There's a lot of crossover between country music and farming: Some artists come from farming backgrounds; a number of them were born and raised in areas of the country where farming is big business; and even more still simply admire the lifestyle and work ethic of the farmer. So it's not particularly surprising, then, that country music has become the farmer's de facto soundtrack.
There may be other reasons that so many country artists enjoy singing about farm life, too (we suspect that Luke Bryan has some ulterior motives as he sings, "Rain makes corn / Corn makes whiskey / Whiskey makes my baby feel a little frisky" in "Rain Is a Good Thing"), but no matter the reason, country music is full of songs about farm life. From celebrating farmers to laying out the hardships of growing crops, The Boot's list of country music's best farming songs is a mix of the good and bad about life down on the farm.
Land-lovin' lyrics: "She thinks my tractor's sexy / It really turns her on / She's always starin' at me / While I'm chuggin' along."
Chesney has clearly found the woman who's right for him: She's into farmer's tans, loves John Deere tractors and appreciates well-tilled soil. Hold on tight to that one, sir!
Land-lovin' lyrics: "He went from rags to riches / Farm to fame / From diggin' ditches / To carving out a name."
Technically, this song is about getting away from farm life -- specifically, about a country singer who spent every weekend away from the farm playing gigs until a big shot from Nashville discovered him. Still, the song's lyrics admit that it's often "rags to riches to rags again," so our hero may be trading those gigs for rigs soon.
Land-lovin' lyrics: "Four hundred hogs, they just standin' out there / My wife can't feed 'em, and the neighbors don't care / They can't get out and roam like my old huntin' dogs / Here I am in this dang bed, and who's gonna feed them hogs?"
Who, indeed. The narrator of this song tells the story of a man who woke up in a hospital bed in a "medicated fog" and is only concerned about who will feed his hogs -- who's going to keep his livelihood alive, really. In the end, the man is miraculously healed and gets back to his farm -- and thank goodness. Four hundred hogs is a lot of potential bacon (figuratively and literally)!
Land-lovin' lyrics: "His work was laid out there before him / In rows of green, his whole life was revealed / Oh, what I wouldn't give if I could just live / Like a man on a tractor with a dog in a field."
Atkins is singing a classic "the grass is always greener" scenario: He's feeling jealous of a "man on a tractor with a dog in a field," until his wife wisely points out, "There's more than one way" to be that man -- by finding contentment wherever you are.
Land-lovin' lyrics: "But hard times are real / There's dusty fields no matter where you go / You may change your mind / 'Cause the weeds are high where corn don't grow."
This song features a conversation between a teen boy and his farmer father. While looking out over the father's fields, the boy asks him if he's ever dreamed of a life "where corn don't grow." At the risk of giving too much away, the teenager soon finds out that there's a lot about life that he doesn't understand.
Land-lovin' lyrics: "On his knees every night / He prays, 'Please let my crops and children grow' / 'Cause that's all he's ever known."
Farmers are so often at the mercy of the elements: Will there be enough rain? Will a hail storm destroy the crops? This song is about a farmer living through that tension, working hard every day while praying that his "dreams [don't] run dry / Underneath this Amarillo sky."
Land-lovin' lyrics: "My daddy spent his life lookin' up at the sky / He'd cuss, kick the dust, sayin', 'Son, it's way too dry' / It clouds up in the city, the weatherman complains / But where I come from, rain is a good thing."
Bryan is one of country's preeminent farm boys: He grew up on a peanut farm, and he's well-known for his annual Farm Tour. So when he sings that "rain is a good thing," we should probably believe him.
Land-lovin' lyrics: "With a house on a hill and a pond in the fields / Surrounded by a mess of corn rows / Makes a livin' from his labor / With credit to the Maker / He's somebody everybody knows."
This song is the ultimate ode to the farmer, from the "overall wearers, farmer-tan tearers" to the "cake pan lickers, ripe tomato pickers, hay balers loadin' trailers in the fall." However, the tune has a somber undertone, as McCoy worries that these men and women may be the "last of a dying breed" ... but until that time, he's here to celebrate them.
Land-lovin' lyrics: "Who'll buy my wheat? / Who'll buy my corn / To feed my babies when they're born? / Seeds and dirt / A prayer for rain / That, I can use."
This classic by Haggard and Stuart doesn't sugarcoat farming life; instead, it focuses on the hard realities of being a farmer, from bad weather to the difficulty of getting a loan to the fear that no one will buy their crops. The song offers no easy answers; it's simply an accurate depiction of the difficulty of farm life.
Land-lovin' lyrics: "I'm gonna live where the green grass grows / Watch my corn pop up in rows / Every night be tucked in close to you."
This song is a celebration of farm life and love: loving the land, loving your occupation, loving a woman and loving the work of raising corn and babies. Farm life is tough, but a song like this makes it seem worth it.