10 Rock Stars That Went Country (And Nailed It)

Bringing a twang to your riffs.

Myles Kennedy
Wikipedia

Breaking out of the rock star formula isn't always the easiest thing to do. You're going to have to worry about keeping your cred as a songwriter and also somehow have an audience that's willing to go along with you down the rabbit hole to a completely different style. When you focus yourself on songwriting though, some of the biggest rock stars end up at the place where all wordsmiths end up: country music.

While those two words are probably already triggering alarm bells with a lot of people right now, this isn't just a bunch of rock stars who suddenly decided that they were moving to Nashville for the hell of it. These were musicians genuinely curious to work in a new medium, and most of the work that they did here is some degree of excellent.

Whereas most people would just try to exploit another audience for a quick paycheck, these artists were reverent of those who came before them and tried their best to make the kind of record that they could be proud of, whether they were playing it by themselves in a bar or as a part of their original outfit. Even at a time when country is going through its own identity crisis, these are the kind of musicians that can help get the rockers into the genre.

10. Chris Shiftlett

From the first time they played, the Foo Fighters were never really considered rock snobs by any stretch of the imagination. If you just listen to Dave Grohl's playlist, here's a guy who can play Slayer one minute and then be rocking out to the Bee Gees and ABBA right afterward. So with all of that musical ground to cover, why not bring some country into the mix as well?

Although it would have made sense for the country bug to get started during their trip to Nashville for Sonic Highways, Chris Shiftlett has a lot more miles with the genre than his bandmates. Around the time that the band were putting out albums like In Your Honor, Chris was already on the country bandwagon, going for the country music that was on the more outlaw side of the spectrum like Merle Haggard and Johnny Cash.

As the years go by, Shiftlett's non Foo material is practically 50/50 between traditional rock and roll and country music, especially when you look at his work with the Dead Peasants and Jackson United. For those of you still a little wary, this isn't the kind of bro country that you're going to hear all over the radio or anything. This is the kind of rustic roots music that is reserved for those born on the wrong side of the tracks. Given the guy's track record, it's only a matter of time before we eventually get a steel guitar on a Foos record.

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