Tom Waits Songs for Country Music Fans

Tom Waits has created some of the most amazing chronicles of the American condition every recorded.   He captures the life of ordinary and extraordinaire people in the same manner that John Steinbeck layered his novels with  raw emotion.   Sorting through the wild ride that has been Tom Waits  career to find the country masterpieces is a bit of challenge, we have collected some for you.   We encourage you to deep dive into the rest of his work and see what else you find.  

“Hold On”  Mule Variations 1999
A classic story about a small town girl leaving for California and the love and heartache that goes along with it.   Close your eyes and feel their love slipping away.   Listen Now on Spotify

“Gun Street Girl”  Rain Dogs  1985
A cautionary tale about the havoc the wrong women can bring upon a normal man’s life.   “John, John, he’s long gone, gone to Indiana ain’t never comin’ home.” 
Listen Now on Spotify

“Face to the Highway”  Bad as Me  2011
A haunting, melodic leaving song.   Not classic country, but full of familiar emotion from the days of outlaw country.   Listen Now on Spotify

“Get Behind the Mule”  Mule Variations 1999
An epic murder mystery wrapped into a song.   Tom’s gravel hard voice punctuates the plight of the perpentrators and the chase that ensues after the crime. 
Listen Now on Spotify

“16 Shells from a 30.6”  SwordfishTrombones 1983
This track features the bold, gravely voice in another murder themed song.   The story is told in a series of visualizations taking the listener on a wild ride through Tom Waits Country. 
Listen Now on Spotify

“Blind Love”  Rain Dogs 1985
“Now you’re gone, it’s hotel and whiskey and hard luck days.”  He’s not in prison and his dog lives to the end, but this is a sad, sad country song in beautiful Tom Waits style. 
Listen Now on Spotify

“Cold Water”  Mule Variations  1999
A song about hard livin’.   Get inside the life of a man down on his luck and ridin’ the rails.   
Listen Now on Spotify 

“A Little Rain”   Bone Machine 1992
A gut wrenching ballad about a 15 year old girl who climbed into a van with a vagabond because she’s never seen the ocean.   Listen Now on Spotify

“Old Shoes (& Picture Postcards)”Closing Time 1973
Another song about leaving.   Classic old school country feel to this one.   Listen Now on Spotify

“Low Side of the Road”  Mule Variations 1999
Full of visuals brought to life by Waits vocals grinding across the chalkboard of your heart.   “Goin’ over to the Low Side of the Road.”  Listen Now on Spotify

“Diamonds and Gold”   Rain Dogs  1985
A country theme with a New Orleans feel.   Full of ancedotes from country life lived hard and fast.  
Listen Now on Spotify

“Goin’ Out West”  Bone Machine  1992
It’s not the most country sounding song in the collection, but we decided to include it because the lyrics are so over the top outlaw that any country boy can get excited about.    Listen Now on Spotify

Published by Mati Bishop

406 Paddles founder, artist and ambassador.

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