10 Favorite Western Songs and Ballads

Hi!  Linda Broday and Winnie Griggs here. We’re very happy to kick off this 10 year Anniversary celebration for Petticoats and Pistols! It’s so exciting to reach this milestone.

Cowboys on the American Frontier loved to sing, no two ways about it. They sang to the cows, to the moon, to their fair ladies. Cowboys today still sing–probably more than they ever did. And others love to sing ABOUT cowboys. So, in honor of our tenth anniversary, we thought we’d share with you some of our favorites, both old and new.

So we put our heads together and came up with the list below. And if you have a yearning to listen to any of them, turn up your volume and click on the name.

Here are some old favorites that Winnie selected:

  1. High Noon
  2. The Streets Of Laredo
  3. Big Bad John
  4. Ringo
  5. Big Iron

And here a some newer favorites courtesy of Linda:

The Last Cowboy Song – Ed Bruce

Amarillo By Morning –  George Strait

This Cowboy’s Hat – Chris Ledoux

My Heroes Have Always Been Cowboys –  By Willie Nelson

Should’ve Been a Cowboy by Toby Keith


What songs do you sing to? Did we miss some of your favorites? Let us know.

Linda is giving away a pair of cowboy boot earrings to someone who comments.

And Winnie is giving away choice of any of her books plus a fun  ‘shhh…I’m hunting cowboys’ necklace





P.S. Don’t forget to enter the giant birthday bash giveaway (separate from this daily giveaway). You can find all the details along with the entry form HERE.

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Winnie Griggs is the author of Historical (and occasionally Contemporary) romances that focus on Small Towns, Big Hearts, Amazing Grace. She is also a list maker, a lover of dragonflies and holds an advanced degree in the art of procrastination.
Three of Winnie’s books have been nominated for the Romantic Times Reviewers Choice Award, and one of those nominations resulted in a win.
Winnie loves to hear from readers. You can connect with her on facebook at www.facebook.com/WinnieGriggs.Author or email her at winnie@winniegriggs.com.

115 thoughts on “10 Favorite Western Songs and Ballads”

  1. I tend to sing along with George Strait. I have pretty much every CD he has ever recorded. I do like the old songs too though. Marty Robbins, Frankie Lane, Johnny Cash sang some old cowboy songs that I”ve always loved.

    Thank you for the giveaway chance and Happy Birthday P & P.

    Cindy W.
    countrybear52 AT yahoo DOt com

    • Hi Cindy…..Yep, King George is my man too. I just love every song he puts out. I had a difficult time choosing for this blog. I first had The Cowboy Rides Away but went with Amarillo By Morning instead. Hard, hard! And Marty Robbins had such great cowboy ballads. He had such an unusual voice and no artist has been able to copy him. Which is as it should be!

  2. You both have picked some great songs. Winnie, Big Bad John is a treasure and Linda You picked 3 of my favorites. I still get choked up every time I hear The Last Cowboy song. And of course, George Strait’s Amarillo by Morning has always been my favorite. willie’s My Heroes Have always Been Cowboys is a true statement I live by.
    My 3 other favorites all sung by Red Steagall are Freckles Brown, Little Joe The Wrangler, and Bandito Gold.
    What a wonderful song list you gave us. You all have a wonderful musical day.

    • Hi Debra……Oh yeah, Marty Robbins will always remain at the top of my list. He was such a great singer and his songs told fascinating stories about outlaws and lawmen. And Johnny Cash…Yep, his songs were so distinctive too and I loved them all.

      Thanks for coming!

  3. Hi Winnie and Linda, great list. I also like “Ghost Riders in the Sky” and I’ve had occasions in the past when “I’m Back in the Saddle Again” has been the song of the day.

    • Hi Margaret……Isn’t this a great party! I just love celebrating such a milestone. Loved the two songs you added. They’re good ones too. Man, it was hard picking just ten out of millions!

  4. I like to sing along to Faith Hill’s older music! One of my favorites is Carrying Your Love with Me by George Strait.

  5. Some of those songs bring back some old memories! My best friend and I took drivers training together and did a Chinese fire drill to the song Should’ve Been A Cowboy!! We had it blaring while driving.

