As we count down the minutes and hours until Labor Day, most Americans are trying to make it through the daily grind at work. Country music is known for blue collar working class heroes and over the years the genre has given us some truly great songs about working hard (or hardly working).
Here are the 20 best country songs about working for a living.
“National Working Woman’s Holiday,” Sammy Kershaw
Take note, guys. This is how to ascribe value to a woman in a song without dwelling on her appearance!
“Drinking Class,” Lee Brice
Lee Brice sings one for the blue collar workers who’re regulars at the only bar that’s still open after their 12-hour shift ends.
“Amarillo By Morning,” George Strait
At a time when songs about cowboys looked to the rodeo for lead characters, Strait pointed out that riders kept the same unrelenting tour schedules as country music singers.
“It’s 5′ O Clock Somewhere,” Alan Jackson ft. Jimmy Buffett
Sometimes by Friday, workers just want to get drunk during their lunch break and deal with the consequences on Monday. Alan Jackson lives out that fantasy with help from a famous friend.
“The Factory,” Kenny Rogers
Despite the trappings of ’80s over-production, Kenny Rogers’ “The Factory” best celebrates the overworked, underpaid worker at the local mill.
“Eighteen Wheels And A Dozen Roses,” Kathy Mattea
A retiring truck driver comes home to his loving wife, this time for keeps, in Kathy Mattea’s breakout single.
“Sawmill,” Mel Tillis
One of the great vocal performance by Nashville legend Mel Tillis found him empathizing with the sawmill worker without a dollar bill to spare.
“Sixteen Tons,” Tennessee Ernie Ford
One of the best-known country songs in history is based on a worker’s life in a Kentucky coal mine.
“Workin’ Man’s Ph.D.,” Aaron Tippin
Blue collar workers without four year degrees learn plenty the hard way, as stated in one of Aaron Tippin’s best singles.
“The Dollar,” Jamey Johnson
If a dad works for dollars, how many does a little boy need to afford a short trip to his favorite fishing hole?
“Finally Friday,” George Jones
George Jones sings for the weekend warrior with $100 burning in their pocket and two days to chase women and raise Hell.
“Working in the Coal Mine,” The Judds
Lee Dorsey oldie “Working in a Coal Mine” became part of country’s running narrative about Appalachian miners when it was covered by mother-daughter duo The Judds.
“Workin’ Man (Nowhere to Go),” Nitty Gritty Dirt Band
Bluegrass, country and pop ensemble The Nitty Gritty Dirt Band got in on the action with this heart-breaking song about a working man without a steady job.
“Shiftwork,” George Strait and Kenny Chesney
Two musical approaches became one when Kenny Chesney teamed up with King George to lament working folks’ round-the-clock hassles.
“Lord Have Mercy On The Working Man,” Travis Tritt
Travis Tritt has a little fun while relating to working peoples’ feeling that most of their money is already spent on bills and taxes.
“Six Days On The Road,” Sawyer Brown
This truck driving song can be interpreted as a reminder that musicians make a lot of sacrifices while touring.
“Forty Hour Week (For a Livin’),” Alabama
Proud Southerners Alabama point out that hark work ain’t regional when they look coast-to-coast for blue collar heroes.
“Hard Hat and a Hammer,” Alan Jackson
Few are better at reaching average folks on their level than Jackson, as heard in this celebration of those behind-the-scenes workers that keep cars on the road and grocery store shelves stocked.
“Hard Workin’ Man,” Brooks & Dunn
The iconic duo of Kix Brooks and Ronnie Dunn totally get your uncle or neighbor who’s seemingly good at everything but can’t get ahead in life.
“Little Man,” Alan Jackson
Jackson’s hometown memories can’t fully be revisited, due to the number of mom-and-pop businesses that got put snuffed out by by massive chain stores.
“Working Man Blues,” Merle Haggard
The Hag wrapped up many themes in these songs–blue-collar workers, wild weekends, dreams of getting away from it all–into the ultimate working man’s anthem.
“Coal Miner’s Daughter,” Loretta Lynn
Loretta Lynn’s autobiographical single reminds us that a parent’s job defines kids and their upbringing, especially if dad’s means to make a living is far from glamorous.
“Take This Job and Shove It,” Johnny Paycheck
With his cover of a David Allan Coe original, Johnny Paycheck lashed out at horrible bosses and unfair jobs for the average workers who can’t afford to speak their piece.
“Blowin’ Smoke,” Kacey Musgraves
One of Kacey Musgraves’ first breakout singles speaks for creative types, holding down restaurant jobs until their big break comes.
“9 to 5,” Dolly Parton
While a lot of country songs celebrate blue collar workers, Dolly Parton sang this classic for the hectic, and sometimes unfair, jobs of office workers.
Love these country work songs? Check out our other lists here.