Some camping trips involve being as quiet as possible. Hiding out in the wilderness hoping you’re as invisible as possible to give you the upper hand over the animals you’re hunting.
On the other hand, some camping trips just involve setting up a camp and having a good time with a bunch of friends, building a fire, cracking a few beers, and singing a few songs.
It might get noisy, and that’s alright.
If you’re looking for some songs to sing around the campfire on one of those nights, you’re in the right place. We’ve drawn inspiration from KillerGuitarRigs.com’s list of country songs for beginner guitarists to give you ten of our favorite country songs for a campfire singalong – and it just so happens you don’t need to be Eddie Van Halen to play any of these.
Let’s get stuck in.
Ring of Fire by Johnny Cash
Johnny Cash is one of those guys that would be a legend even if his music was bad.
In 1965, Cash’s camper van caused a forest fire that burned several hundred acres of Los Padres National Forest in California. According to Cash’s nephew who was with him, Cash started a fire alongside the camper to stay warm, and was too out of it to notice it getting out of hand. When Cash ended up in court, the judge asked him why he did it, to which Cash replied “I didn’t do it, my truck did, and it’s dead, so you can’t question it”.
On that theme, Ring Of Fire is one of his stone cold classics, with verses that will have the guys puffing out their chest, and a rising chorus that will clear the birds from the trees.
King of the Road by Roger Miller
King Of The Road is one of those country songs that many people love without thinking it’s a country song.
I know more than one person that sings this song in an Elvis croon, and that speaks to how much of a crossover hit it’s been over the years. There aren’t many country songs that have reggae covers, but King Of The Road is that song.
Bonus for beginner guitarists – it’s an easy one to play, all you really need is three chords and a feel for the words and you’re ready to roll!
The Gambler by Kenny Rogers
You know what the best thing is about The Gambler? Everything.
Written by the same duo who wrote “When You Say Nothing At All”, The Gambler was a huge hit for Kenny Rogers when it came out in 1978, and even crossed over to the pop charts, leaving him with a handful of Grammy awards that year.
That being said, The Gambler is a song with a lot of lyrics, but you’ll hear the mumbling around the campfire through the verses disappear when you get to the best bit – “You’ve got to know when to hold ’em / Know when to fold ’em / Know when to walk away / And know when to run / You never count your money / When you’re sittin’ at the table / There’ll be time enough for countin’ / When the dealin’s done”
A true classic.
Achy, Breaky Heart by Billy Ray Cyrus
Achy Breaky Heart is a great song for when you need a tune that absolutely everyone knows the words.
The song was a certified smash hit when it came out in 1992, and while it has ended up on VH1 and Blender Magazine’s “50 Most Awesomely Bad Songs Ever”, its chorus is absolutely drilled into the brains of everyone who had a pair of ears and two braincells in the early 90s.
It even single handedly made line dancing a thing.
Garth Brooks caused a little bit of a stir with his debut record in 1989, but it was megahit single “Friends In Low Places” that really launched his career, and even now 30+ years later it’s his “signature song” and the first thing that comes to mind for most people when you mention his name.
This is another song where everyone knows the chorus – plenty of people will know the verses too given it’s ubiquity in the early to mid 90s. As far as the guitar work goes, this is one you can easily maneuver even after a handful of adult refreshments and if you want a pro tip: make sure to tack on the live version, with the kiss my a** ending….
One of the great things about Country Roads as a singalong song is you don’t even have to be a country fan to know the words – speaking for myself here, I first got to know this country radio smash hit via punk rock covers band Me First And The Gimmie Gimmies (featuring Chris Schifflet, who would later go on to play guitar for Foo Fighters).
Add to that, this song is four easy chords and a melody that’s fun to sing but not too taxing on the voice – definitely one you can warble into the night sky with your buddies out in the middle of nowhere.
Can’t do a country music sing along without old Willie Nelson.
On The Road Again is a killer song, but a lof of people don’t know the story behind it – and that’s arguably just as interesting.
Back when Willie was getting his movie career moving, he signed up to be the leading man in a movie called Honeysuckle Rose, which was about an aging musician in a band with his family, travelling around the country playing shows. Anyways, shortly after signing the contract, Willie was sitting waiting for a plane to take off when one of the movie’s producers came up and asked him if he’d be willing to write a theme song for the movie. Before the plane landed, Willie had written On The Road Again on the back of a barf bag.
Can’t say fairer than that!
If you’re doing an overnight trip with a friends that facilitates bringing a guitar, you know you’re going to end up whiling away the night singing songs into the campfire. Best be prepared by getting some of these classics under your fingers, and then let your buddies take over singing duties for a good old time.