Merle Haggard

All I can say is, if I drank as much as he appears to based on his songs, I’d be pretty haggard, too. (Thanks. I’ll be here all week.)

Merle Haggard AllMusic page

k.d. lang

Patron saint of L …. L …. L …. Lawrence Welk fans everywhere. If you get that joke, you are a diehard k.d. lang fan. If you know who Lawrence Welk is, you are old.

k.d. lang AllMusic page

Johnny Cash

Of all the “artists I can’t believe I skipped in round 1,” Johnny Cash is probably at the top of the list. Not being a country music fan, I actually like Johnny Cash. (Mariachi horns in “Ring of Fire”? Awesome.) Clearly I was rushing to get to Joni Mitchell.

Johnny Cash AllMusic page

Dolly Parton

Sure, she’s been a cartoon character for a long time, but apparently Dolly Parton is the most-awarded country music artist of all time—so that must count for something. Plus, I secretly think she (and especially “9 to 5”) is awesome.

Dolly Parton AllMusic page

Asleep at the Wheel

There’s a joke to be made about how I was “asleep at the wheel” in remembering to include these cult favorites in round 1. But it is lame, so I won’t do it.

Asleep at the Wheel AllMusic page

Alt Country

A few years ago, I ran into a guy who looked kind of familiar from college. It turns out we were in the same program, graduated the same year—and had never actually met. I was also at the same school at the same time as Mary Chapin Carpenter, and I never met her, either. In other words: Clearly I wasn’t paying a lot of attention when I was at school.

Alt Country AllMusic page

Willie Nelson


The one who isn’t Waylon Jennings. Also: Only artist to perform duets with both Joni Mitchell and … Julio Iglesias?

Willie Nelson AllMusic page