  6. I like the more modern country music. Some of my favorite songs are about rodeos and the ones about dying make me cry every time.

    July In Cheyenne by Aaron Watson?
    I Can Still Make Cheyenne by George Strait
    The Beaches of Cheyenne by Garth Brooks

    And of course I love anything by anything by George Strait and Kenny Chesney.

    • Hi Janine…..Oh my gosh, I bawl my eyes out every time I listen to both these George Strait and Garth Brooks songs!!! I love them both so much. For some reason, I’ve never listened to a lot of Aaron Watson’s music. Don’t know why. He’s very good and my sister really, really loves him.

      Good luck in the drawings!!

      • Linda, I actually couldn’t remember who sang July In Cheyenne and googled it. I watched the video on youtube and it’s another tear jerker.

      • Winnie, I grew up listening to the old country music. It brings back a lot of memories for me when I hear it now. A BBQ place that we go to plays the older stuff and I always enjoy it.

  7. I’m horrible with titles lol. I remember I had an album as a child with cowboy songs that I loved. Davy Crocket, El Paso and Ghost Riders in the Sky by Johnny Cash are a few I can remember.

    • Hi Catslady….Thanks for coming to our party. This is a big deal for us. I never thought we’d be around so long. But it’s because of supporters like you. El Paso has been at the top of my list for a long time. I just love Marty Robbins. And Johnny Cash too, but Marty really had a special voice.

      Good luck in all the drawings!

  8. Oh, I love country music! Old – New — It doesn’t matter! I think it is because so often there is a story in the lyrics about life, love, loss, etc. You’ve given me some new songs and singers to look up and check out on You-tube!

    • Hi Kathryn……Me too. Country music just tells a better story. I want my music to do more than have a catchy tune. I need it to make me feel something deep down in my soul. Or make me laugh. Friends in Low Places always makes me laugh. “Blame it all on my roots when I showed up in boots at the black tie affair.” I already know he’s out of his comfort zone.

  9. Good morning. I loved seeing your choices and I am old enough (and I love music enough) to know all of these choices. One more that comes readily to mind is another George Strait song, The Cowboy Rides Away. Thanks for a fun celebration!

  10. Oh my goodness I can’t pick just one or a few, my list would go on and on. He Stopped Loving Her Today by George Jones, Friends in Low Places by Garth Brooks, Forever and Ever Amen by Randy Travis, Its your Love by Tim McGraw, Rhinestone Cowboy by Glen Campbell, I Fall To Pieces by Patsy Clone, Mommas Don’t Let Your Babies Grow up to be Cowboys by Willie Nelson, Take Me Home Country Road by John Denver, Boot Scootin’ Boogie by Brooks and Dunn, anything by George Strait and so many others…. loved your lists too!!

    • Hi Stephanie……Wow, lady, you’re very passionate about your music! All of the ones you mention are on my list too. I tell you, picking 5 from millions was a very hard job. An early memory I have is sneaking into my grandpa’s room (he was bed fast) and listening to Hank Williams Sr on his old radio. I’m so Lonesome I Could Cry and Hey Good Lookin’ and Your Cheatin’ Heart are embedded in my soul. Great music.

      Good luck in the drawings!!

    • What a fabulous play list! Another fabulous singer I haven’t seen anyone mention yet is Randy Travis – he’s the one who pulled me into the more contemporary country song world (though I don’t guess he’s really contemporary any more!)

  11. I love Willie Nelson and Marty Robins, so you picked a lot of my favorites. You just have to sing to a lot of these songs you mentioned.

    • Hi Quilt Lady…..I’m glad you could come to the party. I agree about Willie Nelson and Marty Robbins. I usually sing along and dance as well if I’m where I can. If not, my toe is tapping. Music really lifts me and it sounds like it does you too.

      Good luck in the drawings this week.

  12. You picked out some great songs. I also like Hank Williams Jr. And George Jones, Patsy Cline and Johnny Cash.

    • Hi Deana…..Thank you for joining us. You mention some of the best country singers in the business. They’re the heart and soul of country I think. Good luck in the drawings!

  13. You gals always bring a smile to my face…I love visiting here! I always sing along to Home on the Range, El Paso City, Wild Fire, Geronimo’s Cadillac ….the list goes on and on.
    Ya’ll have a great day! I sure will.. It’s my birthday!!!!!!!

