South Carolina is a state that many travel through on their way to other places, but few truly understand the beauty of it. The Palmetto State has its own unique culture, way of life, and natural beauty that doesn’t get enough credit. In this article, we’ll look at the 25 best songs written about South Carolina.
1. South Carolina Low Country – Josh Turner
There’s no better person to listen to sing about the state of South Carolina than Josh Turner. His deep baritone voice is the perfect tribute to his childhood home in the state, with South Carolina Low Country being thought of by him as having helped him become a professional singer. A mixture of country and gospel influences, this song is the perfect thing to listen to on a long road trip through The Palmetto State.
2. South Carolina – The Outlaws
Henry Paul wrote South Carolina while thinking about his wife, and it turned out to be a beautiful and loving tribute. It deals with a traveling man heading to the state after leaving Texas, ready to see his woman who lives there. He’s done traveling and ready to settle down, much like Paul probably was as a traveling musician. But the song paints South Carolina as a wonderful place to put down roots and find true love.
3. Waltz for a Girl in South Carolina – Brett Shady
Waltz For A Girl In South Carolina is such a universal song that you probably wouldn’t think much of the woman in the track is from the state. It focuses on heartbreak and the longing that follows a bad breakup, but thanks to the girl being from The Palmetto State, his memories with her and his time there are inseparable in his mind. South Carolina itself has turned into a place of heartbreak, despite the actual state not doing him any harm.
4. Dancin’, Shaggin’ on the Boulevard – Alabama
Alabama has produced some of the best songs about the South in country music history, and they’ve covered almost every state that can call itself part of the region. They stepped away from their typical sound when they recorded Dancin’, Shaggin’ On The Boulevard, turning to a track that felt more beachy and like summertime.
The “shagging” part of the song is a bit of a double-entendre. It both refers to a popular dance in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, called the shag, and people getting a bit busy at the same time. Whichever way you end up taking it, the track became one of their most popular and enduring hits.
5. South Carolina Blues – Junior League Band
You can’t tell the musical story of the Carolinas without including a mixture of bluegrass and the blues. South Carolina Blues by the Junior League Band does just that, following a typical blues blueprint that covers how love and life are two complex things. One of the coolest parts of the song is the backing jug instruments you can hear throughout it, which is something you don’t get to see a lot of in this day and age.
6. Charleston, South Carolina – Lovie Austin & Her Blue Serenaders
The Charleston is one of the most recognizable and popular dances from the 1920s, but it originated in South Carolina. It’s likely derived from a dance called the Juba that was brought over by enslaved Africans and was popular as early as the mid-1800s. In 1925, the jazz dance scene was in full swing and the dance became synonymous with the “Roaring 20s.” But the song that came with it was Charleston, South Carolina, performed by the famous Lovie Austin & Her Blue Serenaders.
7. Coast of Carolina – Jimmy Buffett
Leave it to Jimmy Buffett to record one of the best songs about the coastal regions of a Southern state. Coast Of Carolina is the old beach bum’s tribute to South Carolina’s Atlantic coast, but like all of his tracks, it goes deeper than that. The protagonist sails away from the coast, seeming to run from a relationship that had ended and hoping to find clarity that can eventually let him build it back up.
8. Just a Little Bit South of North Carolina – Dean Martin
One roundabout way of referring to South Carolina would be to point to the state directly south of North Carolina. Dean Martin’s song Just A Little Bit South Of North Carolina is a classic 1950s tune brimming with brass band sounds that mainly describes how much the singer loves the state. Not only is it home for him, he has a woman waiting on him there that he can’t wait to return to.
9. She’s Carolina – Cody Webb
Cody Webb knows exactly what he wants in his woman, and it appears to be that a girl from South Carolina will fit the bill nicely. The opening lines describe his dream girl, one with tan lines that wears flip-flops through the winter, and one that embodies the ideal Southern type of person. The song goes on to talk about the sports teams in the state, palmetto trees, and several other references that are unique to South Carolina.
10. South Carolina – Sally Shuffield
Sally Shuffield’s South Carolina is a touching tribute to The Palmetto State and the memories it holds for the artist. The main point of the song is to showcase the charming nature of South Carolina and how great it is to be there.
11. Beers and Sunshine – Darius Rucker
Darius Rucker’s solo career brought him to country music, and he helped shift the genre forward since his arrival. Beers And Sunshine is one of the songs he released during his solo, post-Hootie & The Blowfish era. It’s all about sitting on a porch in South Carolina, taking in the peaceful scenery that surrounds him while ignoring the world burning down around his home.
12. Carolina in the Morning – Jim Gibson
Jim Gibson isn’t the most famous member of any of his groups, but he helped found some of the most influential musical groups in gospel and folk music. One of his most profound songs is all about how much he loves South Carolina and how much he wishes he could go back there. Carolina In The Morning captures the natural beauty of the state in a way that few others are able to accomplish.
