Country and Western > What songs should a band learn?

Discussion in 'Country and Western' started by thebeerchasers, Feb 14, 2008.

  1. thebeerchasers

    thebeerchasers New Member

    Hi guys,

    I don't know if I am in the right place but I was wondering if you could help me out. What are the top songs that a band should learn to play for a country dance audience. I think the dancers would be more into line dancing then partnered dancing.

    We know some songs already like Boot Scoot, Achey Breaky, and I Like I Love It. What are some of the other "workhorses" especially those for a male singer?

  2. Spitfire

    Spitfire Well-Known Member

    Well, just from the days when I would go to the C&W clubs I would say whatever such songs are currently popular.
  3. kayak

    kayak Active Member

    Around my area, most people want to couples dance with CW music. Yea, there are some crowded floors with the line dances, but that isn't the draw. The line dancing is popular because there are never enough guys up for partner dancing.

    Don't step too far back in history for your music. Everyone I know likes the modern stuff. Do throw in a few cowboy chachas. I don't think women are allowed to not like the cowboy chacha :)
  4. thebeerchasers

    thebeerchasers New Member

    We play "Rub it In" that cowboy chacha?
  5. Vince A

    Vince A Active Member

    Play any up to date "catchy" C&W songs . . . ones that your band can play . . . try to make it your song and don't try to sound or imitate the artist who made it popular.

    Since we mainly play in dance halls that have a bar . . . we also specialize in adult contrmporary music . . . soft rock, some blues, etc. However we do some country . . . we just added "Whiskey for My Men, and Beer for My Horses."

    If you do any old ones. . . make sure it is popular or known . . . we play "Friends in Low Places."

    These songs are just bar songs . . . plain and simple!
  6. thebeerchasers

    thebeerchasers New Member

    Thanks, Vince. Check out "Six Days on the Road" on and you'll get an idea of a song that's been beerchaserized as opposed to imitative of Dave Dudley's version or Sawyer Brown's rendition. Is Modesto anything like Bakersfield music-wise? Or is Bakersfield not even Bakersfield anymore music-wise? We are learning Streets of Bakersfield which sounds like a german polka to me.
  7. Jonesn4dance

    Jonesn4dance New Member

    I suggest checking with the local instructors that teach at the bars or most cities have a Country Western Social dance club. They can help because they are usually the one's who teach these dances and can keep you up to date on what songs to add. If you get more couple dancers try playing more two-steps in the 186 bpm range and play some west coast swings. Hope this helps.
  8. bootscoot147

    bootscoot147 New Member

    i may be speaking for myself but i would suggest fast songs. i know when i go out, all they usaually seem to play are songs fast enough for a line dance but not too fast, i personally line fast songs for fast dances
  9. davedove

    davedove Well-Known Member

    It all depends on your audience. My brother played in a band that played a mix of country and R&B. If they played for an older crowd, some newer songs were okay, but often the classics were prefered (50's to 70's era).
  10. chuck4788

    chuck4788 Member

    We travel a bit in the west so get exposed to the dance preferences in different communities, and they vary a bunch so the sugestions about checking with dance instructors is good advice. We've encountered enough bands that play "their" music rather than what the dancers want that we are cautious about unknown bands, we've walked out of a few venues because the bands were too loud and clueless.

    In AZ they like their AZ 2step and slow music, and very few progressive pattern dances. In the PNW it is fast 2steps and lots of progressive pattern dances. Both like WCS and ChaCha. Only one opinion here but I like my 2 step fast (180+), my WCS funky, and chacha not too fast. A few good 2steps are; George Strait "Fireman", Hal Ketchum "Past the Point of Resue", "Killing Time", "Bucket of Suds", "Cadilac Jack Flash", "Nothing Better to Do", "All my Exs Live in Texas",
  11. CwdTexas

    CwdTexas New Member

    I live in East Texas and dance from Ft. Worth to Shreveport. The dance floor always fills up when a slow romantic song is played. It seems in this area most of the guys dance the three step and like to hold the girls close. The ladies just want to dance and will dance to anything they are asked to.

    A couple of old standards that seem to always work are Neon Moon and My Maria for a little faster songs.

    My personal favorite to dance the double two is not even a Country Western song. Cherry Bomb by John Mellenkamp is really fun to dance to.

    Learning a couple of slow waltzes will also help to get the dancers on the floor.
  12. Steve Pastor

    Steve Pastor Moderator Staff Member

    Did someone write "Friends in Low Places?"

    Song's still around. Just happened on this....

    Oddly enough it was hearing Sam Hunt's "Break Up in a Small Town" that got me there via Chris Stapleton.
    Figure that one out.
  13. JoeB

    JoeB Active Member

    You see that pretty much anywhere; slow dance plays and the floor fills up, then the ones nobody wants to get that close to whine until something else gets played. Some of those people need dance lessons, (the painful leads and the follows who don't follow should just get together, IMO) others need hygiene lessons, and most need lessons in at least faking a more tolerable attitude for three minutes at a time.

    Underappreciated two-step:

    (For that matter, the entire Troubador album never seemed to get the recognition it deserves.)
  14. Steve Pastor

    Steve Pastor Moderator Staff Member

    I hear a shuffle in there... I could swing it pretty easily, or go triple two.
    Don't remember ever hearing this before. Good one.
  15. JoeB

    JoeB Active Member

    I haven't even heard it when there's a dance floor available to know for sure what I'd do, but it definitely has me wanting to get up and do something every time I hear it.
  16. Generalist

    Generalist Active Member

    Most live bands play too fast because they think that's what dancers want. Don't be mislead by this myth. Dancers want slower music than you think. The previous example of "Make Her Fall in Love" is an excellent sample of how country dance music should be played.

    Too many live country bands sound like Lindy Hoppers. It's too bad because they don't understand what they are doing wrong.
    JoeB likes this.
  17. JoeB

    JoeB Active Member

    Live bands are usually at least better than DJs. They tend to get bored with the same beat over and over, so they tend to mix it up a bit. The less experienced will also generally not have enough of their own songs, so they'll fall back on some timeless classics.

    What most people want is variety. Imagine going to a big band dance where they play nothing but 125BPM foxtrots. Never a waltz or a swing. Yet that's what every guy who couldn't hold a job as a Walmart cart pusher so he declared himself a shuffle button with sneakers thinks is the way to go. At a "honky tonk" a few weeks ago, everything they played was way up there in the high end of the two-step BPM, and frankly, it all sounded like the same song. No classic country, not a waltz in the whole set.

    Even if someone absolutely loves that particular style and tempo, they're still going to have to sit one out from time to time to rest, rehydrate, pee, get drunker, or whatever. Mix it up a bit with Honky Tonk Crazy or The Cowboy Rides Away or even If Heartaches Were Horses. (It's Texas; complaining about a George Strait song isn't a death penalty offense yet, but we're still trying to get that law passed.)

    Too often, I think it's because the more vocal among the dancers don't know what they're doing, and would rather stick to songs that are "too fast for proper form or fancy techniques" instead of dropping down around 140BPM or even slower and working on some new moves or polishing the ones they thrash through at high speed.
  18. JoeB

    JoeB Active Member

    Oh, almost forgot this one for livening up the place:


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