Taste is subjective they say; one person’s trash is another’s treasure and so on. But anyone who hasn’t jumped aboard the country music love train is clearly missing out on some of the best tunes ever strummed and lyrics ever penned. For those of you who remain unconvinced, or, more likely, those of you with friends who remain unconvinced of country music’s effortless superiority, here are five boot stomping, knee slapping, hand-clapping country songs that absolutely no one can resist. Put them on, turn them up and discover how the West was won.
Garth Brooks // Friends in Low Places
Nearly everyone, country fan and non-fan alike, knows this song, and no one can resist singing along to the chorus, especially in a group. It’s a feel good, all-inclusive rocking ditty that shows fancy folks, clothes and money don’t guarantee a good time. If you ever need the whiskey to drown and the beer to chase your blues away, this is the song to do it.
Johnny Cash // Ring of Fire
Written by his lovely lady June, Johnny Cash’s famous “Ring of Fire” is another relatable country tune about falling hard in love. All about passion and romance, the song inspires strong feelings and grand actions. It also inspires many off-key karaoke imitations, which is never a bad thing. Pull your sweetie close and sing her this song when you can’t find the words to tell her how you feel.
Charlie Daniels Band // Devil Went Down to Georgia
Teach your indie-rock loving friends the true art of fiddle playing with the help of a country master. An epic tale of good and evil set to music, it’s about a young, talented fiddle player who took on the devil and risked his soul in hopes of winning a golden instrument. If your friends’ feet aren’t tapping to this ballad, check for a pulse.
Kenny Rogers // The Gambler
The best country songs provide advice that’s been hard earned, and “The Gambler” offers just that set to a jaunty beat. Using poker as a metaphor, an old, tired gambler explains how to live life, find the good luck, avoid the bad and appreciate both before the lights go out for good. Had a bad day where nothing worked? Here’s your pick-me-up.
Dolly Parton // Jolene
The women of country can hold their own as well as the men, and great country music always has a twinge of melancholy to it. “Jolene”, Parton’s most popular song, is a wife’s desperate plea to stop a beautiful woman from stealing her man. Up-tempo but haunting, this song cuts deeply for anyone who’s ever feared for her significant other’s fidelity.
Some people may dismiss country music as being about trucks, dogs, cheaters and booze, but those people aren’t paying attention. Folks with an appreciation for fine storytelling, quality melodies and talented voices will recognize country music’s excellence if they give it a try. If you stumble across some haters, play them these tunes and watch them struggle to keep still.