G&G Playlist: Southerners Under Cover

Twenty tracks that celebrate the art of the cover song

Good music is hard to keep to yourself, whether you’re crafting a perfect playlist for a party or just humming along to a catchy melody. But musicians have a special way of sharing their favorite tunes: the cover song. Think Aretha’s take on Otis’ “RESPECT” or Willie Nelson’s “Always On My Mind,” which had already climbed the charts for Elvis in 1972. Renditions of old songs can even eclipse the originals—Hoagy Carmichael’s “Georgia On My Mind” became an instant classic once Ray Charles got ahold of it. There are plenty other worthy covers that never quite reached that pinnacle of fame, though. From Percy Sledge’s take on Merle Haggard to Kacey Musgraves playing Waylon Jennings, here are twenty new or little-known Southern cover songs that we feel ought to get a little more love.

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“Angel from Montgomery”

Original: John Prine (1971)
Covered by: The Lone Bellow, Buddy Miller and Brandi Carlile, Cayamo Sessions At Sea (2016)

“You’re the Reason Our Kids Are Ugly”
Original: Loretta Lynn & Conway Twitty (1978)
Covered by: J.P. Harris and Nikki Lane, Why Don’t We Duet in the Road (2017)

“Still Crazy After All These Years”
Original: Paul Simon (1975)
Covered by: Robert Ellis, The Lights from the Chemical Plant (2014)

“The Wurlitzer Prize”
Original: Waylon Jennings (1977)
Covered by: Kacey Musgraves, Outlaw: Celebrating the Music of Waylon Jennings (2017)

“I’m So Lonesome I Could Cry”
Original: Hank Williams (1949)
Covered by: Hurray for the Riff Raff, My Dearest Darkest Neighbor (2013)

“The Ballad of Curtis Loew”
Original: Lynyrd Skynyrd (1974)
Covered by: Eric Church, Sweet Home Alabama: The Country Music Tribute to Lynyrd Skynyrd (2010)

“Please Call Home”
Original: The Allman Brothers Band (1970)
Covered by: Sam Moore of Sam & Dave, All My Friends: Celebrating the Songs & Voice of Gregg Allman (2014)

“You Are My Sunshine”
Original: Jimmie Davis and Charles Mitchell (1939/40)
Covered by: Morgane Stapleton & Chris Stapleton, Southern Family (2016)

“He Stopped Loving Her Today”
Original: George Jones (1980)
Covered by: Johnny Cash, Unearthed (2003)

“Take Me Home Country Roads”
Original: John Denver (1971)
Covered by: Emmylou Harris and Brandi Carlile, The Music Is You: A Tribute to John Denver (2013)

“Runaround Sue”
Original: Dion (1961)
Covered by: Houndmouth, Spotify Sessions (2015)

“Rocket Man”
Original: Elton John (1972)
Covered by: My Morning Jacket, Chapter 1: Sandworm Cometh: Early Recordings (2004)

“Storms Never Last”
Original: Jessi Colter (1975), Waylon Jennings & Jessi Coulter (1981)
Covered by: John Prine and Lee Ann Womack, For Better, Or Worse (2016)

“Billie Jean”
Original: Michael Jackson (1982)
Covered by: The Civil Wars, Between the Bars (2013)

“Black Star”
Original: Radiohead (1995)
Covered by: Gillian Welch, Black Star (2005)

“The Promise”
Original: When In Rome (1987)
Covered by: Sturgill Simpson, Metamodern Sounds in Country Music (2014)

“Mama Tried”
Original: Merle Haggard (1968)
Covered by: Percy Sledge, Sings Country (1979)

“Heart on a String”
Original: Candi Staton (1969)
Covered by: Jason Isbell & the 400 Unit, Here We Rest (2011)

“After the Fire Is Gone”
Original: Conway Twitty & Loretta Lynn (1971)
Covered by: Buddy Miller & Lee Ann Womack, Cayamo Sessions at Sea (2016)

“The Story”
Original: Brandi Carlile (2007)
Covered by: Dolly Parton, Cover Stories: Brandi Carlile Celebrates 10 Years of The Story (2017)