Country music has been one of the few musical genres that don’t shy away from the topic of heaven. The country tradition tends to be matter-of-fact about the end of life while simultaneously acknowledging the deep emotions surrounding loss.
Faith, specifically the belief in Heaven, plays a big role in country music’s approach to death. There are dozens of country songs that explore this theme, so in this article we showcase the top country songs about heaven.
“When I Get Where I’m Going” by Brad Paisley and Dolly Parton
Country legend Dolly Parton teamed up with early 2000’s country star Brad Paisley for this sweet inspirational song. While Parton did not sing in the music video or have a solo, she provided harmonies and did appear in a cameo in the video.
The lyrics speak about the hope of Heaven, and all the things the singer would like to do there. First, he talks about purely fun things, like flying and petting a lion. Later he mentions more heavy and emotional things, like taking a walk with his grandfather and finally meeting God.
The chorus expresses the relief he will feel upon leaving the pains and trials of the world. The collaboration between Paisley and country queen Parton struck a chord with fans and became a favorite song for memorial services.
“There’s Holes In The Floor of Heaven” by Steve Wariner
Steve Wariner has decades of country music experience as a singer, guitarist, and songwriter. He played with many of the top names in the industry and made quite the name for himself during the 90s. Holes in the Floor of Heaven was one of his biggest hits.
The song starts with the story of a little boy devastated by the loss of his grandmother. To soothe him, his grandfather tells him that there are holes in the floor of Heaven which enable his grandma to peer down at them and watch over them at all times.
It goes on to narrate how the comforting belief helps the young boy throughout his life, as he loses his wife and raises a daughter without a mom. It’s a sweet, sad song that can resonate with anyone who has lost someone special in their life.
“Everybody Wants To Go To Heaven” by Kenny Chesney
This laidback, reggae-tinged country tune is in line with Kenny Chesney’s signature style. As a singer and songwriter, Chesney paints vivid pictures of life, sometimes sweet and reflective, other times funny and heartwarming. He is New Country’s Jimmy Buffet, and the beach bum vibe serves him well.
Everybody Wants To Go To Heaven describes a conversation with a preacher urging the narrator to change his wild ways. He tells the preacher he does want to go to Heaven but is enjoying his earthly life too much to slow down.
Chesney’s take on the afterlife is a down-to-earth, relatable one. While most people would like to make it to their mansion in the sky, the majority would like to stay on this earth just a bit longer.
“Hillbilly Heaven” by Anita Carter
Hillbilly Heaven was somewhat of a novelty song recorded by several country artists over the years, including Tex Ritter, Loretta Lynn, Tammy Wynette, and more.
In the song, a young country singer dreams of going to “Hillbilly Heaven”, a part of Heaven that is home to all the country musicians from history that have gone on to their reward. Aside from the chorus, the song is delivered in spoken-word form and lists off dozens of country singers from the past. The list of the deceased stars differs depending on the year of the recording.
This particular 1955 recording by Anita Carter is especially adorable due to her young age and sweet voice. Anita is the sister of June Carter, wife of Johnny Cash. She was part of the legendary country music family The Carter Family.
“Letter To Heaven” by Dolly Parton
When it comes to story songs, few people can match Dolly Parton. Her clear, pitch-perfect voice and strong enunciation draw listeners into whatever tale she happens to be spinning.
In Letter to Heaven, a little girl is in mourning for her mother who recently passed away. Each day when her grandfather writes correspondence, she asks to write a letter to Heaven and ask God if she can be with her mother soon. At the end of the song, her prayer gets answered when she’s hit by a car while crossing the street to the post box.
It's a bittersweet ending that makes the listener feel sad for the double-bereaved grandfather but also glad for the little girl who finally gets to see her mom again.
“Love, Me” by Colin Raye
Collin Raye is another country music powerhouse who dominated the charts during the 90s and early 2000s. His songs delved into the intricacies of romantic relationships, exploring many angles and experiences. In “Love, Me,” he describes a love that spans many decades and even carries into the afterlife.
Initially, they’re a young couple whose planned elopement gets derailed because the young lady can’t get away from home that day. They do end up getting married and spending many years together. Eventually, she passes away, and her husband speaks a prayer to her that mirrors the note she sent him all those years ago, expressing his hope that he’ll see her in Heaven.
He implores his wife to wait patiently for him while he takes his time through life, and expresses that he misses her dearly and can’t wait to see her again.
“I Can Only Imagine” by Mercy Me
I Can Only Imagine started as a praise and worship song, but its popularity quickly skyrocketed across genres, giving it a place in the top 40 and the country charts as well as the Christian music charts. It is one of the most popular Christian songs ever made.
