Musgraves' Same Trailer Different Park sports a song that sparked controversy — and a whole lot of support from the fans. "Follow Your Arrow" encourages listeners to take their own path without worrying about what others think, whether it's kissing boys or kissing girls, being curvy or stick-thin or smoking a joint or not. Written by Musgraves, Brandy Clark and Shane McAnally, the lyrics are masterful and clever. The standout line, "When the straight and narrow / Gets a little too straight / Roll up a joint, or don't / Just follow your arrow / Wherever it points," is especially hilarious when Musgraves adds "I would" to that sentiment.
First made popular by Old Crow Medicine Show, Rucker turned "Wagon Wheel" into a smash hit with country fans. And even though Rucker's songs are generally pretty lyrically conservative, even he was able to sneak in a reference to pot on his True Believers record: "I caught a trucker out of Philly / Had a nice long toke," he sings. The father of three may just have to explain that line to his kids when they get a little older!
The following are The Boot's picks for the Top 10 country songs about marijuana:
“Roll Me Up and Smoke Me When I Die”
This song doesn't just reference smoking once or twice; it's pretty much all about Mary Jane. It's a song for anyone who's bored with how mundane life can be — in this case, a mom who hates her husband and her job, but loves her kids. To get through those times when she misses the days of her youth, she sits down at the kitchen table to "roll herself a fat one." The chorus tells the downtrodden that sometimes the only way to get by is to get high. So, the mom in the song tucks her kids in at night and prays, saying, "Lord, help me accept what I cannot change / But until I learn to do that / Thanks for the Mary Jane."
Some girls like a bouquet of a dozen roses, a box of chocolates or a Hallmark card, but according to Monroe, if a lover wants to woo her, he doesn't need to call up the florist — he needs to go find a stash. This song may be a little . adventurous for country music, with references to teddys, whips and chains to go with a weed-smoking romantic night, but bravo to a girl who can sing "Give me weed instead of roses / Bring me whiskey instead of wine / Every puff, every shot / You're looking better all the time" with a straight face.
The title track of Houser's second studio album They Call Me Cadillac was co-written by the singer and Brice Long. Houser's nickname is Cadillac because he likes everything "real smooth" and laid back — and doesn't want anyone to mess with his good times. That's why the lyrics "I’ve been known to giggle on a joke / Mostly when I’m smokin’ on my smoke / And most folks know it’s time for gettin’ down" seem perfectly fitting.
It's no surprise that Church is on this list, is it? The rocker's "Smoke a Little Smoke" gets right to the point, as he sings, "Dig down deep, find my stash / Light it up, memory crash."
So maybe the late Merle Haggard didn’t smoke marijuana in Muskogee or take trips on LSD, but that certainly didn’t stop country’s greats from trading a shot of Tennessee brown for a toke of Colorado green — and singing about it, too. But true to the genre’s roots, these songs capture a complete, complex story: It’s never just as simple as relaxing on the beach with a joint in hand, and, more often than not, there are bitter consequences. These are tales that show both the pleasure and sorrow that comes with a life lived high.
[Editor’s Note: A version of this list was originally published June 2014]