As the old saying goes: when it rains, it pours. Sometimes the challenges in life seem insurmountable, but there’s always a rainbow at the other side of a storm. In recent weeks, the COVID-19 pandemic has taken over much of the news cycle for its wildly contagious and sometimes deadly results, causing added financial and emotional distress for many around the world.
As such, what better way to offer some encouragement than highlighting 10 country songs that might just help in this difficult time? After all, isn’t that one of the most beautiful things about this genre? Real-life stories that bring warmth and healing to the heart.
“Getting Good” – Lauren Alaina
Letting go of the future and living in the present is the key message of Alaina’s current single. And of course, this couldn’t have been out at a more apt time. Single-handedly penned by acclaimed songwriter Emily Weisband (Keith Urban, Thomas Rhett, Camila Cabello), “Getting Good” will undoubtedly provide relief, love and encouragement to anyone over-burdened by the constant worries of life. Love, loss, material pursuits and contentment are just some of the relatable themes covered in this uplifting tune.
Key Lyric: “Once I learn to grow right where I’m planted, maybe that’s when life starts getting good.”
“Even If It Breaks Your Heart” – Eli Young Band
If you’re pursuing your passion and have been knocked off sidetrack by the economic slowdown or life’s curveballs, take heart in this song. The passion coursing through our veins led us all to the path we were and are on, and it’s this same passion that will continue to lead us henceforth, no matter how many meanders lie ahead. Hang in there, and “keep on dreaming, even if it breaks your heart.”
Key Lyric: “Some dreams stay with you forever, drag you around but bring you back to where you were / Some dreams keep on gettin’ better, gotta keep believin’ if you wanna know for sure.”
“It Won’t Always Be Like This” – Carly Pearce
This song is another quintessential must-listen if you’re hustling through life. Co-written by Pearce—who is no stranger to struggle herself—the ballad is delivered with an ache in her voice. “It won’t always be like this / No the heart won’t ache forever, no matter how hard it gets / It won’t always be like this, no,” she sings plaintively. Hustle the hustle, and fight the fight. It hurts, but as Pearce promises, “it won’t always be like this.”
Key Lyric: “I had big wings but didn’t have a sky, just a front-row view of everybody flying high / Waiting for my time, wish I could’ve told myself back then / It won’t always be like this.”
“The Journey of Your Life” – Jake Owen
One of the most underrated songs in Jake Owen’s career, this album cut gem off Barefoot Blue Jean Night is a country music bible or how-to guide. In this tune, with each of the three choruses, we get advice from Owen on what the most important things are in life and how we need to keep them close to us on “the journey of your life.” Aided by a soft production, this impeccably-written ballad truly captures the essence of what country music is to a T.
Key Lyric: “You gotta draw the line sometimes when push comes to shove / You’ll need to lose some to be a winner / And have courage to surrender / You’ll need to laugh a lot and keep it light on the journey of your life / And no matter what dreams you’re chasing, never get above your raising / And may the simple things be amazing / On the journey of your life.”
“Road to Happiness” – Cam
This softer, acoustic guitar-led song leads us to question what truly brings us joy and ignites the fire in our hearts? What really matters? Is it something we’re chasing now? Is it something that we’re completely oblivious to because of what we’re aiming towards presently? Are we bogged down by our often anxious or worrywart ourselves? Ultimately, “Road to Happiness” invites listeners to reflect on but, at the same time, be present to the present on our own unique roads to happiness.
Key Lyric: “Is the future that we’re chasin’ / Worth the right-nows that we miss / On this road to happiness?”
“Work in Progress” – Allie Colleen
Allie Colleen is perhaps the only ‘unknown’ name on this list. This release, however, stands on par with all other songs mentioned here. If you’re getting lost in the constant comparison with others’ talents, opportunities, jobs or life, “Work in Progress” might just provide the encouragement and rest you need. In the end, we’re all on the journey of trying to be the best we can be not for anyone else, but ourselves. This song reminds us that no matter how near or far we’re from our goals or ideals, we’re a “work in progress.”
