Just take a second and think to yourself, what makes a great country song?
Of course, songwriting that tells a story and relates to you is always a key to a stellar country song, but there is always one key ingredient that instantly captivates you, hooks you right from the start: the song intro.
Just like we were all taught in school, when you’re writing an introduction to a paper you want to have a hook, something that catches the reader’s eye and intriguing them to the point to where they want to keep going. The same exact thing goes for country songs as well, and just music in general.
Let’s take a look at 10 of my favorite country song intro (in no particular order), that immediately get your fired up.
10. “7 & 7” – Turnpike Troubadours
This was the first song I ever heard from Turnpike, and from the second I heard that opening guitar riff from electric guitar player Ryan Engleman. I mean you hear that opening riff, and you immediately wish you were riding around town with the windows down.
9. “Red Dirt Road” – Brooks & Dunn
I didn’t realize how important the opening electric guitar riff was for this song until I hear the acoustic version with Cody Johnson on Brooks & Dunn’sReboot album.
Don’t get me wrong, that version is very good, but it helped me realize how much character that steady electric guitar intro brings to the original song.
8. “Forever” – Koe Wetzel
The Texas Country rocker loves mixing grunge/punk rock in with his Texas Country roots, and from the time Koe opens up with “Forever,” you know that it’s about to build into a full throttle headbanger when his first line is, “Well I left town with a chip on my shoulder toting 27 dollars worth of cheap cocaine.”
When you hear that, you can’t help but think “Okay Koe I hear ya, tell me more.”
7. “I’m In A Hurry” – Alabama
This ’90s country jam just throws you right into the song without any time to think. Once you hear the acapella fast-paced first line from Randy Owen and the gang, you know you’re in for a good one.
6. “Chattahoochee” – Alan Jackson
Here we have yet another opening guitar riff from out of this world. Played by legendary guitar player Brent Mason, it makes you wish you were stackin’ pyramids of cans in the pale moonlight before you even know what the song is about.
5. “Take This Job And Shove It” – Johnny Paycheck
Talk about an all-time classic. This ’70s country hit just throws you straight into the chorus before the band even has a chance to join in. The mixture of humor and anger coming out of Paycheck’s mouth in the opening line will make you want to cuss out your old boss for firing you because he was in a bad mood.
4. Gun Powder & Lead” – Miranda Lambert
A song about shooting an abusive lover? Sign me up. But as soon as that twang from the signature guitar riff starts going, you already know it’s on.
3. “Sleeping on the Blacktop” – Colter Wall
Good Lord, tell me a song that has a better build up than this song, I’ll wait. The acoustic guitar, kickdrum, claps, you name it, the intro almost scares you a little bit and is really mysterious. I feel like I’m walking up to a crime scene or about to get into a fight when I hear the intro to the song, and it literally reaches out and grabs your attention.
2. “Something Like That” – Tim McGraw
I mean from the guy going in on the drum intro, then the piano, and the electric guitar joining in to Tim singing “It was labor day weekend I was 17,” you know this song is about to be pure happiness. When you can feel an emotion within the first few seconds of a song, that’s how you know you have something great on your hands.
1. “Loud & Heavy” – Cody Jinks
“Loud thunder heavy rain, thin line between joy and pain”… You’re only ten seconds into the song, and it’s already starting to cut deep. With Jinks’ deep and unique voice, you can almost hear pain in his voice, making you wonder why he’s hurting, therefor pushing you to keep listening. This was Jinks’ first really big hit. No wonder this song is so many professional baseball players’ walkup song.