Gotta Start Somewhere: Country Artists' Beginnings

Eric Church

Church from a young age was into being the tough music bad boy. He was writing his own music by the age of thirteen. In high school he played local shows, and in college he started a band with his roommates "Mountain Boys." Before he was a country singer, Church had a career as a phone operator for a TV shopping channel. He was fired after attempting to help customers out of their drunken purchases. Church recorded music with various producers before Capitol Records signed him in 2005.

Carrie Underwood

Carrie Underwood's claim to fame as the winner--and arguably the most successful to have come from the show--of American Idol in 2005 is not new news to anyone. However, Underwood was performing and writing music long before that audition. She actually landed a contract with Capitol Records in 1996, but it was unfortunately terminated when management changed. Luckily she got her second shot with the reality competition nearly a decade later.

Thomas Rhett

In middle school Rhett picked up a pair of drumsticks and has been slamming and jamming away ever since. He performed on stage with his father, Rhett Atkins. From a young age Thomas knew that he was going to be a musician. He started a band in high school "The Heeled Flip Flops" and in college he played live shows for his fraternity Tau Phi. In 2010 he co-wrote a hit song on Jason Aldean's album My Kinda Party titled "I Ain't Ready to Quit", and boy was he not. He was signed to Big Machine Records in 2011 and released his debut single "Something to Do with My Hands" in 202. 

Miranda Lambert

Miranda Lambert is another country star that was born from reality TV fame. In 2003 the golden voiced, fierce woman was a finalist on Nashville Star. She finished third but can be considered the most successful singer in the show's' history--having several albums and songs go platinum and consistently top the billboard charts. When she was sixteen she guest starred on the Johnnie High Country Music Revue, a talent show not unfamiliar with country stars. She won a recording session in Nashville. She returned him so her father could teach her how to play guitar, and soon enough she was writing her own music. Lambert was still a high school student when she launched her professional career. 

Kenny Chesney

Chesney has recorded sixteen albums, fourteen of which have been certified gold or higher. He's no stranger to the top charts or sold out concerts. His first guitar was named "The Terminor" and he used it to write his own songs. In college he was apart of the ETSU bluegrass program. He self-recorded and released his first demo in 1989. He sold 1,000 copies of the demo at gigs he performed in clubs and bars around Johnson city. He used the money to buy a new guitar and the rest took care of itself.

Tim McGraw

With thirteen studio albums under his belt, you'd be surprised to learn that it wasn't until college that McGraw discovered his musical talent. Most of his childhood and teen years were dedicated to competitive sports and a very complicated home life. His father was a star baseball player, Frank Edwin McGraw, whom didn't claim Tim as his son until Tim was eighteen. In college McGraw learned how to play guitar and sat in for local bands that needed one. In 1989, McGraw dropped out of college to pursue his dreams in a music career after the death of his hero Keith Whitely. 

Kellie Pickler was a fast food car hop at Sonic, Steve Earle was a car wash attendant, Faith Hill was a merch girl for Reba McEntire, Phillip Sweet was a mall janitor, Dierks Bentley cleaned toilets and Martina McBride was a merch gal for Garth Brooks. They all started somewhere and then got shot to the stars. Perhaps you could too!



Country Music Pick Up Lines

"Are you from Tennessee? Cause, baby, you're the only 10 I see." ("Pickup Truck" by Shane Yellowbird)

"I'd like to check you for ticks." ("Ticks" by Brad Paisley)

"I know you've heard that worn out line about love at first sight, well, I never knew these words were true 'til you walked in tonight." ("Be My Baby Tonight" by John Michael Montgomery)

"I may not be in love, but lemme tell ya, I'm in heat." ("Romeo" by Dolly Parton)

"If I said you had a beautiful body, would you hold it against me." ("If I Said You Had a Beautiful Body" by The Bellamy Brothers)

"Hey good lookin', whatcha cookin'? How about cookin' somethin' up with me?" ("Hey Good Lookin" by Hank Williams)

"I ain't so good as I once was, but I'm as good as I once as I ever was." ("As Good As I Once Was" by Toby Keith)

"I said I wouldn't call, but I'm a little drunk and I need you now." ("Need You Now" by Lady Antebellum)

"I'm lookin' for a whole lot more than a one night rodeo." ("Be My Baby Tonight" by John Michael Montgomery)


"Honey, I love your love the most." ("Love Your Love The Most" by Eric Church)

"It's nice to finally meet a girl who doesn't move too fast, I was only checking, that's the reason I asked." ("Me Neither" by Brad Paisley)

"As long as there's stars over Texas, darling, I'll hang the moon for you." ("Stars Over Texas" by Tracy Lawrence)

"Could I have this dance for the rest of my life? Would you be my partner every night?" ("Could I Have This Dance?" by Anne Murray)

"I'm drunk on you and high on summertime." ("Drunk On You" by Luke Bryan)


"There's nothing that I wouldn't do to be loved by you." ("To Be Loved By You" by Wynonna Judd)

"Are you gonna kiss me or not?" ("Are You Gonna Kiss Me Or Not?" by Thompson Square)

"When I'm lying wrapped up in your arms, the whole world just fades away." ("Breathe" by Faith Hill)

