Country music singers and songwriters often draw from real life experiences to create their music. Occasionally those experiences are deeply rooted in tragic events. Over the years, many country artists penned songs when tragedy strikes, supplying us with musical empathy when it’s needed the most. Here are some of the songs inspired by tragedy.
Lee Brice’s “I Drive Your Truck”
Songwriters Connie Harrington, Jessi Alexander and Jimmy Yeary wrote this touching Lee Brice song after Harrington heard a story on the radio about a soldier who was killed in Afghanistan. The soldier’s parents coped with the loss by driving his truck. After Harrington learned this, she teamed up with her friends to pen this award-winning song.
Garth Brooks’ “The Change”
On April 19, 1995, tragedy struck in Oklahoma City when 168 people were killed and almost 700 others were injured in the Oklahoma City Bombing. In response to the devastating incident, Tony Arata and Wayne Tester wrote “The Change,” which was performed by Garth Brooks. The music video paid respect to those who lost their lives that tragic day.
Jason Michael Carroll’s “Alyssa Lies”
A song about child abuse in the home, Jason Michael Carroll was inspired by the true story of a little girl who lived a tumultuous home life and tragically passed away due to injuries sustained. While the song has become Carroll’s most notable tune, it is one that still, nine years after its release, brings him to tears.
Alan Jackson’s “Where Were You When The World Stopped Turning”
Sept. 11, 2001, is a date that America will ever forget. Alan Jackson‘s “Where Were You When the World Stopped Turning,” reminds us suddenness of that unforgettable day and the effect it had on our nation.
Miranda Lambert’s “Over You”
Written by Miranda Lambert and Blake Shelton, “Over You” was inspired by the untimely death of Shelton’s brother following a car accident. The relatable song often brings Lambert and audience members to tears during performances.
Jo Dee Messina’s “Heaven Was Needing A Hero”
When the first female soldier was killed in Iraq, country singer Jo Dee Messina felt deeply affected by the loss. She used her special gift to pay tribute to the fallen hero with this song, which has become a staple Memorial Day tune.
Jimmy Wayne’s “Paper Angels”
Singer, songwriter, and author Jimmy Wayne grew up in foster care, knowing all too well what it is like to not experience Christmas. When he saw the Salvation Army’s Angel Tree in Nashville, he was inspired to write a song about the program that adopted him as a teenager. He hoped the song would raise awareness of the many children who only received paper angels during the holidays.