Country Stars Celebrate All Mothers on Mother’s Day
Mothers are an important part of country music. After all, they're the ones who help instill the good old-fashioned values of hard work, faith and family that are such an important part of the music, and oftentimes they're a country star's first and biggest fan, too
We're celebrating Mother's Day this year at The Boot with tributes to motherhood from some of country music's biggest stars.
Prior to signing a record deal and getting home schooled, Taylor Swift would get teased and ignored by her supposed "friends," so she would turn to her mother, Andrea, for advice and comfort. "[I remember] all of the times that she was my only friend when I was 13," explains the superstar. "I couldn't understand why my friends were being so mean to me. She would just take me on these adventures and we would just drive around and go to towns we'd never seen before. Those adventures and those days of just running away from my problems -- you're not supposed to run away from your problems -- but when you're 13 and your friends won't talk to you, and they move when you sit down at the lunch table and your mom lets you run from those problems; it's a good thing."
Taylor even wrote a song titled 'The Best Day' about those times with her mother, and gave it to her as a present for Christmas a few years ago. A CD single of the song can be found inside Taylor's Mother's Day card collection for American Greetings.
Miranda Lambert's mother, and the rest of her family, are very important to her. "My mom is a riot. She's such a party animal -- she loves to be on the road with me. She comes out probably like once a month," the songstress says with a laugh. "My family is just great -- they're really cool. They get it. They know when I need my space, but they also know when I need support. It's really great to have a family like that."
Miranda has also turned to her mother many times for relationship advice. "It's funny, because my parents actually work together, live together ... did everything together, and they made it work. I feel like I have a really good example of what love's supposed to be like," says the singer, who's set to tie the knot in a week. "I mean, they have their problems; don't get me wrong. But my mom's a perfect person to give me advice because she lives it every day ... I guess she's probably where I get a lot of the opinionated side of me, because she'll say if I'm wrong, I'm wrong. And she doesn't sugar-coat anything."
Blake Shelton moved to Nashville when he was just 17 years old, so his mother must have had a lot of confidence in her "baby" to let him go at that young age. "My mom, if she could have had her pick at the time when I was 17, she would have not had me moving to Nashville by myself," the singer tells The Boot. "She is protective and a worry-wart, but she's also smart enough to know had she tried to stand in my way, we would have probably gotten sideways over it. I would've gotten mad, and it would have caused a big fight. That wasn't worth it to her either, so it was one of those things that she just had to grin and bear it. The thing was that I had some friends in Ada, Okla., who came here with me to help me make sure I got an apartment and got the utilities turned on and stuff like that; things I didn't even think about. She knew I was going to at least get there and set up before I was there by myself."
Blake's bond with his mother has gotten even stronger recently, as he has experienced more of what life has to offer. "Our relationship has been interesting over the years. We're closer now than we've ever, ever been," he says. "I think a lot of that has to do with just me growing up and becoming an adult and realizing that somehow I wasn't the smartest person on earth, from 17 to 29, like I thought I was. [Laughs.] I've leaned on her more in the last four years than I have in my entire life for advice ... we've gotten to know each other beyond mother and son, and we've become friends. She's become somebody that, when my mom pulls in the driveway, I don't roll my eyes like a lot of people do when they see their mom coming. I'm excited, because she's so much fun to be around, the older I get, especially."
Kenny Chesney's mother has given him several tools with which to handle life's ups and downs. "I think one of the most important lessons that I've learned from my mom is [that] no matter what life throws at you, take a step back and a deep breath and take life as it comes," the East Tennessee native explains. "She's been through a lot in her life, and she's handled it. She's come through it, I believe, with a lot of grace ... and a lot of style. I've learned a lot from that. She has taught me a lot directly and indirectly. She's a hard worker, but she loves life, and I thank God that I got my love of life from her."
Tim McGraw was a little apprehensive about telling his mother he wanted to quit college to pursue a career in music. "My mom lived in Florida, and I was in college in Louisiana," he explains. "I was in pre-law, believe it or not. I've ended up paying more lawyers than I'd ever made as one. I started playing clubs over a summer, and I knew that's what I wanted to do. I told my mom, and her reaction was, 'I'm surprised you haven't done this sooner.' I loaded up, I sold everything I had and got on a Greyhound bus and moved to Nashville."
Tim's wife, Faith Hill -- mother of Gracie, Maggie and Audrey -- knows motherhood is the ultimate responsibility. "Your life changes when you have them," she notes. "Pregnancy is one thing, giving birth is another thing, but being a mom is even a greater responsibility. There's nothing like it. The moment your child is born, you are a mother for the rest of that child's life -- and your life, and it's a huge responsibility."
