Country Songs The Best Country Songs About Prison  

Ranker Music
399 votes 61 voters 3.2k views 41 items

List Rules Upvote your favorite country songs about being in jail or prison.

Country songs about prison have a rich history in the genre. So many famous country tunes talk about prison, whether the singer speaks as someone who is in jail, just out of jail, or going to jail. These are some of the best examples, so be sure to vote for your top choices.

Without question, one of the most famous country prison songs is Johnny Cash’s “Folsom Prison Blues.” Cash, considered by many to be the ultimate country “outlaw,” was actually very involved in prison reform issues. This song was originally recorded by Cash at Sun Records in 1956 – but the version that became iconic was recorded live at California’s Folsom Prison in January of 1968. Cash played multiple shows for years at some of the largest and toughest prisons in the country, including Folsom and San Quentin. If there was ever a truly authentic country song about jail, “Folsom Prison Blues” is it.

And yes, there are some country jail songs by female artists, about women behind bars. One of the most notable is Loretta Lynn’s “Women’s Prison,” a track from her 2004 album “Van Lear Rose.” In it, a woman tells of the unfortunate circumstances that landed her on death row: she shot and killed a cheating spouse.

True, these country prison songs are often bleak, with stories of great hardship and suffering. But isn’t that what some of the greatest country songs are about? Take a listen to these tunes, and vote your favorites up to the top of the list.

1
23 3
Ranker Video
Folsom Prison Blues Johnny Cash

2
23 5
Ranker Video
Mama Tried Merle Haggard

3
19 5
Ranker Video
Ol' Red Blake Shelton

4
15 4
Ranker Video
Cocaine Blues Johnny Cash

5
15 7
Ranker Video

6
10 5
Ranker Video
In the Jailhouse Now Jimmie Rogers

7
6 2
Ranker Video
Life in Prison Merle Haggard

8
9 6
Ranker Video
Sing Me Back Home Merle Haggard

9
5 4
Ranker Video

10
4 3
Ranker Video
I Made the Prison Band Merle Haggard

11
4 3
Ranker Video
The Chair Marty Robbins

12
5 5
Ranker Video
11 Months and 29 Days Johnny Paycheck

13
5 5
Ranker Video
Out of Jail Waylon Jennings

14
5 6
Ranker Video
Wichita Jail The Charlie Daniels Band

The Best Country Songs About Gambling

15
4 5
Ranker Video

16
4 5
Ranker Video
Women's Prison Loretta Lynn

17
3 4
Ranker Video
Starkville City Jail Johnny Cash

18
3 4
Ranker Video
Blackjack County Chain Willie Nelson

19
2 3
Colombus Stockade Blues is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Best Country Songs About Prison
lrmawg added Colombus Stockade Blues Doc Watson

20
2 4
Ranker Video

21
2 4
Ranker Video
The Prisoner’s Song Vernon Dalhart

The Best Concert Movies Streaming on Hulu

22
1 3
Ellis Unit One is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Best Country Songs About Prison
lrmawg added Ellis Unit One Steve Earle

23
2 5
Ranker Video
Willie Jones Bobby Bare

24
2 5
Ranker Video
7 Months, 39 Days Hank Williams III

25
1 4
Ranker Video
Roane County Prison Bill Monroe and His Bluegrass Boys

26
1 4
Billy Austin is listed (or ranked) 26 on the list The Best Country Songs About Prison
lrmawg added Billy Austin Steve Earle

27
3 7
Ranker Video
Birmingham Jail Chatham County Line

28
3 7
Ranker Video
Ellis Unit One Steve Earle

The Best Country Songs About Women

29
2 6
Ranker Video

30
2 6
Ranker Video
Jailhouse Tears Lucinda Williams

31
2 6
Ranker Video
Christmas in Prison John Prine

32
1 5
Ranker Video

33
1 5
Ranker Video
Concrete and Barbed Wire Lucinda Williams

34
1 5
Ranker Video
The Wall Freddie Hart

35
1 5
Ranker Video
Stone Walls and Steel Bars The Stanley Brothers

36
1 5
Ranker Video
Incarcerated Todd Snider

37
1 5
Ranker Video
Where the Devil Don't Stay Drive-By Truckers

38
2 7
Ranker Video
Same Old Day Lester Flatt & Earl Scruggs

39
1 6
Ranker Video
Only the Hangman Bobby Sykes

40
1 6
Ranker Video
Hello Stranger Emmylou Harris

41
0 6
Ranker Video
Shackles and Chains The Osborne Brothers, Mac Wiseman