Country Dance Remixes
by Chuck Eddy | March 26, 2014
Pinpointing the first country hit to get a commercially released dance remix is an inexact science, but it most likely happened sometime in the early '90s, and the nightclubs it aimed for were probably ones where cowboy-hatted people two-stepped and line-danced with sawdust beneath their heels. Brooks & Dunn's 1993 Hard Workin' Man ended with a "Club Mix" of their '92 "Boot Scootin' Boogie," and the CD single of Tim McGraw's 1994 "Indian Outlaw" included an expanded dance mix. The Southern-rockish Georgia band Confederate Railroad had a couple, too, eventually included on their 2000 compilation Rockin' Country Party Pack.
But the queens of country remixes -- occasionally crossing over onto dance charts and clubs that weren't particularly rural at all -- were big-voiced, R&B-skirting divas LeAnn Rimes and Wynonna Judd. Rimes, especially, has put out singles featuring competing remixes by several different producers, some of whom enjoy blasting them into the electronic stratosphere. The "Youngjared Mix" of Chely Wright's explicit-worded "Damn Liar" might be even spacier.
"Country is the latest genre to discover that behind a thumping techno beat sits a lucrative opportunity to breathe a second life into songs by turning them into dance tunes," entertainment reporter Emily Yahr noted in the Washington Post last year. This playlist compiles all sorts of evidence: the "Video Mix" of Trace Adkins' "Honky Tonk Badonkadonk"; the "Stadium Dance Mix" of Blake Shelton's "Boys 'Round Here"; Jason Nevins' remix of Lady Antebellum's "Need You Now"; rap-augmented retoolings of numbers by acts like Montgomery Gentry (with Colt Ford), Jason Aldean (with Ludacris), and, most inescapably, Florida Georgia Line (with Nelly). Songs by Jake Owen and Love and Theft get restructured on a 2013 EP from Nashville spinner Dee Jay Silver, who also mashes Carrie Underwood's "Two Black Cadillacs" into Dolly Parton's "Jolene" and slips Nappy Roots into Alabama's "Dixieland Delight." For a genre often stubbornly proud of staying put while the world changes around it, this is music on the move. And it might just make you move, too.