As we prepare for the eyes of the world to focus on the Bluegrass State for the 142nd running of the Kentucky Derby this Saturday, maybe getting into a "Kentucky state of mind" through song isn't a bad idea.

So what ARE the best songs about Kentucky?

The list I found is obviously subjective. Any list like this almost has to be.

But I can't really say this isn't as close to "definitive" as you could find.

When I think about "Kentucky" songs, two immediately come to mind simply because "Kentucky" is in the title--"Kentucky Rain" by Elvis and "Kentucky Woman" by Neil Diamond.

And then I remember my all-time favorite song.

Seriously, before I heard "You'll Never Leave Harlan Alive" (the Patty Loveless version) more than 10 years ago, I had a hard time answering the question, "What's your all-time favorite song?"

Not anymore.


And then, of course, there's John Prine's immortal paean to Western Kentucky's coal history and culture, "Paradise."


Both of those amazing works are on the list along with some I've never before heard. So check 'em out as we get ready for the richest worldwide tradition that Kentucky has to offer.