I don’t know if we’ll ever get a full blown country album from Koe Wetzel, but I do think he could nail a classic country cover album.
I got to thinking last month that his voice has never sounded better after listening to his little Christmas EPKoe Wetzel Presents… Wetzel’s Wonderland EP, which perfectly showcased his Texas twang, range, and ability to control his vocals beyond what we’ve heard mixed in with loud, electric guitars, drums and a more grunge-leaning production (which I also love, just to be clear).
For a couple years, he tossed around the idea that he might one day put out a real deal, true country record, but he’s also mentioned that it might be a while until that ever happens, though he’d initially mentioned doing it when he turned 30, which happened a little while ago now.
Anywho, whether that happens or not, I think it would be so fun to hear him lean into the classic country side of things, because I’ve always felt like he’s never done his own voice justice in a certain sense… or at least, shown it off in this way before, and I think a lot of people might be pleasantly surprised at how good of a vocalist he really is.
I actually don’t think he should change his style of music, and I really appreciate the genre-bending, different sound he’s created for himself that was very evident on his 2022 project Hell Paso, because he’s always done his own thing and kind of veered away from being put in any sort of genre box.
Most importantly, he’s done that well, which is no small feat by any stretch of the imagination.
But, I do also think his fans would love to hear what a fully country project of any kind would sound like from him, mostly because Koe’s an artist who isn’t decidedly “country” that could really pull it off.
Maybe it’s just a pipe dream, but even if he cuts just one of these songs in the studio one day, I’d be more than happy with that.
So in case he ever gets the wild idea to really do it, I’ve come up with 10 songs I think he would knock out of the park, so to speak, and could really sing the hell out of.
It’s a little heavy on the Willie and Waylon, but I don’t think y’all should be surprised by that at this point…
“You Never Even Called Me by My Name” — David Allan Coe
Koe has done little renditions of it before, and has mentioned in the past that he was named after the legendary David Allan Coe, so this is an absolute must, at the top of my list for obvious reasons.
“Forever And Ever, Amen” — Randy Travis
You simply can’t put together a project like this and not include the great Randy Travis.
While this kind of subject matter is certainly out of Koe’s typical wheelhouse (and kind of an outlier on this list too), it would be a cool change of pace and something completely different for the Texas rocker.
“Mama Tried” — Merle Haggard
Another seemingly obvious choice, I think this would go over very well among his fan base, and sums up the persona Koe presents to the world that we’ve all come to know and love.
“Dreaming My Dreams With You” — Waylon Jennings
Koe once tweeted that this was the “best country song ever written,” and though he was referencing the Jamey Johnson version, it is in fact a Waylon original:
Dreaming my dreams with you by Jamey Johnson is the best country song ever written.
“Dreaming My Dreams With You” is a stone cold country classic, one of Waylon’s favorite songs he ever recorded, and would be the perfect to any country cover album, in my very humble opinion.
“Take Me Home, Country Roads” — John Denver.
Another oldie Koe has done live covers of before, this John Denver hit will forever be a crowd pleaser and fun to listen to.
“Mammas Don’t Let Your Babies Grow Up to Be Cowboys” — Waylon Jennings and Willie Nelson
If there ever was a hit classic country song that fits into Koe’s modern day outlaw image, this is it.
And again in this case, it simply wouldn’t be a cover album of this nature without some Waylon and Willie, and I’d love to hear Koe’s interpretation of this one. It could be really, really fun.
“Blue Eyes Crying in the Rain” — Willie Nelson
I’ve heard Koe mention in the past that he used to cover this Willie Nelson classic at shows many years ago, and I would absolutely love to hear him give it a shot now.
It’s one of the greatest sad country songs of all time, and I think Koe’s voice would actually sound perfect on it.
“Crazy” — Patsy Cline
One of the most recognizable country songs of all time penned by Willie Nelson, Patsy Cline made this song a massive hit that remains a country standard to this day.
While no one on the planet will ever be able to match her vocal ability or delivery, I think Koe could really make this his own and sing the hell out of it (which is kind of the point of a covers album).
“Man in Black” — Johnny Cash
A badass Johnny Cash song that exemplified his outlaw, badass spirit, I had to include it here for obvious reasons.
“In the Pines”
Also known as “Where Did You Sleep Last Night” (and several other titles), it’s believed to have originated in the southern Appalachian region of the United States, with influences from Eastern Tennessee and Kentucky, Western North Carolina and Northern Georgia and started out as a country song.
Over the years, it has been covered by a countless array of artists, including bluegrass musician Bill Monroe as well as folk and blues legend Lead Belly. They each did their own versions of the song in the 1940’s and 1950’s.
But of course, it was made most famous by Nirvana, more specifically frontman Kurt Cobain, during the bands iconic Live On MTV Unplugged set in 1993 and remains one of my all-time favorite musical performances to this day.
Koe has covered this one live once or twice years ago, and obviously has a ton of Nirvana influence in his music, so it’s a no-brainer that I’d love to hear a real studio cut of this from him.
That’ll do it for my list… what classic country songs would you want to hear Koe cover?