Tennessee is one of the most musically influential states in the United States. With Nashville, also known as Music City, as its capital, the state has produced some of the biggest country music stars. We’ve compiled a list of the 23 best country songs about Tennessee, ranging from classics to modern hits.
1. “Tennessee Whiskey” by Chris Stapleton
Song Year: 2015
With its smooth melodies and heartfelt lyrics, the song perfectly captures the essence of Tennessee’s rich musical heritage. The soulful ballad takes listeners on a journey through the struggles and triumphs of love, all while paying homage to the state that has given birth to so many iconic country songs.
2. “Chattahoochee” by Alan Jackson
Song Year: 1992
While “Chattahoochee” references Georgia’s river, this upbeat country song has become an anthem for anyone who knows how to have a good time in Tennessee. It’s a feel-good tune that reminds us of lazy summer days spent by the river, celebrating the simple joys of life with friends and loved ones.
3. “Rocky Top” by The Osborne Brothers
Song Year: 1967
No list of country songs about Tennessee would be complete without this song. The bluegrass classic, performed by The Osborne Brothers, celebrates the state’s natural beauty and Appalachian culture. Its catchy chorus makes it a favorite among country music enthusiasts.
4. “Tennessee River” by Alabama
Song Year: 1980
The song’s narrator talks about returning home where life is simple, and there’s peace. The song pays homage to the majestic waterway that winds through the heart of the state. The uplifting tune captures the essence of Tennessee’s proud heritage, its riverside communities, and the powerful connection people feel to the land they call home.
5. “Tennessee Flat Top Box” by Johnny Cash
Song Year: 1961
The lyrics tell the story of a guitar-playing uncle who inspired the singer’s musical journey. Through vivid storytelling and Cash’s signature baritone voice, this song beautifully showcases Tennessee’s musical traditions’ influence on generations of artists.
6. “Memphis, Tennessee” By Johnny Rivers
Song Year: 1964
The song takes us on a journey to the bustling city along the Mississippi River. The lively tune celebrates the vibrant music scene that put Memphis, Tennessee, on the map, paying homage to the city’s influential role in shaping the history of rock and roll and its undeniable impact on the country’s music landscape.
7. “Back to Tennessee” by Billy Ray Cyrus
Song Year: 2009
Billy Ray Cyrus’ “Back to Tennessee” is a tribute to the state where he grew up. In the song, Cyrus talks about leaving Los Angeles and returning to his roots in Tennessee, where he feels a strong sense of belonging. The lyrics paint a vivid picture of the rolling hills, winding rivers, and familiar faces he encounters on his journey home.
8. “This Ain’t Tennessee” by Garth Brooks
Song Year: 1998
The ballad tells the story of a man who has left his home in Tennessee to chase a dream. He longs for his hometown’s simplicity as he struggles to make it in the big city. The song reminds us that our home will always hold a special place in our hearts no matter where we go. Brooks’s powerful vocals blend perfectly with the stripped-back acoustic guitar melody.
9. “That’s How I Got To Memphis” by Tom T. Hall
Song Year: 1968
The song’s protagonist describes how he finds himself in Memphis, Tennessee, to find his lover, who appears to have run away. He wants to learn why his partner left without a word and confess his undying love for her. The song asserts that people will do anything in their power when in love. Many artists have covered the track over the years, but Hall’s rendition remains iconic.
10. “Tennessee River Run” by Daryl Worley
Song Year: 2002
The classic country tune perfectly captures Tennessee’s essence. It celebrates the beauty of the state’s landscapes, rolling hills, valleys, and rivers. The song features an upbeat melody and a catchy chorus, making it perfect to sing along. He sings about living behind the city’s hustle and bustle and taking a trip down the Tennessee River, where he can unwind and have fun.
11. “Tennessee Homesick Blues” by Dolly Parton
Song Year: 1984
Dolly Parton’s “Tennessee Homesick Blues” speaks to anyone who has ever been far away from home. The song tells the story of a woman who moves from Tennessee to New York for greener pastures. However, life in the new city is quite challenging because she doesn’t have friends, and the people here are unapproachable. That makes her long to go back to her hometown.
12. “Tennessee Waltz” by Patti Page
Song Year: 1948
First recorded in 1947, “Tennessee Waltz” is a timeless track about falling in love and heartbreak. The song’s protagonist dances with their partner when a longtime friend appears and takes them away. She’s left lonely and heartbroken. The track reminds us that regardless of how happy we feel, sadness may kick in at any moment.
