The Most Underrated Ballads in Country Music

As much as country music is about fun and living life, it is also about the ballads; ballads that will make you cry, fall in love, or heal.

If a ballad doesn’t make it to radio, it may very well go unheard by the majority of country fans. So to help shed some light on some of those songs, below is a list of some of my most underrated traditional country ballads.

The rules are simple; the song must not have been released as a single and charted well on the Billboard charts. The songs have been run through a random generator, so no specific order was used. While many artists on this list have several songs that can be added, one song has been selected from their catalog. When this list is updated, more songs by the same artists will be allowed.

So without further ado, make sure to check out the list of excellent, underrated traditional country ballads.


Wade Hayes- Family Reunion

The “No particular order” rule does not apply here. I wanted to make sure this one was on the top of the list. Such an incredibly well-written song with an excellent delivery from Hayes. Not the song you expect you will get with a song title like “Family Reunion.” Can’t think of another song that tackles this subject matter, excellent song.

Garth Brooks- Under the Table (clip unavailable)

Jake Owen- Ghosts

Brad Paisley- She Never Really Got Over Him

This is a hard one to find. Only available on the “Cracker Barrel Special Edition” of his album “Wheelhouse,” Paisley weaved together a great, heartbreaking story that has gone almost unheard.

Easton Corbin- Tulsa Texas

Red Marlow- Four Ounces at a Time

Clay Walker- Country Boy and City Girl

Curtis Grimes- Had a Thing

Billy Currington- 23 Degrees and South

A lot of the time, simpler is better. With strung back instrumentation and Currington’s emotional delivery, this song paints a great picture, and manages to make me stop and really digest it every time it comes on.

Jason Michael Carroll- Tears

Craig Campbell- When She Grows Up

Dean Brody- Flowers in Her Hands

Brody has a special way of weaving a character’s life story into three and a half minutes. There is perhaps no better example than this ballad from his “Dirt” album.

Cody Johnson- Walk Away

Joe Nichols- You Ain’t Heard Nothing Yet

Vince Gill- Under These Conditions

Mark Chesnutt- Is It Still Cheating

Rhett Akins- Same Ol’ Story

Mo Pitney- Love Her Like I Lost Her

Again, a lot of the time, simpler is better. With stripped down instrumentation and a valuable life lesson, Pitney is proving that he is one of the great young songwriters in country music.

Shelby Lee Lowe- ‘Til My Memories Run Dry

Wynn Williams- The Letter

The type of song that has been missing from country music recently. Crying steel, a heartbreaking story, and an emotional delivery. Williams hit this one out of the park.

David Kersh- As If I Didn’t Know

Little Texas- Hit Country Song

Paul Brandt- That Hurts

Scott Hisey- As Long as He’s Here

This one ranks up there with “Family Reunion” for me. The kind of song that you don’t hear very often, if at all. Hisey is a major throwback type of singer, and his baritone served this song perfectly.

Gabe Garcia- Workin’ on Her Tan

Another song with a deceiving title. While this may not look like the title of a heartbreaking country song, Garcia definitely delivers one. The narrators sense of false hope make this song hit with listeners, and Garcia delivers it perfectly.

Keith Walker- What a Broken Heart Can Do

Lee Ann Womack- Lonely Too

Sara Evans- What That Drink Cost Me

Alan Jackson- The Sounds

It was tough to narrow it down to one Alan Jackson ballad for the first list, but this song deserved much more attention than it got. Although it was featured on the second disc of Jackson’s second greatest hits album, it was never released as a single.

Ricochet- The Truth is I Lied

Chris Young- Flowers

It doesn’t get any more heartbreaking than this. A story of drunk driving, regret, and heartbreak. Although it was released by the song’s co-writer Billy Yates in 1997, Young took the song to a new level, with his emotional baritone delivery adding a new element to the song.

Rick Trevino- San Antonio Rose to You

Trent Tomlinson- That’s What’s Working Right Now

Phil Vassar- She’s On Her Way

Randall King- Mirror, Mirror

There are a few songs that could have made this list from King’s excellent, just released debut album. However, “Mirror, Mirror” is the one I gravitated towards first, and the one that has stuck with me through my multiple listens.

Mitch Rossell- Piece of Heaven (clip unavailable)

Matt Kimbrow- Dance With Me Today

Gary Allan- Don’t Tell Mama

This song is country music gold. A straight forward story song, once again about drunk driving, death, and heartbreak. This song has been recorded by a few artists, but Alan’s take, with a great melody and his raspy delivery, rise above the rest.

David Adam Byrnes- Pretty Blue View

Daryle Singletary- That’s Where You’re Wrong

Richard Marx and George Canyon- When Love is All You’ve Got

Co-written by the legendary Kenny Rogers, this song is really brought to life by the smooth vocals of Canyon, paired with Marx’s raspier delivery.

George Ducas- The Invisible Man

Donice Morace- Lost at Sea

Wesley Dennis- Leave Me a Picture of You

Tim McGraw- Kill Myself

This song title immediately jumps out at you, however, it’s not quite what it seems.

Greg Bates- Lost in Caroline

Gretchen Wilson- He Ain’t Even Cold Yet

Originally recorded by Ken Mellons in the 90s, Wilson knocked this one out of the park.

William Michael Morgan- I Know Who He Is

Rodney Atkins- The River Just Knows

Mark Wills- Anywhere But Memphis

Josh Turner- Soulmate

Lucas Barela- I’m Never Going to Be Like That

Really well-written, emotional song from a great, young artist. Barely put his heart on his sleeve, and it paid off with this one.

