Country music in the 2010s was going through a bit of an identity crisis, taking strides away from the traditional twang and steel guitars to featuring inspirations from different music genres such as hip-hop, EDM, and pop music.
With a mixture of superstar country music performers like Jason Aldean, Blake Shelton, and Tim McGraw and the fresh newbies like Dan + Shay and Kacey Musgraves, the 2010s assisted in shaping country music into the mainstream music genre it is today.
Regardless of inspiration or growing pangs, country music songs of that time are still robust, definitive, and quintessential even today. Here is our list of the 21 of the best country songs of the 2010s. Read on!
Related: For more like this, check out our list of the top country songs here.
1. “The House That Built Me” By Miranda Lambert
Starting off our list is “The House that Built Me,” a 2010 hit song by the incredible country music queen Miranda Lambert. Included in her fourth studio album, Revolution, this tune climbed faster in the music charts than any other song of her career.
A nostalgic song about a childhood home, “The House that Built Me” tugs on heartstrings as successfully as Lambert strums the haunting acoustic guitar strings. The lyrics of the song can make you reminisce the comfort of your home when you were younger.
“The House that Built Me” propelled the success of Lambert, leading her to win a Grammy for Best Female Country Vocal Performance as well as two CMA and three ACM awards in 2011.
2. “Girl Crush” By Little Big Town
Alabama vocal group Little Big Town released the slow country ballad “Girl Crush” as the second single off their sixth album, Pain Killer, in 2014.
The song recounts the tale of a girl jealous of another girl who has the guy she wants. The narrator wishes she had everything that girl had—her scent, her look, her smile—because then maybe the guy would like her instead.
It is a classic story of desiring what you can’t have and the heartache and sleepless nights you endure and tears you shed because of it.
“Girl Crush” spent 13 weeks on top of the Billboard‘s Hot Country Songs and snared two Grammys for Little Big Town, including Best Country Song.
3. “Follow Your Arrow” By Kacey Musgraves
Six-time Grammy Award winner Kacey Musgraves stormed onto the country music scene in the late 2000s. In October of 2013, she released the hit song “Follow Your Arrow.”
The song backs the idea of “You’re damned if you do and you’re damned if you don’t,” thus you should stay authentic to yourself no matter the circumstances or conditions.
“Follow Your Arrow” also became a crossover hit, from country to dance—everyone loved to kick up their heels (and spurs) to this catchy, tail-shaking tune. The song was #8 on Rolling Stone‘s list of 2010’s best dance songs.
4. “Wagon Wheel” By Darius Rucker
When Darius Rucker switched to writing and singing country music from pop music, nobody probably anticipated him to do as well as he did. He proved them wrong with his version of the Bob Dylan song “Wagon Wheel.”
Here, Rucker seamlessly blends his down-home tone with the folky manner Bob Dylan was known for in this incredible song. Released in 2013, the song recounts the travels of the narrator as he hitchhikes down from New England to Raleigh, North Carolina, just to see his lover.
Certified eight times Platinum, making it one of the top five most popular country singles ever, “Wagon Wheel” easily achieved its place as one of the best songs of the 2010s and won Rucker a Grammy for Best Country Solo Performance.
5. “Nobody To Blame” By Chris Stapleton
By the time country music superstar Chris Stapleton released “Nobody to Blame” in 2015, he was already a household name in the hearts of country music fans.
The song is a gut-wrenching song full of suffering, sadness, and steel guitar. Reminiscent of the legendary Waylon Jennings, the lyrics describe the saga of a man whose wife left him, and so he shifted his life into a country song.
Stapleton’s unique voice and tone combine bluegrass and blues and blazes through in this song. “Nobody to Blame” was his first single to win Song of the Year at the Academy of Country Music Awards, securing its place on our list.
6. “Humble And Kind” By Tim McGraw
When the legendary country music writer Lorraine McKenna penned “Humble and Kind,” she was solely thinking about her family.
Then country music megastar Tim McGraw put his incredible voice to it, and the song became an anthem for families worldwide and was beloved by millions.
“Humble and Kind,” released in 2016, went on to be acknowledged as extraordinary by sweeping numerous awards:
It won a Grammy for Best Country Song, Video of the Year at the CMT Music Awards, Song of the Year at Country Music Awards, and Country Song of the Year at American Music Awards.
7. “Blue Ain’t Your Color” By Keith Urban
Crooning about a lonely woman at a local watering hole, country music superstar Keith Urban proclaims to her that “Blue Ain’t Your Color.”
