As May winds down, schools let out for summer and the warmest months of the year are upon us, country music offers plenty of playlist-ready songs perfect to serve as a summer soundtrack. Whether those summer months are spent traveling, soaking up sunshine on the beach–or for many, finally experiencing their first live outdoor concert in several months–artists like Kenny Chesney, Alan Jackson, Dolly Parton, Faith Hill, Clint Black and more have just the tunes you need.
Get that summer playlist ready with these sunny “Summer” suggestions:
“Summertime Blues,” Alan Jackson
Jackson earned a No. 1 hit in 1994 with his version of this classic 1950s Eddie Cochran pop hit. Though the song itself mourns having to work all summer, the video features an overall-clad Jackson performing with his band, and plenty of mud-covered vehicles.
“Summer’s Comin’,” Clint Black
Black also directed the video for this 1994 summer-ready hit (which he co-wrote with Hayden Nicholas). The clip features classic Cadillacs, a barefoot Clint Black playing guitar on a beach, and plenty of cameos from Jay Leno, Howie Mandel, Joey Lawrence, David Hasselhoff, and more.
“Summer Nights,” Rascal Flatts
Rascal Flatts lead singer Gary LeVox wrote this arena-ready 2009 hit with Brett James and late writer/producer busbee.
“21 Summer,” Brothers Osborne
Written by Brothers Osborne members John and T.J. Osborne along with Craig Wiseman, this track revels in the thought of how Chevrolets, and certain songs and shades of blue instantly bring about reminders of a lost love.
I can see your hair blowing in the breeze/I think about how you and that twenty-one summer made a man of me, they sing in this song from the duo’s 2016 album Pawn Shop.
“Long Hot Summer,” Keith Urban
Urban pines for a distant lover in this 2011 hit Urban penned with Richard Marx. Though the summer nights are ripe for fun and adventure, he’s preoccupied with romantic memories and anticipation of when he’ll see his partner again.
“Sweet Summer Lovin,'” Dolly Parton
This 1979 track from Parton’s Great Balls of Fire album (the title track is a cover of the Jerry Lee Lewis classic, while the album also includes a cover of the Beatles’ “Help!”) was a Top 10 hit for Parton.
Sweet summer lovin’ in the dandelions/Sweet summer lovin’ keeps me high as candy wine, she sings in this breezy track, as banjos and flutes intertwine with a clean, uptempo rhythm.
“Summertime,” Kenny Chesney
“Summertime, it means so many things,” Chesney says in the intro to this video. “Tailgating in the parking lots, being free, living easy. But for me and the guys on the road, summertime means all the fans are bringing all these songs alive. It’s playing way too loud and having a whole lotta fun doing it.”
This track highlights how some things never change, like old Fords and bare feet on a dashboard, or ballparks getting back in gear to welcome fans.
“That Summer,” Garth Brooks
This 1993 hit brings more drama than any other on this list, as he weaves a tale of a May-December romantic encounter. Brooks wrote the song alongside his then-wife Sandy Mahl and fellow writer Pat Alger. In his book The Anthology Part I: The First Five Years, Brooks says the song’s line We were a thousand miles from nowhere/wheat fields as far as I could see was inspired by his high school girlfriend.
“I told Pat about my high school girlfriend who was everything to me–she was a senior, I was a junior–and a summer we spent in the wheat fields of Oklahoma,” Brooks said in the book. Also in the book, Trisha Yearwood recalled pulling double duty on the song’s backing vocals.
“Garth asked me to sing both parts because the third was too high for him. So on the record, I am doing my best Garth impersonation and then I added the higher harmony. Trust me, those harmonies were not easy to sing,” she noted.
“Sunshine & Summertime,” Faith Hill
This 2005 release, penned by John Rich, Kylie Sackley and Rodney Clawson details that sights and sounds of summertime, from pool parties and barefoot ladies to stereos blasting music outside.
“Beat This Summer,” Brad Paisley
This track from Paisley’s 2013 album Wheelhouse chronicles a couple that meets during a summer vacation. Paisley penned the song with Chris DuBois and Luke Laird.
The adorable video, filmed at Santa Monica Beach in Santa Monica, California, centers on young love as a boy and girl enjoy a day on an ocean boardwalk, complete with carousel rides, a cookies-and-milk “date night” and the young boy serenading her on guitar.