- 2008, Live Nation releases The Zac Brown Band’s single “Chicken Fried” to radio
- 2005, LeAnn Rimes’ “Probably Wouldn’t Be This Way” video has its world premiere on CMT
- 1965, Keyboard player Eddie Kilgallon is born in East Greenbush, New York. He co-writes George Strait’s “One Night At A Time” and performs with Ricochet, the Academy of Country Music’s 1998 Vocal Group of the Year
- 1955, Kix Brooks is born in Shreveport, Louisiana. He co-writes hits for John Conlee and The Nitty Gritty Dirt Band before forming Brooks & Dunn with Ronnie Dunn. Together from 1991-2010, they become the most-successful country duo of all-time
- 2006, Toby Keith’s “A Little Too Late” video debuts on CMT
- 1997, Trace Adkins marries Rhonda Forlaw at Nashville’s Belle Meade Mansion in front of 800 people. Adkins sings a song he wrote for his bride: “The Rest Of Mine”
- 1993, Brooks & Dunn claim three honors during the NBC telecast of the 28th annual Academy Of Country Music from Los Angeles’ Universal Amphitheatre: Top Vocal Duet; Single Record of the Year, for “Boot Scootin’ Boogie”; and Album of the Year, for “Brand New Man”
- 1968, Bass player Keith West is born in Huntsville, Alabama. He joins Heartland, providing background vocals on the band’s 2006 single “I Loved Her First”
“The Baby,” Blake Shelton
A mother tells her youngest child, “I don’t care if you’re 80, you’ll always be my baby.” If you’re the parent of a teenager or an adult, you’ll immediately identify with the emotion Michael White and the late Harley Allen conveyed when they wrote the 2002 single that became Shelton’s second No. 1 hit. There’s an immense sadness when you realize the guy in the song doesn’t make it home in time to see his mother before she dies, but there’s also some sweet comfort present because he’ll always know just how much she loved him. — Calvin Gilbert
“Coat of Many Colors,” Dolly Parton
I was 8 years old when I piped this song through my dad’s old speakers. This “Coat” was like a warm, hopeful hug. I’d listen as Parton told me how her mama lovingly sewed scraps of rags together and how her ridiculing classmates later laughed at her piecemeal jacket. This poetic tune is about much more than a coat. It’s a lesson in overcoming adversity and a message of unconditional love. Though I wasn’t poor or wearing rags, I had thick glasses with merciless rims that magnified my bushy eyebrows. My third-grade self felt like the school spectacle. But my mom saw someone special behind bespectacled me, much like Parton’s mama saw in her. To mom, my blemishes made me me. Now, a new mother myself, I can only hope to do the same for my son. Thank you, Mom. I will always love you. — Whitney Self
“Harper Valley P.T.A.,” Jeannie C. Riley
This sassy number raised a lot of eyebrows in 1968 when Riley reminisced about a mother who socked it to hypocrites in her hometown. Can you believe that miniskirts would have caused such an uproar? Written by Tom T. Hall“In My Daughter’s Eyes,” Martina McBride
This sentimental ballad changes the perspective of a typical mother-and-child relationship. Although mom knows she’s a hero to her daughter, there’s a determination to be more like the kid — openhearted, bright-eyed and peaceful. While you can imagine McBride singing this to her own young children, that mutual admiration between mothers and daughters can last a lifetime. — CS
“Mama He’s Crazy,” the Judds
Always listen to your mama. I was head over heels in love when I got dumped the day before high school. Throw in several more times before I moved to Nashville, too. Each time I fell, I fell hard. In fact, I sounded like Wynonna every time we got back together, singing his praises of being “unlike any man I’d ever met” and how he was “heaven-sent.” But unlike Naomi Judd, who warns her daughter to “Look before you leap,” my mom said something a little different. She told me to be a lady but to “Kiss the cute ones.” I listened all right. And boy did I have fun — not too much — but just enough that when I think back on these times, the corners of my mouth still turn up a little. — WS
“Mama Tried,” Merle Haggard
Haggard’s poor ol’ mama probably had a rougher time raising her boy than any other mother on the list. Not everything in “Mama Tried” is autobiographical, but Haggard was known to run away from home, steal cars and hop a train. He eventually wound up in San Quentin prison. And you thought you were a handful! Haggard eventually turned his life around — with a little help from a Johnny Cash concert he attended while locked up — and “Mama Tried” stands as an anthem for those with a rebellious streak, whether they wised up or “turned 21 in prison, doin’ life without parole.” — Chris Parton
“Mama’s Broken Heart,” Miranda Lambert
