It’s no secret that John Mayer absolutely loves country music. Whether it’s his appearances on CMT Crossroads with Brad Paisley and Keith Urban or his cover of Jolene with Urban at the 2011 Grammy Awards, Mayer flirts with country music regularly. It can even be debated that a full quarter of Mayer’s eight studio albums are country influenced with both 2012’s Born and Raised and 2013’s Paradise Valley being chalked full of beautiful, western-inspired tracks. With introspective songwriting that feels Jason Isbell-esque and guitar work that makes both Paisley and Urban blush, Mayer has proved that he has the ability to make a killer country record if he wants to.
Austin Post, better known by his stage name, Post Malone, has a deep history of playing and loving country music. From covers of Bob Dylan to Johnny Cash to Sturgill Simpson, the rap superstar has always had a clear affinity for the genre. He most famously covered Brad Paisley’s I’m Gonna Miss Her and Sturgill Simpson’s You Can Have The Crown during a 2021 charity live stream in the wake of Winter Storm Uri in Texas. His covers of the two tracks went viral, prompting many to wonder if Post would ever drop a country record due to his performance being so good. His cover of I’m Gonna Miss Her was so good, in fact, that Paisley himself said, “[It’s] always humbling when another artist does your song better than you.” Post never ruled out the possibility of a country record, stating “To be honest, there’s nothing stopping me from taking a camera or setting up in my studio in Utah and just recording a country album [to put] on YouTube.” Later in the same interview with Howard Stern, he added, “If I get another year to myself, maybe I’ll make a f–king country album.”
Clarkson is another artist who has flirted with the country genre for years without ever delivering a full album. Her biggest country collaboration to date is easily her 2011 duet with Jason Aldean, Don’t You Wanna Stay. The double platinum hit won the pair two ACM Awards and even got them a Grammy nomination. Clarkson is a regular in the country scene, often appearing and performing at various award shows and events. The pop star has covered a plethora of country classics such as Tennesee Whiskey, I Will Always Love You, The Dance and Boot Scootin’ Boogie. Additionally, she famously criticized the state of modern country in a 2019 live stream, remarking that “Country music is gone… Now it’s weird word-rap.” She later added, “Country music doesn’t sound country anymore.” It’s clear that Clarkson has a deep love and appreciation for the genre; it seems like it’s only a matter of time before she fully dives into the country world.
Chad Kroeger, known primarily as Nickelback‘s frontman, recently sparked interest from country fans due to his recent interview with Tom Power. In the interview, Kroeger notes how Nickelback’s double platinum hit, Photograph, is “pretty much a country tune with a heavy chorus.” Kroeger added even more fuel to the fire now that Brantley Gilbert is hittin’ the road with Nickelback on their current tour, the Get Rollin’ Tour.
Call him folk, call him alternative, call him whatever, it is abundantly clear that Noah Kahan knows how to write introspective, meaningful lyrics that would fit right at home with the Zach Bryan, Jason Isbell and Tyler Childers of the world. The singer/songwriter went viral in 2022 with the smash hit, Stick Season. His 2022 record, also titled Stick Season, is simply a beautifully dark album that feels right at home with many Isbell records. The Isbell influence became even more apparent recently with Kahan releasing a cover of Isbell’s If We Were Vampires with Wesley Schultz, most famous for being the lead singer of The Lumineers. Kahan has immense talent that just begs the question, “Will he ever lean more towards country?”