A great cover can transform a song, changing the way you think about a tune you’ve heard a million times. Country artists have never been shy about tipping their hats to the artists who’ve inspired them. From Sinatra songs to 90s rock anthems, here are the best cover songs by country artists.
12. “Misery and Gin,” Jaime Wyatt
Jaime Wyatt counts Merle Haggard among her greatest influences, so it makes perfect sense that the California singer would honor the Bakersfield king with this gorgeous cover of “Misery and Gin,” originally recorded on The Hag’s 1980 album Back to the Barrooms.
11. “Somethin’ Stupid,” Zephaniah Ohora and The 18 Wheelers
Newcomer Zephania Ohora is turning heads with his debut album This Highway, but the most surprising aspect of the record is his delightful duet with Dori Freeman on “Somethin’ Stupid.” The song was made famous by father-daughter duo Nancy and Frank Sinatra in 1967.
10. “Into the Mystic,” Jason Isbell and the 400 Unit
Jason Isbell’s smooth-as-honey Alabama drawl is the perfect match for this 1970 Van Morrison gem.
9. “Leather and Lace,” Elizabeth Cook and Aaron Watson
“Leather and Lace” burned up the radio charts in the early 1980s. The song may have been made famous by rock icons Stevie Nicks and Don Henley, but it was originally intended to be a country song. Nicks actually wrote the song for Waylon Jennings and Jessi Colter’s duet album Leather and Lace. Ironically, the song never made it onto the album. But the classic duet eventually received the country treatment by way of Elizabeth Cook and Aaron Watson.
8. “The Wurlitzer Prize,” Kacey Musgraves
Kacey Musgraves takes on fellow Texan Waylon Jennings with her cover of the outlaw’s 1977 hit “The Wurlitzer Prize.” Hoss would be proud.
7. “Love in the First Degree,” Wade Bowen and Brandy Clark
High Cotton: The Songs of Alabama is chock full of great covers of the Dixieland Delight boys’ greatest hits. But one of the album’s brightest moments is this cover of “Love in the First Degree,” transformed into a scorching duet by Wade Bowen and Brandy Clark.
6. “Doreen,” Turnpike Troubadours
Alt-country heroes the Old 97s helped put the genre on the map with their brand of rollicking story songs like “Doreen.” The Turnpike Troubadours put their spin on the track for their self-titled 2015 album.
5. “If I Were a Carpenter,” JP Harris and Kelsey Waldon
JP Harris’ Why Don’t We Duet in the Road is a collection of classic country duets with some of Nashville’s greatest female voices. Kelsey Waldon plays June to JP’s Johnny, resulting in a pitch-perfect take on “If I Were a Carpenter.”
4. “Gold Dust Woman,” Waylon Jennings
Waylon clearly had a lot of love for Stevie Nicks. While he never recorded (previously mentioned) “Leather and Lace,” he did lend his country baritone to Fleetwood Mac’s “Gold Dust Woman” for 1978’s Waylon and Willie.
3. “I’ll Go to My Grave Loving You,” Bruce Robison and Kelly Willis
Husband and wife duo Bruce Robison and Kelly Willis are no strangers to cover songs. The couple has covered rock band The Blasters and English pop band the Zombies. But nothing beats their cover of The Statler Brothers “I’ll Go to My Grave Loving You.”
2. “Wish You Were Here,” Cody Jinks
Pink Floyd’s 1975 smash “Wish You Were Here” has been covered numerous times. It takes a special rendition to really stand out these days. Texas singer-songwriter does just that with his pedal steel-laden spin on one of classic rock’s greatest anthems.
1. “The Story,” Dolly Parton
Brandi Carlile recruited everyone from Adele to Kris Kristofferson for the benefit album Cover Stories: Brandi Carlile Celebrates 10 Years of The Story — an Album to Benefit War Child. But the record’s standout track is Dolly Parton’s mesmerizing cover of Carlile’s soaring “The Story.”