These 10 country stars come from a famous bloodline.
You have probably heard of Hank Williams Jr., the son of country music legend Hank Williams, but you may not realize there are several country stars with famous parents. Many of them were born in Music City with connections to country music stars and record executives.
Expectations are high when you’re the child of a country music star though, so these folks have had different challenges than their contemporaries. While most singers have to fight their way out of obscurity, for these 10 country stars, music is in their blood.
10. Pam Tillis
Born the eldest daughter of country star Mel Tillis, Pam Tillis sang at the Grand Ole Opry at the tender age of eight. Pam inherited her dad’s musical talent, learning to play piano and guitar by the age of 12. She was most popular in the nineties, recording several charting hits including “Maybe it Was Memphis” and “Spilled Perfume”. In 2002, she recorded It’s All Relative: Tillis Sings Tillis, in which she sings a collection of songs made famous by her father.
9. Deana Carter
Although she was born to acclaimed singer Fred Carter Jr., Deana Carter didn’t find easy fame in the music business. At the age of 17 she had made a fruitless attempt at a music career, but didn’t become successful until 1994, when Willie Nelson encountered her demo. After she headlined Farm Aid VII alongside Neil Young, John Mellencamp and Kris Kristofferson, she was signed to Capitol Records and released her breakout smash Did I Shave My Legs For This? , which rose to number two on the U.S. Billboard Top Country Albums chart.
8. Thomas Rhett
Thomas Rhett Akins Jr. was five years old in 1995 when his daddy had a number three hit on the Billboard Hot Country chart with “That Ain’t My Truck”. Thomas Jr. first showed musical talent on the drums and would occasionally join his dad on stage, tapping along to the beat of his songs. He made his way through college not focused on music as a career, and mostly playing gigs at frat parties. He has had a great response to his first album, It Goes Like This, which has had three top-five singles on the Billboard Hot Country chart.
7. Justin Townes Earl
Music is not only in the blood of Nashville singer/songwriter Justin Townes Earle, it’s also in his name. Singer/songwriter Steve Earle gave his son the middle name “Townes” after his mentor, Townes Van Zandt. Steve Earle left his wife and two-year-oldr old son in 1984 though, and in doing so, had less influence on his son’s life than he had on his music. In September 2014 Justin Townes Earle released an album called Single Mothers, which was followed up in January 2015 by Absent Fathers.
6. Hillary Scott
With two country singers as parents, Hillary Scott could hardly avoid becoming a country musician herself. The lead vocalist of top charting Nashville band Lady Antebellum was born to Linda Davis and Lang Scott. Linda Davis had a modestly successful country music career which peaked in 1993 when her duet with Reba McEntire “Does He Love You” hit number one on the Billboard Hot Country chart and won a Grammy for Best Country Vocal Collaboration. Hillary recorded a Christmas music album with her parents in 2003, which was self-released by her mom.
5. Krystal Keith
The second daughter of Toby Keith was signed to Show Dog-Universal Music in 2013 and released Whiskey and Lace, which included her debut single, “Daddy Dance With Me”, a father-daughter wedding dance song and tribute to her dad.
4. June Carter
Far from being just the lovely wife of Johnny Cash, June Carter was country music royalty. Born the daughter of Maybelle and Ezra Carter, June was singing on the radio by the age of 10. After the original Carter Family disbanded their act, she joined her mother and sisters to form the Carter Sisters. Music is a strong gene in the Carter family, since June was not only the child of a country music star, she was one herself, and all three of her children went on to have careers in country music as well.
3. Roseanne Cash
Shortly after graduating high school Roseanne Cash joined her father Johnny’s road show as a wardrobe assistant and occasional back-up vocalist. The first born daughter of Johnny Cash and his first wife, Vivian Liberto, Roseanne spent her youth exposed to her father’s music career and the various artists with whom he worked. It was no surprise then when she took up the family business with her first album, Right or Wrong, in 1980. She went on to receive a Grammy in 1985 for “I Don’t Know Why You Don’t Want Me”, and has had a total of 11 number one hits on the country charts.
2. Holly Williams
Hank Williams Jr.’s second daughter Holly Williams learned to play on one of Bocephus’s old guitars when she was 17. She started touring around Nashville after graduating college, and was eventually signed with Universal South Records. After her signing, she began touring the nation with other artists including Jewel and Keith Urban, and released her first album, The Ones We Never Knew, in 2004. In 2013, she released The Highway which reached number 18 on the Billboard Hot Country Albums chart.
1. Shooter Jennings
The only child of Waylon Jennings and Jessi Colter is country right through to his bones. Shooter Jennings started playing drums at the age of five and would sometimes even join his dad onstage to play them. By the age of 14 he had also learned to play piano and guitar, rounding out his instrumental repertoire. He was first signed to Universal South Records in 2005 for the release of his debut album Put the O Back in Country. Being an outlaw, he left the label in 2009, and in 2013, he formed his own label called Black County Rock.