Within the realm of fashionable (that’s to say, non-classical) music, the metallic and nation genres would possibly, at first look, appear about as far aside as you may get. It is laborious to discern any apparent hyperlink between the acoustic-guitar backed yodeling of “singing brakeman” Jimmie Rodgers and the plugged-in, thundering assault of, say, Match For An Post-mortem.
Look past the technical facets, nevertheless, and also you quickly come to comprehend that these two strands share extra commonalities than variations. Each have a standard ancestor – the blues – and you do not have to look additional again than the ‘70s, and bands such as Lynyrd Skynyrd and ZZ Top, for wonderful examples of hard rockers whose country roots were clear to see.
READ MORE: 13 New Age Artists That Are a Little Bit Country + A Little Bit Rock ‘N’ Roll
Then, too, each metallic and nation are, at coronary heart, working-class types of music, shunning the self-consciously high-brow in favor of lyrical matters that talk to the on a regular basis human. Most metallic songs, like most nation songs, give attention to the grand, common experiences – loss of life, intercourse, work, frustration and love.
The themes, emotions and attitudes current within the majority of nation songs are readily transferable to a metallic setting, and vice-versa. Additional, there are sub-categories, similar to outlaw nation and folk-metal, which look like pure companions.
It is no marvel then, that many metallic bands have explored the wealthy country-music song-book, efficiently reflecting that materials by means of their very own lens. Beneath, we current 10 glorious examples of the wonders that may end result when metallic and nation collide.
What higher strategy to finish this listing than with a track by arguably the best nation songwriter and artist of all time. Hiram “Hank” Williams (1923 – 1953) is rightfully considered one of the crucial influential figures in nation music historical past with an astonishing 55 Prime 10 hits on the nation charts, 12 of these at No. 1.
Williams wrote and recorded the now-iconic “I’m So Lonesome I Could Cry” method again in 1949, and this model stays an engrossing hear due to the assembled gamers’ peerless musicianship and Williams trademark plaintive singing fashion. An enormous variety of artists have lined the track from nation greats similar to Johnny Money and Charlie Wealthy to acts as numerous as Diamanda Galas, The Waterboys and Yo La Tengo, not forgetting, in fact, Elvis Presley.
Danish rock/metallic band Volbeat laid down their very own tackle their 2008 album, Guitar Gangsters & Cadillac Blood. It is an indicator of their expertise that Volbeat handle to mark their very own stamp on this well-known and well-worn quantity.
Arguably one of many catchiest songs in fashionable music historical past, “These Boots Are Made For Walking” was a giant hit for Nancy Sinatra upon its unique launch as a part of her debut album in 1966. The track, which has remained fashionable thanks in no little half to Sinatra’s iconic eye-popping accompanying video, was written by Lee Hazlewood, a person additionally remembered for his work with the nice “master of twang” Duane Eddy, and who loved a critically-acclaimed solo profession himself.
It is a versatile track, which lends itself properly to a rock setting, and there have been some notable efforts in that course. Hellsonics and Limouzina Specific are amongst those that have recorded covers, however neither match legendary American rockers Megadeth — who included the model proven right here on their 1985 debut album, Killing Is My Enterprise… and Enterprise Is Good! — for visceral energy.
Sinatra’s model of this quirky country-pop quantity reached No. 1 within the U.Okay. and the U.S., and the tune has since been lined many occasions. Different artists to have tried filling Sinatra’s boots embrace Ella Fitzgerald, Billy Ray Cyrus, Geri Halliwell and Bucks Fizz.
You would choose any track from Californian heavy metallic band DevilDriver’s 2018 album, Outlaws ’til the Finish, for this listing. That bold and extremely gratifying document is solely made up of nation covers and options some heavy-hitting particular visitors, together with Burton C. Bell (ex-Concern Manufacturing unit), Brock Lindow (36 Crazyfists), Wednesday 13, Hank3 and extra.
Amongst stiff competitors, we have gone for “Whiskey River,” a high-quality tune initially penned by Johnny Bush and Paul Stroud, first made well-known by the nice Willie Nelson on his 1973 album, Shotgun Willie. For his or her cowl, DevilDriver known as upon the appreciable skills of Randy Blythe and Mark Morton from Lamb of God.
Collectively, the musicians nearly deconstruct the unique, recombining the constituent components right into a monumental slab of laborious metallic with machine-gun drums and swirling guitars. For distinction, it is also price investigating Willie Nelson’s quartet of duets of this track with Jerry Lee Lewis, Sheryl Crow, Trick Pony and Johnny Bush himself.
Finnish folk-metal band Ensiferum will likely be acquainted to readers of Loudwire. It is no secret that some extraordinary music has come out of that nation during the last 50 years, and this four-piece are not any exception, fusing heavy, driving riffs with extremely melodic songs to create an instantly recognizable sonic panorama.
The band’s glorious cowl of “Rawhide” initially featured on the bonus disc of their 2015 album, One Man Military. The track was written in 1958 by Ned Washington, with music by Dimitri Tiomkin (who additionally offered scores for a lot of traditional movies, together with Excessive Midday and The Weapons Of Navarone).
The tune will likely be recognized to many due to its function because the theme track to the long-running TV Western collection of the identical title, which featured a really younger Clint Eastwood as Rowdy Yates. Ensiferum’s ingenious take retains all of the rolling allure of the unique however ramps issues up significantly with a better tempo and double-time drums. As ever, with this group, there is a wholesome injection of bombastic power to assist issues alongside.
