If you’ve ever said, “I listen to everything except country,” this collection of songs is for you. Sure, your aversion makes sense: the commercial side of the genre has given the genuine article a bad name. Also, if you don’t live in a place like Frogville, Oklahoma (yes, that’s a real place), you might feel like the music doesn’t speak to you.

But consider the sound of a slide guitar. Like a cat’s eye, it contains an entire universe of sadness. Chew on the notion of a hardscrabble, down-and-out people who, when you strip away the superficial, aren’t all that different from you and me. If we’ve learned anything in the past few months, it’s that life isn’t all roses, and we’re in this mess together. Listen closely and you might hear yourself in these songs. And most importantly, remember that the best country band in history doesn’t even hail from the United States. It was started in London by five scruffy Brits who would later be known as the Rolling Stones.

Nathan King is a Deputy Editor for AIR MAIL