If there’s one thing Lambert fans know for sure, it’s that she’s not one to “hide her crazy.” So when mama wants Lambert to save face with the ladies’ bridge club after a bad breakup, she politely reminds her mother whose heart was broken — with scissors, screaming, drinking and smoking. “Mama’s Broken Heart” was written by singer-songwriter Kacey Musgraves, yet it fits Lambert’s attitude to a “T.” With a thumping beat and a sarcastically-shouted chorus, it’s not a message that mama really wants to hear but one that daughters love to crank up once the bedroom door closes. — CP
“Mama’s Song,” Carrie Underwood
I always enjoy when artists feature friends and family in their music videos. The overall message of the song seems more heartfelt. For “Mama’s Song,” Underwood shares the spotlight with her mother Carole and husband Mike Fisher. While the vocals are flawless as always and the lyrics reassuring, it’s the music video that gets me every time. Released shortly after Underwood’s wedding to Fisher in 2010, it perfectly captures the feeling I’m sure mothers have felt since the beginning of time. Carole is so genuine as she talks about her baby growing up and flips through photos from the singer’s childhood. Underwood’s calming words of “Don’t you worry about me” are surely what all parents hope for when their kids begin a new journey in life. — Stephanie Pendergrass
“Mammas Don’t Let Your Babies Grow Up to Be Cowboys,” Willie Nelson and Waylon Jennings
Being a mother to little kids always made me love songs about little kids. But now, my kids aren’t so little. In fact, they’re on the verge of not being kids at all. So the talks of being ballerinas and firemen when they grow up are long gone. Now, it seems all we talk about are the costs of higher education. I drive my teenagers nuts singing them this classic country song. And now that I’ve made my first college tuition payment, when I get to the line about convincing them to be doctors and lawyers and such, I wonder if that’s really such a good idea. I mean, do you know what med school and law school cost these days? So I’m actually encouraging the cowboy thing. I’ve always loved guitars, trucks, belt buckles, faded Levis, smoky old pool rooms and little warm puppies. — Alison Bonaguro
“Mother Like Mine,” The Band Perry
There are really no words to aptly describe the abundant rewards of raising children. It would be way too long of a list. But there is one reward that would rise to the top of most mothers’ lists. And The Band Perry nailed it with “Mother Like Mine,” from their new album, Pioneer. It’s this: When your kids get to that age when they sincerely appreciate all that you do — not just thanks-for-washing-my-favorite-jeans-mom, but more of that bigger picture gratitude — that has to be the ultimate Mother’s Day gift. The three Perry kids wrote this song about their mom, Marie, and what the world would be like if she’d have mothered us all. If my mom was still alive, I would call her and sing this to her on Mother’s Day. Maybe every day. Just so she’d know how much I loved the way she loved me. — AB
- 2007, Sugarland’s “Everyday America” video makes its debut on CMT
- 1994, Willie Nelson is found by police in Hewitt, Texas, asleep at the side of a road. He’s arrested on drug charges when they discover the butt from a doobie in his ashtray
- 1975, Gary Stewart manages his only #1 single in Billboard with one of the great country titles of all-time: “She’s Actin’ Single (I’m Drinkin’ Doubles)”
- 1952, Hank Thompson takes over the #1 position in the Billboard country chart with “The Wild Side Of Life”
It’s Stanley Cup play-off season, which means hockey players are growing all kind of beards. So is that why Eric Church is rocking a little more facial hair under his ball cap and aviators? No. That is not a hockey playoff beard. It’s just a making-new-music beard. Church told CMT Radio he’s been working on his new studio album, the follow-up to his CMA and ACM album of the year Chief, and with new music comes a new beard. “We started the process, as evidenced by the beard,” he said. As for how far along he is — in recording or in beard growing — he really can’t say. “I can tell you that we’ve started the process, and then we’ll go on to the next step in the process. There’s like 20 steps to get the record done,” he said. “I’m excited creatively to see where we can go from here and see what we end up with.”
Little Big Town’s single “Pontoon” has been certified double-platinum by the RIAA for 2 million digital downloads. The single became the band’s first No. 1 single in 2012. Lady Antebellum’s “I Run to You,” the group’s first No. 1 hit from 2009, has also reached the double-platinum mark. New gold singles, signifying 500,000 digital downloads, include Dierks Bentley’s “Home,” Luke Bryan’s “Someone Else Calling You Baby” and Lady Antebellum’s “Downtown.” All of the artists are on the Capitol Nashville roster.
