Western With A Twist, Part 3: Music

Beneath the CanyonsWelcome to the third part of the Western With A Twist blog series, music! (Part 1 is books, Part 2 is movies and TV.) As I’m celebrating the launch of the Daughter of the Wildings series with Beneath the Canyons, enjoy some music that’s western in spirit, style, or both, but with a twist.

Now, I’m not a country listener, but for the most part these aren’t country songs. Rather, they have a sound reminscent of the west, spaghetti westerns, wide open spaces, an attitude of independence and individuality.

To keep the post from being too long, I’m only posting YouTube videos for a few of the songs, and including links to the rest; there’s also a Spotify playlist of the music down at the bottom. I’ve also put Amazon buy links for as many of these selections as I could find them for (not my affiliate links; that would have been too much work!) Enjoy!


The song that immediately comes to mind when talking about westerns and fantasy or supernatural themes is Ghost Riders in the Sky. This has been covered about a zillion times; here are three of them:

Johnny Cash, traditional country (Amazon)
Outlaws, country rock (Amazon)
Spiderbait, rock
and this retro instrumental version from the 60’s, by the Ramrods (with fan-made video): (Amazon)

The other “real” country song on this list is Ring of Fire. Of course, the original Johnny Cash version is classic (Amazon), but personally I prefer the cover by Social Distortion (Amazon):
The album Danger Days: The True Lives of the Fabulous Killjoys, by My Chemical Romance (one of the greatest rock albums ever made, if you ask me), makes up the bulk of the Daughter of the Wildings playlist. Set in a post-apocalyptic California, it’s an in-your-face statement of individuality and independence. The whole album is excellent, but for the Western With A Twist theme I picked out Bulletproof Heart and Save Yourself, I’ll Hold Them Back as being the most western in spirit. (Amazon)
The entire album The Joshua Tree by U2 (another one of the greatest rock albums ever made, IMNSHO) also celebrates the wide-open feel of the west, especially the songs Where the Streets Have No Name and In God’s Country. (Amazon)
I picked two songs from the album Communique by Dire Straits for this list. Once Upon A Time In The West doesn’t have a whole lot to do with the Old West, as far as I can tell, but it has a real spaghetti-western feel to the music, especially in Mark Knopfler’s guitar playing. Angel of Mercy is a sweet and sexy country-flavored song that would be great to dance to. (Plus the lyrics mention catching a dragon; I know it’s metaphorical, but still, dragons :D) (Amazon)
Peacemaker, by Green Day (Amazon), also has that spaghetti western feel, as does Kiseki no Umi, the theme song from the fantasy anime Record of Lodoss War. The show is about elves and the typical pseudo-European fantasy, but the beautiful theme song (by Yoko Kanno, the brilliant composer who also wrote the music for Cowboy Bebop and the theme songs for Ghost in the Shell) has a wide-open western sound.
Finally, probably the greatest Western With A Twist song of all time, and one of the greatest music videos of all time, the futuristic spaghetti western Knights of Cydonia, by Muse: (Amazon)
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About kyrahalland

Kyra Halland has always loved fantasy. She has also always loved a good love story. Years ago, as a new stay-at-home mom, she decided to combine those two loves - like chocolate and peanut butter! - by writing the kinds of romantic fantasy novels she wanted to read. Complicated, honorable heroes; strong, smart, feminine heroines; magic, romance, and adventure; deep emotion mixed with a dash of offbeat humor - all of these make up Kyra Halland's worlds. She loves sharing those worlds with readers and hopes they will enjoy her stories and characters as much as she does. Kyra Halland lives in southern Arizona. She has a very patient husband, two less-patient cats, two young adult sons, a lovely daughter-in-law, and an adorable granddaughter. Besides writing, she enjoys scrapbooking and anime, and she wants to be a crazy cat lady when she grows up. View all posts by kyrahalland

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