German country music. You may remember Texas Lightning from Eurovision 2006
, but the rabbit hole goes much deeper than that. Oh yes.
(NB: If you don't like American country music, that's fine, just skip down to the bottom quarter or so of the post. Trust me.)
American country music has been known in Germany since the 1920s and the days of The Carter Family and Jimmie Rodgers. One of the first German country songs is perhaps Belgian singer Bobbejaan's country-inflected version of A Pub with no Beer
, Ich steh an der Bar und ich habe kein Geld
, written by Peter Kreuder. The song hit the German charts in 1960 and stayed for 30 weeks.
But there were original acts, too, like Bruce Low with the 1957 hit Es hängt ein Pferdehalfter an der Wand
and this version by the Kilima Hawaiians
, a group from Holland). Lest there be any doubt that this is bona fide country, it's a song about a cowboy who is sad because the halter, saddle, and bridle on the wall remind him of his deceased best friend, his horse.
In the 1970s there were artists like Gunter Gabriel, Tom Astor, and Truck Stop. From Gunter Gabriel, who's still around
and making music
From Tom Astor, who worked with Johnny Cash, John Denver, Willie Nelson, Kenny Rogers, and others
Traditional country continues into the modern era with bands like Slow Horses
and Markus Rill
, who sing in English.
After that, things start to get a little weird, with bands that often do country renditions of decidedly non-country songs. Previously mentioned Texas Lightning, here with one of the odder covers of Like a Virgin ever recorded
as well as the more mainstream Man of Constant Sorrow
. It should be mentioned that the lead singer of Texas Lightning is actually Australian, although the rest of the band is German.
brings their unique country aesthetic to some unusual covers:
Lastly, we get to alternative German country, where the train starts to leave the rails a bit. The Waltons
, an English-singing cowpunk
band from Berlin, produce a surprisingly listenable psychobilly
as well as ironic renditions of country classics
. Also recommended, a bit of psychobilly squaredancing
The inspiration for this post came from the German Wikipedia page on country music in the German-speaking world
. As an added feature for German learners, much of the singing in these songs is slow and clearly enunciated, so it should be easy to follow.
Extra Bonus: German country music radio personality and author Walter Fuchs playing the blues
at his 74th birthday party.