He goes on to explain that “blue looks good on the sky” and on a wall, but should not be the color of a woman sitting alone in a bar, trying to drink her woes away.
Between the incredible guitar licks, the soulful vocals, and Urban’s legendary sexy style, it’s no surprise the 2016 song achieved the #1 spot on the US Hot Country Songs chart and hung there for 12 weeks.
8. “Even Though I’m Leaving” By Luke Combs
Few things are as potent and meaningful as the relationship between a father and son, and North Carolinian country singer Luke Combs expresses it perfect in “Even though I’m Leaving.”
The song leads the listeners through a tear-jerking saga of a little boy frightened of monsters, a young man frightened of departing for the military, and finally, an adult man frightened of his father’s death, and the father’s consoling words to him.
Part of the tremendous draw of this song is how diverse it is in style and cadence from anything else Combs had been putting out for fans. Released in 2019, “Even Though I’m Leaving” peaked at #11 on the Billboard Hot 100 and anchored at #1 on Billboard’s Country Airplay chart.
9. “Springsteen” By Eric Church
Utilizing Eric Church‘s musical hero Bruce Springsteen as the backbone and backdrop, the song “Springsteen” was born.
Becoming the first song of Church to reach the top 20 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart, “Springsteen” conveys the importance of the idea of music being wrapped up tightly with our memories.
In this case, it’s the narrator’s first time meeting the girl he loves and the special times they had while listening to Springsteen’s songs.
This song does not sound like traditional country music—there is no fiddle or steel guitar anywhere to be encountered—yet the sexy crooning of Church’s voice and the expressive lyrics made “Springsteen” one of the classics.
10. “Something In The Water” By Carrie Underwood
When Carrie Underwood tacks on lines of “Amazing Grace” at the end of the tune, there is no doubting why so many people describe “Something in the Water” as angelic.
Characterized as optimistic, inspirational, and moving, “Something in the Water” describes the uplifting story of an individual who has lost hope transform their life after baptism.
A crossover hit, the song reached #1 on Billboard‘s Hot Country and Hot Christian Songs lists. It also gained Underwood a Grammy for Best Country Solo Performance and a Billboard Top Christian Song Award, among many others.
11. “I Drive Your Truck” By Lee Brice
Inspired by the real story of an American soldier killed in action, “I Drive Your Truck,” release by Lee Brice in 2012, is a passionate, inspirational, and heartfelt song.
Describing how the brother of the killed soldier continues to drive his brother’s truck as a tribute to his brother’s memory, it is hard not to tear up when hearing the song.
“I Drive Your Truck” struck a chord with listeners because of how effortlessly it was to connect to and empathize with the hurt the brother feels in the piece.
Reaching top 40 on the Billboard Hot 100 charts and #1 on the Country Airplay chart, “I Drive Your Truck” is an unforgettable and exceptional song from the 2010s.
12. “Tequila” By Dan + Shay
Country music has its fair share of duos, but very few make such an impact on country music as Dan + Shay did, and the duo’s hit song “Tequila” adds to our repertoire of notable country songs.
The song is a nostalgic country heartbreaker tune about how the singer misses his past lover and the taste of tequila strongly reminds him of their love.
Reaching #1 on the Hot Country Songs charts and winning the duo a Grammy for Song of the Year, painful lyrics of Dan + Shay’s “Tequila” embraces the emotions that so many can easily relate to.
13. “The Daughters” By Little Big Town
Up next, we have another song by Little Big Town. Their 2019 “The Daughters” is a soul-stirring ballad about the difficulty many girls feel today in the modern world.
Challenging why antiquated standards are still being placed on the young women of this generation, “The Daughters” discovered itself as a country music anthem for the #metoo movement.
The song, included in Little Big Town’s ninth studio album, Nightfall, is a notable piece of the 2010s that goes further than just telling the tale of heartbreak.
14 “Burning House” By Cam
Country music superstar Cam does a superb job of forming a haunting metaphor of a house fire to embody a dying relationship in her 2015 song “Burning House.”
The song was inspired by a dream that Cam had of attempting to save her ex-boyfriend from a burning house. The song easily mirrors this dreamlike aesthetic and is truly unique and unforgettable.
“Burning House” climbed to the #2 spot on the Billboard Hot Country Songs and Country Airplay charts, and with over three million units sold, it soon became certified 3x Platinum.