Key Lyric: I’m the best I’ve ever been, but not the best I’ll ever be / I have faith in the things I can’t see / On this journey to me
“Riser” – Dierks Bentley
Another essential life anthem, Dierks Bentley’s “Riser,” penned by Steve Moakler and Travis Meadows, reminds everyone that no matter how difficult life gets, we’re all born risers and lighters that can light up the dark places we’re in. There are no two ways in this song. We can’t let ourselves be locked down. We can’t let painful circumstances define us. There’s only one way to go when “pushing comes a-shovin’,” because we’re born “fighters.”
Key Lyric: “The hard times put the shine into the diamond / I won’t let that keep us in the ground / I’m a riser / I’m a get up off the ground, don’t run and hider / Pushing comes a-shovin’ / Hey I’m a fighter / When darkness comes to town, I’m a lighter / A get out aliver, out of the fire, survivor.”
“Those I’ve Loved” – Eric Church
While this song tells a specific story of heartbreak and lost romance, the overarching theme is simple and relatable: “I wouldn’t be who I am today if not for those I’ve loved along the way.” On our journey, we cross paths with many people. Some end up staying and becoming gems in our relationships, and some leave at some point. Regardless, we are molded consciously and subconsciously by those we surround ourselves with, as this song suggests. Also, in the bridge, Church sings. “It was never about tryin’ to be some big star / For me it’s always been about these songs.” If you’re pursuing your dream and following your heart, whether you’re an artist/songwriter/musician or not, this might just hit home. After all, aren’t we chasing a dream or goal for ourselves and maybe for those we love, too?
Key Lyric: “It was never about tryin’ to be some big star, for me it’s always been about these songs / You see they’re my best friends, they’re the life I live, and I hope they put a smile on the face of those that I’ve loved along the way / ‘Cause I wouldn’t be the man I am today, if not for those I’ve loved along the way”
“Girl Goin’ Nowhere” – Ashley McBryde
As daunting as the title sounds, if you haven’t heard this song yet, you need to. Have you ever been down a path surrounded by naysayers? And yes, as easy as the general advice to shake off your haters is, what if they’re family? What if they’re the people you love? That’s where McBryde drew the inspiration for this song from. Growing up with a father and high school teacher who weren’t completely supportive of her passion, she fought long and hard to make her dreams become a reality. A couple of note-worthy nominations and awards later, she proves how fighting for what you want pays off, in due time.
Key Lyric: “And where they said I’d never be is exactly where I am / I hear the crowd look around / And I can’t find an empty chair / Not bad for a girl goin’ nowhere.”
“Rainbow” – Kacey Musgraves
Perhaps one of the most uplifting songs across all genres, Musgraves’ adoption of a “less is more” approach on “Rainbow” is what makes it stand out. With instrumentation stripped to just a piano, the core message of the encouraging ballad gets all the spotlight. “There’s always going to be a rainbow hanging over your head,” the singer reminds us, even if we’re “stuck out in the same old storm again.” The message is universal: hustle through, hang tight to our umbrella, and have faith— “it’s all gonna be alright.”
Key Lyric: “You hold tight to your umbrella, well, darlin’ I’m just tryin’ to tell ya / That there’s always been a rainbow hangin’ over your head.”
Bonus Unreleased New Songs:
“Forged in the Fire” – Caylee Hammack
This unreleased song from Hammack reminds us that nothing beautiful and strong is made without being forged in the fire. The struggles and pain are part of the process to our own version of greatness. “When does a phoenix learn how to fly? / Do I get my wings when I stop asking why? / How do I start moving on, moving past, stop holding on, looking back / When God’s hell-bent on making me a fighter, forged in the fire,” the country songstress sings with a tear in her voice.
“For the Love” – Charlie Worsham
“Love can’t fill your tank or pay your rent, oh but love is the only reason that makes sense / If you can’t put your heart into it, for the love of God don’t do it, I’ve only ever been in it for the love,” Worsham reminds us in the hook of this heartfelt tune. Perhaps some or many of us are experiencing the heartache and slammed doors that happen once too often for dream-chasers, but this song puts everything in good perspective. If we’re in it for the money, we would have quit by now. But instead, we’re still chasing that dream down, because it’s fueled by a passion and love that can never be erased from our veins.