My Kind of Country

Country music from a fan's point of view since 2008

Recommendation: Songs of marital discord

lee ann womackYesterday while driving around from one place to another, I decided I needed some real country music, so I popped in Lee Ann Womack’s There’s More Where That Came From in my car’s CD player. I only got this CD last August, but it became an instant favorite the first time I heard it, just because it’s so country and so well-made. The CD played as I drove and sang along, and eventually one of my favorite songs came up, “He Oughta Know That By Now”, a #32 hit on the charts back in 2005. This song is just one of many songs about a marriage going wrong, here due to the man working too much.

Some of my favorite songs are about “marital discord”, like the turn-the-tables “You Don’t Even Know Who I Am” by Patty Loveless or dealing with a cheating man on “Paint And Pillows” by Julie Roberts. It seems that today, songs about these kinds of issues between husbands and wives are becoming more and more rare, probably because they don’t make people feel happy, something radio wants to avoid.

This is why I’m so glad Lee Ann Womack still isn’t giving up these songs, sad songs about real problems. This leads to my real recommendation, “Either Way”, from her latest set Call Me Crazy.

This song paints a bleak portrait, a lie of a marriage where both parties pretend it’s all okay, but it’s not:

We pass in the hall
On our way to separate rooms.
The only time we ever talk
Is when the monthly bills are due

We go to work, we go to church,
We fake the perfect life
I’m past the point of give a damn
And all my tears are cried…

This all leads to the kicker of “Baby you can go or you can stay/I won’t love you either way.” Ouch. It’s a gorgeous song with a great guitar lick that underlines it while Lee Ann gives a killer performance. This is the stuff true masterpieces are made of, and I think you need to check this song and album out.

What are your favorite songs about marital un-bliss?

24 responses to “Recommendation: Songs of marital discord

  1. Jake July 29, 2009 at 5:46 pm

    Funny, I just turned my I-tunes radio on and “He Oughta Know That By Know” is playing right know.

    Faith Hill’s “It Matters To Me” and “I Can’t Do That Anymore”. I think the latter paints a great picture of how the classic trophy wife would feel.

    I heard Kenny Roger’s “Buy Me A Rose” the other day on the radio, and I’ve always thought it was a great tune about a marriage that has had it’s problems through the years yet the guy finally realizes that he needs to pain more attention. (If only it could always be like that in real life.)

  2. Erik July 29, 2009 at 6:55 pm

    I’m so happy that you mentioned “Paint And Pillows”, Chris. “He Oughta Know That By Now” is also my favorite Lee Ann song, so bonus points there too.

    “Made Of Stone” has become one of my favorite Dolly songs, and it’s a must-listen for any country fan.

  3. Michael July 29, 2009 at 7:52 pm

    The first ones that come to my mind are Reba’s “Somebody Should Leave”, Mary Chapin Carpenter’s “He Thinks He’ll Keep Her” and George Strait’s “I Know She Still Likes Me”.

  4. Razor X July 29, 2009 at 8:41 pm

    Martina McBride had a really good song called “Strangers” on her second album. It was also included on her Greatest Hits collection, even though it was never released as a single. Randy Travis’ “There’s No Place Like Home” is another really good one, as is Alan Jackson’s “Wanted”.

  5. highwayman3 July 29, 2009 at 8:50 pm

    First that come to mind are,
    ‘You Were Mine’ by Dixie Chicks
    ‘I Wish He’d Been Drinkin Whiskey’ by Terri Clark,
    ‘Today My World Slipped Away’ by George Strait/Vern Gosdin

  6. J.R. Journey July 29, 2009 at 10:28 pm

    I like every song you listed, so I’ll only add a couple … Let’s not forget Tammy Wynette’s ‘D-I-V-O-R-C-E’ and Trisha Yearwood’s ‘I Need You’.

  7. James S. July 30, 2009 at 12:53 am

    Oh, I love “He Oughta Know That By Now.” Many other great songs have already been listed here as well.

    Some others I’d like to add:
    Put Your Hand In Mine – Tracy Byrd
    Keeper Of The Flame – Terri Clark
    We Don’t Love Here Anymore – Tracy Lawrence
    What I Didn’t Do – Steve Wariner
    Forgotten But Not Gone – Gary Allan
    Standing On The Edge Of Goodbye – John Berry
    Is It Cold In Here – Joe Diffie

  8. Paul W Dennis July 30, 2009 at 6:47 am

    “Two Story House” – George & Tammy
    “Cold Cold Heart” – Hank Sr.
    “Mean-Eyed Cat” – Johnny Cash

  9. Steve from Boston July 30, 2009 at 7:56 am

    Patty Loveless’ “You Don’t Even Know Who I Am”.is devastating… Unique in it’s even-handedness, this is not the expected man bashing that typifies so many love-gone-wrong songs of the nineties by female singers..Patty chose the song for that reason, and it is probably the clearest example and demonstration of her desire to be an artist that both men and women can relate to. This simple and hopeless story is told from both points of view by it’s empathetic narrator, and Loveless’ soulful and sympathetic vocals transform a contemporary Country tale of marital breakdown into something with universal artistic heft and the cathartic impact of a Shakespearian tragedy. The expression of heartbreak is never so healing as when handled by Patty Loveless.

  10. Lanibug July 30, 2009 at 9:43 am

    Maybe He’ll Notice Me Now – Mindy McCready
    She Went Out for Cigarettes – Chely Wright
    Love Her Lose Me – Heidi Newfield
    He Feels Guilty – Bobbi Cryner
    Mowin Down the Roses – Jamey Johnson

    Just a few off the top of my head from my ipod — and I have to agree with the Terri Clark and Julie Roberts songs, a couple of my favorites. But then again, I am huge fan of Terri and Julie.

  11. Baron Lane July 30, 2009 at 12:21 pm

    Julie Roberts – Men & Mascara
    Ashton Shepherd – Takin’ Off This Pain

  12. Claudia July 30, 2009 at 12:23 pm

    “Angry All The Time”. Tim & Faith did a dynamite version of this on their Soul 2 Soul tour. I also like Reba’s “It’s Your Call”, and of course, “Whoever’s In New England.”

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  14. Drew July 31, 2009 at 12:28 am

    Great recommendations Chris, all 4 of them are superb.

    • Chris D. July 31, 2009 at 11:59 pm


      Just one side note, I almost included Lee Ann’s “If These Walls Could Talk”, but decided on “Either Way” instead. Definitely check out “If These Walls Could Talk”, it’s very traditional and has a killer hook.

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