15. “Dirt Road Anthem” By Jason Aldean
Categorized as a country rap song, “Dirt Road Anthem” by Jason Aldean is the true definition of an anthem of living a laidback country life and driving those dirt roads.
Trumpeting pride in and for the United States, values, and memories, the 2010 song effortlessly topped the Billboard Hot Country Songs chart. It also achieved the rank of the best-selling song in digital history by a male country solo artist in the United States.
In 2011 at the CMT Music Awards, Rapper Ludacris performed the song with Aldean, warranting the song praise from music listeners other than country music fans.
16. “Girl Goin’ Nowhere” By Ashley McBryde
An experience that Ashley McBryde had with her high school algebra teacher was the inspiration for her 2018 song “Girl Goin’ Nowhere.”
The song recounts the emotional story of a little girl pushing her dreams to come true despite being told she was wasting her life and wouldn’t get far.
And like how the girl goin’ nowhere in the song reached high for her dreams, the song reached the top 40 of the Country Airplay chart after spending over 20 weeks on the chart.
“Girl Goin’ Nowhere” does an incredible job of integrating strong writing with a vulnerable vocal. It delivers insight and inspiration to anyone who listens to it.
17.“You & Tequila” By Kenny Chesney Ft. Grace Potter
The song is the classic country story of attempting to drink away the memory of love lost, yet despite this, the narrator continues to remember the bitterness of being left behind.
Merging chaos with simplicity in the song the same way tequila does in the head, “You & Tequila” is easy to identify with when you hear it. It received two nominations for Grammy Awards and became a staple in many country music fans’ music libraries.
18. “Drunk Girl” By Chris Janson
After hearing news of victimized women, Chris Janson was inspired to write “Drunk Girl.” The 2017 song was featured in his album Everybody.
The song focuses on a young intoxicated woman and how real men should take her home safely and “let her sleep all alone,” leaving her keys behind and locking her door.
Overall “Drunk Girl” champions respecting all women in all circumstances. The song peaked at #7 on the Country Airplay chart and a popular song with country music fans. More importantly, “Drunk Girl” sparked essential conversations.
19. “Marry Me” By Thomas Rhett
Released in 2017 by Thomas Rhett, with “Marry Me” is a song of wishes, regret, and letting go even though it hurts.
The intimate and heart-wrenching lyrics of the ballad views the perspective of the narrator as he recounts the times the woman he loved excitedly told him she was ready to marry.
He pictured himself all spiffed up in a black suit next to her, saying their marriage vows. But heartbreak is his future when it was not him she was referring to, but another man.
“Marry Me” was a favorite for country music fans; it went up to #2 on the Hot Country Songs chart as well as #1 on Country Airplay.
20. “Pretty Good At Drinkin’ Beer” By Billy Currington
From heartbreak, let’s move on to a more lighthearted tune in Billy Currington‘s 2010 song “Pretty Good at Drinkin’ Beer.” It is an ode to the simple pleasure of knocking back a few cold ones.
The narrator paints a picture of a carefree life spent lounging around in the sun with friends, enjoying the taste of beer and the relaxed feeling it brings. There’s no need for anything fancy or complicated—just good old-fashioned fun.
“Pretty Good at Drinkin’ Beer” has a catchy hook and an infectious beat, making it the perfect summertime anthem. Whether kicking back on the beach or hanging out in your backyard, this song will put you in the perfect mood for sipping on some ice-cold brews.
21. “Smoke A Little Smoke” By Eric Church
Lastly, we have a 2010 song of Eric Church‘s. “Smoke a Little Smoke” is a fun, upbeat song about indulging in a little bit of vice.
The lyrics describe how the narrator is caught up in the moment, and he’s not afraid to let loose and have a good time. The chorus encourages listeners to “smoke a little smoke” and “drink a little drink,” and the narrator promises they’ll have a great time if they do.
The song is clearly meant to be taken lightly, but it still has an element of truth to it. Everyone needs to let loose and have fun occasionally, and “Smoke a Little Smoke” is the perfect tune for those moments.
Summing Up Our List Of 2010s Country Songs
Country music is an influential and significant genre. What we love about it is its versatility—it can convey so many different stories; whether about heartbreak or love, saying goodbye or saying hello, there is a song for every circumstance.
Regardless of theme, these country songs of 2010 are just a few of music fan favorites. What songs have we left out that should be here? Let us know, and we’ll add it for you!