How to Write a Sad Country Song

Writing sad country songs is an art form. These steps are suited for experienced musicians. Beginners are welcome to read, but keep in mind this list is intended for those with previous knowledge of instrumentation and musical arranging.


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    Familiarize yourself with sad country songs. Research and listen to Country artists, such as Hank Williams Sr. and Jimmie Rodgers. Don't be afraid to include Blues greats like Leadbelly and Sunnyland Slim. Even though you are writing a country song, the blues can become a great way to channel the pure gloom necessary to inspire the creative process.
    • Picture yourself in their time, live their stories. Learn about their life and fashion your life after theirs as best you can.
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    Meditate and begin the writing process. Once a theme and story has been established in your mind, and you have decided what you want your music to say, prepare your instruments and begin to tell the story musically. Use whatever instruments inspire you, but typically sad country includes vocals and acoustic guitar.
    • Feel whatever comes to your soul in the moment and establish a rhythm that feels right for what you mean to say.
    • If inspiration seems to escape you, try to enhance the sadness. Again, look back and see what the artists who inspire you did for inspiration. Sleeping on a train or drinking moonshine may not be your thing, but do your research and weigh your options. Keep trying! Inspiration is so valuable because it rarely comes easily.
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    Record your progress. It is best to record any melody or rhythm you have during this time, in order to keep track of your story. Recording at this stage will also allow you to plan and expand your song (if needed) after this initial demo. If you don't have recording equipment, make a manual recording by writing any lyrics or chord progressions that have come to you.
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    Start writing. Repeat your writing process a few times until you are pleased with your story and song.
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    Find solace in the sadness. Sometimes the writing process can be too difficult to enjoy. Even though you are writing a sad song, try to enjoy this process and use the telling of this story to heal something inside of you (and essentially others who will hear it).
    • If you become frustrated or start to feel creatively suffocated, put your song project aside for a few days and concentrate on something else. Come back and try again.
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    Check your work. After playing your song and perfecting it, compare it to the artists who inspired you. Be sure to not be a copycat for rhythms or lyrics. Keep in mind that Country artists are prided on their originality and authenticity.
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    Play your heart out. A true country artist will play their song live for all the people to hear their story and message. During these performances, do your best to play the song in the same emotional/creative state you wrote it in. It is important to deliver the story, message, and intention of the song in all its authenticity in order to have full effectiveness. This is the moment you have been working for, so let it shine!


  • Being truly sad and depressed is the best inspiration for writing a sad country song. Keep in mind sadness and depression is commonly painful and undesirable, but completely necessary for this creative process.

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Categories: Songs and Song Writing