Shawn’s Favorite Crossovers Into Country
With the news from Adele over the weekend that she will be giving country music a try, it got me to thinking about my favorite non-country artists who took the plunge. Now, I had to set some ground rules for my list. First, it has to be an artist that went from something other than country to country not the other way around like Taylor Swift. The artist also has to actually have went country, not made one country song or one country cameo like Nelly did with Tim McGraw (Over and Over). Other than that it’s all fair game, and it’s harder than it seems. Bet you can’t name ten that fit the criteara. Giddy up!
Kracker got his start as a rapper, then was Kid Rocks disc jockey, and then put out a rap metal solo album, no way did he go country! Wrong! Uncle Kracker found country success after recording a duo with Kenny Chesney called “When the Sun Goes Down”. Kracker and Chesney had a successful tour that followed, and now you can hear Kracker all over country radio, and almost all of his recorded material is country based.
Michelle Branch (The Wreckers)
So I kind of broke my own rule already and we just started. Michelle Branch joined forces with her buddy Jessica Harp in 2006 to form what we know as The Wreckers. They only had two big hits before Branch went back to pop and Harp continued on in country solo style. But, they were so big in 2006 that I had to include them. They were nominated for “Best Vocal Duo” at the Country Music Association Awards and “Best Country Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocal” at the Grammy’s that year, winning the later. Their single “Leave the Pieces” went to #1 on the country charts, and is still in regular rotation at most country radio stations.
I am not sure that Jimmy Buffett ever meant to go country, but he did. Country superstar Alan Jackson helped his cause when he had Buffett do a cameo on his 2003 hit “It’s Five O’Clock Somewhere.” Then all of a sudden “Margaritaville” was being played on about every country radio station, and Buffett understood it was time to become a country singer. His 2004 album “License to Chill” featured a Hank Williams remake, “Hey Good Lookin”, That made #8 on the country charts, and it was on from there. Buffett has since put out two more country oriented albums and made numerous country cameos.
Although he was originally known as a rap metal artist, Kid Rock has always had country ties and a love for the music. The first country inspired song that made it big for Kid Rock was his 2002 duo with Sheryl Crow “Picture”. From then on Rock didn’t shy away from the country sound. “All Summer Long” went #1 in eight countries and also got him started on the country tours. He has since played country music festivals all over the country including the Greeley Stampede and Cheyenne Frontier Days.
The former Hootie and the Blowfish frontman always had the desire to put out a country album, but even Darius Rucker would have never guessed he would get as big as he did. His first three country singles went to #1 and he became the first African American to win the New Artist Award from the Country Music Association, and only the second African American to win any award from the association. A second country album, Charleston, SC 1966, was released on October 12, 2010, and the first two singles also went to #1, with a third on it’s way now. Rucker still insists there will be another Hootie tour someday, and the country will then be on hiatus, there is no argument that he has been the most successful pop to country crossover artist ever.