Country music stars, with their cowboy hats and high-fashion cowboy boots, have made an impact on the music fashion world, inspiring city slickers to wear the comfortable, practical, horse-and-trail clothing favored by the Western set.
Here’s a look at some of the best country contributions to romance, starting with the song that places tenth on our list.
10. “How Forever Feels,” by Kenny Chesney
Love songs of all sorts, from touching to funny and everything in between, have helped make Chesney, almost never seen without his signature cowboy hat , one of the biggest stars in country music and music in general in the 21st century. This song is one of his best, as he sings of all the things he has experienced, from memorable beach trips to driving fast cars. The song turns sentimental when he explains that “there is one thing that I haven’t done,” and proceeds to pop the question to his girlfriend, wanting to know “How Forever Feels.”
9. “Walk the Line,” by Johnny Cash
The popularity of the recent movie which shares this song’s name has brought resurgence in attention for the late Johnny Cash. This song is a poignant expression of Cash’s willingness to stick to the straight and narrow path for the woman he loves. “Because you’re mine, I walk the line.”
8. “Whatever It Is,” by the Zac Brown Band
The Zac Brown Band, featuring the uniquely country sounds of stringed musical instruments including guitar, mandolin and violin, is a relative newcomer to the country charts, breaking through after years of popularity in their native Georgia and across the southeast. The compositionsThe singer addresses the woman he loves and intends to marry, telling her that whatever “it” is, she has it. His love is difficult to put into words because, as he tells her “every time I try to tell her how I feel it comes out ‘I love you.’” It’s a simple song, yet very powerful and moving.
7. “It’s Your Love,” by Tim McGraw and Faith Hill
Following in the cowboy boot-wearing footsteps of predecessors like George Jones and Tammy Wynette, Hill and McGraw have become country music’s most famous husband/wife team. They take turns singing lead on this duet, joining in harmony for the chorus and producing one of their biggest hits.
6. “When You Say Nothing at all,” by Alison Krauss
This song was a hit three different times: first for Keith Whitley, then for Krauss on a tribute album dedicated to Whitley, then finally for Ronan Keating. The song explains that though words are powerful, silences can be even more so. Krauss’ voice is particularly moving as she sings “There’s a truth in your eyes saying you’ll never leave me. The touch of your hand says you’ll catch me if ever I fall. You say it best when you say nothing at all.”
5. “Check Yes or No,” by George Strait
Another of country’s biggest stars, and well known for love songs in particular, Strait tells a story of true love at first sight. The narrator falls in love with EmmyLou Hayes when both are in third grade, and she sends him a note like those exchanged by many children over the years: “I think this is how love goes, check yes or no.” He chooses yes, and the next verse takes us to a look at the two of them, grown up and married and still as happy as when they were chasing each other across the playground in elementary school.
4. “Amazed,” by Lonestar
A huge hit in 1999, this song was heard at countless weddings around that time and is still a popular choice for first dances. It is a straightforward proclamation of love from a man to a woman: “I just want to spend the rest of my life with you by my side, forever and ever. Every little thing that you do, baby I’m amazed by you.”
3. “She’s in Love with the Boy,” by Trisha Yearwood
Young love and disapproving parents: a theme as old as humanity, but expressed in a new and touching way by Yearwood. Katie falls in love with Tommy, but her father thinks Tommy isn’t “worth a lick, when it comes to brains he got the short end of the stick.” Katie, of course, doesn’t care what anyone says, and surprisingly, her mother steps in to take her side. She reminds the disapproving dad that he was once in Tommy’s place with her father, and as she points out, “he was wrong, and honey you are too. Katie looks at Tommy like I still look at you.”
2. “Stand by Your Man,” by Tammy Wynette
A hit more than forty years ago, Wynette’s most popular song still resonates today. Her theme is very simple: unconditional love. “If you love him you’ll forgive him, even though he’s hard to understand.” The song was chosen as the greatest country song of all time in a 2003 survey by CMT.
1. “Forever and Ever, Amen,” by Randy Travis
Everything a country love song should be: simple, yet clever and powerful. Travis proclaims that his love will be undying, no matter what happens. “I ain’t in love with your hair, and if it all fell out, well, I’d love you anyway.” He ends by telling the woman he loves that if “you wonder how long I’ll be faithful; just listen to how the song ends.” It ends, of course, by repeating the title. His love, and these songs, will last forever and ever. Amen.
Favorite Country Love Songs
By John Allen Wallace