13. “Tennessee” by Johnny Cash
Song Year: 2014
The track was first recorded in sessions in the 1980s, but it’s part of the album “Ou Among the Stars,” which came out after Cash’s death. The lyrics describe Tennessee’s natural beauty and its meaning to the narrator. Cash’s deep and distinctive voice gives the song an emotional depth. The song talks about how the state of Tennessee has shaped the narrator’s life.
14. “Back Where I Come From” by Kenny Chesney
Song Year: 1996
Homesickness is a prominent theme in most country songs about Tennessee, and “Back Where I Come From” is no exception. It captures the essence of growing up in Tennessee. The song talks about the simple joys of life, such as spending time with family, going to Sunday school, and grazing cattle, and how these experiences have shaped the narrator’s character.
15. “Crazy Town” by Jason Aldean
Song Year: 2010
This song is about Nashville and its wild lifestyle. Aldean talks about the endless parties and the constant hustle and bustle surrounding the city. The tune also touches on the struggles of trying to make it as a musician in Nashville. Aldean talks about how the city can chew you up and spit you out, leaving you with nothing but shattered dreams.
16. “Nashville Without You” by Tim McGraw
Song Year: 2013
“Nashville Without You” is a heartfelt ode to Nashville and all the people who make the country music industry thrive. McGraw sings about how the city wouldn’t be the same without the many musicians, producers, and songwriters.
The lyrics portray the city as the birthplace of country music and pay tribute to the newer artists carrying on the tradition. The artist asserts that although the city has grown, the spirit of music and its people remain the same.
17. “Tennessee” by Arrested Development
Song Year: 1992
The track blends rap, folk, soul, and blues elements to create a powerful anthem. The lyrics explore the themes of social justice and racial inequality. The song features a memorable chorus, paying homage to the band’s home state. The song’s protagonist references the places he grew up in Tennessee as he pleads with God to guide his ways.
18. “Tennessee Rose” by Emmylou Harris
Song Year: 1981
With its simple lyrics, the track urges listeners to appreciate the little moments they share with their loved ones instead of focusing on material wealth. The narrator remembers a dream that brings her close to her boyfriend from Tennessee, but she’s sad they’re no longer together.
The narrator uses “Tennessee Rose” to symbolize true love, asserting that riches and diamonds are nothing compared to their love for their partner.
19. “My Tennessee Mountain Home” by Dolly Parton
Song Year: 1973
This song tells the story of Dolly Parton’s childhood memories and longing for the simple life she left behind. Combined with Parton’s powerful vocals, the nostalgic lyrics and the soft guitar’s strumming make for a beautiful, emotional tune. The song has become a staple of country music and a reminder of rural Tennessee’s beauty.
20. “My Homeland, Tennessee” by Nashville Children’s Choir
Song Year: 1925
“My Homeland, Tennessee” is a touching ode to the state many call home. The children’s voices create a beautiful harmony, celebrating the city’s culture. They reference hills and valleys to portray Tennessee as a blessed state. It’s a reminder that for many, Tennessee isn’t just a place on a map but a part of who they’re.
21. “Dixieland Delight,” by Alabama
Song Year: 1983
Despite not containing the state’s name, “Dixieland Delight” is about Tennessee. It paints a vivid picture of southern life, referencing old country roads, wild animals, and rural settings. The song’s catchy chorus and upbeat melody make it a favorite to many country music fans.
22. “Tennessee” by Sugarland
Song Year: 2004
Sugarland’s “Tennessee” is a reflective and heartwarming tribute to the state that the duo’s members call home. The lyrics clearly show the state’s natural splendor and the unforgettable memories made there. It’s also possible to interpret the track as a love ballad, where a young man confesses his undying love for his girl.
23. “Visit Me in Music City” by Bobby Bare, Jr
Song Year: 2003
The heartfelt song invites listeners into Music City, Nashville, Tennessee. It paints a vivid picture of the city’s music scene and the artist’s personal experiences. The lyrics capture the essence of the city’s allure and the emotional connections formed through music.
Top Country Songs About Tennessee, Final Thoughts
When it comes to country music, few places hold as much inspiration as the beautiful state of Tennessee. The country songs about Tennessee on our list beautifully capture the essence of the Volunteer State. Whether you’re a longtime resident or a curious traveler, these songs will transport you to the state’s center.