Everybody loves Nashville … the show, I mean, not the city … though I’m pretty sure that everybody here loves the city too.  I wouldn’t know yet because it seems all my favourite Nashville acts want to tour London when I want to visit there – making planning my holiday very hard … but I digress …Taken at Charters Towers Qld.©2010

Everybody loves Nashville, not just dyed-in-the-wool country music fans.  It’s got a following amongst ‘normal’ people too.  So when a friend asked me to give her a ‘Country Music for the Novice’ playlist, I was thrilled and excited.  And then, when I started thinking about it, I was terrified.

Where do I start?  Who do I choose?  What songs do I pick?  What if I fluff this and turn her away from country music forever?  Oh, the pressure …The Academy of Country Music's Girls' Night Out: Superstar Women of Country, Las Vegas, 04/04/2011

Do I go down the classics route, sticking to sure-fire crowdpleasers, like Reba McEntire, Kenny Chesney or Tim McGraw?  But their backlists are so long, what if she stumbles on one of their rare dud songs?  And not to put too fine a point on it but they’ve been around long enough that if they haven’t converted her yet, they probably won’t.

So, then, do I go with the current chart toppers like Luke Bryan, Jason Aldean and Florida George Line?  Well, they’re fun, but let’s be honest, they don’t exactly show off the best of country music, so that’s a no to bro country.  What about outlaw country, like Eric Church and Shooter Jennings, or humorous country, like Brad Paisley?  What about the women and the singer/songwriters and all the others I can’t even think of right now?

Or am I COMPLETELY overthinking this?  There’s no way to do this so I’m just going to do this …

With the caveat that this list may change daily and I’m likely forgetting somebody important, here are country music artists that I love (in alphabetical order because there’s no way I’m going to try and rank them):

  • Blake Shelton
  • Brad Paisley
  • Brandy Clark
  • Chris Young
  • Darius Rucker
  • Eric Church 
  • Gary Allan
  • Jake Owen
  • Kacey Musgraves
  • Lady Antebellum 
  • Miranda Lambert
  • Reba McEntire
  • Sunny Sweeney
  • The Shires
  • Tim McGraw
  • Toby Keith
  • Zac Brown Band

How would your ‘Country Music for the Novice’ playlist look?  Who am I forgetting?

@judiburger for @ukcountryblog

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