While motherhood is a huge responsibility, Faith does have a lot of help from her family. "I have great support from my husband and my children, but being the mother of three daughters and being a wife and trying to be a provider, a good homemaker, it's stressful for any mom out there," she explains. "For anyone who has children, you're trying to get everyone ready for school and trying to make sure they have all their homework done and that they're not fighting and bickering, and they get what they need to eat and not eat too much junk and all those things. Sometimes it becomes a little overwhelming, but the fact is they're all healthy, they're all happy, and that's the most important thing."
Lady Antebellum's Charles Kelley and his brother, musician Josh Kelley, owe their mother quite a bit, especially because of her sacrifices for the sake of their music interests. "We were honestly, at times, pretty hard to handle, both of us," Charles tells The Boot. "We used to play our music loud up above on the second floor [of the house], bang on the drums and the guitar. My mom's just one of those people, she'll do anything for her family and she sacrificed a lot for us boys. Anytime we needed something, she made it happen, and so, we owe her a lot. She's definitely the reason we're playing music."
Josh admits they were both influenced musically by their mother. "My mom was a majorette in college and high school," he remembers. "She learned how to play the drums and so when we were kids, me and Charles were making drums out of pots and pans and stuff. She said, 'Well, it looks like they'll probably get into this, and so she took us to the music store and bought us a drum set and taught us how to play. That actually made us better musicians. If you're a good drummer, it makes you better at everything else. It makes you a better singer, guitar player, piano player, because you do everything more percussively, and it's easier for your songs to relate, if the delivery also relates. She was a big influence."
As a mother of three with two 'Teenage Daughters' in the mix, Martina McBride explains what she hopes her daughters would say are her good qualities as a mother. "That I accept them for who they are and respect them as people and try to teach them to do the right thing and support them with whatever they want to do," she says, adding, "and I'm fun. [Laughs.] I hope they'd say I'm fun."
"I think my wife would say the best Mother's Day present I have given her is to let her not have to deal with her kids," laughs Darius Rucker. "I'm not really a good gift-giver, I'm not going to lie. My wife and I have a deal that is if you want it, just get it. When it's time to buy gifts, it's hard to do. My time is the best thing I can give my family, so that's what I try to do."
Reba McEntire is the mother of Shelby, who just went on to a career as a race car driver, but she is also a "bonus mom" to Shawna, Chassidy and Brandon, her husband Narvel Blackstock's children from a previous marriage. The country queen loves taking photos, especially ones of her family. "Shelby, he says, 'I think I was six before I saw my mama's face, because she always had a camera in front of her, taking pictures of me and movie cameras,' which I did," admitted Reba. "I've got so many pictures of that child. I love it! I cherish it!"
Ronnie Dunn knows he's never too old to sit at his mother's knee and learn more about his childhood. "My mother was like a lot of Southern Baptist mothers. I got a good helping of that, but more than anything, it was like she held the fort down," he proudly says. "I went to 13 schools in 12 years, and there was some people here doing an A&E documentary years ago, and I had to call her to ask her to list the schools that I had gone to and the towns that we had lived in growing up. She's always been that rock. Most mothers are, but she's really, really good about that ... She's 82 years old, and I took a notebook a few months ago, and sat down with her and asked her all these important questions that I've always wanted to know, but you don't ask. You wait until after they're gone and go, 'I wish I had talked to my mother or my father about that.' She was great about opening up and just telling me things that are from my childhood that are important to me. Some stuff I didn't want to believe. [Laughs.]"
Kix Brooks spent a lot of time growing up at his grandmother's house. "My mom died when I was really young," Kix says. "It was required to take piano lessons. I hated it because I've always pretty much played by ear. It wasn't until I got in to music school in college that I got into notation. I dreaded music lessons, but looked forward every day to getting home from school and closing the door in my room and picking up that guitar. There were times in my life when things were tough at home, and that was a place I could always turn and always made me feel good, and always made me feel like somebody."
