Well now this is interesting – Rolling Stone magazine launched a new venture today, “RS Country.” It’s a new Nashville office for the new rollingstonecountry.com, and the next print edition will be a special issue focused on country. According to editor Gus Wenner,
Now more than ever, music is all mixed up again. Listen to country radio today, and you’ll hear heavy-metal guitar solos, hip-hop rhythms and EDM flourishes alongside pedal steel and twang: Country now encompasses all of American pop, decked out in cowboy boots and filtered through Music Row. Listen to pop radio, in turn, and you might hear [Taylor] Swift, Carrie Underwood, Lady Antebellum or Florida Georgia Line.
Rolling Stone has always been about storytelling, as has country music – and we’re excited to have a new world of stories to tell. We will treat country the way we treat every other subject we cover: We will take it seriously, we will look beneath the surface, and we will always focus on what brought us here in the first place – the music.
The new website launches with a diverse set of articles covering all aspects of country – an interview with Keith Urban, reviews of the new albums from Sturgill Simpson and Nikki Lane (look for mine later this month or even week), and in true Rolling Stone fashion, their 100 Greatest Country Songs of All Time and a 10 New Artists You Need to Know: Summer 2014 that’s thankfully much heavier on the Americana than the hick-hop.
Both lists bode well for RS’s expanded country coverage. Unfortunately, the only way to read them is as a slideshow, and that’s just stupid. But I did the clicking for you, and here are their top 10 songs:
- 10. Waylon Jennings and Willie Nelson, ‘Mammas, Don’t Let Your Babies Grow Up to Be Cowboys’ (1978)
- 9. Dolly Parton, ‘Jolene’ (1973)
- 8. Merle Haggard, ‘Mama Tried’ (1968)
- 7. Ray Charles, ‘You Don’t Know Me’ (1962)
- 6. Tammy Wynette, ‘Stand By Your Man’ (1968)
- 5. Jimmie Rodgers, ‘Standing on the Corner (Blue Yodel #9)’ (1930)
- 4. George Jones, ‘He Stopped Loving Her Today’ (1980)
- 3. Hank Williams, ‘I’m So Lonesome I Could Cry’ (1949)
- 2. Patsy Cline, ‘Crazy’ (1961)
- 1. Johnny Cash, ‘I Walk the Line’ (1956)
Looking through the full 100, the ’90s are a little underrepresented – no “Check Yes or No” or “Should’ve Been a Cowboy”??? – but thank Heavens there’s absolutely no Luke Bryan in sight. In fact, after Taylor Swift’s “Mean” from 2010 clocks in at #24 (the hell?), there’s absolutely nothing from after 1987. I also love that Kacey Musgraves’ “Follow Your Arrow” from just last year is #39.
What do you think of Rolling Stone‘s list? Don’t see your favorite? Disagree that “All My Exes Live In Texas” is George Strait’s best? Upset he didn’t have anything higher than #18? Outraged “Goodbye Earl” beat “Golden Ring” or “Pancho and Lefty”? Let’s discuss in the comments below!