country music The Best Country Songs About Prison  

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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.

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Folsom Prison Blues Johnny Cash

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Cocaine Blues Johnny Cash

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Mama Tried Merle Haggard

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Ol' Red Blake Shelton

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Sing Me Back Home Merle Haggard

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In the Jailhouse Now Jimmie Rogers

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I Made the Prison Band Merle Haggard

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The Chair Marty Robbins

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Life in Prison Merle Haggard

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11 Months and 29 Days Johnny Paycheck

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Out of Jail Waylon Jennings

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Starkville City Jail Johnny Cash

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Blackjack County Chain Willie Nelson

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Wichita Jail The Charlie Daniels Band

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Women's Prison Loretta Lynn

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Colombus Stockade Blues is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Best Country Songs About Prison
lrmawg added Colombus Stockade Blues Doc Watson

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Ellis Unit One is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Best Country Songs About Prison
lrmawg added Ellis Unit One Steve Earle

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Billy Austin is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Best Country Songs About Prison
lrmawg added Billy Austin Steve Earle

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Willie Jones Bobby Bare

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Birmingham Jail Chatham County Line

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Ellis Unit One Steve Earle

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Same Old Day Lester Flatt & Earl Scruggs

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Jailhouse Tears Lucinda Williams

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The Wall Freddie Hart

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Roane County Prison Bill Monroe and His Bluegrass Boys

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The Prisoner’s Song Vernon Dalhart

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7 Months, 39 Days Hank Williams III

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Stone Walls and Steel Bars The Stanley Brothers

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Concrete and Barbed Wire Lucinda Williams

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Where the Devil Don't Stay Drive-By Truckers

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Only the Hangman Bobby Sykes

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Incarcerated Todd Snider

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Christmas in Prison John Prine

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Hello Stranger Emmylou Harris

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Shackles and Chains The Osborne Brothers, Mac Wiseman