Trisha Yearwood's never experienced actual labor pains, but she's a mother, nonetheless, to Garth Brooks' three daughters -- Taylor Mayne Pearl, August Anna and Allie Colleen. When she married Garth, she became part of a household that already included three girls, and she's had to learn how to be a mom. One of her first decisions was not to refer to herself as a stepmother. "I call it bonus mom. Stepmom evokes Cinderella stories in my head, so I like bonus mom," explains Trisha. "[Actress] Jada Pinkett-Smith taught me that one. I was somewhere talking about it. I said, 'I'm looking for a better word,' and she says, 'Bonus mom. I'm a bonus mom. That's better.' It changes everything ... I realized for the first time as an adult the sacrifice that parents make for their kids. I really had to learn that it's not all about me ... When you don't have children, you can be selfish, and when you do have children -- whether you birthed them yourself or whether you have them by marriage -- you can't be first. They have to be first. That's been a lesson I learned really well from my husband."
Despite their young age, the Band Perry have been making music and touring for more than 13 years, with the help of their parents. "We're a labor of love," Kimberly Perry tells The Boot. "[Our mom] Marie is our detail lady. She knows how to keep us in the right head space, and works hard to keep us at our best, which is sometimes quite a chore." Her brother, Neil, agrees, adding, "And to keep the peace." [Kimberly laughs] "Yes! She is the referee."
"This is something that every guy should do for his mother sometime; I made my mama cry over this one, this was good," Tracy Lawrence recalls. "I've never heard of anybody doing this before or since, but my 30th birthday, I sent my mama a huge bouquet of flowers thanking her for having me. She cried every day for a week."
Kellie Pickler's late grandmother was her role model as to what a mother should be. "Anyone can give birth to a child, but not everyone can be a mother to a child," notes Kellie. "My grandmother, I consider her to have been my mother."
Luke Bryan had to be reminded this Sunday is Mother's Day, but he's a pro at spinning things in a positive light to get himself out of the doghouse with his wife, Caroline. When he was asked what his plans were for the mother of his two sons backstage at Tuesday night's Opry Jam, he said, "When is Mother's Day? This Sunday? Oh, my Lord. Are you serious? I'm in a world of [let's just say 'trouble']! Nah, I'll figure something out in the ninth inning. We'll get something figured out."
Chris Young would just like to say thank you to his mother. Looking back, he realizes the dedication that his mom, like so many other moms, had to have in raising him and his sister. There was a time while he was growing up that Chris basically only had his mom, and even during those years, he never felt like he missed out because his mom did such a great job of focusing on caring for her kids.
"It's a really big time of year for everybody," says Chris. "Even if it's just to get to spend a little time with your mom. It's not necessarily all about getting her a gift, it's about just saying, 'Thank you.' They really do shape so much of your life. Your parents do, and your mom's always a big person, especially for me. She raised us for a little while, me and my sister, basically by herself. Before my step-dad, who I call my dad, came in the picture, it was just her. I never, as a kid, wanted for anything. That was how my mom looked at everything. That's how a lot of moms do, and that's why we have a Mother's Day. Some of the stuff they do, that they give up for their children to make sure you have a great life and a great experience as a child, it's pretty amazing how much of their personal time they give up. They go, 'This isn't for me, this is for my kid.'"
Gretchen Wilson is the single mother to daughter, Grace, and she hopes her daughter learns at least two things from her. "Love and independence, which sometimes you can almost look at as opposites," the Redneck Woman tells The Boot. "But if you can find a way to make them work together, it's very peaceful."
"My mom is by far the toughest person that I've met. She's tough," says Eric Church. "One of those people who's been through a lot in her life, adversity wise, and never complains, always really resilient with anything that's happened to her. It's just that attitude, the positive attitude, regardless of what has happened, that is the one thing that I got from her. She's where I get my talent from, musically. She sings great, always has. Her mom sang great. I owe my musical chops to her. Career-wise, I owe her everything, and just in life-wise, she's given me a lot of the qualities that it has taken to get me where I am, not only as a musician but as a man."
You're never too old to get reprimanded by your mother, as Jake Owen knows all too well. "She definitely has her opinion, which is well appreciated," says Jake. "She'll have opinions about, if she comes to a show, I may say something on stage or something, and she says, 'I don't know if you should say that anymore on stage ... it puts you in a bad light, and I didn't raise you to be that kind of boy. I know you're not like that, you're maybe caught in the moment.' She's right, and thankfully I have a mom that's there to correct me."
Sara Evans, a mother of three and stepmother to four, got her sense of humor from her mother. "My mom instilled in me a sense of humor, and a low-key approach to life," the country songstress reveals. "All she wanted was a farmhouse, a great big farm and lots of kids and a very simple life. There's something so special about that country farm life that you just cannot get anywhere else. She did all the laundry. She always cooked. She always did the dishes. She was just always happy. She would dance for us in the kitchen and while she was cooking, so I really got that from her -- just provide a happy atmosphere in the home."