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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
(apologies if this thread also appears elsewhere, I thought I had posted it in another section but it doesn't seem to have posted...if it shows up eventually I will delete the other, so please post replies here).

So, I did something which was a bit uncharacteristic of me, as a musician.

I just accepted a gig at the Southern NM State Fair and Rodeo....:oops:

Yes, really.

The interesting aspect of this being...my band plays an old-school Great American Songbook/Jazz standard repertoire, fronted by a wonderful lady singer.

The other interesting aspect being...the guy in charge of entertainment there has known this for 3 years (he asks every year, this is the first year we happened to be available on the date he needed us).

So I figured it'd be cool to slide in a few Country-esque tunes, or tunes which at least exist as sorta 'crossover' numbers familiar to both Jazz and Country fans, likely.

We have thus far picked "Georgia on my Mind" (no-brainer) and "Crazy" (Willie Nelson, Patsy Cline version)...and the singer wishes to do a Country-Blues Tune called "Devil Wears a Suit and Tie" which she insists is fairly well-known and liked ....'round these'here parts....(?)

But we could use a couple more. Any suggestions welcome BUT please:

Keep in mind I am not asking for Country tunes you may LIKE...but rather tunes which you feel can be Jazzified a bit to work in a set which follows songs such as "Fly Me To The Moon", "All of Me", "Moondance" and such....without seeming jarringly inconsistent.
The three chosen so far...can manage to do that, IMHO....

Also...they need to be pretty darn familiar, even skirting the boundary of commercial, overplayed, or trite might be OK.

(Yes have listened to Ray Charles' albums of country covers already...)
 

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My big band plays a jazzy version of "Hey, Good Lookin'". I can imagine several other Hank Williams songs working well. And any country songs based on the blues.

Almost forgot about Boots Randolph. Probably a lot of good stuff there as well.

Good luck with the gig.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Thanks, keep 'em comin'..

Quick question...

Bob Wills.....is that someone a casual country fan would be familiar with these days ?

(don't throw anything at me, I am WAAAAY out of my familiarity zone with this genre)
 

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One of my favorite old New Mexico singers was a guy from Roswell, NM born Henry John Deutschendorf, Jr. aka John Denver.

Annie's Song
Sunshine on My Shoulders

For some reason Hank Williams comes to mind. "I'm So Lonesome I Could Cry" - Is there some reason two of the three songs I suggested are in 3/4 time? Don't know. I just know they are beautiful and evocative songs that I'm pretty sure any good singer would like to take on.

Back to John Denver. So many of his songs were about longing for home or the comfort and safety of home. I always liked "Take Me Home Country Roads" and "Back Home Again." Neither are jazzy but they are definitely country.

I guess you can tell I'm a Denver fan. I wasn't at the time, more into electric guitar blues, Clapton, Hendrix etc. But years later, sometime after he died, I came to appreciate his music a lot. Anyway, I do go on sometimes.
 

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I can't imagine anyone who ever listens to country music being unaware of who Bob Wills was.
I can. Modern country doesn’t resemble the old stuff anymore. I don’t listen to contemporary country, but when I catch it just flipping through stations sounds like leftover pop songs from the 80s with a twang.
 

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I can't imagine anyone who ever listens to country music being unaware of who Bob Wills was.
This might be a bit jaded, but I can see someone who just listens to country radio not knowing Bob Wills in the same way someone who just listens to smooth jazz radio might not know Charlie Parker.
 

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A trad-jazz group I work with often does Hank Williams tunes. "Hey Good Lookin'" goes real well with a New Orleans second-line beat on the A part, going to straight 4 in the bridge. See Dwight Yoakam and Buckwheat Zydeco's cover of this tune.
 

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Hot Club are great, too. They're basically a small-group version of the Bob Wills band. And one last one - check out the Quebe Sisters (though I'm betting you don't have three fiddlers ready to hand).

I guarantee you that if you throw in some good Western Swing numbers at the rodeo (even without the steel guitar and fiddle) it will make a BIG HIT.
 
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