13. Carolina In My Mind – Allison Krauss and Jerry Douglass
We can’t do a list of the best songs about South Carolina without including the state’s anthem. Carolina In My Mind might best be sung by Allison Krauss and Jerry Douglas. It tells the story of a person who has always lived in the state and never plans to leave because they love it so much, serving as an ode to the state and a reminder of how great life can be in The Palmetto State.
14. Carolina in My Mind – James Taylor
James Taylor might be from Boston, but he could still see how charming South Carolina is. A Grammy Award winner and Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductee, he wrote Carolina In My Mind about a man who returns home to South Carolina after being gone for a long time. While it’s a bit mournful, there’s a spot of hope in the song that makes it seem like a happy return rather than a last resort.
15. South Carolina – The Flirtations
The Flirtations were a fairly popular R&B group in the 1960s and 1970s, but they’re still active through the modern day. Their song South Carolina is about a woman who dreams about being in The Palmetto State, even waking up in the dream to greet a mailman at the door. Unfortunately, she truly awakes to find she isn’t in the state, which is an unfortunate turn of events for her.
16. South Carolina – Archers of Loaf
A lot of the best songs about South Carolina here fall into the country music category, but Archers Of Loaf brings the grunge rock style to The Palmetto State like no one else. Their song South Carolina is about a man who finds himself trapped there, looking for ways to leave but ultimately failing. It’s definitely a punk take on the state and the suffocating nature associated with much of the South, but it’s still one of the best songs about South Carolina out there.
17. South Carolina – Colt Ford
Colt Ford captures the South’s love of college football in his song South Carolina, and while it is directed at the Gamecocks’ football program, it’s a track that represents fans across the region well. Most of the lyrics are devoted to a description of a tailgate party and friends gathering to watch games on Saturdays.
18. Oh My Sweet Carolina – Ryan Adams
Oh My Sweet Carolina is one of those traditional rambling songs that namedrops a lot of places, but this one has a soft spot for South Carolina. The protagonist has traveled around and made mistakes, but their one regret is leaving home.
19. Carolina Girls – General Johnson
Some artists who travel to the state of South Carolina end up falling for the girls who live there. This was certainly the case for J.D. Shropshire Jr. when he visited South Carolina for the first time and wrote this song. The most famous version of Carolina Girls came out in 1980 when General Johnson & The Chairmen Of The Board recorded it. While Johnson was a Virginia native, he too fell under the spell of the women in the Carolinas.
20. Carolina Can – Chase Rice
Chase Rice is another Carolina native who feels he owes a debt of gratitude to the state. His song Carolina Can is a massive tribute to the state and a testament to the way it shaped him growing up. It uses a lot of his experiences in the lyrics to highlight big moments in his life, from high school football to being baptized and even drinking his first beer. It is a loving way of describing the values of South Carolina and how important having a place to go back home really can be.
21. Sumter County Friday Night – Lee Brice
Sumter County is one of the more famous counties in South Carolina, and its party scene is put on full display by Lee Brice in the song Sumter County Friday Night. It’s an awesome description of a typical Friday night party in the area, from skinny-dipping in the local rivers to going out and shooting some targets. It sounds like a grand time, and it’s likely a familiar scene for many who live in the area.
22. Gone to Carolina – Shooter Jennings
Gone To Carolina is all about a man who wants to go back to the Carolinas because it’s the best place he’s lived. For the man, it’s home. But he’s been a rambling traveling man who hasn’t been making the best choices. A pure outlaw country song from a legend of the style, this is all about the importance of family and the chance to turn your life around.
23. South Carolina – Tennis
Tennis released South Carolina in 2010 as an indie-pop song that talks about how gorgeous the state actually is. While the mountains are definitely a bit shorter than the duo is used to in Colorado, South Carolina proved inspiring for them. The track describes a person who dreams about The Palmetto State and longs to be able to go back there.
24. Let’s Sing About Charleston! – The Guy Who Sings Songs About Cities & Towns
Matt Farley is just what his online persona describes, a guy who writes and sings songs about cities and towns all over the place. Most of them have a funny angle to them and are generally positive towards the place they’re describing but much of the content comes from him reading the Wiki page about the place. Let’s Sing About Charleston is all about the capital of South Carolina and is a good track to learn some facts while listening.
25. Carolina – Harry Styles
Harry Styles is definitely not from South Carolina, but his song about the state remains one of the best. It talks about a young woman who reminds him of South Carolina, and the track serves as a love letter to her and all the things he loved about being there. After his first visit to the state as a solo artist, he was inspired enough to write this beautiful ode to the state.
As a contributing writer for Music Grotto, Dakotah writes and produces professional music/media content. He works closely with editorial staff to meet editorial standards and create
quality content for the Music Grotto website. Dakotah is passionate about music in a wide variety of genres, from hip-hop to country and lo-fi to metal, and he enjoys creating music pieces for Music Grotto.