The ten best country songs

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The Independent Culture

1 'SHAKY TOWN' Jackson Browne (1978)

A friend of mine, Ben Lee, who lives in New York, e-mailed us when we were going to America. When I showed him the dates he told me that I had to get this record of Jackson Browne's because it was such a classic. I listened to it as I was driving through the places that he was singing about, which makes the track pretty special.

2 'LOST IN LOVE' Air Supply (1980)

This one isn't typical country, but it's still one of my favourites. When we were in the Rockies I was waiting for this burger that I had ordered when this old guy came up to me. Recognising that I was a musician, he asked me if I'd heard "I Want to Hold Your Hand" by The Beatles. When I admitted that I hadn't, he invited me back to his hotel room where he played the song to me on his turntable. After that he played me the Air Supply one. He really had a passion for it - which he passed on to me!

3 'SONG TO WOODY' Bob Dylan (1962)

A classic song off his first album. That's it, really. I don't need to say any more.

4 'MASTER & EVERYONE' Bonnie Prince Billy (2003)

A friend of mine, Michael Watt, gave us the album with this song on just before he died and told us to listen to it. I was actually listening to it when I found out that he died. The track really speaks to me. I don't like choosing just one song from the album, really, because the whole record is amazing. It always make me think of Michael when I hear it.

5 'LET'S MOVE TO THE COUNTRY' Smog (1999)

This is one of the best country tracks I know because of its great lyrics. It's quirky country and just has a good sound.

6 'FUNKY SQUARE DANCE' Phoenix (2000)

This is a slightly different song to the previous ones I've mentioned. I especially like the coda. It's country with a different slant.

7 'YOU'VE GOT A FRIEND' James Taylor (1971)

My parents used to play this when we were kids so I've been listening to it my whole life. It's definitely a classic. It sounds best late at night, but I like hearing it at any time and in any place. It's an all-time fantastic record.

8 'LOST CAUSE' Beck (2002)

Another classic. This song is from his Sea Change album. It really defines a good song: it has a good melody, good lyrics and a great chorus.

9 'FAREWELL MY SUNSHINE' Gelbison (Unreleased)

Edo Khan - one of the singers from this band from Sydney - wrote this one as part of a side-project we're doing with them. The first track I wrote with him was a tribal-electro song called "Norway", which appears on their debut record, 1704, released last month. For this project (producing an album called Nations by the River) we've all written different songs. This one is one of the best country songs ever. It's quite slow. You can really hear the guitar complementing the vocals.

10 'WOMAN' The Chevrons

The singer from a new band called The Chevrons wrote this song for us; he said we could have it. It's uptempo country with really good lyrics. I have to confess, though, that, as a general rule, I'm more of a sucker for a real tear-jerker.

The Sleepy Jackson's single 'Come to This'/ 'This Day' is out on Virgin on 22 March

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