What’s This Playlist All About? The folks over at Pitchfork attempt to tell the wild and rebellious tale of outlaw country—which could sometimes get as stubborn and subversive as ipunk—from its not-so-humble ‘60s and ‘70s pioneers to current-day torchbearers of the alternative country lifestyle.
What You Get: According to Pitchfork, the playlist “traces this music’s grit and glory from its contested origins to the present moment.” It takes you from Bobby Bare’s lonely “Streets of Baltimore” to Johnny Cash’s cold-blooded masterpiece “Folsom Prison Blues” performed in the California institution itself, to the Texas dancehalls where Willie Nelson had been kicking up plenty of dust with road-tripping gems like “Me and Paul.” It then winds its way through the bulk of the ‘70s with wisecracking tracks like Jerry Jeff Walker’s “Pissin’ in the Wind” and Tanya Tucker’s “Texas (When I Die),” before reaching the 21st century with beloved outsiders like Eric Church and Sturgill Simpson.
Greatest Discovery: The tragic, traditional-leaning “Hands of Time,” an intimate piece from 2016 that unleashes all of Margo Price’s vulnerabilities in a gorgeous mix of string-filled soul and twang.
Does This Have the Power to Convert a Non-Country Fan? Outlaw country is quite possibly the best gateway into the genre—especially for music fans craving inspiration beyond the mainstream.