As the home of Music City, Beale Street, Dollywood and half of Bristol, there's a lot of music history across the 440-mile-wide state of Tennessee. Of course, a list of country songs is going to favor Nashville, but those other sites and the natural resources and small towns in between each stop have a bearing on how singers and songwriters paint verbal pictures of the Volunteer State.
Here are the 20 best country songs about Tennessee.
1. "Tennessee Waltz," Patti Page
Country music legend Pee Wee King co-wrote this American pop standard that might've accompanied your grandparents' first dance.
2. "My Tennessee Mountain Home," Dolly Parton
3. "Rocky Top," The Osborne Brothers
Although it sounds like an old classic that might've been freestyled by the state's earliest settlers, this football fight song and statement of Tennessee pride was first recorded by the Osborne Brothers in 1967.
4. "Dixieland Delight," Alabama
Notice that Randy and the boys weren't feeling lucky as a seven on an Alabama Saturday night. Instead, this favorite of University of Alabama football fans actually takes place in the Volunteer State.
5. "Tennessee Rose," Emmylou Harris
6. "Crazy Town," Jason Aldean
The relenting yet rewarding nature of the big dreams offered by Nashville makes for solid song lyrics, as shown here by a Macon, Ga. dreamer turned international superstar. For a more traditional take on Music City, give Steve Earle's "Guitar Town" a spin.
7. "Visit Me in Music City," Bobby Bare Jr.
The son of a Nashville legend might be a hair cynical about modern country music, but at least he's got a sense of humor about outsiders' misconceptions.
8. "Tennessee Song," Margo Price
One of the first songs to signal country singer Margo Price's arrival uses Tennessee as a glowing example of the gorgeous outdoor landscapes we all shouldn't take for granted.
9. "Tennessee River," Alabama
This early Alabama hit blends bluesy Southern rock and country music to celebrate the rural beauty of mountain hideaways.
10. "Smoky Mountain Rain," Ronnie Milsap
Ronnie Milsap used a chance to go back home to the familiar confines of the Smoky Mountains as a backdrop for one of his greatest love songs.
11. "Tennessee Homesick Blues," Dolly Parton
The most famous daughter of the Smokies and the queen of modern country music glorifies simpler times in this catchy, upbeat ode to her home state.
12. "Tennessee," Marty Stuart & The Fabulous Superlatives
Country music's unofficial historian tells of Tennessee's history ("the home of Davy Crockett") and musical allure in this rocking number
READ MORE: Best Country Songs About Texas
13. "Nashville Without You," Tim McGraw
Tim McGraw paints this alternative timeline of a lonely, empty Nashville that'd exist without all of the songs he namedrops.
14. "Wrong Side of Memphis," Trisha Yearwood
One of the top five songs from Trisha Yearwood's storied career tells of a narrator itching to ditch her home town to chase Nashville stardom.
15. "Murder on Music Row," George Strait and Alan Jackson
16. "Memphis, Tennessee," Elvis Presley
This often-covered classic, performed here by Elvis Presley, represents how various strands of Southern music were woven together in Memphis to strengthen early rock 'n' roll.
17. "Tennessee Stud," Johnny Cash
One of the best songs to mention Tennessee is this old classic that doubles as one of the great songs about horses. Its writer, Jimmy Driftwood, also penned "The Battle of New Orleans."
18. "Back Where I Come From," Kenny Chesney
Despite its lack of ocean side property, the state inspires native Tennessean Kenny Chesney in this early career standard, penned by Mac Mcanally.
19. "Tennessee Whiskey," Chris Stapleton/George Jones/David Allan Coe
Beyond entertaining the rest of the world with its music, Tennessee has another famous export. It gets folks drunk and makes for some fine country song analogies about love.
Read More: Hank Williams Jr. Shows His Softer Side With 'Cherokee'
20. "Sundown in Nashville," Marty Stuart
Like most of us, Marty Stuart is a lifelong fan of country music. After all of these years of performing and collecting country artifacts, Stuart could probably tell you anything you wanted to know about past stars of the Grand Ole Opry. That's why his ode to Music City feels so genuine.
This story originally ran on April 17, 2019.
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