    • Hi Melanie……Thank you for joining the celebration. And a big Happy Birthday to you too!!! That’s great. I really, really love El Paso City! Marty Robbins really was a unique singer and most of his songs told a story about outlaws and gunslingers. But the tribute song he wrote to his wife..My Woman, My Woman, My Wife..spoke of his deep love for her and was so touching. Good luck in the drawings!!

  14. I’m going to do something shocking and admit that as a general rule I’m not a fan of country music. Hey, I grew up in the ’80s, and I gravitated toward rock. But there are a few exceptions. Johnny Cash was always a favorite in our house because our last name was Cash. Are we related? No idea, but it’s possible. One of my favorite memories is when my sister and I took my mom to Opryland to a Johnny Cash and June Carter Cash concert. I’ve tended to like the Highwaymen guys — Johnny, Willie, Waylon and Kris.

    • Trish, I used to listen to only rock too. But over the last few years seem to enjoy country more. It helps me relax when I am driving and the words really stick with me.

    • Hi Trish…..Hey, I was a huge Elvis Presley fan. And The Rolling Stones! I listened to rock and country both. All the songs that Johnny, Willie, and Waylon did together were great. I’m glad You and your sister took your mom to hear Johnny and June. I’m sure that’s a special memory for her and you as well.

    • Hi Kim……Thanks for coming to the party. Sara Evans sings that song beautifully. She’s a gifted singer and has some fantastic songs. Goo luck in the drawings.

  15. My daughters both like country singers quite a bit but I’m not really into it. I do like some of Tim McGraw and Faith Hill’s songs. I especially like Tim’s Humble and Kind song – It’s beautiful!

    • Hi Valri…..I like that song of Tim’s too. He’s a special kind of man. It doesn’t matter what kind of music you like. There’s something for everyone. Enjoy the party and good luck in the drawings.

  16. One of my favorite songs is “EL PASO” by Mary Robbins. I can see that Winnie is a fan of Marty Robbins by her choices. I also love “THE STREETS OF LAREDO” and “BIG IRON.”

  17. Hi Winnie and Linda, what great choices! I think I have to add Tombstone to the movie list, even though not all of it is accurate (Josie was, ahem, a lady of the night on many occasions, not a rich man’s daughter LOL) and as for music, Ronnie Dunn (of Brooks and Dunn) has a voice that transcends music IMO. I also adore anything by George Strait. But the #1 country song of all time is, I think, “He Stopped Loving Her Today” by George Jones. That one gets me bawling. Oh well, so does most of Dolly Parton’s. I better stop now or I’ll run out of room. Love to you, my always and forever filly sisters!

    • Hi Tanya……I think you’re right. George Jones was one the greatest of our time. And George Strait is an amazing performer. I love them both. I hope you’re enjoying yourself these days. Love you!

  18. Happy 10th to P&P’s. I usually love my oldies but grew up listening to country music because my sister loved it. But I do love Patsy Cline’s songs along with the Highwaymen and Johnny Cash. Thanks for all the songs you listed.
    Carol L

  19. I’m going way back – San Antonio Rose by Bob Wills. I have such fond memories of hanging out with my Precious Daddy (he’s 92) & my Great Uncle Johnny & their Best Friend Clay & listening to the old classics. This was one of their favorites! I also have a story about Chris Ledoux. We were at our local Rodeo – the Dixie National Livestock Show Rodeo (the largest east of the Mississippi River). My husband was desperately trying to find a parking space up close (I was having serious knee issues). As we were driving down the row right by the Coliseum, this “guy” motioned to my husband. He walked over to our big double cab Dodge diesel dually (back in the day when they were imposing!) & told my husband he was getting ready to leave & we could have his parking place. “The guy” just looked like some cowboy either competing or there to watch. He was in an old truck. (NOT judging- I drive a 10 year old Yukon. We bought a new truck after 13 years & 375,000 miles!) My husband thanked him for the parking place. “The guy” says, “You don’t know who I am, do you?” My husband replied, “No, but do YOU know who I AM?” “The guy” just cracks up laughing & reaches out his hand & says “I’m Chris Ledoux. I’m the guy who’s singing tonight.” My husband introduced us & we all had a big laugh & a wonderful memory was made!! Nicest guy!!

