The cold air hits your face as soon as you open the door. The cold rushes over you and you start to shiver. The heaps of snow that blanket the ground seem to be too big to ever melt away. The glowing orange leaves that blanketed campus last fall seem so distant that you can’t even remember what they looked like.
We’re all looking forward to spring break and the warmer days ahead, no matter how far off it may seem. It’s never too early to look ahead to those times and dream of warm summer nights, t-shirts and long drives on open plains. It’s easy to imagine these things when listening to some good ol’ country music. Whether you just want to forget the cold or you’re looking to explore a new genre, here are some country songs to help you look forward to summer.
“Barefoot Blue Jean Night” by Jake Owen
“Barefoot Blue Jean Night” by Jake Owen is a typical country song. It has the classic country music vibes of hanging out with friends and barbecuing on a summer night. For some, the imagery of jeans, guitars and sweet tea might be over the top. But as we all sit inside in negative degree weather, those things have never sounded better.
The song has a theme of relaxation. That has become hard for some of us who are busy with school and extracurricular activities, but this song will let you unwind and relax while the foot-tapping beat takes you away to a warmer place. As Owen, a self-taught guitarist, says in the song, there’s no place I’d rather be than “caught up in a southern summer, barefoot blue jean night.”
“Summer Nights” by Rascal Flatts
“We went crazy, cooped up all winter long.” This lyric embodies how a lot of us feel right now, but there are warmer days ahead. If you’re like me, you look forward to summer nights. When the sun is setting and you have family and friends beside you, life just feels right. “Summer Nights” by Rascal Flatts is the perfect song for that situation. It doesn’t have intense country imagery of things like trucks and alcohol, which is typical amongst other country songs.
Similar to their hit song “Life is a Highway” that played in the movie “Cars” “Summer Nights” is a feel-good song that will please everybody. Rascal Flatts has dabbled in some different styles over the years, and the strong voice of lead singer Gary LeVox is appealing to a wide audience. Even if you’ve never been fond of country music, this song could be for you because it’s not similar to the usual contemporary country sound you would hear on the radio today.
“It’s Five O’Clock Somewhere” by Alan Jackson (feat. Jimmy Buffet)
Even if you’ve never heard the song, you’ve at least heard the phrase. “It’s Five O’Clock Somewhere” has become bigger than just a song. From t-shirts to drunk college students, this can be heard across the country anywhere from honkytonks to calculus classrooms. Simply put, it’s a classic. While it may be cliche, the feeling you get from relaxing and having an adult beverage (if you are of age, of course) at around 5 p.m. on a nice summer evening is unmatched and Buffet’s strong voice will take you there in a heartbeat. As I am forced to walk by the frozen tundra that Shaw Field has become, I long for that feeling, and this song can take me there.
“Summertime Love” by Flatland Cavalry
Flatland Cavalry isn’t as mainstream as some of the other artists on the list, but they are my personal favorite. The group out of Lubbock, Texas blends some folk and Americana vibes to go with their country roots. They have a very calm and smooth sound that will drag you in and help you forget the outside world. This song has a youthful and playful innocence that is intoxicating. It’s the kind of song that puts a smile on your face, which is exactly what we need in these snowy times.
“Toes” by Zac Brown Band
If you haven’t heard of Zac Brown Band, I am delighted to introduce you to one of their most well-known songs. They have many classic songs, like “Chicken Fried” and “Colder Weather” but this one may be at the top. Even if you don’t know this song, you’ve certainly heard it or at least seen it in an Instagram caption. “Toes in the water, ass in the sand” may be a joke at this point, but the sentiment is true. Hearing that makes me want to reach for some sunscreen. “Bikinis and palm trees danced in my head” is another example of the warm summer imagery that has made this song so popular and quotable for so long. If you enjoy their music, you can see them visit the Minnesota State Fair this year!