Prisons The Best Country Songs About Prison  

Ranker Music
716 votes 123 voters 4.6k 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.

list ordered by

1
57 5
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Johnny Cash

2
48 8
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Merle Haggard

3
36 11
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Blake Shelton

4
32 8
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Johnny Cash

5
26 9
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6
18 7
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Jimmie Rogers

7
17 7
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Merle Haggard

8
13 6
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Merle Haggard

9
9 6
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10
9 6
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Marty Robbins

11
8 5
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Merle Haggard

12
9 8
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Waylon Jennings

13
8 7
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14
8 8
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Johnny Paycheck

15
9 10
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The Charlie Daniels Band

16
7 8
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17
7 8
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Loretta Lynn

18
6 7
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19
6 7
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Johnny Cash

20
6 8
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Willie Nelson

21
4 6
Colombus Stockade Blues is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Best Country Songs About Prison
lrmawg added Doc Watson

22
4 6
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The Stanley Brothers

23
4 7
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Vernon Dalhart

24
4 7
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Lucinda Williams

25
3 6
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26
3 6
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Bill Monroe and His Bluegrass Boys

27
3 6
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Drive-By Truckers

28
5 9
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Chatham County Line

29
4 8
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Lester Flatt & Earl Scruggs

30
4 8
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Hank Williams III

31
4 8
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Emmylou Harris

32
4 8
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John Prine

33
3 7
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Todd Snider

34
2 6
Billy Austin is listed (or ranked) 34 on the list The Best Country Songs About Prison
lrmawg added Steve Earle

35
4 9
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Steve Earle

36
4 9
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Lucinda Williams

37
3 8
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Bobby Bare

38
2 7
Ellis Unit One is listed (or ranked) 38 on the list The Best Country Songs About Prison
lrmawg added Steve Earle

39
2 7
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Freddie Hart

40
3 9
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Bobby Sykes

41
2 8
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The Osborne Brothers, Mac Wiseman