Country Songs for Stick Dulcimer Guitar
If you don’t know, Inglewood Instruments is located in Music City, USA also known as Nashville, Tennessee. And since we are the Country Music Capital, it seems only fittin’ that we include a few classic country tunes that you can learn to play on your Seagull Merlin or other stick dulcimer guitar.
Stick Dulcimer Country Songs
First up is country queen, Dolly Parton. Not only is Dolly an amazingly prolific artist and songwriter, having written thousands of songs in her career, she is an even more amazingly prolific humanitarian and has done a lot for not only the state of Tennessee but the country. (You can read about Dolly Parton’s good deeds here.)
This tune about the girl with flaming locks of auburn hair is pretty simple and just uses three chords. Here you can learn “Jolene” on stick dulcimer, playing with either 1-Finger or Multi-Finger.
You can download the "Jolene" Dulcimer Guitar TAB Chord Guide to use while you play along. I'm begging of you please.
Oh, and if you didn’t know, Dolly confirmed she wrote “Jolene” and another massive hit on the very same day: the power ballad "I Will Always Love You" famously recorded by Whitney Houston. Talk about a songwriter!
Next up are some tunes by the legendary Johnny Cash. In 1953 while stationed in Germany serving in the Air Force, Cash wrote "Folsom Prison Blues." This song was originally recorded in the key of F but in the video, we are learning it in the key of G and the chords are very straight forward.
Ten years later, "Ring of Fire" was recorded on March 25, 1963 and went on to become one of the biggest hits of Cash's career, staying at number one on the country chart for seven weeks. Although "Ring of Fire" sounds ominous, the term refers to falling in love – which is what June Carter was experiencing with Johnny Cash at the time (in addition to his rather wild, and concerning, lifestyle).
After a revolutionary and seasoned music career and plenty of life experiences, the Man in Black released the song "Hurt" in 2002 which singlehandedly revived the singer-songwriter’s career before his passing in 2003.
This song is actually a cover of a 1994 song by Nine Inch Nails. You can begin by watching my arrangement of Johnny Cash’s “Hurt” on stick dulcimer where I've tried to conserve the haunting feel by switching out using my fingers and a pick to create different sounds throughout the song. Then, you can use the "Hurt" Dulcimer TAB Chord Guide as you learn to play Johnny Cash’s “Hurt” here.
While we’re on the outlaw Johnny Cash, let’s highlight the Highwaymen. This country music supergroup of fellow outlaws was composed of Cash, Willie Nelson, Waylon Jennings, and Kris Kristofferson. Their #1 hit “Highwayman” was released by the foursome band back in 1985.
You can watch "Highwayman" by the Highwaymen on Seagull Merlin from my buddy Jesse Isley.
If you’d like a more specific lesson on how to play “Highwayman” (because it’s not as straightforward as most country songs), please drop us a line at firstname.lastname@example.org to say so!
Lastly, we have beloved country-folk singer-songwriter, John Prine. Prine, who just recently passed in 2020, has quite the catalog of music and plenty of accolades including two Grammy awards.
Out of his extensive list of songs you can listen to, here’s John Prine’s "Paradise" on Seagull Merlin M4. The original recording of "Paradise" is in the key of D so all you "D" tuned players can play along in the same key.
Are there any other country songs that you love playing on your stick dulcimer? Maybe other country tunes you want to learn to play on Seagull Merlin? Let us know in the comments.