3 Songs for People Who Say They Don’t Like Country Music

Like any genre of music, country music is many things. It has deep roots that go further back than even any record. It is influenced by many instruments and even many countries, from Ireland to the continent of Africa. It has had many performers, from Toby Keith to Hank Williams to Dolly Parton and Mickey Guyton. It’s as diverse as the people who enjoy it.

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But that doesn’t mean it always gets the best rap. Some artists choose not to honor the genre’s rich legacy and instead water it down or make the songs sound too pop-oriented, taking all of the genre’s flavor out. This leads many music fans to even decry the genre, unfortunately. That’s why we wanted to dive into this trio of classic country songs, to refocus and remember why the genre is great.

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“Crazy” from Showcase by Patsy Cline (1961)

A song performed by one of the greatest voices in country music that was written by yet another of the genre’s greats, this track from Patsy Cline’s 1961 album Showcase was originally written by Willie Nelson while he was living in Houston. Cline’s version of the song, which found her once Nelson moved to Nashville, was such a hit that in 1966 it became the most played song in jukebox history. On the track, she sings of love and discord,

Crazy, I’m crazy for feeling so lonely
I’m crazy, crazy for feeling so blue
I knew you’d love me as long as you wanted
And then someday you’d leave me for somebody new

Worry, why do I let myself worry?
Wondering what in the world did I do?
Crazy for thinking that my love could hold you
I’m crazy for trying and crazy for crying

“Don’t Come Home A-Drinkin’ (With Lovin’ on Your Mind)” from Don’t Come Home A-Drinkin’ (With Lovin’ on Your Mind) by Loretta Lynn (1967)

Where would country music and, well, the world be without Loretta Lynn? The songwriter and performer was unafraid to say the things that needed to be said, especially when it came to gender and setting boundaries. On this track, she wagged her finger at men who get all liquored up with their friends and expect their women at home to be ready for intimacy. How crude, she says, how loathsome. From her 1967 album of the same name, Lynn sings on the No. 1 country hit, which she wrote with her sister Peggy Sue,

Well, you thought I’d be waitin’ up when you came home last night
You’d been out with all the boys and you ended up half tight
Liquor and love, they just don’t mix
Leave that bottle or me behind
And don’t come home a drinkin’ with lovin’ on your mind

No, don’t come home a drinkin’ with lovin’ on your mind
Just stay out there on the town and see what you can find
‘Cause if you want that kind of love, well, you don’t need none of mine
So don’t come home a drinkin’ with lovin’ on your mind

“The Gambler” from The Gambler by Kenny Rogers (1978)

Music fans in the 2000s were reintroduced to Kenny Rogers’ hit song when Wyclef Jean and Pharoahe Monch remixed the track. But decades before that, the song was already a classic. It’s perhaps the most important song when it comes to gambling metaphors, too. It earned Rogers a Grammy Award in 1980 for Best Male Country Vocal Performance. Recorded first by Bobby Bare at the behest of songwriter Shel Silverstein, the song has become synonymous with Rogers’ raspy voice. On it, he sings,

You’ve got to know when to hold ’em
Know when to fold ’em
Know when to walk away
And know when to run
You never count your money
When you’re sittin’ at the table
There’ll be time enough for countin’
When the dealin’s done

Every gambler knows
That the secret to survivin’
Is knowin’ what to throw away
And knowin’ what to keep
‘Cause every hand’s a winner
And every hand’s a loser
And the best that you can hope for
Is to die in your sleep”

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Photo by Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images

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