10 Country Western Album Covers Sweeter Than Iced Tea

In the mood to stomp and holler? These country album covers are sweeter than iced tea and just as tasty.

Published May 7, 2024
A selection of Bluegrass and Country vinyl albums for sale in a second hand store.

As a southern gal growing up on country music, there are a lot of country albums that I hold near and dear to my heart. But far be it for me to recognize half of them in the record store. Country album covers are notoriously formulaic (you can only get a portrait of you leaning against something so many times before it gets old). But I reckon these country music album covers absolutely outdid themselves.

10 Country Album Covers That’ll Butter Your Biscuit

Country music is full of hits and misses. But these country covers deserve their own place on the front porch for how impactful and memorable they are.

The Louvin Brothers, Satan Is Real (1959)

Lil Nas X may have scandalized conservative America with his lap dance for the devil bit in Montero, but it was far from the first time that Satan made an appearance in the music industry. In 1959, The Louvin Brothers (an oft-forgotten country group fans of Kitty Wells or Marty Robbins might recognize) released Satan Is Real.

The two brothers are emblazoned across the album cover, jumping for joy in a fire and brimstone landscape. A garish and campy bright red devil looks over their shoulders either in delight or distaste for their exuberance — we’re not really sure which. 

Ultimately, this country bluegrass album cover is completely unexpected from a genre that loves its “leaning against a car, tractor, wall, or fence shot” and we can’t get enough.

Bobbie Gentry, Ode to Billie Joe (1967)

Bobbie Gentry was a bit of a flash in the pan in the mid-century country music lexicon. A dark-haired beauty with expert storytelling skills, she takes after songstress Dolly Parton and her album covers are just as illustrative.

Her debut album, Ode to Billie Joe, came out in 1967 and marries the looseness of folk music photography with the simple portraiture common in country music. On the cover, she strums an acoustic guitar, sans shoes, and looks away from the listener.

There’s something that aches and breathes about this album cover, which is certainly befitting of the titular song’s twist on the murder ballad.


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Porter Wagoner, The Cold Hard Facts of Life (1967)

If there’s one thing you can be sure of, it’s that you can’t predict what a man who wears garish nudie suits for fun is going to do next. Porter Wagoner’s 1967 album The Cold Hard Facts of Life has an album cover that’s straight out of the pages of a pulp novel.

A man looks on in shock at a couple reclining on the sofa, and by the daring look on the woman’s face, you can’t help but realize there’s some betrayal afoot. For a country album, it’s absolutely out of left field and it’s why it had to make this list.

Porter Wagoner “The Cold Hard Facts of Life” (1967) LP RCA Victor Records #HC24

Kenny Rogers & the First Edition, Ruby Don’t Take Your Love to Town (1969)

Before Kenny Rogers was the titanic solo country artist he’s known as today, he was crafting music with his band The First Edition. Ruby Don’t Take Your Love to Town was the group’s first album and embraces the novelty with its nonchalant album cover.

The four band members look towards the listener with a forced casualness, in a bright but altogether unassuming fashion. Behind them looms a large two-story house that immediately sets the tone for the country tunes that’ll be coming your way. It looks like they could have been shot on a soundstage for The Waltons, and that makes it even more charming.

Kenny Rogers & The 1st Ed Ruby Don't Take Your Love To Town LP, Album, 1969 Vinyl Album

Linda Martell, Color Me Country (1970)

Linda Martell’s Color Me Country has a bold ‘70s color scheme that demands to be witnessed. And for a black woman in country music at a time when people were still perpetuating Jim Crow legislation, nothing is braver than forcing people to look at your album.

Her sweet portrait takes up a fraction of the album cover, being ringed by a much larger gradient of orange and yellow hues. It’s right at home in the early ‘70s and is as hypnotic as a kaleidoscope. We couldn’t possibly have a list of notable country music album covers without paying homage to Linda Martell’s.

Loretta Lynn, Coal Miner’s Daughter (1971)

The late-60s and early 1970s were one of the most lucrative periods for women in country music. From Tammy Wynette to Dolly Parton to Loretta Lynn, the female perspective just couldn’t be shot down.

However, Loretta Lynn’s most memorable album cover isn’t her debut or her sophomore album, but rather her sixteenth solo album, Coal Miner’s Daughter. Released in 1971, it features a hazy full-body portrait of the Kentucky musician wearing a prairie-inspired ensemble that was oh-so-popular at the time.

The album cover has an ancestral quality to it that makes it simultaneously familiar and yet unreachable, which makes it still so captivating today.

Dolly Parton, Jolene (1974)

Dolly Parton’s 1974 album Jolene has perhaps the most recognizable country album cover of all time. The framed portrait of Dolly Parton — big wig and all — set against a pale yellow background feels more made-for-TV movie then heart-wrenching country album. Yet, with hits like I Will Always Love You and Jolene coming off this album, it’s become cemented in country music history.

And the references don’t stop there. We can’t help but see the inspiration in the cover of Jeanette McCurdy’s 2022 memoir I’m Glad My Mom Died and Dolly’s seminal work.

Glen Campbell, Rhinestone Cowboy (1975)

You can’t get more whimsical in country album covers than with Glen Campbell’s Rhinestone Cowboy. The largely illustrated album cover has a folk art feel with a Western flair. It’s all large patches of saturated color and no brushstrokes. But it’s not lacking in landscape — Glen Campbell’s energy takes up all the empty space with a flourish astride a large white steed.

Honestly, it’s as off-the-wall as many country artists from the 1970s were. There were big names and even bigger personalities, and this album cover sums it right up.

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The Chicks, Wide Open Spaces (1998)

No Y2K country album captured the cross-over potential of Delia’s catalog teens with classic country stylings like The Chicks’ (nee Dixie Chicks) Wide Open Spaces. The album cover, which has a darling candid quality, shows the three band members walking down a stone street turning to give the photographer a passing glance.

From the unforgettable boot-cut denim to the curly-que font that shows like As Told by Ginger would take inspiration from, this crossover album’s cover embodies the grrl power of Lilith Fest, Alanis Morisette, and the Spice Girls that defined Millennial childhoods.

Dixie Chicks Wide Open Spaces CD Monument Records NK 68195

Beyonce, Cowboy Carter (2024)

At this point, we’d like to know what Beyonce can’t master musically. Cowboy Carter — released in 2024 — is the second album in her music triptych and her first country project. Yet, it weaves through genres so expertly that you can’t quite call it only a country album.  

The album cover, with Beyonce sitting atop a wide steed and holding an American flag, decked out in sexy leather western wear, pulls from common Americana. But Beyonce’s look is the most significant piece of the entire thing. She stares down the listener daring them to question her place in country music.

With one look she reminds the viewer that this is Beyonce’s America and because of that, it has all the hallmarks of a legendary album cover.

The Perfect Shindig Set List

Country music is at its best when it’s live. It’s the kind of music you just have to stomp and holler to. And if you want a record that’ll make people look twice at your shindig, pick one of the country album covers from our list.

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10 Country Western Album Covers Sweeter Than Iced Tea