While Bob Dylan is most often thought of as a rock and roll pioneer, he has made music from a huge variety of genres throughout his career. Country music was always one of his biggest influences, from his folk days onwards, and he has a large body of great country music from throughout his career. Here’s a list of Bob Dylan’s best country songs.
1. “Lay, Lady, Lay,” Nashville Skyline
1969′s Nashville Skyline was Dylan’s controversial immersion into country music at a time when psychedelic rock and hippie political activism were at their peak. An extension of the styles explored in John Wesley Harding, Nashville Skyline is responsible for many of Dylan’s best contributions to country music, including the “Lay, Lady, Lay,” which is thought to be one of his sweetest love songs. Country is the genre where we often find Dylan at his most tender, where his love songs are stripped of tragedy and sarcasm. In the hands of a lesser writer this would make for sappy cliches, but in Dylan it exposes us to another rich, more sincere facet of his songwriting.
2. “If Not For You,” New Morning
Another sentimental love song, this time from the 1970s New Morning, “If Not For You” is significant since George Harrison covered the song for his own album All Things Must Pass and the two performed it as a duet in rehearsals for the Concert for Bangladesh in 1971, though Harrison played it alone at the concert itself. Olivia Newton-John later had a hit with it, removing the acoustic, rootsy feel of Dylan’s original.