    • Hi Lisa……Oh yes! I loved San Antonio Rose and Bob Wills. Especially his Texas swing songs. Man, those make you want to get up and dance! Chris LeDoux…..tears came in my eyes when I read your post about him. I miss him so much. It wasn’t right that he died so young at the height of his career. But what a great story about him! That’s funny. I think he always drove an old pickup. He was just so unpretentious. He’d ride in the rodeo and then sing at the dance afterward. Good luck in the drawings this week.

  20. I listen to country music whenever I am in the car or in my bedroom. Love George, Garth Brooks, Toby Keith, and many other.
    One of my favorite songs is Mommy don’t let baby grow up to be a cowboy. And the reason why is, when that song first came out, my nephew who was very little, was just in tears, when his mom asked him what was wrong, he told get, ” mommy that songs says I can’t be a cowboy. Why cant I be a cowboy?” He was told he could be anything he wanted when he grew up. Sad to say he is not a cowboy, instead he has a PHD in Mechanical Engineering, and Robotics and works for MIT in the Marshal Islands on our defense, developing robotics for our military to use.

    • Hi Veda……Thanks for joining our party. How funny about your nephew! That’s hilarious. And also that he’s working in Mechanical Engineering! Good for him though. We need good people working to help the military. I love “Mamas Don’t Let Your Babies Grow Up to be Cowboys” and also “My Heroes Have Always Been Cowboys.” Both songs were in the movie Electric Horseman and that movie is one of my favorites. Good luck in the drawings this week!

    • Hi Colleen……Welcome to our birthday party!! Great to have you. Music has always been such an important part of my life. I grew up with it and now I’m growing old with it. I listen to both country and old rock and roll. Good luck in the drawings this week! Love and hugs!

  21. I still love Johnny Cash and the song Big Bad John is easy to sing along with 🙂 I enjoy listening to Willie Nelson and of course George Strait. Happy 10th anniversary to you!!

    • Hi Darlene……I’m glad you could come. This is quite a party. I think all country music lovers have Johnny, Willie and George on their playlists. Good luck in the drawings this week!

    • Hi Kate……I’m glad you could join us. Glen Campbell was a great performer and his music will live on long after he passes from this life. He and Tanya Tucker sure set the world on fire for a while. Good luck in the drawings this week.

  22. Lots of old and new songs and great artists, like Always on My Mind by Willie Nelson, Good Ride Cowboy by Garth Brooks, Glen Campbell’s Wichita Lineman and Rhinestone Cowboy, The Gambler by Kenny Rogers, Cowboy Casanova by Carrie Underwood… Happy 10th!

    • Hi Eva. Oh, Kenny Rogers, I haven’t thought of him in a while. Love his songs. In addition to the Gambler there was Coward of the County, Lady, Ruby, and so many more great ones. Thanks for the reminder!

  23. Now I have all these songs going through my head and the lyrics are running together!! We are a country music family for three generations now. Good stuff.

    Happy Anniversary!

  24. What a great list of songs! I love all of them, but of course “Amarillo by Morning” is one of my two favorites. The other “My Heroes Have Always Been Cowboys” is my next favorite. Thanks for a great list that brought back some wonderful boot scootin’ memories. Big Amarillo, Texas, hugs to you all!

  25. Happy 10th Anniversary Fillies!! Not an oldie, but I love “The Cowboy in Me” by Tim McGraw. I love Luke Bryan, Carrie Underwood and many of Taylor Swift’s country tunes. Kenny Chesney and Brooks and Dunn and so many more!

    • Hi Charlene…..I’m glad you stopped by for our big party. I sure miss you. It’s not the same without your smiling face. Yes, that song by Tim McGraw is excellent. I just love him and I know you have for a long time. I truly think he’s a good man and he sure is nice to look at. Big hugs!

  26. I grew up with country music because my dad was a musician in a country band. We have pictures of me as a baby being held by country artists of the day cause my folks took me everywhere. So it’s not surprising that Hank Williams is a favorite and I ended up singing “Your Cheatin’ Heart” in bands I myself played in.

