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How to Write a Country Song

How to Write a Country Song

By Anthony DeVito

Being the next Garth Brooks isn’t as easy as just putting on a cowboy hat and giving thoughtful looks to the camera while you strum a guitar. Here’s a few tips on how to write a country song.

First and foremost, make a name for yourself as a country musician. And, I literally mean make a name for yourself. Nothing too fancy, keep it simple. Try cobbling together a wind pattern, a regular ol' middle name, and then just looking around the barn for a good last name (e.g., "Howlin' Joey Grass," "Blowy Tim Fences"). There’s no place for a “Winchester” or a “Rutherford” in country music.

The lyrics should rhyme / It’s not required, but it keeps you in time.

A country song should appeal to the common man. This is the opposite of a rap song. Don’t sing about the amount of money you have or how many cars you own. Instead, opt for lyrics that are more down to earth: waking up early, building a fence and having a rooster.

At some point, you’re going to want to include the word “thunder.” It doesn’t matter the capacity or the context, but it needs to be in there.

Another thought to keep in mind is the premise of the song: usually, country songs revolve around a lost love and heavy whiskey drinking. Most of the time, brand whiskeys are mentioned by name and referred to as a friend. For example, if you’re going to drink Jack Daniels, it would just be called “hanging out with my buddy Jack.”

If the song happens to be about a breakup, the notion of “doing right” by your man or woman is very important. Once again, this is the opposite of any rap song ever made.

Also, during the ballad, you should namecheck a specific highway you’re fond of traveling down.

Last and not least, America needs to come up. Even if its not mentioned directly, it can be called “God’s country,” “the heartland,” or even “dixie,” but it needs a place in the song.

Based on the above criteria, here’s how that country song would sound—a song called “Western Sun” by probable hunk Gale Tommy Bricks:

(first verse)
got a hammer in my hand and a hole in my heart
got to build a trusted fence 'cause I lost a trusted friend she up and left
a woman I’d a kept
my sweet Sara Lee

she did right by me
and I did right by her now, it feels like a blur but, dixie was calling
so, I came crawling
just the road ahead
and an empty bed
my partner is the land and I’m a one-man band

(chorus)
so, I’m going to...
see my buddy Jack and my buddy Jim going i-95
here I come
it’s lightning and thunder
and that western sun

so, I’m going to...
see my buddy Jack and my buddy Jim going i-95
here I come
it’s lightning and thunder
and that western sun

(second verse)
nail by nail
inch by inch
was living a dream someone gave me a pinch and now, she’s gone

so, I’m singing this song a guitar and a drum and that western sun god’s green earth

place of my birth America, my love and heaven above I’ll see you again my sweet Sara Lee but, until then well, it’s just me

(chorus)
so, I’m going to...

see my buddy Jack and my buddy Jim going i-95
here I come
lightning and thunder

and that western sun

so, I’m going to...
see my buddy Jack and my buddy Jim going i-95
here I come
lightning and thunder
and that western sun...

Written any country songs lately, darlins?

Topics: Life, Entertainment
Tags: country music, songwriting, song lyrics, how tos, guitars, garth brooks

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