Uplifting, sad, poignant or raw, so many country classics may not have been written as music for funerals, but make beautiful funeral songs all the same.
Tearjerkers and even break-up songs feature among the top country songs for funerals, with lyrics that take on special meaning when someone we love dies. Playing straight to the heart and expressing feelings it can be too hard, too soon, or too painful to share, these 10 hits about love, life and loss are among America’s most popular country funeral songs.
When I Get Where I’m Going – Brad Paisley with Dolly Parton
This beautiful song was inspired by a preacher’s description of Heaven – a safe place filled with love and light, far away from life’s pain and struggles. Written by George Teren and Rivers Rutherford, it has sold over a million copies since Brad Paisley and Dolly Parton made it a Billboard Hot 100 hit, in 2005. It’s been among the top country songs for funerals ever since.
You Should Be Here – Cole Swindell
What’s the difference between a beautiful day and a perfect day? When that someone, with whom it would have felt so right to share it with, is no longer there with you. This song evokes just how it is to miss someone – and how the things you wish you could share together, make you think about just what they’d do and say.
The Dance – Garth Brookes
This moving song holds special meaning to people for all sorts of reasons and is an especially poignant modern country funeral song. It looks back on a moment in time which was beautiful and perfect. Parting hurts all the more for the wonderful times we had, but that we would never wish away.
Go Rest High On That Mountain – Vince Gill
Bittersweet, uncomplicated and soulful, it’s hard to hold back the tears when this enduring country ballad is played – especially at a funeral. Inspired by the deaths of two significant people in his life, Vince was visibly emotional when he performed it to honour legendary golfer Arnold Palmer at his funeral in 2016.
One More Day With You – Diamond Rio
What would you wish for, if money could buy anything and dreams could come true? Would just one more day, to say and do the things you wanted to with a loved one, fulfil the yearning?
After losing someone you love, it may be easy to identify with the sentiment of these lyrics, which were initially written as a love song. It took on new and poignant meaning for Americans in the aftermath of 9/11 and continues to touch the hearts of the bereaved.
If I Don’t Make It Back – Tracy Lawrence
Picture: ltshears/Creative Commons
It’s hard to stop your eyes from welling up, even though the lyrics of this heartstrings-tugger say: “Don’t waste your tears on me.”
It’s written from the view of a soldier who knows that, one day, he may not come back, and about friendships that will keep his memory alive. A pledge to try and be strong of heart for love and a testimony to courage, it’s been going strong among the top country funeral songs, for more than a decade.
Jealous of the Angels – Jenn Bostic
Jenn Bostic was just 10 years old when her beloved dad, James, was killed as he drove her to school. Writing beautiful songs became a way for her to express her sorrow, but Jealous of Angels was the ballad which truly expressed what for so long, she had been wanting to say.
Numbed by how an ordinary day can, out of the blue, become the last, this moving ballad has become among the most requested country songs played at funerals in recent years.
Wish You Were Here – Mark Wills
The words of this song offer comfort and reassurance to the living, in a postcard sent from paradise. The song’s about a husband who never makes his destination when he dies in a plane crash, but his words of love somehow make it home.
As a country funeral song, it often speaks to those at the end of life, thinking about their own memorial wishes. It expresses the sentiments of a loved one who has bravely borne their final days with loving thoughts of those they’ll leave behind.
Please Remember Me – Tim McGraw
There’s little wonder that this breakup song is among the top country songs played at funerals. It’s a song which speaks just as much about the loved one we miss, as our own feelings of loss. Inspired by something ending, there is hope of finding better places with their blessing and of someone’s memory living on within your heart.
Clouds – Montgomery Gentry
An uncomplicated way of expressing just how you much miss a loved one when they are gone, simply by looking up towards the heavens. It’s an enduringly popular piece of country music for funerals.
The Kentucky country music duo often play this song at concerts with a video background, which features photographs sent in by fans of their much-missed loved ones.