I grew up an hour north of Seattle during the heyday of the infamous grunge scene. Years later when I joined the service and would identify being from Seattle, I often was asked if I had ever seen any of the more renowned bands such as Pearl Jam or Nirvana before they made it big.
That answer would be a big NO! While I identified as being from Seattle, in actuality I grew up in a little hick town that no one had ever heard of. It was just easier to say Seattle and move on with my day.
The music that most impacted my life at that time comes from a band with roots located far from the small town in Washington where I once called home. The first time I was introduced to the band Alabama I knew I had finally found the music I had been searching for my entire life. “Mountain Music” by this iconic country group was my jam and took hold of me like no song before it ever had.
Now the hubs still likes to tease me about my indifference to growing up in such close proximity to one of the greatest musical revolutions of all time. I was so close to the groundbreaking history of alternative music giants such as Nirvana, Pearl Jam and Alice in Chains. The trouble was their songs never seemed to speak to me even the slightest. Don’t get me wrong. I love grunge music along with classic rock and other genres, but I will always return to my favorite country music classics without fail.
One day while driving around, Blue Eyes, at the age of eleven sang the last lyrics of song that ended, “You only kiss me when you’re drunk.” I had to laugh because those are lyrics that I can clearly identify as classic country. There aren’t too many songs that get away with lyrics like this, but many in the country world get a pass simply because they are country! Being an avid fan, here is my list of some of these songs lyrics that can only be true country:
- Alan Jackson: “Chattahoochee”
The song begins, “Way down yonder on the Chattahoochee, it gets hotter than a hoochie coochie.” That phrase in itself is classic country. I love Alan Jackson and know all his songs by heart. He is as country as country can be, but can you imagine Snoop Dog singing those lyrics? Me neither.
Billy Currington: “God is Great, Beer is Good and People are Crazy”
This song cracked up the hubs, a die-hard grunge fan, so much that he actually went out of his way and learned it. He even mentioned that no other genre could get away with this song and lyrics. By the end of the song, the main character, which only meets this mysterious man once in a bar as they bond over the phrase coined in the song’s title, ends being replaced in this man’s will instead over his own kids. The man is now rich, drinking a beer in honor of his gracious benefactor. Now, if that is not country, I don’t know what is!
Dixie Chicks- “Good-Bye Earl”
Although this song has a serious message speaking out against domestic violence, it shows that country music is anything but transparent. No other genre could boast, “Mary Anne and Wanda were the best of friends, all through their high school days, both member’s of the 4-H club, both active in the FFA.” Later on, especially if you are able to watch the video, you will see that they poison the man who was about to kill Wanda with black-eyed peas. Unless you are Fergie and have a band named that, only country music can get away with using this southern delicacy as the perfect murder weapon.
Garth Brooks – “Papa Loved Mama”
This list could not be complete without a Garth Brooks song. He is indicative of Country Music and the vibe that follows it. This was my sixteen year olds pick for this category. She felt that only in an upbeat country song could the retelling Mama’s untimely death at Papa’s hands be so accepted. Throw in the fact that Papa carried out the deed via his truck and this song fits just perfectly with good country standing.
Reba McEntyre- “The Night that the lights went out in Georgia”
Just like “Papa Loved Mama”, the upbeat music that accompanies the serious topic at the heart of this song makes its inclusion on my list of song with lyrics that could only be country. All the lyrics are great, but the best part is the line, “A big bellied sheriff grabbed his gun and said why’d you do it?” If that doesn’t give you a clear visual of a fat country boy, I don’t know what would. The next part continues, “A judge said guilty on a make believe trial, slapped the sheriff on the back with a smile and said supper is waiting at home and I gotta get to it.” Now, Country draws us back to the basics of good living and remembering what is important to life in general. The fact that food takes precedence to justice is just so fitting.
Brooks and Dunn- “Boot Scootin Boogie”
Of course we have to include a song with its own dance. “I fire up my pick-up truck and watch the horses run.” I would like to see Eddie Vedder sing those lyrics and get away with it.
Morgan Wallen- “The Way I Talk”
A newer song for the list, I feel this one just screams out to the Deep South and the home of many country music lovers. “I sound a little like my daddy, I don’t cuss around my mama, got some words you never heard unless you down yonder, the man up stairs get’s it, so I ain’t trying to fix it.” Now, here in the first part of the chorus of this song, Morgan Wallen has included everything country in here, Mama and Daddy and God. The only thing missing is his truck and an old hound dog!
Charlie Daniels Band- “The Devil Went down to Georgia”
Just the title of the song, “The Devil Went down to Georgia” tells you what you need to know about the song.
George Straight- “All My Exes live in Texas”
The merits of country music reign heavily in love and the lack of love at times. In this fun song, George Straight sings that’s why he lays his head in Tennessee. Only country music could get by with that sort of verse. I don’t see Bon Jovi fitting Tennessee into one of his songs and if for some reason he did, it could never be like King George!
Dolly Parton- “Jolene”
This is the ultimate cheating song. Before Carrie Underwood’s and Taylor Swift’s ballads that crooned heartbreak, is this classic. Dolly Parton’s hit was based on a red haired bank teller that flirted with her husband early on in their marriage. Cheating is indicative of so many country songs and this song has remained popular for over forty years for that very reason.
There are many more songs that could be added to this list. If you are an avid country listener and any of these rang true with you, please leave a comment on my page. If you have your own to add, I would love to hear from you.