One of the most poignant characteristics about prime country music is its ability to tell meaningful stories. There is more or less a genuine expression outflowing from someone’s heart and into these ballads, whether they be love songs, melancholy stories, or heartfelt messages directly to the song’s recipient. These are ten prime country songs that are sure to touch your heart and bring you back to the true meaning of love and human value that modern country, rap, and pop culture has distorted.
1. “She’s Everything” (Brad Paisley)
This song goes deeper than infatuation with a woman’s appearance—because we should all know by now that’s not what true love is about. It explores the essence of a person, her character and essence of being.
2. “She Said Yes” (Rhett Atkins)
This is a sweet ballad about two young people who meet at a dance. Their relationship begins when he reluctantly asks her to dance with him, to which she says yes because neither of them want to be alone in a room full of people. Months later, he asks her—much more willingly this time—to be his wife, to which she says yes again. This is a sweet prime country song that will melt anyone’s heart.
3. “I’ll Walk” (Bucky Covington)
This ballad tells the story of a woman who loses the ability to walk after a car accident and her man’s devotion to her throughout the healing process.
4. “Where Were You When the World Stopped Turning?” (Alan Jackson)
This song is especially important for our generation to retain, especially for any of us who were too young to remember 9/11 or retain only fragmented memories of TV screens showing smoke spilling out of the Twin Towers. This song spells out our history that older adults can remember all too vividly. It ties us to the past and our identity as Americans, and forces us to relieve the feelings that too many lived through that day and are still affected by even now. This is another one of the prime country songs.
5. “Skin” (Rascal Flatts)
Though most well-known for their hit “God Bless the Broken Road” (another wonderful song), Rascal Flatts also crafted this heart-melting song. “Skin” tells the story of Sara Beth, a girl battling cancer, who believes that she has lost her worth and right to be loved. The loss of her hair only seems to confirm this lie in her mind. The end of the song depicts the selfless affection of her prom date, who shows up at her door to take her to prom regardless—with his own head of hair shaved off.
6. “Concrete Angel” (Martina McBride)
“Concrete Angel” is heartbreaking enough, but even more so when you know the true story behind the song. McBride wrote the song in memory of her niece, who was abused and killed by her mother. Many of McBride’s songs depict her dedication to the fight against domestic violence.
7. “Carrying Your Love With Me” (George Strait)
Although George Strait took often looked-over songs and made them his own, you can’t ignore the power this man has over the lyrics. When you hear “Carrying Your Love With Me,” about a man who promises to keep his woman close to his heart no matter where he travels, you will hear how much this man sings from his heart. This is another one of the prime country songs.
8. “Don’t Take the Girl” (Tim McGraw)
This is a heartbreaking ballad with a cliffhanger. The story begins with Johnny, an eight-year-old boy who wants to go fishing with his dad without the neighborhood girl tagging along. So he asks his dad if they could please not take the girl. Forward ten more years, and the two are now dating, and find themselves getting mugged outside of a movie theatre. The robber grabs the girl, and Johnny begs him to take anything he has if the robber just won’t take the girl. A few years later, after the couple marries, the girl gives birth to a baby boy but lies at the point of death. To this, Johnny begs God to not take the girl away from him. But the songs ends there, and we never know what happens.
9. “Don’t Blink” (Kenny Chesney)
If you’re like most people, you have probably thought a good deal about growing up, getting life done the way you want it, and possibly how and when you will die. Chesney’s song puts this all into perspective in under five minutes when a man turning one-hundred and two years old is interviewed about his life. To this, he uses “blinking” to describe how life can change so drastically and go by way too fast before you know it. “Just like that, you’re six years old and you take a nap. You wake up, and you’re twenty-five, and your high school sweetheart becomes your wife… Trust me, friend, a hundred years goes faster than you think. So don’t blink.” This is another one of the prime country songs.
10. “I’m Already There” (Lonestar)
I grew up with this prime country song, and remember singing it constantly from elementary school up until now whenever someone leaves my life and my heart is nearly breaking. The song feels like you’re listening in on a private phone call between a man and his family, but the assurance they offer each other of their dedication despite being so far apart will make your heart stronger and give you hope that you will always stay connected with the people you love. Prime country is not just a thing of the past. It is an art that weaves human stories about love, hardships, and triumph together in songs that make a difference in how we view ourselves and each other—for good. Once you listen to these ten prime country songs, my hope is that your heart will be moved to listen to more.