Country artists from all generations have one thing in common. They sing their troubles away, and they know how to do it right. From time to time songs about pain, heartbreak, and loss are being introduced and we continue to play and sing with them. Why? It’s not that we want to be sad all the time but when we’re feeling a little down, these are the songs that help us know we’re not alone in the world. A research confirmed that listening to sad songs while you’re feeling blue can make you feel better since you find something that compliments your feeling.
Country Thang Daily made a collection of sad country songs that caused streams of tears to flow not just because of the rhythm but most importantly the messages and stories that lie behind every track. So fellas, get ready to choke back some tears because it’s virtually impossible to get through this list without crying.
Let’s start our teary journey with a song inspired by a true story. “Alyssa Lies” generated a lot of buzz around the country world upon its release. According to the singer and songwriter of the track Jason Michael Carroll, it took him nearly three years to finish the song, because it was so emotionally painful.
The song is about Caroll’s 5-year-old daughter Savanna Nicole, who made new friends with a 7-year girl named Alyssa. One evening, Caroll heard his daughter praying for her friend who was beaten at home and was teased at school most of the time. After learning about all these, Caroll decided to report the abuse to the school but it was already late, Alyssa had been beaten to death. The hardest part for the loving father is to explain to his daughter why her friend cannot attend school anymore.
“Alyssa Lies” instantly became an internet sensation. It has become an excellent communication tool for abused children to share who they can get help from their unfair situations.
My little girl asked me why everybody looked so sad
The lump in my throat grew bigger
With every question that she asked
Until I felt the tears run down my face
And I told her that Alyssa wouldn’t be at school today
‘Cause she doesn’t lie in the classroom
She doesn’t lie anymore at school
Alyssa lies with Jesus
Because there’s nothin’ anyone would do
Elvis Presley, during his legendary 1973 Aloha from Hawaii concert, said this song is probably the saddest song he has ever heard. In country music collections, Hank Williams’ “I’m so Lonesome I Could Cry” is one of the songs with the most evocatively ripe lyrics. At first, Hank viewed it as a poem which is suited for his alter ego, “Luke the Drifter” to recite, but he still recorded it. The loneliness evoked by the song was relatable to him that time as his relationship with wife Audrey Sheppard was in trouble. His gentle lope of the melody added to the faintness of the mood. When you’re lonely, everything around you seems lonely too.
Hear that lonesome whippoorwill
He sounds too blue to fly
That means he’s lost the will to live
I’m so lonesome I could cry
Did you ever see a night so slow
As time goes draggin’ by
The moon just went behind the clouds
Nothing is more painful and upsetting than to see a child hurting. With “Concrete Angel,” Martina McBride details the abuse of a little girl at the hands of her mother. The innocent child endured the torture of physical abuse before succumbing to her injuries. The final lines indirectly suggest the girl’s death. The track is a sobering reminder that child abuse is still a major problem of social significance, even in this modern era. The music video for the song flashes some children from Child Help USA. These kids have their own different tragic stories of escaping a bad situation which they, unfortunately, grew up with.
Somebody cries in the middle
Of the night
The neighbors hear, but they turn
Out the lights
A fragile soul caught in the hands
When morning comes
It’ll be too late
WHY: Rascal Flatts (2009)
The country trio Rascal Flatts have been releasing songs that melt your heart with their reminiscent lyrics perfected with their soaring harmonies. In 2009, they released a gripping ballad that touched an emotional crowd with anyone who could relate with the song’s story-line. “Why” is about a man questioning why a close friend chose to end his own life. All the members of the group shared they were emotional when they recorded the song because each of them knew someone close to them who suffered the same fate.
Suicide is one of the most sensitive yet alarming issues in our society. According to the World Health Organization’s suicide data, close to 800, 000 people from all around the globe die due to suicide every year. This makes a ratio of one person committing suicide every 40 seconds. In fact, WHO listed suicide as the second leading cause of death among 15-29 years old worldwide.
You must’ve a been in a place so dark, couldn’t feel the light
Reachin’ for you through that stormy cloud
Now here we are gathered in our little home town
This can’t be the way you meant to draw a crowd
Most, if not all of you, will agree that Brad Paisley and Alison Krauss can both play with perfection, whether they are on record or performing onstage. However, their “Whiskey Lullaby” duet will intricately ruin your afternoon as they narrate a star-crossed lovers’ lament, where both parties drunk themselves to death.
