Country music has always been one of the building blocks of rock ’n’ roll, even when it comes to non-mainstream rock. Today, we’re checking out the best country songs by alternative, indie and punk artists below.

As long as rock music has existed, it has been intertwined with elements of country with some of the most famous bands in history (the Beatles, the Rolling Stones) claiming a profound country music influence. But inspiration isn’t a one-way street, and many recent country stars say that the likes of AC/DC and Bruce Springsteen have made an impact on them.

The same sort of crossover isn’t always as evident when it comes to alternative rockers, but that hasn’t stopped a great deal of them from trying out a country shuffle or two. It seems that grungy rockers and sneering punks still have a weakness for fiddle, pedal steel guitar and quality storytelling.

All of the songs in this gallery are original tunes, not a bunch of dashed-off covers of old Johnny Cash songs. Some of the featured bands played the genre experimentation for parody, goofing around with country clichés. Others wrote songs that they felt just sounded a bit better with a twang.

Before we begin, it should be said that there are no country-rock, alt-country or cow-punk bands to be found here. Those are groups that write country songs all the time. But none of the artists in this gallery would be lumped in with country music or its sub-genres. Rather, these are rock acts that decided to take a quick detour through Nashville, if only for one song.

More From