As a genre, country music has never been one to shy away from calling out its heroes in song. In fact, there are tons of country songs that drop the names Willie, Waylon, Hank, and George. Some newer artists will shout out Kenny or Keith or Carrie, but lately, we’ve been noticing a new trend in our favorite tunes. Rather than mention an artist by name, some of country’s hottest stars are mentioning their songs or their favorite lyrics in those songs.
In his song, “Raised by the Radio,” Mitch Rossell says, “Nothing reminds you of who you are like hearing a song that reminds you of where you’ve been,” and we couldn’t agree more. Here at NYCountrySwag, it was Walker Hayes’ new track “90’s Country” the inspired this list, so here are some of our favorite country songs that namedrop other country songs.
Walker Hayes – 90’s Country: Walker Hayes’ most recent release “90’s Country” is a prime example of the trend, artfully mentioning 22 different songs within its lyrics. Written by Hayes, Shane McAnally, and David Garcia, Hayes cleverly flows from famous song titles to famous lyrics in his signature spoken-country style. He mentions songs we love, songs we forgot, and songs we want to listen to immediately. Some of the most famous songs Hayes mentions from arguably the best decade of country music include: “Strawberry Wine,” “Amazed,” “Check Yes or No,” “Friends in Low Places,” and “She Thinks My Tractor’s Sexy.” Some songs you may have forgotten about (or never heard!) that Hayes drops into this track include “Vidalia,” “Daddy’s Money,” “Wink,” “Jukebox Junkie,” and “Queen of My Double Wide Trailer.” To give a listen to Hayes’ “90’s Country” and all the songs that inspired it, check out his fantastic Spotify playlist here.
Old Dominion – Song for Another Time: Like “90’s Country,” musical mastermind Shane McAnally had a role in “Song for Another Time,” co-producing the track written by Old D’s Brad Tursi, Matthew Ramsey, and Trevor Rosen, along with Matt Jenkins. The song was the band’s second number 1 on the Country Airplay chart, telling the story of a breakup through song titles. On the track, Old Dominion calls out over twenty songs, including country classics like “Marina Del Rey,” “Small Town Saturday Night,” and “Sunday Morning Coming Down,” in addition to other genre’s classics like “Dancing on the Ceiling,” “Paradise City,” and “Candle in the Wind.”
Lady Antebellum – And the Radio Played: While Lady Antebellum’s “And the Radio Played” wasn’t a huge hit for the band, being released as a track on the deluxe edition of their album, Golden, it still deserves a place on the list. Written by Lady A. with Josh Kear and Nathan Chapman, the song takes listeners on a musical journey through the decades, with the first chorus hitting the oldies, the second hitting the 1990’s, and the third touching on the 2000’s. Songs referenced in the first chorus include “I Was Country When Country Wasn’t Cool,” “Smoky Mountain Rain,” and “He Stopped Loving Her Today,” while the second chorus introduces “the Dance,” “Strawberry Wine,” “Does He Love You?,” and “Amazed.” Lastly, the third chorus is like listening to SiriusXM’s Y2Kountry channel, mentioning hits like “I Hope You Dance,” “Before He Cheats,” “The House That Built Me,” and “Don’t Blink.”
Mitch Rossell – Raised by the Radio: Mitch Rossell has become known for being Garth Brooks’ protege, and the man responsible for writing one of Brooks’ most recent #1 hits, “Ask Me How I Know.” With just an acoustic guitar, Rossell opened for Brooks’ sold-out, world tour, performing a slew of songs including “Raised by the Radio.” The track recalls songs that “raised his glass,” “saved his life,” and “even helped him get lucky a few times.” Some of the songs mentioned in this song include “Blue Clear Sky,” “She’s in Love with the Boy,” “Life is a Highway,” “Walk the Line,” “Love Like Crazy,” and “Live Like You Were Dying.”
Brad Paisley – This is Country Music: On “This is Country Music,” Brad Paisley discusses the merits that make country music unique, it’s genre-bending rules challenging societal norms. “It ain’t hip to sing about tractors, trucks, little towns, or mama, yeah that might be true, but this is country music, and we do,” Paisley sings, the song ending as a tribute to country music. In the last minute of the song, Paisley mentions a ton of country classics, including “He Stopped Loving Her Today,” “Amarillo by Morning,” “Stand By Your Man,” and “God Bless the USA.”
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