Who loves their farm equipment enough to write a song about it? More artists than you’d think, as it turns out. Tractors aren’t just another piece of machinery – they’re often instrumental to the running of a farm, and like many vehicles they take on their own personality. We’ve collected 10 of the best songs about tractors from musicians who really love their vehicles.
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For many musicians, paying tribute to their roots is important, and tractors can be an important symbol of a rural upbringing. From John Deeres to International Harvesters and even pretty pink vehicles, these songs cover every kind of tractor and every single thing to love about them.
Naturally, there’s one genre in particular that likes to write about tractors more than any other, and there’s no prizes for guessing what it is. But one country song about a tractor is not necessarily like another.
Lonestar describes a simple country love story in this upbeat track. The protagonist adores his girlfriend, however, she has her sights set beyond rural life and doesn’t want to end up with just another tractor-driving farm boy. However, after moving to a big city, she decides that she had it made before, and returns to her “John Doe on a John Deere”.
The tractor in Lonestar’s track takes on a symbolic meaning, at first representing everything the girl is dissatisfied with, and then coming to stand for everything she loves about her hometown and her first love. There’s a ‘the grass is always greener’ message, with the twist that it might have been John Deere green she was searching for all along.
Morgan celebrates his farm roots in this joyful ode to his tractor. He introduces himself as a “third-generation farmer” married to a farmer’s daughter, and declares himself happily set in his ways. There’s a playful energy to the track as Morgan directly addresses those who don’t like getting stuck behind a tractor on the road and cheerfully tells them that he’ll keep rolling along at his pace. “Get back on the interstate,” he sings. “Otherwise sit tight and be nice.”
Atkins tells the story of a plane ride with a Hollywood type in this uplifting track. The two travellers start comparing social circles, and Atkins is somewhat impressed with the man’s A-list group of friends. However, he believes he has him beat, describing all the ways in which having friends with tractors has enriched his life.
The track celebrates the simple things in life, comparing fancy but tiny gourmet meals with homegrown farm food, and championing the security of having friends who will (literally) come to lift you out of a ditch.
A big green tractor is the height of romance in this sweet love song. A country boy meets up with his girlfriend, all dressed up in her Beamer, and offers to show her the joys of rural life. He describes all the things they might do together that evening – go watch the sunset on the hill, head into town to catch a show, or of course, ride around in his tractor. The choice is hers.
Smith pens an emotional tribute to his farmer father and the lessons he learnt from him. Whilst Smith himself sets off to travel the world and have adventures, his father stays home to enjoy the simple life with his wife. After his father passes, Smith sees that the steady, deliberate work that his father did on the farm helped him to appreciate each day as it came. Following his father’s example, Smith resolves never to lose sight of what’s important. It’s a moving story made all the more effective by its simple production.
Atkins swings another entry on this list with a second song about tractors. It’s not his friends that he’s speaking about in “A Man On A Tractor”, however, but a stranger. Falling on hard times, the protagonist of the song sits in his house contemplating every wrong in his life when he sees a man outside his window driving a tractor. The man looks so content that it inspires the protagonist to seek similar peace and fulfilment in his own life.
The song goes on to reveal that the tractor becomes a metaphor for the protagonist, representing a purpose that he can see set out before him. What begins as a melancholy song is by the end hopeful and uplifting as the protagonist rallies himself to look for his own “piece of land”.
What sounds at first listen like your typical country ballad becomes a stirring plea for tolerance and acceptance in this track from Allen. He claims that not all farm folk come in the same mould, and that he has to be who he authentically is, even if deviates from “that country boy motto”.
In 2021 Allen became the first black solo performer to win New Artist of the Year at the Country Music Association Awards, and he has continued to challenge the preconception of what a country artist should be.
This chipper story from Diffie chronicles the relationship between high school sweethearts who settle down on a farm together. In their teenage years, Billy-Bob paints a romantic message for Charlene on the water tower using “John Deere green” paint. The town agrees he should have used red, but his girlfriend prefers the tractor green. Billy-Bob gets the last laugh – the townspeople can’t find any shade of paint that will cover the message without the green showing through.
Chesney describes a woman who can’t get enough of his vehicle in this tongue-in-cheek track. The woman in question loves the romance of farm life and appreciates Chesney for his rural roots. However, Chesney suspects that the main thing she finds attractive about him is his tractor. The tractor in question is a John Deere in the song’s music video – clearly the vehicle of choice among country musicians.
Speaking of John Deeres, comedy singer Hawkins sadly loses his in the opening of this humorous country track. Unable to source a new one, he opts for a used vehicle from Craigslist, and is desperate enough to purchase one without a picture. Unfortunately, he gets stuck with what he sees as a rather emasculating pink tractor. “Barbie would drive it/If she was a farmer,” sings Hawkins. The song describes his family’s teasing reactions and even includes an unexpected rap verse. What a ride.
Tractors stand for more than just labour in this collection of songs. They’re a symbol of romance, a daily purpose, and a piece of the owner’s identity. Whether you own a tractor or not, we can all relate to the themes they’re associated with: family, tradition and purpose.