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Why We Can’t Stop Listening to Country Songs About Love, Poker and Wild West Nostalgia

Country music is some of the very best music on the planet, as it incorporates everything from patriotism to nostalgia (and it’s excellent for dancing). While we like all genres of music, we appreciate the way country has evolved. The modern hits are just as good as the classics about the old west, poker and, of course, love.

Country music icon Dolly Parton talked about her love of country music and the first song she ever wrote at the young age of five. Parton is one of many artists who share a deep love of country music which has been proven to lift people’s spirits, especially during tough times.

Research published on country music has shown that during difficult social and economic times, the most popular country songs incorporate positive emotions. Writing for the Pacific Standard, social scientist Tom Jacobs noted that even though country music is stereotypically thought to cover the more depressing aspects of life, chart-toppers of the year are less likely to lyrically incorporate negative emotions during difficult social and economic times. As such, country songs are more likely to have upbeat tempos and a larger proportion of major chords.

Specific musical preferences were also associated with aspects of personality. While people with an openness for experiences preferred complicated musical styles like jazz or classical, extroverts tend to prefer uncomplicated, relaxing and upbeat music that they can relate to and that appeals to their values like country or folk. Country stars, in particular, spend a lot of time writing songs that are relatable to the average Joe that make you think they haven’t forgotten their humble, country-road, patriotic roots. Billy Currington and his song “That’s How Country Boys Roll” make us think that he’s just like us, singing about living hard and tough and having a cold one after a long day’s work — like any other hard-working, patriotic American.

On the other hand, songs about poker tend to be some of the most memorable in the genre. They take listeners straight out of Nashville and into Vegas and the old west. For country fans, Kenny Rogers’ iconic “The Gambler,” released in 1978 was a huge hit and still ranked #1 on Ranker’s list of best country songs about gambling and poker. Garth Brooks’ “Two of a Kind Working on a Full House” is another poker favorite, highlighting how poker has been a popular theme. It has been especially popular with the poker book of the early 2000s and the rebirth of the game in the last decade and a half.

In recent years, the game has gotten even more popular in the digital age. Yahoo’s feature on the PPPoker app explains how the mobile smartphone version of the classic card game leverages its social aspect instead of the betting that’s typically associated with poker. With country music deeply influenced by the old west, poker and the camaraderie associated with playing it is a major aspect of that era that had deeply entrenched roots harking back to a simpler time. Most of all, country music conjures up nostalgia and is one of the main characteristics that unites country music. Singers can be, and are, nostalgic about every other theme and trope, from love to patriotism, a simpler time and poker.


  1. We just love it… People love songs that are nostalgic… Iconic. They hold a power over us and all the people you have mentioned are icons of the music industry…

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