The song describes someone pondering the prospect of going to Heaven. It talks about the emotions they might feel when entering the presence of God, meeting Jesus, and facing an eternity of glory. Will they be able to speak or sing, or just stand in awe? Will they dance with joy? Fall down in worship?
The song ended up being a very popular track to play at funerals and even had a 2018 movie based on it starring Dennis Quaid.
“Streets of Heaven” by Sherrie Austin
The loss of their child is the worst thing any parent can imagine. Australian country singer Sherrie Austin tackles this painful topic in Streets of Heaven, a song about a mother losing her little girl to a terminal illness.
The mother prays to God, asking him why he needs her little girl so soon, and telling him she needs her daughter so much more. Finally, she asks, “who will hold her hand while she’s crossing the streets of heaven?”. It’s a desperate cry from a mother at the end of her rope, hoping for a last-minute miracle.
Despite the difficult subject matter, the song became Auston’s most significant hit, which she still performs in concerts.
“Outskirts of Heaven” by Craig Campbell
In this beautiful song, Craig Campbell begins by reminiscing about his grandfather, who taught him all the fundamentals of country life, but also passed down his religious values. He taught him about the afterlife and that if he only believed, he would find himself in Heaven when he died.
Campbell goes on to describe his own version of Heaven, the ideal afterlife he hopes to attain. The Heaven of his dreams is a quiet rural refuge where he can enjoy nature, go fishing, and take walks down dirt roads.
It’s a sweet song that expresses the deep spiritual connection many country people have with their land and way of life.
“Wish You Were Here” by Mark Wills
Wish You Were Here is a song about coping with loss and the hope that your loved ones are still watching you from the great beyond.
In it, a couple kisses goodbye at a terminal gate. The man is headed out for a work trip, so at the airport, he sends his wife a postcard that says “heaven” with a picture of the beach. He tells her he loves and misses her and that he’d hold her if his arms could reach her.
Sadly, his plane never makes it to his destination. It crashes, and there are no survivors. Yet because her husband sent the card before taking off, his wife receives the card entitled “heaven” with all her husband’s sweet words.
“Go Rest High On That Mountain” by Vince Gill
Go Rest High On That Mountain is a classic country song about losing someone close to you and grieving for them while letting them go.
The 1996 song was written by Vince Gill in response to the death of his friend and fellow country artist Keith Whitley. For many years, Whitley struggled with alcohol abuse and eventually succumbed to alcohol poisoning. Gill wanted to write a tribute to Whitely, recognizing the pain and struggle he’d suffered for many years before his death.
The song became a massive hit and has become an incredibly popular track to play at funeral services.
“I Believe” by Brooks and Dunn
“I Believe” begins with the story of a friendship between a young man and an older gentleman from his town. The two of them spend time together that summer, talking about their thoughts on life.
The older man tells the younger about his experiences; fighting in a war and losing his wife and baby. The younger man asks him how he kept himself together during such devastating moments, to which the older man replies with a testimony of his faith.
By the song’s end, the young man is an adult, and finding out that his old friend has died, he finds comfort in those words.
“If Heaven Wasn’t So Far Away” by Justin Moore
The longing to go back and spend more time with loved ones who have passed is something we all have gone through at some point. Whether the relationships ended with things left unsaid or if there were no issues at all, most of us would give just about anything to spend some extra moments with the ones we love.
That’s the sentiment expressed in “If Heaven Wasn’t So Far Away” by Justin Moore. He talks about wanting to take his kids to meet their grandpa and spending time with his cousin, who was killed in Vietnam. He knows exactly how he’d like to spend his time with those beloved people if only Heaven weren’t so far away.
“If You Came Back From Heaven” by Lorrie Morgan
Country star Lorrie Morgan faced loss when she experienced the tragic death of her husband Keith Whitley in 1989. Five years later, she released her album War Paint, full of raw emotion and grit. It included the tear-jerker “If You Came Back From Heaven.”
The song ponders the emotions she might feel if she were to see her loved one again. She isn’t sure if she would cry or laugh, be shy, or if things would be the same between them as before his death. She wonders if they could pick back up where they were before his passing, but also acknowledges the fear that they wouldn’t be able to.
Morgan also states that if God were to grant her husband’s return to earth, she would never let him go again- implying she’d rather die first than repeat the experience of losing him all over again.
Top Country Songs About Heaven, Final Thoughts
Rural America’s strong faith tradition has definitely had a substantial impact on the country music scene. As you’ve seen from this list, sometimes country crosses into gospel, and vice versa, when it comes to songs about Heaven.
What are your favorite country songs about Heaven? Are there any we’ve missed?