Almost whispering, the song’s plot starts with the soldier returning home from service and finds his wife with another man. He then drowned his days and nights drinking whiskey, and took his own life by “pulling the trigger.” Listeners get misty eyes especially on the part where the wife took her life also because of the remorseful pain from her husband’s suicide. Well, that’s what infidelity gives – pain, regret, and loss.
She put that bottle to her head and pulled the trigger
And finally drank away his memory
Life is short but this time it was bigger
Than the strength she had to get up off her knees
We found her with her face down in the pillow
Clinging to his picture for dear life
We laid her next to him beneath the willow
While the angels sang a whiskey lullaby
The honky-tonk legend George Jones hated the melody of the song and reviled to learn it. He described the song as “too long, too sad, and too depressing.” In fact, even after its release, Jones griped that “Nobody’ll buy that morbid son of a bitch.” To his surprise, “He Stopped Loving her Today” breathed a new life into his career when it topped the chart. The song even became the country music’s greatest punchline song ever.
The Possum’s anguished voiced naturally detailed the fate of a man who can’t get over his love for a woman who left him for an unknown reason. Through anything that may have happened, nothing had ever come between him and his love, nothing could ever make him stop loving her, only death. It was during his funeral that the unreciprocated love finally ended.
I went to see him just today, oh but I didn’t see no tears
All dressed up to go away, first time I’d seen him smile in years
He stopped loving her today
They placed a wreath upon his door
And soon they’ll carry him away
He stopped loving her today
You don’t know what you’ve got till it’s gone. While some of us get lucky in life, some get the chance to learn from the life lessons of their fellow. In “Chiseled in Stone,” an old man from a bar reminds us that we have to see the value of what we have today, especially people, because we’ll never know loneliness until it’s chiseled in stone.
Vern Gosdin’s pain drenched effort earned him a CMA Song of the Year trophy for the song. He was tagged as “The Voice” with his ability to exude pain and loss in a song that no one can compare.
You don’t know about lonely
Or how long nights can be
Till you’ve lived through the story
That old man just told me
And you don’t know about sadness
Till you’ve faced life alone
You don’t know about lonely
Till it’s chiseled in stone
Country diva Tammy Wynette relays how sad and difficult it is to explain to a child when parents, who aren’t happy with their relationship anymore, has no choice but to go on a D-I-V-O-R-C-E. The child in the song, four-year-old Little Joe, is too young and innocent to understand that his parents are separating that they have to spell words out and watch their tones so he won’t get too lonely.
Divorce is common these days. And though it is the best option remaining for couples who can’t work the relationship anymore, it’s still an extremely difficult thing for the kids. Parents should be very careful on breaking such kind of news to them. Better yet, wait for them to be mature enough before you spell out all the reasons of the split up.
Watch him smile, he thinks it Christmas
Or his fifth birthday
And he thinks C-U-S-T-O-D-Y spells fun or play
I spell out all the hurtin’ words
And turn my head when I speak
‘Cause I can’t spell away this hurt
That’s drippin’ down my cheek.
Nothing is even more painful than losing a loved one and all we can do is to hold on to their memories because they are already in heaven or wherever their spirits may have gone. Vince Gill’s heartfelt ballad “Go Rest on that Mountain High” has the irresistible effect of tearing out every last bit of emotion from your heart. Well, that feeling is exactly what you expect to cover you after hearing a Vince Gill song. Though it makes you remember dear ones who passed away, it also helps you deal with the loss. Its spiritually optimistic note gives a bit of understanding and hope for friends and family left back to grieve.
“Go Rest on that Mountain High” started out as a tribute to the late country star Keith Whitley. Vince did not finish the song until his brother died of a heart attack. The song’s message makes us understand that it’s never easy to cope with the loss of more than just a few people as we walk through life but it’s part of living and we all have to experience such.
The undying impact of the track makes it one of the greatest country songs of all time.
Oh, how we cried the day you left us
We gathered round your grave to grieve.
I wish I could see the angels faces
When they hear your sweet voice sing.
Go rest high on that mountain
Son, your work on earth is done.
