If you want to listen to the best America songs, whether openly saluting our troops or just admiring the virtues of everyday life in America, country music is definitely a great place to begin.
In this list below, we have included timeless tunes coming from some familiar voices, like Johnny Cash, Waylon Jennings, and Toby Keith. These guys definitely know how to add Americana charm to their songs, at the same time, spark a sense of pride in our beautiful country.
Keep on reading below to find out which songs made it to the list.
1. “God Bless the USA” by Lee Greenwood
Patriotism has always been in the hearts of Americans, and there’s no better way to represent that than Lee Greenwood’s signature hit, “God Bless the USA.”
The first time Greenwood released the patriotic song in the spring of 1984, it reached No. 7 on the Billboard US Hot Country Songs chart. That same year, it was played at the Republican National Convention attended by then-President Ronald Reagan and First Lady Nancy Reagan, and the song gained even more prominence.
And as the years go by, the song has become a rallying cry during different times of crisis in America, such as the Gulf War in 1990 and 1991, the September 11 attacks, and the Iraq invasion in 2003.
“I wanted to write it my whole life,” Greenwood said. “I called my producer, and I said, ‘I have a need to do this.’ I’ve always wanted to write a song about America, and I said, ‘We just need to be more united.'”
Greenwood has also revealed that “the song just about wrote itself.”
“The words seemed to flow naturally from the music and came out with total honesty,” the country singer wrote in a book called God Bless the USA: Biography of a Song. “They were an expression of my feelings of pride. To me, America seemed just like a rookery, a place where we have a chance to grow, unmolested and free.”
2. “American Soldier” by Toby Keith
Toby Keith has always been proud of America and its military, and the country singer-songwriter never fails to express it through the songs he writes and records. In 2003, Keith gave his greatest tip of the hat to all our veterans and members of the armed services with his powerful ballad, “American Soldier.”
Released as the second single from his album Shock’n Y’all, the song became a No. 1 hit on the Billboard US Hot Country Songs chart, where it stayed for four weeks.
After spending some time meeting troops during his USO tours, Keith said that he was encouraged to write the song – especially when he witnessed the widespread impact of Alan Jackson’s sentimental “Where Were You (When the World Stopped Turning).”
He wanted to write a song that will take a closer look at the troops’ bravery as a way to celebrate and support “the American fighting men and women” who’ve left their hometowns and loved ones for the same sense of duty that’s driven American soldiers for generations.
3. “Only in America” by Brooks & Dunn
Brooks & Dunn recorded and released the patriotic “Only in America” less than three months before the terrorist attack on New York City on September 11, 2001.
And with its opening verse, “Sun coming’ up over New York City. School bus driver in a traffic jam. Staring out at the faces in a rear-view mirror. Lookin’ at the promise of the Promised Land,” the song quickly grew as an unofficial anthem of healing, not only for the city but for the whole country.
“It just fell in place. It just breathed a whole different life and new meaning into what it was saying. It was so unbelievably relevant to what was going on or what had happened,” Ronnie Dunn said. “The reaction afterward from the crowds was very emotional. Stunning. Overpowering.”
“Only in America” would go on to be an essential part of most presidential campaigns for several years. Then-president George W. Bush, for instance, used the song frequently during his 2004 re-election campaign.
4. “Courtesy of the Red, White, and Blue (The Angry American)” by Toby Keith
There’s definitely no shortage of patriotic music when it comes to Toby Keith’s assortment.
In the aftermath of the September 11 attacks, the country superstar wrote “Courtesy of the Red, White, and Blue (The Angry American)” to memorialize the tragedy while honoring the country’s military.
Keith said he wrote the song “on the back of a Fantasy Football sheet that was laying there,” and it only took him about twenty minutes to do so. He felt inspired, thinking what would have been his father’s reaction to the terrorist attacks. Keith’s father is also a US Army veteran.
The country singer-songwriter has also said that he did not plan for the song to be part of any commercial release. However, during a performance at the Pentagon brass in Washington, a Marine Corps commandant told Keith he thought it should be a single, even calling the song “the most amazing battle song I’ve ever heard in my life.”
“I knew it was going to cause a storm,” Keith said. “But at the end of the day, I was like, ‘If it means that much to those guys, then I don’t care. I’ll do it.'”
5. “In America” by Charlie Daniels
Charlie Daniels wrote “In America” as a reaction to the different challenging issues America faced during the late 1970s, this includes the aftermath of the Watergate scandal, the never-ending double-digit inflation, job loss, and prime interest rates, even including the Iran Hostage Crisis that happened through 1979 to 1981.
Despite all the problems the country was facing, the song described America as patriotic and united, capable of overcoming any obstacles and bringing back its greatness. “It was a reawakening of patriotism. That was something that our enemies did that they had no idea what they were doing because it galvanized America,” Daniels said of the song.
6. “Ragged Old Flag” by Johnny Cash
“Ragged Old Flag” became extremely popular with fans and was a staple at every Johnny Cash’s show. The country icon wrote the patriotic song in 1974 while he was in Binghamton, New York.
During that time, the United States was going through political turbulence that President Richard Nixon was forced to resign following the Watergate Scandal. Even though Cash was publicly known as Nixon’s supporter, he started questioning the policies in Nixon’s administration, especially regarding the Vietnam War.
He wrote the song to “reaffirm faith in the country and the goodness of the American people.”
7. “America” by Waylon Jennings
“America” was a hit for Waylon Jennings in 1984, reaching No. 6 on the Billboard Hot Country Singles & Tracks chart.
Released as the first single from his compilation album Waylon’s Greatest Hits, the song highlights the essence of brotherhood that Americans should feel toward each other. “It don’t matter where I may roam. Tell you, people, that it’s home sweet home. America, America,” the song goes.
8. “American Saturday Night” by Brad Paisley
Even before Brad Paisley released “American Saturday Night” as an official single, the song already earned spots on the charts – thanks to the unsolicited airplay it received. And in November 2009, Paisley officially released the song as the third single from his album of the same name. It then quickly peaked at No. 2 on the Hot Country Songs chart.
According to the country superstar, “American Saturday Night” “is a song about what happens on a weekend in our country, under the guise of the melting pot and how really nothing is original here.”
9. “American Kids” by Kenny Chesney
Songwriters Rodney Clawson, Luke Laird, and Shane McAnally penned “American Kids” to celebrate the spirit of young people across America.
“American kids are so much more complicated, more fun, more real — and if there’s anything about this song, beyond the rhythms, the hooks, and the playing, that I love, it’s the fact that it captures all the little things that life really is made of,” Kenny Chesney said.
10. “Where the Stars and Stripes and the Eagle Fly” by Aaron Tippin
In 2000, Aaron Tippin wrote, “Where the Stars and Stripes and the Eagle Fly” – along with country music songwriters Kenny Beard and Casey Beathard – for his album People Like Us. Unfortunately, it didn’t make the cut.
“I just always try to put something patriotic on my albums. But when we put together the album, for some reason, the record label just didn’t think that was something they wanted to do,” Tippin said. “They didn’t want to take up that slot with something patriotic.” So Tippin just chose to believe that the song “had a bigger purpose.”
He figured out what that purpose is a year later, as he watched the horrifying September 11 attacks unfold. Tippin recorded the song on September 13 and released it four days later. All the song proceeds were donated to the Red Cross and its relief operations for the families affected by the terrorist attacks.
So, there you have it! I hope you enjoy this list of America songs, paying tribute to the country in so many different ways.