    My all-time hands-down favorites though have been Merle Haggard, Waylon Jennings and Toby Keith. I hit the road a lot over time doing genealogy in locations throughout the South, but I wasn’t alone since the music of those three guys were always with me.

    Favorite songs by Waylon: Ramblin’ Man, Luckenbach Texas, Waymore’s Blues, This Time
    By Merle: Today I Started Lovin’ You Again, Workin’ Man Blues, Silver Wings
    By Toby: I Need to Hear a Country Song, Haven’t Seen the Last of You, Get Got, Dream Walkin’, Die With Your Boots On, I’m So Happy I Can’t Stop Cryin’, Who’s Your Daddy, I Wanna Talk About Me, Should’ve Been a Cowboy

    • Hi Eiza…….Thanks for coming by, lady! No celebration would the same without you. I didn’t know your dad was a musician in a band. How neat! And how very special to have pictures of you as a baby being held by so many of the country stars of the day. I remember listening to “Your Cheatin’ Heart” as a little girl on my grandpa’s old radio. He was sure something special. And I’m really in awe of you playing in band yourself. You are just full of surprises!

      Good Luck in all the drawings this week!

    • H Denise…….Thanks for joining us for the party! It’s exciting to be in operation for ten years. Johnny Cash is sure a mainstay in the country music business. Good luck in all the drawings this week.

  27. Happy birthday! Proud to have been here when the site kicked off and proud that it’s still going strong. I love and appreciate all the friends I made here.

    Yee haw!
    Cher 🙂

  28. My favorites tend to be the old ones. I bought an album by the Sons Of The Pioneers back in 1966 or so. Some of my favorites were on it: GHOST RIDERS IN THE SKY, COOL WATER, BLUE SHADOWS ON THE TRAIL, WIND, TWILIGHT ON THE TRAIL, and so many more. I just checked and that album is now available on CD. I might just have to get it.
    When we lived in Colorado Springs, we went to the Flying W Ranch several times, we always took company there. The Flying W Wranglers were very much like the Sons of The Pioneers. Their chuck wagon dinners and show were enjoyable. Unfortunately, the fires around the Springs several years ago destroyed the ranch. We went back not long before the fire and the makeup of the band had changed. The originals, we were there in the 80’s and 90’s, had mostly retired and much younger guys had joined. All good singers, but the mellow tone of the “old guys” just wasn’t there.

    • Hi Sherry. I agree that those older songs had a certain ‘sound’ to them that you don’t get with today’s music. But I really like the current sound as well.

  29. Oh my! Now I’ve got Amarillo By Morning running through my head along with a gazillion other great country songs.

    Lately, My Cowboy has been listening to a show where all the old singers sit around a cafe and talk and sing. Country’s Family Reunion on RFD-tv. Brings back some memories.

    Happy birthday, P&P! Looks like you’re gonna have a fun week!

  30. LOL! I haven’t been singing along recently, but there’s always She’ll Be Coming ‘Round the Mountain When She Comes 😉 A friend’s little guy was belting out John Denver’s Rocky Mountain High during a visit last month, and that was a fun one!

    • Oh Fedora, my kids used to sing that song, as well as a number of others of that same variety, on our commute to town every morning. Now that DOES bring back some memories:)

    • I’m a big John Denver fan as well – Grandma’s Feather Bed, Annie’s Song, Country Roads, Calypso, Rocky Mountain High, Poems Prayers & Promises and so, so many more great songs.

  31. Grew up and still live in the part of the country where cowboys are non-existent….so can’t say I’ve heard any songs in your list ?? but I do love singing along with Hillsong United, Casting Crowns, MercyMe, and Jeremy Camp. I do love and appreciate Western novels, though!

    • Hi MH. You’ve listed some of my favorite Christian music artists. I especially like Casting Crowns – I’ve just about worn out one of their CDs that I play in my vehicle.

  32. What a great song list! I’ll be humming these tunes all evening long! 🙂 Thanks so much for sharing this fantastic celebration! Happy birthday, Petticoats and Pistols!!

  33. I’m going back to when I was a child: Davie Crocket,
    I still sing this song Daniel Boone was man, was a real man….

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