Go to heaven a-shoutin’
Love for the Father and the Son.
They say love moves in mysterious ways and it comes to us in different times and ways. However, waiting for love to come around becomes frustrating when you are totally ready, yet there’s no one to love. This feeling is exactly what Bryan White tries to break out in his heartbreaking ballad “Someone Else’s Star.” The tune is about a guy that feels like he just can’t find someone to love. Everyone seems to be falling in love except him. Then, he finally realizes that he must have been wishing on someone else’s star. For fellas who feels the same way, this song is a reminder that you are not alone. And if luck works for you, you might bump into one of the ladies and gentlemen out there who is looking for someone just like you.
I guess I must be wishing on someone else’s star
Seems like someone else
Keeps getting what I’m wishing for
Why can’t I be as lucky as those other people are
I guess I must be wishing on someone else’s star
Did you even realize that the melody for “Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star” can be heard throughout the song? Feel free to re-play the song.
Johnny Cash may have recorded a lot of award-winning songs but “Hurt” took a bigger meaning on his record. The song, being one of his final singles, took a new life and meaning for the legendary country artist as he looks at his life and upcoming death. The video won awards and acclaim and is recognized as Johnny’s epitaph. It created a huge and powerful impact on country music during the end of Cash’s life.
For his friends, family, fans, and all those who cared for him, the song struck a hard line as they realized they were losing a great man who has been with them, sharing wonderful moments, and entertaining them with his songs. “Hurt” was the final send off to one of the greatest country singers of all time.
At the peak of the Bro-country sub-genre where people get crazy about songs that talk about parties, summer fun, and whiskeys and beers, it’s a rare chance to find a power ballad that can meaningfully break your heart. At the dawn of the 21st century, Lee Brice released a track that doesn’t just explore the ways on how we try to maintain the connection to people we lost, but more specifically, the song gives us a view on how men deal with grief.
The storyline of “I Drive Your Truck” was inspired by a true story of a father who kept his son’s Dodge around after the son was killed in Afghanistan while trying to save a fellow soldier. The father continues to drive the truck to feel close to his deceased son.
Men are universally perceived to be strong and dependable. That’s why during painful moments like a loss of a loved one, they are expected to be the shoulder to cry on. In Lee Brice’s song, the man who is grieving tries to be tough but can’t help to pour out his emotion when he visited his son’s grave.
I drive your truck
I roll every window down and I burn up
Every back road in this town
I find a field, I tear it up
Till all the pain’s a cloud of dust
Yeah, sometimes I drive your truck
WHERE WERE YOU (WHEN THE WORLD STOPPED TURNING): Alan Jackson (2001)
The 9-11 attack was one of the most tragic days in the history of the United States. A series of four coordinated terrorist attack by the Islamic terrorist group al Qaeda caused thousands of death and damages around the state. Allan Jackson, upon watching the news that same day wanted to write a song expressing his thoughts and emotions about that catastrophic day. He wanted to preserve that kind of awful feeling most people have felt during the wake of the attacks.
Jackson felt hesitant to release the song at first because of its personal nature and he didn’t want anyone to think he was exploiting the tragedy. He was eventually persuaded by family and friends at his record label, who also successfully persuaded him to release the record. He received a standing ovation when he debuted the song live at the 35th Annual CMA Awards. The song stands as one of the most poignant “of the people” songs ever written. On November 16, 2001, Georgia congressman Mac Collins, honored the song on the floor of the U.S. House of Representatives, placing it in the permanent Congressional Record.
Where were you when the world stopped turnin’
That September day?
Were you in the yard with your wife and children
Or workin’ on some stage in L.A.?
Did you stand there in shock at the sight of that black smoke
Risin’ against that blue sky?
Did you shout out in anger, in fear for your neighbor
Or did you just sit down and cry?
After listening to all these songs, and learning about their stories, how are you feeling now? If we missed the country song that made you cry, let us know so we will feature it here on the next articles.
Alyssa Lies, CHISELED IN STONE, Concrete Angel, D-I-V-O-R-C-E, Go Rest High On That Mountain, He Stopped Loving Her Today, Hurt, I DRIVE YOUR TRUCK, I'm so Lonesome I could Cry, Someone Else's Star, whiskey lullaby
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