Jerry Kilgore- Cactus in a Coffee Can

Roger Springer Band- Daddy Never Had a Chance in Hell

Tim Culpepper- Pourin’ Whiskey on Pain

Brian Mallery- Wake Me Up Tomorrow

Teea Goans- I Don’t Do Bridges Anymore

Ashley Monroe- She’s Driving Me Out of Your Mind

Kristen Foreman- Four and a Half Minutes

Based on a true story, this song is very impressive. Great delivery and great lyrics. Learn more about the song and Kristen Foreman in our recent interview.

Deryl Dodd- She’ll Have You Back

All you need to hear is that opening line, and you know you’re in for an excellent song.

Doug Stone- This Empty House

Ricky Van Shelton- The Picture

Faith Hill- I Would Be Stronger Than That

George Strait- Haven’t You Heard

This song was never released to radio; and in the grand scheme of Strait’s excellent ballads, this one often goes overlooked.

Heartland- Built to Last

James Bonamy- Amy Jane

Diamond Rio- They Don’t Make Hearts Like They Used To

Hailey Verhaalen- The Answer

Steve Maynard- A Bad Day to Come By

Jerry Maynard- My Life Was Turned Around

Dixie Chicks- Don’t Waste Your Heart

Brad Martin- The Fifth

Martin brings his huge voice to an extremely well-written song, dripping with steel guitar and heartache. One of the standouts on this list.

Ashton Dupré- When She Drinks My Whiskey

Rhonda Vincent- When the Grass Grows Over Me

Megan Katarina- He’s Seen Me Naked

The delivery of that second chorus. Perfection.

John Hord- Cowboy Angel

John Thibodeaux- Favorite Waste of Time (video unavailable, listen on Spotify!)

Cody Sparks Band- 4th of July

Dustin Sonnier- Drinkin’ Alone

One of the really great releases of 2018. This song will be part of Sonnier’s new album, to be released this year! Get all the details here.

Jamie Talbert & the Band of Demons- Wildfire

Marisa Ray- People Change (video unavailable, listen on Spotify!)

Miranda Lambert- To Learn Her

Lambert performed this song, which was never a single, on the CMA Awards last year, and she absolutely knocked it out of the park. All that steel guitar- perfection.

Kimberly Kelly- First Fool in Line

L.M. Stone- Shattered Dreams

Close your eyes if you listen to this one and you’ll think George Jones is singing. Amazing vocalist and writer.

Lorrie Morgan- Gonna Leave the Light On

Dwight Yoakam- South of Cincinatti

Michael Peterson- Since I Thought I Knew It All

Steel Blossoms- I Don’t Wanna Love You Anymore

Anna Vaus- The Ground (clip unavailable, listen on Spotify!)

Pistol Annies- Beige

Patty Loveless- Cheap Whiskey

Kevin Denney- We Rhyme

Presley & Taylor- Old Fashion Passion

The young duo prove that there is still hope for traditional country music in this generation of country music. Great harmonies, great writing.

Craig Morgan- Everywhere I Go

Randy Travis- Reasons I Cheat

Perfect Stranger- Who Are You

Porter Union- Out of Spite

Excellent track from the duo featured on USA Network’s Real Country. The duo trading vocals on this track is cry-in-your-beer perfection.

Tim Allen- Bad Side of Me

Casey Peveto Band- Broken Heart’s Advice

Craig Gerdes- You Saved Me from Me

Kylie Frey- Ain’t Enough Beer (clip unavailable- listen on Spotify!)

Josh Card- Forgotten Love

A different ballad than anything on this list. A song that hits home for Card. Read all about Card’s new album and this song here.

Shania Twain- Raining on Our Love

Dustin Olson- Prayer of a Simple Man

Jade Marie Patek- Calling My Name

Tyler Resch- Somewhere Missing You

Melissa Lee- Mama, I Might Love Him

Raquel Telfer- Where Fallen Angels Fly

Very powerful song that took on a new meaning for Telfer after a trying time in her life. Read all about it here.

Collin Raye- Faithful Old Flame

Kyle Daigle- When a Woman’s Had Enough

Hunter Thomas Mounce- Wherever You Are

Aubrie Lynn- Good Enough Isn’t Love (video unavailable, check it out on iTunes!)

Tracy Byrd- Redneck Roses

When it’s on an album with “The Keeper of the Stars,” it’s easy to look over this equally great love song.

Tim Nowell- Willie, Waylon and Booze

Savanna Chestnut- Walls Can’t Talk

Joanna Young- Everything

Faith Hill- A Man’s Home is His Castle

What a story. Amazing lyric and amazing delivery. You NEED to check this one out.

Addison Johnson- Where I Go to Pray

Kimra- Forgive and Forget

Brooks & Dunn- A Few Good Rides Away

Vanessa Lynn Bird- Halfway There

Jamie Floyd- What I See in Me

Floyd sings straight from the heart here. Certain lyrics (such as singing for a guy who’s turning 30) hit so close to home. Learn more about the song here.

Korey Rose- A Mile and Six Feet Away

Wild Rose- If Hearts Could Talk

John Michael Montgomery- Nickels and Dimes and Love

Hunter Morse- Teach Me to Forget (clip unavailable, listen on Spotify!)

Dolly Parton- I Will Forever Hate Roses

 

Preview/listen these songs on Spotify

*Some songs could not be added by YouTube link or to Spotify because they were not available on those platforms.

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