I was country before country was cool.
Davido
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I notice J.L. is doing some GL tributes to seminal bands and IIRC, Stormseeker75 spotlighted entire genres. Well, of the latter, somehow Country and Western didn't make the cut. Allow me to rectify that with a couple of my longtime favorites. Historical note, I'm actually a 'carpetbagger' born and raised in the state highlighted by my one sports microbadge (and yeah, winning the WS every other year is a LOT better than 45+ year droughts in my lifetime). That said, my family/folks have been in Austin, TX. since the late 70's and my musical tastes are heavily influenced by the "Austin Scene" of that era through the early 90's. Feel free to spotlight your fave C&W artists or the obligatory historical influences.
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1. Board Game: Stardust [Average Rating:5.72 Unranked]
Davido
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Willie Nelson, born in Abbott, resident of Austin, ambassador of C&W to the world. Willie could sing the phone book and it'd sound Country. Witness his take on standards such as "Stardust" and "Georgia on My Mind". My favorite albums:

Red Headed Stranger-a concept album of love, loss, redemption that stands as a powerful exploration of these themes. Spare, powerful, haunting, and totally unforgettable.

IRS Tapes-Willie ran afoul of the IRS, and needing to raise money for back taxes, had no funds to pay song royalties, so he had to dig into his extensive store of unpublished originals. The legal turmoils provide a context and edge to some truly powerful singing and sparse but effective accompaniment.

yeah-for me, Willie + Guitar = winning combo vs. the overproduction of the "standards".

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2. Board Game: Dinner Games: Honky Tonk Homicide [Average Rating:5.25 Unranked]
Davido
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Joe Ely-this scion of Lubbock made a couple of fantastic country albums for MCA:
Joe Ely
Honky Tonk Masquerade

then started fusing country, rockabilly, rock, and some outright punk. AFAIK, Joe is the only one to ever open for Merle Haggard and the Clash-in the same year, yet. What evolved was "cowpunk" and is now "alt country". Purists may cringe, but Ely's country roots always shine through on albums such as:

Down on the Drag
or even
Lord of the Highway

He also does phenomenal Buddy Holly covers. Is Joe Ely Country? Well, he is country enough for me so there is a LOT of room in the tent for this list.

The first two are 'acoustic n live' from Austin. The 3rd one is from a UK/Irish show. the female guitarist is Rosie Flores, born in San Antone, lately of LA, and another fine guitarist/songwriter/country/rockabilly hybrid.





Rosie gets a solo c. 3:58 and Ely's long-time guitarist David Grissom takes over about a minute later

and search "joe ely" on YouTube for much, much, more
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3. Board Game: Dylan Dog [Average Rating:4.73 Unranked]
Zé Mário
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Allow me to be obvious and follow the present trend that I think you're mentioning, even though I've been loving his music since I was a kid.



I guess he fits better the Blues and Folk genre. But wikipedia says he sings Country. If wikipedia says it, it must be true. cool
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4. Board Game: Beer! [Average Rating:3.37 Unranked]
King of All Simians — Not a Mere Diplomat
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Uh-oh, now you've done it! Country music is a great love of mine, and at the top of my list is The Storyteller, Mr. Tom T. Hall. I don't like beer, but I love Tom.

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5. Board Game: Possumopoly: A Small Capital Game [Average Rating:4.25 Unranked]
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Can't have a list of country music without the Possum!

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6. Board Game: Don't Drop Mama! [Average Rating:4.40 Unranked]
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Merle Haggard is another legend. Muskogee is the only place this guy doesn't light up!

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7. Board Game: Cheater [Average Rating:4.01 Overall Rank:15222]
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Moe Bandy sings about three things: cheatin', drinkin', and the rodeo. That's country!

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8. Board Game: Escape from the Hidden Castle [Average Rating:6.44 Overall Rank:2034]
King of All Simians — Not a Mere Diplomat
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I named one of my cats Patsy, after the inimitable Ms. Cline.

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9. Board Game: Hello Kitty Best Friends Game [Average Rating:4.30 Unranked]
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Kitty Wells is my favorite female country artist, but I can't bring myself to name a cat "Kitty."

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10. Board Game: Hello Friends [Average Rating:4.25 Unranked]
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Faron Young is pure country; he gave Willie Nelson one of his first hits as a songwriter with "Hello Walls."