"Come a little closer, baby. I feel like layin' you down on a bed of sweet surrender." ("Come a Little Closer" by Dierks Bentley)

"The moment I looked into your eyes you won me." ("You Had Me From Hello" by Kenny Chesney)

"I wanna spend the rest of my life with you by my side, forever and ever." ("Amazed" by Lonestar)

"It's your love. It just does somethin' to me. It sends a shock right through me. I can't get enough." ("It's You Love" by Faith Hill and Tim McGraw)

"Lost in the moment with you." ("Lost In The Moment" by Big & Rich)

"I wanna be the one who turns you on, makes love 'til the lonely's gone." ("I Wanna Make You Cry" by Jeff Bates)

"Oh darlin, how I'd love to lay you down." ("I'd Love To Lay You Down" by Conway Twitty)

"Baby lock your door and turn the lights down low." ("Your Man"by Josh Turner)


"Honey, there sure ain't nothing like you lovin' me all night long and all I can think about is gettin' you home." ("Gettin' You Home" by Chris Young)

"Do you know what you do to me? Everything inside of me is wanting youm and needing you. I'm so in love with you. " ("Let's Make Love" by Faith Hill and Tim McGraw)

"The smile on your face lets me know that you need me." ("When You Say Nothing At All" by Allison Krauss) 



Country's Cutest Couples

Country Music has brought many people together...and even torn some apart. Check out this fun list of Country Music Couples! 

Karen Fairchild + Jimi West Brook

Chely Wright + Brad Paisley (DIVORCED)

Johnny Cash + June Carter Cash

Lorrie Morgan and Sammy Kershaw (DIVORCED)

Jessi Colter + Waylon Jennings

Chuck Wicks + Julianne Hough (BROKEN UP)

Ricky Skaggs + Shannon White

Rosanne Cash + Rodney Crowell (DIVORCED)

John McBride + Martina McBride

Shania Twain + Robert John "Mutt" Lange (BROKEN UP)

Faith Hill + Tim McGraw

Buck Owens + Bonnie Campbell (DIVORCED)

Miranda Lambert + Blake Shelton

George Jones + Tammy Wynette (DIVORCED)

Keifer Thompson + Shawna Thompson

Darius Rucker + Beth Leonard

Hilary Scott + Chris Tyrell

Clint Black + Lisa Hartman Black

Kellie Pickler + Kyle Jacobs

Vince Gill + Amy Grant

Garth Brooks + Trisha Yearwood


Country Music Facts

  1. Miranda Lambert gives back to the country music community  quite a lot and in really cool ways. She is best known for helping budding artists by giving them opportunities to record with her. For example, she enlisted the help of Lee Ann Womack's younger sister, Aubrey, to provide back up vocals on her album Platinum. Aubrey is now successfully pursuing a music career of her own. 
  2. Lambert is a strong, independent woman with lyrics and songs that make cowboys quake in their boots and cowgirls hoot and holler with pride--however, she was reduced to a nervous wreck while she waited for Carrie Underwood to respond to her request for a duet on her track "Somethin' Bad." It took Underwood a week to respond. Miranda said it was like, "a crush you didn't want to mess up."
  3. Henry Ford--the automobile mogul--put more money towards country music promotion than anyone else in the 1920s.
  4. Hollywood was considered responsible for the correlation between "western" and "country."
  5. The Nashville Sound was born in the 1950s. Owen Bradley and Chet Atkins were responsible for it when they were attempting to save country music. 
  6. Joe McCarthy--notorious anticommunist activist leader--was actually mostly responsible for how country music got its current name. It had gone through a few variations from "folk" to "hillbilly" to "old time" to "oat tunes" but McCarthy convinced the lead singer for the Weavers--Pete Seeger--to consider his music "country music" and "western music" in the name of patriotism.
  7. There's actually a lot of tension between country artists of now and from back in the day on the matter of the current genre's authenticity.
  8. According to many, the themes that can almost always be found within the genre are: "handwork, rural romanticism, good times and the struggle for love."
  9. Jimmie Rodgers, the father of country music, doesn't consider himself the father of anything aside from his three lovely daughters.
  10. In the late 1970s, the country group Exile had a number 1 disco hit called "Kiss You All Over."
  11. Dolly Parton's first top 40 Country hit was "Dumb Blonde" since then she has had nearly 100 hits.
  12. Reba McEntire was discovered at a rodeo in Oklahoma when she performed the national anthem.
  13. Tim McGraw's dad was a pro baseball player for the NY Mets.
  14. Taylor Swift was inspired by her grandmother to pursue a career in music. Her grandmother was an opera singer.
  15. Carrie Underwood was an incredibly talented softball player all throughout her education. She hasn't entirely given up the practice and still participates in non league games as well as charity events.
  16. Luke Bryan's real name is Thomas Luther Bryan.
  17. Toby Keith's hit song "I Wanna Talk About Me" was originally for Blake Shelton. However, Shelton shelved it and decided to record "Austin" instead.
  18. Miranda Lambert was originally considered more of a song writer than performer.
  19. Zac Brown opened a restaurant with his dad and named it Zac's Place. It was successful and soon bought by a larger company. With the money Zac earned from the buyout, he put together the Zac Brown Band.
  20. The Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum is the largest popular music museum in the country.

Here, here, here, here, here, here, and here.