Country songs that are not sad? Not downers?

A friend said that all country songs are sad. My woman left me, my dog is gone, my truck broke down. (Which brings to mind the joke that if you play country songs backwards, your woman comes back, your dog comes back, and your truck comes back.)

So let’s give him a list of well-known country songs that are upbeat in spirit, positive in outlook.

Can’t help you. Country music always makes me sad.

Here you go. The Happiest Girl in the Whole U.S.A. It’s so damn upbeat and positive you’ll want to kill yourself!

Big Time by Big & Rich

Your problem is that you’re just looking at pop country. Folk country is chock-full of cheerful, up-beat material. The golden example here would be John Denver’s “Thank God I’m a Country Boy”.

Then again, I’ve never been entirely sure why pop country and folk country are considered in any way the same genre. So far as I can tell, the only thing they have in common is wide-brimmed hats.

Thank God I’m a Country Boy – John Denver (It’s worth mentioning twice!)
Everything Is Beautiful – Ray Stevens
Dixieland Delight – Alabama
Forever and Ever, Amen – Randy Travis
I love this Bar – Toby Keith
I love a Rainy Night – Eddie Rabbit

Redneck girl

The lady takes the cowboy every time (She’s dying to do the Texas Two Step) - complete with eighties fashion

You do have a point, though, as most of the songs that immediately spring to mind as being upbeat are in fact heartbreak songs (Guitars, Cadillacs and Hillbilly Music and Friends in Low Places)

There are like a million? I guess I’ll post a few…

Merle Haggard - Sam Hill

Reno and Smiley - Country Boy Rock and Roll

David Allan Coe - Sweet Vibrations

Carter Family - Sunny Side

Doc Watson - Intoxicated Rat

Etc, forever.

I’ve Been Everywhere, Hank Snow

Kansas City Star, Roger Miller

Can’t Rollerskate in a Buffalo Herd, Roger Miller

Jambalaya, Hank Williams

Pretty much all Jerry Reed songs.

Alabama has quite a few upbeat songs. Try

Song of the South
If you’re Gonna Play in Texas
Mountain Music

Whiskey Girl - Toby Keith

I Love This Bar - Toby Keith

Uncloudy Day - Willie Nelson

Rodeo Song

Dick In Dixie - Hank Williams III (lyrics contain dirty words)

I wouldn’t know. The arm fell off my favorite chair. Somebody threw a baseball threw my window. Things have really gone to pieces. Good stuff above. Another place to look is the other kind of music – Western. You can’t not laugh when Tommy Duncan’s nattering on about the “big ball[s] in cowtown.”

I would think the problem with the OP is that they’re NOT looking at pop country. The traditional “my wife/dog/truck left me” subject songs still sneak by sometimes, but for the most part FM radio country these days is vapid love songs and either overt or non-overt patriotic kitsch.

Swingin’ by John Anderson
Bobby Sue by the Oakridge Boys
Tulsa Time by Don Williams
Settin’ the Woods on Fire by Hank Williams
Sitting on top of the World by Bob Wills
A Boy Named Sue by Johnny Cash
Jackson by June Carter and Johnny Cash
You Are My Sunshine by Ray Charles and many others

Not to mention that crap isn’t country. The 80s more or less gave country the suicide pill and the 90s shot it in the head. Now it’s just beating a dead horse, big time.

Though some good stuff still managed to sneak by in the 80s. I was actually going to say Terry Allen’s Lubbock on Everything but that was 1979. But a few were kicking ass with some records around then anyway… Townes had an amazing one. Guy had a few really good ones. Lyle Lovett’s first few records were pretty okay, but it’s pure Ramsey worship. People really like Steve Earle but I’m not one of those guys. He wrote some great songs when he was a kid (Elijah’s Church) but that’s about all I like. There are some more that are evading my mind. The 90s were devoid of cool pretty much altogether, unless you like that commercialization of country rock thing. Or stone cold, soulless, over-produced, sparkly crap that got popular around then.

Chattahoochee by Alan Jackson

On the Road Again by Willie Nelson

The people who listen to mainstream/pop country have no idea who Hank III is (or Drive-By Truckers, James McMurtry, Cross Canadian Ragweed, Son Volt etc.)

Its a stereotype - and no more true than that every rock song is about drugs or every rap song is about gang violence. Even mainstream country. This week’d Billboard Top 10 has 9 happy songs (ok, mostly songs about romance):
1> Love & Theft - Angel Eyes
2> Gloriana - (Kissed You) Good Night
3> Kenny Chesney - Come Over
5> Little Big Town - Pontoon
6> Josh Turner - Time Is Love
7> Band Perry - Postcard From Paris
8> Jana Kramer - Why Ya Wanna
9> Kieth Urban - For You
10> Hunter Hayes - Wanted

Only #4 - Blake SHelton’s “Over” is even close to downbeat, and it’s about talking a girl into starting over again. I think you have to get to #25 - Jake Owen’s “The One That Got Away” before you really get a song that fits the stereotype. Granted, none of them are wild swings like the Tractor’s “Baby Like To Rock It” or Nitty Gritty Dirt Band’s “Fishing In The Dark” (both crowd pleasers when I DJ), but there style and lyrics are hardly dirges.

Compare that to Pop - WHich had Gotye’s “Somebody that I Used to Know” and Cher Lloyd’s “Want U Back” in the top 20.

If anything, a better criticism of modern popular country it is that it is too sweet and relentlessly happy - there are few hints of shadows to add depth.

“Down at the Twist and Shout” by Mary Chapin Carpenter was the first song that popped into my head.

“Deeper than the Holler” by Randy Travis.

“Fishin’ in the Dark” by Nitty Gritty Dirt Band.

“Rainbow Stew” by Merle Haggard.

I only know older titles because I haven’t listened to country in years.