Features

Country Stars Share Their Favorite Things from 2017

Rick Diamond/Getty Images

It’s the tail-end of the year, which means it’s time to look back at all we’ve learned and experienced in 2017. We asked some of our favorite country stars to share some of their favorite places, moments and discoveries from the past year.

Josh Abbott

Josh Abbott and girlfriend
Rick Diamond/Getty Images

Favorite new album(s): Two albums blew me away in 2017: Turnpike Troubadours’ A Long Way From Your Heart and Tyler Childers’ Purgatory.
Favorite new song(s): “Old Stone Church” by John Baumann, “Whitehouse Road” by Tyler Childers, and “Pay No Rent” by Turnpike Troubadours.
Favorite new TV show(s): Almost done with season 2 of Stranger Things. It’s rare you find kid actors who don’t try overacting and these kids are fun to watch in their roles. The characters are fun, the cinematography and coloring is great, and even the plot is fun in its own fantasy world way.
Favorite film(s): I really enjoyed Murder On The Orient Express. Wonder Woman stood out as well simply because most superhero setup/background movies are lame and this one was well done.
Favorite show you played: My acoustic show with William Clark Green at Gruene Hall should’ve been recorded for a special live album. It was truly one of those magical shows. And it snowed!
Favorite show you saw: Watching Stapleton at Watershed was great. It’s inspiring to see someone so talented and popular thrive off such little production.
Best pre-show meal/restaurant: Thai food.
Best post-show meal: Depends on what state we’re in. In Texas though, it’s always gonna be Whataburger.
Favorite overall purchase: My house in Austin.
Favorite new artist discovery: Tyler Childers.
Favorite/biggest accomplishment: Getting engaged and having a child! Seriously, best two events to ever happen in my life! From a music standpoint, putting out another concept album that I believe in means everything to me. Some people liked it, some didn’t. Lots might not have even still heard it. But we made an album that was different and fun and will always mean so much to me based on the time in my life when we recorded it and released it.
Favorite music venue: Whitewater in New Braunfels, 9:30 in DC, Joe’s Live in Rosemont.
Favorite music festival you attended or played: Larry Joe Taylor is one we play every year and it’s always great. Same for Calf Fry. As far as new ones, Watershed really blew me away.
Favorite new podcast: The Ringer NFL Show entertains and educates. Good stuff for NFL fans. I enjoyed S-Town because it is so brilliantly produced and narrated. But that ending was so anti-climactic and a letdown.

Wade Bowen

Thirty Tigers/Cambria Harkey

Favorite new album(s): At Home In The Big Lonesome by Drew Kennedy.
Favorite new song(s): “Drunkard’s Prayer” by Chris Stapleton.
Favorite new TV show(s): Ozark.
Favorite film(s): Christmas Vacation.
Favorite book(s): 11/22/63 by Stephen King.
Favorite show you played: Grand Ole Opry performance at the Ryman with my entire family in the crowd. And I got to sing “Before These Walls Were Blue” with my two boys sitting out front.
Favorite show you saw: Bruce Springsteen at Wrigley Field.
Best pre-show meal/restaurant: Preshow, I always like to eat light so I love good salmon with rice and veggies — boring, I know.
Best post-show meal: Pizza or Whataburger.
Favorite overall purchase: I love love love our home we bought in New Braunfels, Texas. And my new Callaway Driver. Haha.
Favorite new artist discovery: John Baumann.
Favorite/biggest accomplishment: My 2 bad ass boys Bruce and Brock.
Favorite music venue: The Ryman or Red Rocks.
Favorite music festival you attended or played: This is my 16th year at Steamboat Music Fest in January, so that should answer that pretty easily.
Favorite phone app: Being able to download movies on Netflix. Hell yeah, boy.
Favorite new podcast: The Co-Write.

Jon Baumann

John Baumann
Facebook/John Baumann

Favorite new album(s): Tenderheart by Sam Outlaw and We’re Not Going Anywhere by David Ramirez.
Favorite new song(s): “Unknown Legend” redux by Shovels & Rope, “Forget About Georgia” by Lukas Nelson and Promise of the Real and “Prisoner” by Ryan Adams.
Favorite new TV show(s): Curb Your Enthusiasm Season 10, Football Night in America and Pardon The Interruption. 
Favorite film(s): Dunkirk.
Favorite book(s) you read: Barbarian Days by William Finnegan and Jon Krakauer’s Under the Banner of Heaven. 
Favorite show you played: Fayetteville, Arkansas’s George’s Majestic Lounge, Dec. 14, 2017.
Favorite show you saw: Father John Misty at Bass Concert Hall.
Best pre-show meal/restaurant: Standard Deluxe. in Waverly, Ala. had some delicious cajun catering.
Best post-show meal: Wafflehouse in Asheville, N.C.
Favorite overall purchase: A couple of inflatable paddleboards from BOTE Boards.
Favorite new artist discovery: David Ramirez and Merle Haggard (30 years too late).
Favorite/biggest accomplishment: Recording and releasing Proving Grounds.
Favorite music venue: Blue Door in Oklahoma City.
Favorite music festival you attended or played: MusicFest in Steamboat.
Favorite phone app: Amazon Prime Video. Renting movies on the road and watching them on this app has been great.
Favorite new podcast: I’m a weekly listener of the Bill Simmons Podcast on The Ringer network, but have really taken a liking to The Working Songwriter. It’s an excellent podcast from Joe Pug. It has killer transitions.

