The song has simple acoustic tune with a heavy bass chorus, and an unusually mellow sound to the acoustic guitar that was achieved by tuning all of the strings a full step lower than standard pitch. The song is about a man searching for a farm in the middle of nowhere. The song reflects Paul's heading for the Scottish countryside to escape the headaches associated with the Beatles' breakup at the time.
Stephen Thomas Erlewine of AllMusic described the song as "an effortless folk-pop tune that ranks among [McCartney's] very best songs". Erlewine also praises its "imaginative and gorgeous arrangement". In 2013, Rolling Stone rated "Heart of the Country" at number 26 in its list of Paul McCartney's best post-Beatles songs. By contrast, in the same magazine's 1971 review of Ram, Jon Landau had dismissed "Heart of the Country" as "the lowest point" on an album that "represents the nadir in the decomposition of Sixties rock thus far", and he said that McCartney appeared to be "dying on the vine" as an artist.