Breaking the Stereotype: Country Music

A list of classic country songs that overturn mistaken notions about country music.


photo courtesy of Pinterest

CMA stars gather to make the iconic “Forever Country” video.

Anthony Durzo, Staff Writer

Imagine trucks, a dirt road, and an American flag waving in the wind. In the background, music blasts from a speaker. It’s easy to assume that the music you are imagining is country. Those who do not enjoy this style of music commonly believe that all country songs share the same values and embrace the same lifestyle. 

This belief is entirely false.

Any die-hard country fan will bristle at the mistaken view that country music can be repetitive and boring. The songs listed below attest to the fact that the country style of music has as much variety as any other style.

“Coal Miner’s Daughter” by Loretta Lynn:

The first woman of country music to win CMA’s Entertainer of the Year award tells the true story of her childhood as the daughter of a hard-working coal miner. In a cabin located on a hill in Butcher Holler, Kentucky, Loretta, along with her seven siblings, mother, and father, survived one one modest income. No matter how hard it was for her father to make ends meet, the coal miner’s family always received love and affection. 

“Hello Darlin’” by Conway Twitty:

This country song classic reflects the moment a man coincidentally sees a former lover of his. He begins the cumbersome conversation by simply saying “Hello darlin’. Nice to see you.” When asked how she has been doing now that their relationship has concluded, she describes an extraordinary life with her new love with whom she is happy. When the tables turn, however, he is asked the very same question. He then explains the heartbreak that he has been living with but makes amends when he ends the conversation with an apology for doing her wrong.

“I Will Always Love You” by  Dolly Parton:

Later re-recorded by Whitney Houston for the 1992 film, The Bodyguard, this original Parton song was released in 1974 as the sixth song on her Jolene album. It reiterates the endearment shared between two lovers while realizing that if the destructive intimacy continues, there could heartbreak along a heartfelt journey. To prevent a sad turn of events, it is admitted that two must part ways, but the love between them will remain forever. 

“He Stopped Loving Her Today” by George Jones:

It’s a story about long-term heartbreak that ends in death. Jones describes a man living in a depressed state of mind after the woman of his dreams has left him. To keep the memory of her alive, he keeps valued items to remind him of her such as letters and pictures. This continues until his final day, also known as the day he stopped loving her. 

“Fancy” by Reba McEntire:

Originally written by 1960’s country star Bobbie Gentry, these lyrics tell the story of a young lady being sent away from her mother for her own good. It begins by explaining the impoverished home life , with McEntire singing, “We lived in a one-room, run down shack on the outskirts of New Orleans. We didn’t have money for food or rent.” It is less of a traditional country song but more of a sung novel of a poor-stricken woman.

“I Can Still Make Cheyenne” by George Strait:

The king of country music can make listeners do a traditional dance or bring them to tears. For this tune, grab the tissues. A rodeo man who is often on the road away from his wife finds himself lonesome when he finds out that, while he is away, his wife is with another man. To encourage his wife to stay with him over telephone, he predicts that if he begins his journey home at that very moment, he will be able to arrive in his hometown of Cheyenne, Wyoming, before his wife is gone forever.

“Remember When” by Alan Jackson:

Perhaps one of the most wholehearted songs from country music in the 1990’s, Alan Jackson’s hit focuses on aging and remembrance of their youth. Singing to a violin among other instruments, Jackson relates tearful examples of life as a child and the growth that everyone experiences.  

“The Dance” by Garth Brooks:

Awarded with ACM Artists of the 1990’s decade award, Garth Brooks is known to have multiple emotionally heavy songs. This one in particular elucidates a remarkable experience with a woman during a dance, hence the song title. A relationship forms between the two but ends abruptly. Brooks elaborates how he wishes he did not experience heartbreak, but adding to the song is his gratitude toward the relationship by mentioning that the pain was worth it because he will be able to have the dance they shared beneath the stars above. 

“She’s In Love With The Boy” by Trisha Yearwood:

For her first song on her debut album in 1991, this song instantly became a hit for the future wife of Garth Brooks. It describes the moment a once-geeky girl enters her teenage years and changes to the wild side by falling in love with a boy who “got the short end of the stick.” The main character, Katie, just doesn’t care, and she’ll follow Tommy anywhere. 

“Drink A Beer” by Luke Bryan:

Before you start assuming that this song reflects the stereotype, you must read this description if you have never listened to this tearjerker before. This song outlines a day someone realizes that their siblings have passed away. Unfortunately, the inspiration behind this song is based on true events. Bryan lost his older brother in a fatal car accident and his eldest sister died mysteriously a few years later. While singing these downhearted lyrics, Bryan reminisces about the good memories they had during adulthood, when they would get together as a family and celebrate their bond.