There’s an old saying that goes, “a good song is a good song regardless of whoever sings it.” Well, that’s not always totally true. Sometimes, an artist might be a huge fan of a singer or a song, but it doesn’t translate to their style. Then, there are instances where an artist comes very close – or (in a rare case) surpasses the original.
Artists are fans of artists, and sometimes they show each other their own version of appreciation of the art and the song by recreating it in their own style and breathing fresh life into it. Several prominent country artists have done this to show support and appreciation for several songs, and we’ve gathered here some of the best country cover songs!
10 Best Country Cover Songs
Johnny Cash’s “The Battle Hymn of the Republic”
With his low reverberating voice echoing over the stage of his own show, Johnny Cash delivered a tantalizing performance of “The Battle Hymn of the Republic.” On The Johnny Cash Show, the Man in Black started by saying that both armies sang this tune during the Civil War, proving that “a song can belong to all of us.” Woken and stirred by the revelation, Cash’s reverent rendition was moving in a way where the Man in Black can only deliver.
Dolly Parton’s “The Ballad of the Green Beret”
Originally written as a pro-Army tune by Sgt. Barry Sadler in the mid-1960’s, Parton gives it her signature spin and turns the song from a less jovial vibe to something completely uplifting and amazing. Injecting pop-country twists, the country cover song appears on Parton’s 2003 album For God and Country.
Scotty McCreery’s “Where Were You (When the World Stopped Turning)”
Alan Jackson’s powerful tribute to the 9/11 tragedy has proved to be one of the most thought-provoking and emotional songs in country music. Then-American Idol hopeful McCreery performed this song just days after Osama bin Laden was successfully killed by the American forces. Two weeks later, the young country crooner took home the trophy and the title of American Idol. It’s no wonder why he won!
Reba McEntire’s “If I Were a Boy”
Who would not know Queen Beyonce’s iconic song? Certainly not Queen Reba McEntire herself! McEntire delivers a stunning countrified cover of the iconic Bey song in a very Reba fashion. In her long career, it’s safe to say that the trailblazing country icon has done it all. But, it certainly takes some guts and confidence to stare down one of pop’s biggest hits and knock it out of the park!
Rascal Flatts’ “Life is a Highway”
The Rascal Flatts certainly outdid themselves with this timeless hit. Originally by Tom Cochran, this already ubiquitous pop smash became a pop and country hit all on its own, thanks to Disney. That’s right! Rascal Flatts lent their talents to the one and only Cars movie, providing them with a bop of an anthem. Way to go!
Dixie Chicks’ “Landslide”
Stevie Nicks already provided us an emotionally stunning performance of “Landslide.” She wrote this song while coping with a number of personal and professional issues. We already have a box of tissues in hand whenever we hear her song, but there’s just something way different when the Chicks perform it.
The way their harmonies shimmer in the thick underbrush of emotion serves as a bittersweet moment in a song. Not to mention, this was also released not long before the iconic trio faced a landslide of their own. It still packs a huge emotional punch worth listening to.
Alison Krauss’ “When You Say Nothing at All”
The Keith Whitley classic is already an icon in itself. “When You Say Nothing at All” propelled Whitley into superstardom. His version of the song became his second of five number 1 songs, but the single’s prowess doesn’t just stop there. It also helped launch Alison Krauss into country superstardom.
The once young bluegrass phenomenon’s version of “When You Say Nothing At All” was so good, Krauss quickly became a household name. It also earned her a CMA Award for Single of the Year.
Blake Shelton’s “Footloose”
Back in 1984. Kenny Loggins reigned supreme in the musical and Broadway world when the title song from the box office smash hit graced the airwaves. Country crooner and The Voice coach Blake Shelton paid homage to that legacy in 2011 when the movie was remade.
Shelton shined on an energetic take on the song, putting a very country spin into it. He even invited Loggins to appear with him during his performance of the song on the CMA Awards that fall!
Steve Wariner’s “Get Back”
The Fab Four topped the Hot 100 for five weeks in the spring of 1969 with this rollicking classic that was somewhat of a throwback to their early hits. The song made quite an impact on a young Steve Wariner, and when the singer was asked to participate in a 1995 country tribute record to the Beatles, Come Together: America Salutes The Beatles, there was no question what song he would contribute to the cause. The singer/guitarist nailed the cover, which made a minor dent on the country songs chart.
Conway Twitty’s “Rainy Night in Georgia”
It would be easy to put this song on the list out of a sentimental notion, as it was one of the final recordings from Conway Twitty prior to his death in June 1993. But, a listen to this evocative cover of the Brook Benton classic featuring Twitty and Sam Moore proves that this might be one of the most sonically perfect recordings of all time.
Twitty told producer Don Was after completing this track for the album Rhythm, Country, and Blues that he would love to do an album of a similar form one day. He was told him to call him. If only that conversation could have taken place.
Honorable Mention: Ronnie Milsap’s “Snap Your Fingers”
Ronny Milsap tips his hat to Joe Henderson on this one, as “Snap Your Fingers” was his first single from his 1987 album Heart & Soul. This groove was penned by Country Music Hall of Fame guitarist Grady Martin, paired with tunesmith Alex Zanetis.