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Kentucky, the Bluegrass State, is famous for its horse racing, bourbon, fried chicken, and stunning landscapes. However, it is also a state that has inspired some of the most memorable and iconic songs in American music history. From country and bluegrass to rock and pop, Kentucky has provided a wealth of musical inspiration to artists of all genres.
In this article, we will explore the top 10 best songs about Kentucky. We will delve into the history behind each song, the artists who created them, and the reasons why they have become so beloved by music fans worldwide.
Our list includes a diverse mix of classic and modern songs that capture the spirit and essence of Kentucky. We will explore songs that celebrate the state’s natural beauty, like John Denver’s “Take Me Home, Country Roads” and Dwight Yoakam’s “Readin’, Rightin’, Route 23”. We will also highlight songs that pay tribute to the state’s cultural heritage, such as Bill Monroe’s “Blue Moon of Kentucky” and Loretta Lynn’s “Coal Miner’s Daughter”.
Whether you’re a Kentucky native or just a lover of great music, this article is for you. So sit back, put on your favorite pair of headphones, and get ready to discover the 10 best songs about Kentucky.
1. Kentucky Rain by Elvis Presley
“Kentucky Rain” is a classic ballad performed by the legendary Elvis Presley in 1970. The song was written by Eddie Rabbitt and Dick Heard and tells the story of a man who is searching for his lost love in the pouring rain in Kentucky. The song is characterized by its haunting melody and powerful vocals, as Presley’s voice perfectly captures the emotion and longing of the lyrics. The use of rain as a metaphor for the protagonist’s tears adds to the overall melancholic tone of the song. “Kentucky Rain” remains a beloved classic and a testament to Presley’s enduring influence on popular music.
2. Bourbon In Kentucky by Dierks Bentley
“Bourbon In Kentucky” is a country rock song by Dierks Bentley, released in 2013. The song is a tribute to the state’s signature drink, bourbon, and features lyrics about heartbreak and the struggles of life in Kentucky. The song’s upbeat tempo and catchy chorus make it a popular choice for country music fans, while the use of electric guitar and drums gives it a modern edge. Bentley’s raw, emotional vocals also lend the song a sense of authenticity and depth.
3.Kentucky Dirty by Laura Bundy
“Kentucky Dirty” is an upbeat, tongue-in-cheek country song by Laura Bundy. The song, released in 2019, is a playful ode to the state of Kentucky and its unique culture. The lyrics reference Kentucky’s famous horse races, bourbon, and bluegrass music, and are delivered with Bundy’s signature sass and humor. The song’s catchy melody and upbeat tempo make it a fun addition to any country music playlist. “Kentucky Dirty” is a lighthearted celebration of the state and its people, and a testament to Bundy’s talent as a songwriter and performer.
4. Summers In Kentucky by Wheeler Walker Jr.
“Summers in Kentucky” is a country song by Wheeler Walker Jr., released in 2018. The song’s lyrics talk about the joys of spending summers in Kentucky, with its hot days and warm nights, and the good times that can be had with friends and family. The song’s upbeat tempo and catchy chorus make it a fun addition to any country music playlist. Walker Jr.’s raw and emotional vocals also lend the song a sense of authenticity and depth.
5. Kentucky by The Osborne Brothers
“Kentucky” is a bluegrass song by The Osborne Brothers, released in 1973. The song’s lyrics describe the beauty of the Kentucky countryside and the state’s rich history and culture. The song is characterized by its lively banjo and mandolin playing, and the brothers’ tight harmonies. The song is a beloved classic in the bluegrass genre, and a testament to the Osborne Brothers’ talent as musicians and songwriters.
6. Blue Kentucky Girl by Emmylou Harris
“Blue Kentucky Girl” is a country song by Emmylou Harris, released in 1979. The song’s lyrics talk about a woman who is longing to return to her home in Kentucky, with its bluegrass music and rolling hills. The song is characterized by its haunting melody and Harris’ plaintive vocals, which perfectly capture the emotion and longing of the lyrics. The use of a fiddle and steel guitar in the instrumental break adds to the overall melancholic tone of the song. “Blue Kentucky Girl” remains a beloved classic and a testament to Harris’ enduring influence on the country music genre.
7. Blue Moon of Kentucky by Bill Monroe
“Blue Moon of Kentucky” is a classic bluegrass song written by Bill Monroe in 1946. The song’s lyrics describe the loneliness and heartache of a man whose lover has left him, and the mournful melody is characterized by Monroe’s distinctive mandolin playing and high lonesome vocals. The song has been covered by countless artists over the years, including Elvis Presley, who famously recorded a rockabilly version of the song in 1954.
8. Kentucky Woman by Neil Diamond
“Kentucky Woman” is a rock song by Neil Diamond, released in 1967. The song’s lyrics describe a woman from Kentucky who captures the singer’s heart, and features Diamond’s trademark mix of soulful vocals and catchy melodies. The song’s driving rhythm and electric guitar riff make it a popular choice for classic rock radio stations, and the song remains a beloved classic in Diamond’s extensive catalog.
9. Kentucky Waltz by Bill Monroe
“Kentucky Waltz” is a traditional country waltz written by Bill Monroe in 1946. The song’s lyrics describe the beauty of Kentucky and the joy of dancing with a loved one, and the song is characterized by its gentle melody and Monroe’s heartfelt vocals. The song has become a beloved classic in the bluegrass and country music genres, and has been covered by countless artists over the years. “Kentucky Waltz” is a testament to Monroe’s enduring influence on American music, and remains a beloved favorite of country music fans.
10. Kentucky by Afroman
“Kentucky” is a hip-hop song by Afroman, released in 2004. The song’s lyrics describe the rapper’s experiences in Kentucky, including encounters with women and marijuana. The song’s laid-back beat and Afroman’s signature humorous lyrics make it a fun addition to any party playlist. While the song’s lyrics may be controversial for some, “Kentucky” remains a popular track among Afroman’s fans and a testament to the rapper’s unique style and sound.