole Band. That one’s always been the highlight of his live show for me.

  9. I’d like to see/hear Josh do “Ring of Fire” or “I walk the line” by Johnny Cash

    Other than that, I’d have to think a little more about it before i make more suggestions.

  10. I’d like to see Neil Young’s “Love Is A Rose”, which was a big hit for Linda Ronstadt in 1975, done by the Dixie Chicks. Since Linda’s version is bluegrass-spiked, and because she seems to have been a big influence on them, this is prime Chicks cover material (IMHO).

  11. On the How Great Thou Art special from the Opry on GAC, Dierks covers “I Saw the Light” and “House of Gold” by Hank. “House of Gold” made the actual album. Both are more or less color-by-numbers covers, but certainly suit Dierks musical style well and are worth a listen.

  12. I am a huge fan of Mel Tillis’ ‘Mental Revenge’ – though you are probably talking about Waylon’s recording of it. I think Mr. Johnson could do it justice too. So, I second that call.

  13. I’ve heard Keith Urban sing Wichita Lineman and it was awesome! Excuse me…it was Galveston instead of WL…sorry! He was on with Blair Garner one night and Blair started giving Keith random songs to sing and Keith was amazing. Wish I could think of all the songs. Blair called Keith the “human jukebox”!

  14. Nice call on the Emily West, Jordan. I recently saw a TV interview, and she seemed intelligent and down-to-earth, and I enjoy her voice.

    Jamey Johnson would do justice to a number of old heartache classics.

  15. I agree wholeheartedly, Dan. Keith Urban is one of our great talents, and I wish he’d use his prodigious gifts just a little more wisely, good as he may be.

  16. Carrie Underwood – Stand By Your Man (Tammy Wynette, obviously). Dierks or Keith Urban with Queen of My Heart by Hank Williams Jr, and I fully agree on the Loretta/Miranda matchup. I would love to see them do a song together!

  17. Carrie performed “Stand By Your Man” during one of her very first visits to the Grand Ole Opry. WSM still plays the live version and she REALLY nails it!

  18. Carrie Underwood – Blue Bayou.

    Linda Ronstadt had an AMAZING voice and this song was brilliant. I feel that Carrie would sound amazing on this song.

  19. Collin Raye is an artist who used to sing for tips and would sing any requests. He is another artist who sings great classic country when he wants to. Now that his economic career is seemingly over, he should do a covers set.

  20. Since you mention Blue Bayou— I’ve always thought that song was just right for Jimmy Buffett- instead of the tripe that he has spent his life recording.

    But I always love to hear new versions of my all-time favorite country song, I Forgot More Than You’ll Ever Know, by the Davis Sisters. And it appears that Patty Loveless is granting my wish on her upcoming classics album.

  21. I would love to hear a recorded version of either “Golden Ring” or “We’re Gonna Hold On” by Joe Nichols and Lee Ann Womack. They sang these two songs on seperate CMT Greatest showcases and they were amazing!

    I’d love to hear Josh do “He Stopped Loving Her Today” and a recorded version of Carrie doing “Stand By Your Man.” Also, Keith Urban has done “Galveston” and I heard him on XM doing “Wichita Lineman” and he was great! I love the covers he does in concert!

  22. OK, i’ve thought of a few more…

    Carrie doing “Stand by Your man” or D-I-V-O-R-C-E” (possibly the only country song ever whose title is harder to type than sing)

    Aaron Tippin singing any Hank, Sr song, but especially “Lovesick Blues”

    Finally, I’m not picking specific artists, but I’d like to see some of the songs from Chely Wright’s first two albums becom hits for someone. Great songs

  23. I’ve thought of someone like Trisha Yearwood doing the 1960s honky-tonk C&W-rock standard “Break My Mind”, which was done by, among others, Linda on her 1969 solo debut HAND SOWN, HOME GROWN (arguably the first alt-country album by a female artist). Trisha’s very good at Linda’s more popular material from the 1970s, so it would also be good to hear her do something a bit rougher.

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