- 2010, Blake Shelton proposes to Miranda Lambert in the woods near her home in Tishomingo, Oklahoma. She says yes
- 2001, “I Hope You Dance” wins three honors–Single Record, Song and Vocal Event of the Year–for Lee Ann Womack and Sons of the Desert during the 36th annual Academy of Country Music awards on CBS from Los Angeles’ Universal Amphitheatre
- 1989, After dropping out of Northeast Louisiana University, Tim McGraw moves to Nashville. On his first day in town, he hears “Indian Outlaw,” destined to become his first hit. He also meets songwriter Craig Wiseman, who writes several future McGraw hits
- 1968, Merle Haggard records “Mama Tried” at the Capitol Recording Studio in Hollywood, with Glen Campbell joining the band on the session
- 2005, Mindy McCready is taken to a Nashville hospital after an ex-boyfriend broke into her Bellevue home, where he beat and choked the singer. The ex, William McKnight, is charged with attempted murder
- 1976, The Man in Black dons a black robe: Johnny Cash receives an honorary Doctorate of Human Letters from San Diego’s National University. San Diego mayor Pete Wilson declares Johnny Cash Day
- 1961, Faron Young’s version of the Willie Nelson-penned “Hello Walls” hits #1 in Billboard
- 1940, Ricky Nelson is born in Teaneck, New Jersey. Carried into the limelight through his role on TV’s “The Adventures Of Ozzie And Harriet,” he gains success in pop music, but also launches four Top 10 country hits in 1958
FORT WORTH, Texas — Within the last few years, The Band Perry has evolved from a promising new band into one of the most entertaining groups on the current country scene. That much was clear after an 80-minute headlining set at Billy Bob’s Texas on Friday night (May 3).
Because they tend to jump, bend and spin simultaneously — and because they offer about a dozen well-placed shout-outs to the good people of Texas — some fans may find their show too choreographed and their stage banter slightly scripted. We’ve all heard that familiar refrain about leaving our troubles at the door.
However, because I enjoyed the set overall, I would lean toward calling it polished and well-rehearsed. I guess the difference lies in how much sincerity they can convey, and they do have that in spades. When Kimberly Perry announced she wanted everyone in the audience to be part of their family, you get the feeling she genuinely cherishes a sense of togetherness.
The band’s feisty single “Done” might seem like a weird way to launch the set list when you consider the song’s title and theme, but it served as a bright and feisty introduction. While most singers would blush at the number of up-tempo songs that led the set, Kimberly Perry’s vocals never flagged. She possesses one of the most confident voices in country music. And she works the stage like a charismatic rock star, delivering every tune like it’s an encore.
Part of her appeal is the free spirit she illustrates in songs like “Independence” and “I’m a Keeper.” Plus, she has that natural dynamic with her brothers, who are talented musicians in their own right. Neil Perry is handy with the electric mandolin and sings their Queen cover with conviction. And while Reid Perry doesn’t say much beyond introducing the other musicians, his nimble bass playing more than makes up for it.
Kimberly Perry is the obvious spokesperson though. She told the crowd the band chose the title of Pioneer for their new album because it’s the most modern word there is. She also emphasized that the crowd members are pioneers, too, because they can do anything they want to with the future. A more jaded listener might roll their eyes, but there were a lot of screams when she gave the example of people who are just getting out of school. Presumably these were the same voices singing along passionately to “If I Die Young.”
Some lyrics verge on poetry, like “Postcard From Paris,” yet they don’t shy away from witty writing either. (“I never liked the taste of crow/But, baby, I ate it” from “You Lie” comes to mind.) Meanwhile, “Don’t Let Me Be Lonely” from Pioneer is one of their catchiest melodies yet. And if you’re looking for a song for Mother’s Day, try “Mother Like Mine.”
Although their list of hits is relatively short, “Hip to My Heart” and “All Your Life” appear to have staying power with the fans. They also set aside a reasonable amount of time for covers — just a few lines from Tom Petty, the Lumineers, Whitney Houston, Fun. and “Amazing Grace.”
Of course, musical diversity defines the playlists for the college-age fans as well as artists of that generation. It’s also eye-opening to walk into Billy Bob’s Texas, which bills itself as the world’s largest honky-tonk, and find so many people under 30 in the crowd. If you had imagined a bunch of grizzled Texans or older line-dancers inside, you’d be way off. When people talk about how country music is thriving because of its youth appeal, this is what they’re talking about.
Whether or not The Band Perry will be considered a pioneer from this era of country music remains to be seen. It should be interesting to watch the story unfold. In the meantime, leave your troubles at the door, join the family and go catch a show.
- 2011, Miranda Lambert, Kix Brooks and Travis Tritt attend the Kentucky Derby at Louisville’s Churchill Downs, where Animal Kingdom wins. Also present: Laura Bell Bundy, Randy Owen, Eddie Montgomery and Linda Davis
- 2005, Billy Dean marries Stephanie Paisley in Brentwood, Tennessee
- 2002, DreamWorks releases Toby Keith’s “Courtesy Of The Red, White And Blue (The Angry American)”
- 1991, Warner Bros. releases Travis Tritt’s “Here’s A Quarter (Call Someone Who Cares)”