Cleto Cordero

Photo: Tim Castleman

Favorite new album(s): Mercury & Lightning by John Mark McMillan, A Long Way From Your Heart by Turnpike Troubadours, The Nashville Sound by Jason Isbell & The 400 Unit and Prisoner by Ryan Adams.
Favorite new song(s): “How Luck Am I” by Kaitlin Butts, “Last of My Kind” by Jason Isbell and “To Be Without You” by Ryan Adams.
Favorite new TV show(s): I don’t watch TV. haha.
Favorite new film(s): Alien Covenant and What the Health.
Favorite book(s) you read: The War of Art. Just started Fahrenheit 451.
Favorite show you played: Fourth of July show at Gruene Hall.
Favorite show you saw: Sheryl Crow at Willie’s 4th of July Picnic.
Best pre-show meal/restaurant: Ahi Tuna Starter from Dosey Doe in The Woodlands.
Best post-show meal: Street side hot dog in Nashville.
Favorite overall purchase: Gibson J-45 and all the books I’ve bought this year.
Favorite new artist discovery: Jack Mark McMillan.
Favorite/biggest accomplishment: Using acoustic show money to pay back my parents for their contributions to Humble Folks.
Favorite music venue: ACL Live.
Favorite music festival you attended or played: Medicine Stone.
Favorite phone app: Mint. Slowly, but surely growing up.

Kaitlin Butts

Photo: Tim Castleman

Favorite new album(s): The Weight of These Wings by Miranda Lambert, Purgatory by Tyler Childers, Jason Eady by Jason Eady, Rainbow by Ke$ha and From A Room by Chris Stapleton.
Favorite new song(s): “Spaceship” by Ke$ha, “Second To Know” by Chris Stapleton, “Lucky Penny” by JD McPherson, “Nose to the Grindstone” by Tyler Childers and “Angel Down” by Lady Gaga.
Favorite film(s): Wonder and Wonder Woman.
Favorite book(s): Writing Better Lyrics and The War of Art.
Favorite show you played: Third and Lindsey in Nashville with Wade Bowen.
Favorite show you saw: Lori McKenna at Americana Fest.
Best pre-show meal/restaurant: One veggie Fuzzy taco and a sangria swirl margarita.
Best post-show meal: Hotel Concierge pizza.
Favorite overall purchase: I bought Cleto Cordero a “How to Harmonize” CD for Christmas so I think that’s gonna be my most productive purchase.
Favorite new artist discovery: Tyler Childers.
Favorite/biggest accomplishment: Publishing deal with Liz O’Sullivan at Porch Light.
Favorite music venue: The Mercury Lounge in Tulsa.
Favorite music festival you attended or played: Americana Fest.
Favorite Phone App: Comedy Central.
Favorite new podcast: Church On The Move.

R.C. Edwards of Turnpike Troubadours

R.C. Edwards

Favorite new album(s): Deer Tick Volume 1 & 2 by Deer Tick and We All Want the Same Things by Craig Finn.
Favorite new song(s): “Get in My Car” by Broncho.
Favorite new TV show(s): Mike Judge Presents: Tales From the Tour Bus, Rick and Morty.
Favorite film(s): Hell or High Water.
Favorite book(s): Astrophysics for People in a Hurry by Neil deGrasse Tyson.
Favorite show you played: Willie’s Picnic 4th of July.
Favorite show you saw: Texas Tornados at Music Fest.
Best pre-show meal/restaurant: Bacon and Bourbon at The Peacock Diner in St. Louis.
Best post-show meal: Tamales at Floore’s Country Store.
Favorite overall purchase: 2007 Crown Vic.
Favorite new artist discovery: Lost Bayou Ramblers, Khalid, Houndmouth.
Favorite/biggest accomplishment: Playing Austin City Limits.
Favorite music venue: The Mercury Lounge in Tulsa.
Favorite music festival you attended or played: Medicine Stone.
Favorite phone app: Music Memos.
Favorite new podcast: Hardcore History by Dan Carlin

