The 10 best Country music covers of songs from outside the genre

With the success of Luke Combs’ cover of Tracy Chapman’s ‘Fast Car’ and the release last Friday of a cracking version of Snow Patrol’s ‘Chasing Cars’ by Nate Smith we decided to delve into the world of the cover version in Country music. Here’s the best covers of non-Country songs from artists within the genre.

Nate Smith – ‘Chasing Cars’ (Snow Patrol)

It’s tough to cover this iconic song from UK band Snow Patrol as it’s a bit of a ‘Mr Brightside’ in terms of it’s unique nature and ubiquitous presence however the sonics and expansive sound suit Nate Smith down to the ground and we think he’s done an absolutely terrific job. Straight onto our ‘Best of 2023’ playlist.

Johnny Cash – ‘Hurt’ (Nine Inch Nails)

Johnny Cash’s haunting and emotionally charged rendition of Nine Inch Nails’ ‘Hurt’ is often regarded as one of the greatest cover songs of all time. The video, in particular, adds depth to the song and showcases Cash’s vulnerability. It was probably the last great song he recorded and it rounded off his musical legacy in some style.

Faith Hill – ‘Piece of My Heart’ (Erma Franklin / Janis Joplin)

Faith Hill’s cover of “Piece of My Heart” captures the essence of the song while infusing it with her own country style. The video looks a little dated these days but the song is a 90s classic and we enjoyed seeing Faith singing it at C2C in London a few years ago too.

Blake Shelton – ‘Footloose’ (Kenny Loggins)

From the 1984 film of the same name, ‘Footloose’ was an iconic song back then for Loggins and a huge piece of the cultural zeitgeist. When the film was re-made in 2011 Shelton helmed the updated version and did an energetic and authentic job, rocking the song up a little and adding a little Country twang.

Martina McBride – ‘Hit Me With Your Best Shot’ (Pat Benatar)

A staple in McBride’s live set, we were thrilled when she did a CMT Crossroads with Benatar and they performed the song together! It suits McBride’s voice perfectly and shows how she could lean into Rock a little on this fairly faithful cover version.

Sugarland, Jake Owen & Little Big Town – ‘Life in a Northern Town’ (The Dream Academy)

This took us a little by surprise when it appeared on the deluxe version of Sugarland’s 2008 ‘Love on the Inside’ album. A Country music cover of a little known UK band’s tribute to Nick Drake? WTF? Ask your average English music fan who the 80’s folk-rock trio The Dream Academy were and you would have largely got a shrug of the shoulders but Ms Nettles and Mr Bush produced a great version and threw Jake Owen and LBT into the mix as well!

The Chicks – ‘Landslide’ (Fleetwood Mac)

Sometimes, like Luke Combs’ version of ‘Fast Car’ a cover version becomes a bigger hit than the original. It is hard to believe but that is the case with Fleetwood Mac’s ‘Landslide’. The original reached number 51 on the charts back in 1975. The Chicks took it to number 2 on the country charts and it was also the band’s lone number 1 Adult Contemporary hit too.

Brett Eldridge – ‘Crazy Little Thing Called Love’ (Queen)

Released as a little extra single back in 2018, this energetic and spirited version of the Queen classic had all Brett’s trademark touches. Rich vocals, Country twang and a great big musical smile that makes you feel warm all over. A song that was perfectly suited to Eldredge’s style we loved the guitars and all round fun feel of the song.

Mitchell Tenpenny – ‘Someone You Loved’ (Lewis Capaldi)

Similar to Nate Smith, Tenpenny has a rich, expansive rich that’s suited to taking on the biggest and best Pop songs around and in 2020 he took on Capaldi’s iconic banger and pulled it off with some aplomb. Retaining all the drama of the original, Tenpenny brought his own style and sound to the original and added in a little something too.

Cam – ‘Uptown Funk’ (Live from SXSW 2015) (Bruno Mars)

A cheeky cover release from 2015 with the words ‘Hot Damn’ being replaced by ‘Hot Cam’! Watch the video and you can see Cam smiling to herself at that point. Cam’s voice suits the song and the acoustic guitars and banjo bring a really earthy feel to this stripped back version of Mars’ party classic.

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