At first look, “The Devil Went Down to Georgia” looks like the proper candidate for a metallic cowl, or any cowl, however in truth there have been comparatively few launched for the reason that unique, which was written and carried out by The Charlie Daniels Band in 1979. The multi-instrumentalist Daniels reworked a tune initially composed by Vassar Clements, bringing it up an octave and including lyrics that relate a model of the traditional man-meets-devil story.
In Daniels’ track, this assembly takes the type of a fiddle contest between the hero, “Johnny” and Satan himself. The story’s sung-spoken narration sets the scene, with instrumental passages literally playing out the competition as each combatant takes his turn. Here lies a possible explanation for the dearth of covers – Daniels himself provided some blistering fiddle on the original, which is exceedingly hard to match.
American nu metal band, Korn, side-stepped this problem by substituting guitar for the fiddle-parts, and did a fine job of keeping up the pace, energy and drama inherent in the tune. A notable contribution comes from rapper Yelawolf, who lends his talents to the vocals.
If ever there was a country song suited to a heavy-metal re-working, “Ghost Riders in the Sky” must surely be it. Written in 1948 by actor/writer Stan Jones, the lyrics take in damned cowboy spirits, endless skies and red-mist visions of steel-hooved, rampaging cattle. According to Jones, the story was told to him as a young boy by an elderly Native American man. It echoes the classic theme of the Wild Hunt, which is found in folklore and mythology across the globe.
First recorded by Burl Ives, in 1949, the song has been covered by a host of country greats, including Gene Autry, Frankie Laine and Eddie Arnold. Away from country, Bob Dylan, Elvis Presley, R.E.M. and even horror supremo, Christopher Lee, have all contributed versions.
On the metal side, there could be no better candidate than German rockers Die Apokalyptischen Reiter, whose name translates into English as The Apocalyptic Riders. Keeping that classic riff in place, the band add thumping, swinging drums, deep chugging guitars and a suitably reverent spirit.
Garth Brooks might not be the likeliest person to turn to when in search of a song suitable for a good metal cover. His highly commercial brand of country music leans heavily toward the lighter, more pop-oriented side. He is a fine songwriter, however, and you don’t rack up the number of sales and record-breaking live performances Brooks enjoys through lack of talent.
“The Thunder Rolls” was co-written by Brooks and Pat Alger, and originally recorded by Tanya Tucker. Tucker’s version, however, did not see the light of day until 1995, by which time Brooks had released his own take on his 1991 album, No Fences, the single reaching No. 6 on the country chart.
Two decades later, American heavy metal band All That Remains laid down their own interpretation as part of their eighth studio album, 2017’s Madness. On this cut, the group successfully retained the melodic hooks and drama of the original while adding their own muscular touch to create a compelling narrative piece.
“Take Me Home, Country Roads” surely must sit near the top when drawing up a list of most-loved and iconic country songs. Written by Bill Danoff, Taffy Nivert and John Denver, the latter of whom recorded and released the original in 1971, the lyrics form a tribute to West Virginia (described as “almost heaven”). So revered is this song, in fact, that in 2014 the tune was adopted as one of four official state anthems for that territory.
Our entry here concerns the prolific Norwegian multi-instrumentalist and producer, Leo Moracchioli, who surely claims the “highest number of metal covers of popular songs” award, having recorded more than 400 so far. His cover of “Take Me Home, Country Roads,” appeared on the artist’s 2019 album, Leo Metal Covers, Volume 25. Kicking off with a deceptively restrained acoustic section, Moracchioli’s innovative version soon blossoms into a full-on metal affair, though this fine cut never loses sight of its melodic core.
The popularity of Denver’s own recording has endured, having been certified a platinum-seller (two million copies) in 2017. The song has been covered countless times, including efforts by artists as diverse as Ray Charles, Billie Joe Spears, The Bavarian Banditos and David Hasselhoff.
Since forming in 1978, California’s Social Distortion have explored many musical territories — they’ve been labeled as punk, roots, melodic hardcore and alternative rock. Whatever form they take, though, the group brings a lot of talent and dedication. Social Distortion’s cover of “Ring of Fire” first appeared on their self-titled 1990 album.
Written by Merle Kilgore and June Carter, the song was originally recorded by June’s sister, Anita, in 1963. That same year, with Anita’s blessing, the great Johnny Cash scored big with a reworked version, occupying the No. 1 slot on the country charts for seven weeks. It remains Cash’s biggest seller and his most enduring work. Cash and June Carter would later marry, in 1968.
Social Distortion’s take adds a punky, playful energy that sits perfectly both lyrically and musically. You can’t help but think that Cash must have heartily approved of this number. He was always something of a rebel at heart, and the Californian rockers bring that spirit to the fore.
Krokus, “House of the Rising Sun”
A superb contender for oldest track on this listing, the origins of “The House of the Rising Sun” are misplaced to time. Musicologists agree that it’s a conventional folks quantity that was first collected in Appalachia within the Nineteen Thirties, but it surely’s nearly definitely a lot older. Famed field-recordist and collector Alan Lomax instructed a hyperlink to the Seventeenth-century tune, “Matty Groves,” however the fact, in all chance, won’t ever be recognized.
Probably the most well-known model, and the one which little doubt first springs to thoughts, is by the superb U.Okay. band, The Animals, which hit No. 1 on either side of the pond in 1964. Swiss heavy metallic outfit, Krokus, laid down their very own take 5 many years later as a part of their 2017 album, Huge Rocks.
Krokus do that high-quality track full justice right here, opening with a suitably eerie blast of harmonica earlier than settling down right into a thumping, laborious rock fashion stuffed with excessive emotion. Different notable artists to have lined this tune embrace The Platters, The Everly Brothers and Muse.