Mike Harmeier of Mike & The Moonpies

mike and the moonpies
Mike and the Moonpies

Favorite new album(s): Prisoner by Ryan Adams.
Favorite new song(s): “Feathered Indians” by Tyler Childers.
Favorite new TV show(s): Mindhunter.
Favorite film(s): Star Wars: The Last Jedi.
Favorite book(s): “Born to Run” by Bruce Springsteen.
Favorite show you played: Americana Fest.
Favorite show you saw: Jason Isbell ACL Live.
Best pre-show meal/restaurant: Triple J’s in Lubbock.
Best post-show meal: Waffle House.
Favorite overall purchase: Fender Start from reverb.com.
Favorite new artist discovery: Brent Cobb.
Favorite/biggest accomplishment: Recording Steak Night at The Prairie Rose.
Favorite music venue: John T. Floore’s Country Store.
Favorite music festival you attended or played: Americana Fest.
Favorite phone app: Spotify for Artists.
Favorite new podcast: Bad Truth Podcast.

Cowboy Troy

Big and Rich
Cowboy Troy (Center) onstage with Big and Rich. Rick Diamond/Getty Images

Favorite new album(s): Did It For the Party by Big & Rich — great lyrics and harmonies.
Favorite new song(s): “Fuss & Fight” by Koe Wetzel — the guitar riffs remind me of old Dangerous Toys records.
Favorite new TV show(s): I watch a lot of business news channels and sports news.
Favorite new book(s): Marketing textbooks.
Favorite show you played: Carolina Country Music Fest was a rowdy crowd back in June.
Best pre-show meal/restaurant: Something light before jumping around on stage.
Best post-show meal: Pepperoni pizza extra cheese. It’s hard to mess that up.
Favorite overall purchase: A plane ticket home to get to my family.
Favorite new artist discovery: Charlie Stout
Favorite/biggest accomplishment: Graduated with my MBA in Marketing in January.

Boo Ray

Boo Ray
Geoff Moore

Favorite new album(s): Marooned With Treasure by Blank Range, Trinity Lane by Lilly Hiatt, Lifers by Jonathan Latham, Exedous Venus by Elizabeth Cook, Highway Queen by Nikki Lane, Southern Moon by Derek Hoke.
Favorite new song(s): “Call You Up” by Charlie Worsham.
Favorite new TV show(s): Ozark, Godless.
Favorite show: 3rd & Lindsley with Stoney Larue was a blast! We were on a couple of good bills at The 5 Spot too.
Favorite show:  Songhoy Blues at Basement East and Jason Isbell at his residency at Country Music Hall Of Fame.
Best pre-show meal/restaurant: Husk.
Best post-show meal: Dino’s.
Favorite overall purchase: Custom guitar picks & trucker hats with James A Willis Design for our merch.
Favorite new artist discovery: Charlie Worsham.
Favorite/biggest accomplishment: With two days notice we shot the “Redneck Rock & Roll” video in a single day on a Monday, overnighted the footage to the editor in L.A., and delivered the finished product on Thursday.
Favorite music venue(s): 3rd & Lindsley, The 5 Spot, Southgate Revival House, and Blue Canoe. Of course, the 40 Watt and Georgia Theater are always favorites.
Favorite music festival you attended or played: Muddy Roots, Christmas Jam, Moog Fest
Favorite new phone app: Instant Buttons
Favorite new podcast: Country Fried Rock

Sam Riggs

Sam Riggs
Photo: Natalie Rhea

Favorite new album(s): The Human Condition by Jon Bellion, Wolves by Story of The Year, Lee Brice by Lee Brice, Treehouse by I See Stars, California by Blink-182, Heart of a Flatland Boy by Erik Dylan.
Favorite new song(s): “Fishing Alone” by Erik Dylan.
Favorite new TV show(s): Peaky Blinders.
Favorite film(s): American Made.
Favorite book(s): A Million Miles in a Thousand Years by Donald Miller, West With the Night by Beryl Markham.
Favorite show you played: LJT Fest ;).
Favorite show you saw: A Day To Remember, on my birthday at Gas Monkey Live in Dallas.
Best pre-show meal/restaurant: Dosey Doe’s in The Woodlands.
Best post-show meal: Whataburger.
Favorite overall purchase: New pair of Vans shoes.
Favorite new artist discovery: Erik Dylan.
Favorite/biggest accomplishment: Backpacked through Big Bend National Park, Glacier National Park, Zion National Park and Escalante National Monument.
Favorite music venue: Gas Monkey Live.
Favorite music festival you attended or played: Highway 30 Music Fest.
Favorite new podcast: Whiskey Riff and Joe Rogan.

WATCH: Can You Recognize These Country Stars Before They Were Famous?

recommended for you

Country Stars Share Their Favorite Things from 2017