One of may favorite things about country music is how diverse the sound and content can be.
There can be grand love songs, beachy beer-drinking songs, melancholic break-up songs.
But one of my personal favorite vibes is the haunting country song. Now, I’ll admit I’m going to be a little broad with this phrase.
When I think of haunting country songs, I think of songs that talk about ghosts or southern mythology or that have that specific almost bluesy sound.
They make you feel like some other-wordly creature is humming in your ear, like someone is just out of the corner of your eye or over your shoulder.
There’s something compelling, yet slightly unnerving about these songs and I can’t get enough of it.
Here are some of my favorites:
The Sea by Sierra Ferrell
I will honestly never shut up about how beautiful and haunting this song is. It’s like a siren’s sea shanty.
Memorable lyrics: “Please don’t let my love run dry / I’m so tired of you leaving me with a sigh”
Hy-Brasil by Allison Russell
This homage to Allison Russell’s grandmother and great-grandmother will make you feel like a spell is being put on you but in the best way possible.
Memorable lyrics: “Seven years we drown, seven years we rise / Said the black rabbit with the ancient eyes”
Magnolia Blues by Adia Victoria
Living up to the southern gothic vibe of Adia Victoria’s album A Southern Gothic, “Magnolia Blues” tells the age-old story of endurance and reclaiming who you are.
Memorable lyrics: “ I’m gonna plant myself / Under a magnolia / I’m gonna let that dirt / Do its work”
The Beaches of Cheyenne by Garth Brooks
I mean, what’s more haunting than an actual ghost story? This song is probably the most underrated (and my favorite) Garth Brooks song.
Memorable lyrics: “Nobody can explain it, some say she’s still alive / They’ve even claimed they’ve seen her on the shoreline late at night”
Hawk for the Dove by Amanda Shires
Honestly, this song just has haunting vibes sound-wise, and a romance that you know is probably doomed or toxic is definitely haunting.
Memorable lyrics: “I’m well aware of what the night’s made of / And I’m coming for you like a hawk for the dove”
Same Devil by Brandy Clark and Brandi Carlile
Again, the vibes of this song are just awesome. Each description of the less savory parts of life shows how alike everyone can be even in their own unique experiences (that aren’t that unique).
Memorable lyrics: “There’s a suit wearin’ snake with a million dollar smile / Shakin’ hands with the rat just across the aisle”
The Devil in Us All by Kat Hasty
Kat Hasty had to be on this list because of her soft voice and the way her songs are stripped back musically. This song in particular speaks to the inevitability of being tricked by the devil, which is mildly horrifying.
Memorable lyrics: “See him in the dark, and with the brokenhearted / But you’ll pass him in the light and he won’t be recognized”
Old Gods by Emily Scott Robinson
Similar to “The Sea,” this song has this ethereal, siren-like sound that makes me think of a sad sea shanty.
Memorable lyrics: “Are you a trick of the memory / That the old gods are playing on me?”
Daddy Doesn’t Pray Anymore by Chris Stapleton
The way Chris Stapleton describes the death of a father is so chilling because for most of the song, you don’t know why the father doesn’t pray anymore. Then, you do know, and it’s the kind of sad that feels like a stone in your stomach.
Memorable lyric: “Daddy doesn’t pray anymore / I guess he’s finally walking with the Lord”
If I Die Young by The Band Perry
Songs about death are always haunting because death can be scary. Now a song about dying young and what you want to happen to your body . . . woof, that’s sad in the best way.
Memorable lyrics: “And maybe then you’ll hear the words I’ve been singin’ / Funny when you’re dead, how people start listenin’”