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11. Board Game: Ca$h 'n Gun$ [Average Rating:6.63 Overall Rank:884]
Thomas Eager
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"A Book should serve as the Ax for the frozen sea within us."-- KAFKA
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cool My fave remains "The Man In Black". An unique figure in Americana--Mr. Johnny Cash. cool
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12. Board Game: El Eco de los Pasos [Average Rating:6.60 Unranked]
Thomas Eager
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goo Pretty much the only other country artist I listen to (besides Patsy Cline) is Marty Robbins, particularly his great record Gunfighter Ballads and Trail Songs. goo
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13. Board Game: Championship Rodeo Circuit [Average Rating:6.67 Unranked]
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Country has been way cool long before any of the current tripe. Hell, even before Rock N' Roll. No matter what Johnny Bravoh says below, you have to be beyond cool to even understand.

So, I dedicate this song to Johnny Bravoh, the guy from Montana who is sadly ashamed of his country roots.

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14. Board Game: Country Music Trivia [Average Rating:0.00 Unranked]
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Since I added a rodeo song, it's only right that the uninitiated understand what the driving forces behind Country music really are. David Allen Coe, one of the true Outlaws of C&W details it perfectly in this classic... all the proper ingredients are here for your drunken pleasure.

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15. Board Game: Be an Angel [Average Rating:0.00 Unranked]
Darren M
Canada
Fort Vermilion
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Alison Krauss sings like an angel. Very talented lady.













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16. Board Game: Can't Stop [Average Rating:6.85 Overall Rank:621]
Robert Rossney
United States
San Francisco
California [CA]
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George Jones

As characteristic a country artist as you could ask for, from his silvery puffed-up mane of hair to his depressing personal life. Go ahead, see if you can listen to "He Stopped Loving Her Today" all the way to the end without crying. If you can, you're a sociopath.
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17. Board Game: Agricola [Average Rating:8.03 Overall Rank:16]
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The Beat Farmers! Oh, how I love the Beat Farmers in all their glory.

They have one of the best breakup songs in the universe:
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18. Board Game: Texasopoly [Average Rating:3.24 Unranked]
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Robert Earl Keen Jr. was very popular in Texas when I attended college there:





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19. Board Game: Peace [Average Rating:4.88 Unranked]
Chony McChuukface
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Gilbert
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Roger Clyne and the Peacemakers.

You may know him better as the leader of the Refreshments. They did the theme to the "King of the Hill" TV show and had a couple of hits. His "new" group is much more alt-country.

He is a local Arizona legend. His semi-annual Rocky Point, Mexico concerts are not to be missed.



edited to get youtube to work


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20. Board Game: A Dark and Bloody Ground [Average Rating:5.50 Overall Rank:12608]
Chony McChuukface
United States
Gilbert
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The other favorite of mine is another local Arizona Band.

Trophy Husbands released one of the best country albums ever - Dark and Bloody Ground

Their second albun - Walk With Evil - was good too.





edited to get youtube to work
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21. Board Game: Wendelin und Wanda [Average Rating:7.00 Unranked]
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Wanda Jackson. Catchy and fun and hilarious.

Apparently this was a big hit in Japan in the 60s, for some reason:

 
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22. Board Game: The Alamo! [Average Rating:3.38 Unranked]
Davido
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"San Antonio Rose", "Take Me Back to Tulsa" and many more. "it don't mean a thing if it don't got swing" and Texas Swing or Cow Jazz as practiced by Bob Wills and the Texas Playboys brought it to the people for many decades, and the music itself defines timeless. Having a hard time finding a decent YouTube, but check out the music itself sometime
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23. Board Game: Fireball Island [Average Rating:6.48 Overall Rank:2366]
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Kelly Willis. In this era of "American Idol" and "hat acts" we sometimes forget that stars were born, not made long before TV and media overhype. Kelly Willis came to Austin from Washington D.C. in the mid-80's, an 18 year old with a dream, a big voice and a good heart (or was it the other way around?). She played to dozens (if that) all over town, any time, any place until talent won out. She's had a rocky road in and out of stardom and the tabloids, but she has a hell for leather voice and a nose for good material.





Albums to check out:

Well Travelled Love
http://www.amazon.com/Well-Travelled-Love-Kelly-Willis/dp/B0...


Kelly Willis
http://www.amazon.com/Kelly-Willis/dp/B0002HA7U4/ref=pd_sim_...

Avoid: Bang! Bang! with the sex kitten poster fold out, knew this one was trouble. and her later indie stuff and EPs are pretty solid.

While, not a great guitarist, she has managed to achieve a level of competence that is functional. OTOH, I actually was able to tell her once at a "meet n greet", that her guitar playing had vastly improved since her Continental Club/Green Mesquite days (when she was fronting the Fireballs, hence the game choice). That got a blush out of the dear lass-and nothing is quite like a redhead blushing devil
 
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