DevilDriver Vocalist Dez Fafara’s Top Ten Outlaw Country Songs of All Time
This summer DevilDriver will at long last release an album consisting entirely of outlaw country-gone-metal covers, Outlaws ‘Til The End: Vol. 1. To celebrate the coming desecration of everything that both metalheads and country fans hold holy, we’ve asked DevilDriver frontman Dez Fafara to list out his top ten favorite country songs of all time. With decades of knowledge to call upon that task couldn’t have been easy, but Fafara loyally obliged, listing out some picks you won’t be surprised made it onto such a list and a few out of left field.
Check out DevilDriver’s cover of the Hank III track “Country Heroes” below, followed by Dez’s ten picks and brief descriptions of each. Outlaws ‘Til The End: Vol. 1 comes out on July 6th via Napalm Records; pre-order here.
1. “ If Drinking Don’t Kill Me “ (George Jones)
This is the track that jams in the back lounge of the tour bus at 3am when everyone’s drunk and rowdy! The first time I heard Jones do this track I was 15 years old listening to the radio and I was instantly hooked.
2. “The Ride” (David Allen Coe)
There’s no better story-telling song than this one, and from day one hearing that “whine” in Coe’s voice impressed upon me what “real country” was – the tone in the voice and the desperation in the delivery.
3. “Ghost Riders in The Sky”
I dig two versions of this song – of course the Johnny Cash version, but if you’ve ever heard Vaughn Monroe do this song it’ll give you chills! I’ve loved this song since my earliest years listening to music. It has a haunting sensibility that’s as real as it gets. We covered this with John Carter Cash & Anna Cash, which was an honor.
4. “The Gambler” (Kenny Rogers)
My parents’ record collection was a huge part of my childhood and this record got jammed constantly. I’m not sure if Kenny is an outlaw, but I’ll tell you what… he can write a song and the tone in his voice is one of a kind!
5. “Outlaw Man “ (The Eagles)
Now here’s the thing… The Eagles? Are they country… are they outlaw?
I think they are a bit of it all. The style is surely country-leaning, and they dress in boots and bullet belts across their chests, so… you tell me! The Eagles for me are one of those bands that straddled genres and did so well. These records were in my parents’ collection as well.
6. “Country Boy Can Survive” (Hank Williams Jr.)
From the first time I heard it, this track really impressed upon me what lyrics could do in painting a picture and holding the listener’s attention, as you wait anxiously to hear the ending of the track. Killer song!
7. “On The Road Again” (Willie Nelson)
This is perhaps the first country tune I ever loved! Whenever the family would go camping this song would be playing and it’s truly still one of the greatest travel songs ever written.
8. “Whiskey River” (Willie Nelson)
We covered this one with Randy Blythe and Mark Morton of Lamb of God. This is where lyrics-meet-riff and a legendary track is born. “Whiskey River take my mind, don’t let her memory torture me,” Willie delivers in the first line as he sets up the story of heartache and despair. The fucking lyrics on this are on par!
9. “I’m The Only Hell Mama Ever Raised” (Johnny Paycheck)
Again it’s the lyrics here that inspire, as he begins to tell you about a rough and rowdy past and how his mama only raised one hellraiser! I relate to this song, as I’m literally the only hell my mom ever raised… my siblings lead very beautiful, average lives as I roam the globe and throw up middle fingers!
10. “Country Heroes” (Hank III)
I didn’t find Hank III’s music until about ’98, but man, when I did I fell in love with the tone in his voice. Much like his granddad, he has this “wail” that cuts straight through to the bone and his delivery has, and is, about that raw emotion. He’s one of the only real outlaws that’s still coming up. Hank 3 turned me onto Wayne The Train Hancock, and if you hear that cat then you can hear the influence his vocals had on Hank 3.