MadeLoud Mix: Country

With so much music and so many genres, a listener can have a difficult time knowing just where to jump in. You could also try the ol' random browse, picking and listening based on your whims. That's all well and good, but we've decided to curate some of our favorite tracks from set genres and to compile a mix that we think serves our fans and artists.

Our country section features the traditional sounds and messages of the genre, meaning we have a great deal of twangy, acoustic instrumentation and songs that oftentimes have a spiritual or patriotic concern. That's not the rule, though - we also have humorous songs here, lovelorn ballads, and tracks that feature electronic instrumentation while others stick just to voice and guitar. We hope you find something here that appeals to your less busy, more traditional tastes.

1. Derek McCorkell - “In God We Trust”

An Irish native, Derek McCorkell is now based in Minnesota, where he writes music that crosses into genres that include country as well as Contemporary Christian, Celtic and more. "In God We Trust" is an up-tempo number that bemoans the separation of church and state and political correctness.

2. Donald Norris, Jr. - “Far Apart”

One interesting facet of this track by Donald Norris, Jr. is that it doesn't feature the man on vocals, but instead highlights the sweet singing voice of some unnamed female conspirator. "Far Apart" is a bittersweet song about a lover's separation and hopes for their eventual reconciliation.

3. Billy Cross and the High Bridge Band - “Thanks to the Bottle”

Drinking songs are a longstanding part of country music history, though they overwhelmingly describe the minuses associated with imbibing instead of the plusses. Billy Cross and the High Bridge Band's track "Thanks to the Bottle" is no exception. With a slow lope, Cross and his band describe the plight of a man who is so tied to drink that he misses the birth of his baby daughter.

4. Chelsea Roberts - “Your Love”

The explosion of synthesizer seems to announce that "Your Love" is anything but a country song, and while it might fit into pop more comfortably, this number has a certain twang to it (especially in the guitar tracks). The 17 year-old Roberts counts Taylor Swift as one of her influences, so what we're hearing is an outgrowth of a new direction for the genre - one in which a slide guitar is just as comfortable, maybe, as some auto-tuned vox.

5. The Glass Poets - “I'm Back To Me”

We take things down a bit with The Glass Poets' "I'm Back to Me," a slower number that is equal parts resignation and hope. Interesting side note: the members of this band have never met, but collaborate "via conference calls, emails etc." What a cool story of connectivity.

6. LittleHouse - “Scotland”

The seven members of the West Simsbury, Connecticut-based LittleHouse perform regularly in what is described as something like a pimped-out barn "with a sophisticated sound stage replete with sofa seating, high-tech multi-media projectors and a climate-controlled environment." Sounds like a pretty great place to listen to this band, which combine group harmonies, gentle phrasing and introspective lyrics with instrumentation that runs the gamut between more classic rock and country and contemporary singer-songwriter.

7. Vollie - “My Engine Goes Putt Putt Putt”

Complete with some interesting synth and other sound effects, Vollie's "My Engine Goes Putt Putt Putt" compares the lifespan of a person with that of a car's motor. Hey, if it ain't broke, don't fix it.

8. Robby Mac - “Road Kill Cafe”

Another fun song, this track details the finer points of, erm, road cuisine. Tender stomachs need not apply.

9. Kristina Craig - “Angels”

Tennessee singer Kristina Craig [pictured above] brings us to a more serious place with "Angel." A song about mending the past and the struggles of the day to day, the song combines Craig's vocals with just guitar for an introspective ballad.

10. Bradley West - “These Days”

Both a clear-eyed indictment of the toll of modernity and a wistful reminder of the comforts of hearth and home, "These Days" combines a full band with West's strong vocals to paint a pretty tough minded vision of where things went wrong.

11. Farley Gospel“I Know God Can Do It Again”

A homespun gospel song, "I Know God Can Do It Again" has Mrs. Farley's chipper vocals paired with sprightly instrumentation and Bible-centric lyrics. A real gem.

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