Moms own a special place in country music lore. From Waylon and Willie’s classic version of “Mammas Don’t Let Your Babies Grow Up To Be Cowboys” and Merle’s iconic album Mama Tried to modern tunes from Carrie Underwood and Sugarland, country songs about moms hit home.
And in most cases it’s a good thing — though there are plenty of tragic tales involving moms (like Garth Brooks’ “Papa Loved Mama). But since Mother’s Day is coming up, we wanted to take a look at some of the sweetest songs about moms, from classic artists to modern stars.
Might as well start with a new one hot off the press, right? Sugarland just released this song off their upcoming album Bigger. It’s a beautiful ode to the love of a mother and also includes a nod to a few progressive causes. “As long as they are good to you, that’s enough,” Jennifer Nettles sings. “First thing she taught you was love is love.” Nettles is a new mom herself, so you know this one carries a lot of weight.
The Band Perry, “Mother Like Mine”
The Band Perry’s 2013 album Pioneer featured plenty of hits, but the deep cut “Mother Like Mine” might be one of the sweetest songs on the record, particularly because the trio wrote it for their mom. Sometimes it just means more when you know it comes from the person singing it.
Carrie Underwood, “Mama’s Song”
From her 2009 album Play On, “Mama’s Song” is a beautiful tribute song co-written by Carrie Underwood meant to let her mother know she’s in good hands with her new love. It also came about during an important time in her life — when she got married to husband Mike Fisher. She earned a Grammy nomination for the song.
Jimmy Dean, “I.O.U.”
This one is a little out of left-field as far as songs go, but it’s a real tear-jerker and one worth listening through with your mom around. Dean recorded the song in the 1970s, but really he just recited all of the things he owes his mom for with a musical accompaniment. It’s really adorable and truly captures the relationship between a mom and son.
Michael Tyler, “Hey Mama”
Michael Tyler is still a newcomer, but this song is another great example of a song between mom and son that feels genuine. It’s about finding that right person and wanting to tell your mother, who has always been there for you through all the, well, not-so-good relationships.
C.W. McCall, “Roses For Mama”
Known for his trucker songs and talk-singing (eat your heart out, Sam Hunt), C.W. McCall delivered a guilt trip song for the ages with “Roses For Mama.” It’s about a little boy who buys flowers for his mom’s grave, reminding the narrator to not take his own mom for granted. It’s an expertly delivered tune, even if it’s totally emotional blackmail. It might be one of the saddest country songs about moms, but it’s definitely effective.
Shenandoah, “Mama Knows”
Ah yes, that 1980s country gold sound wrapped around a nostalgic tune about how moms know everything about their kids, from their misdeeds to the heartaches to their hopes and dreams. “Even when I think it doesn’t show, mama knows.” Now that’s a line every mom can get behind.
Jamie O’Neal, “Somebody’s Hero”
Jamie O’Neal didn’t quite translate her Australian success to the states, but “Somebody’s Hero” is the kind of song that transcends borders. It praises moms for doing the everyday things they need to in order to protect their family, giving them the heroic label so many deserve.
Garth Brooks, “Mom”
As Garth explains, his ode to mom is a conversation between God and an unborn baby. And it’s really something special. Just watch this performance.
Dolly Parton, “Coat Of Many Colors”
Most folks know this tune — it inspired movies, books and plenty other things. But how often do we think of Dolly Parton’s classic as one of the best country songs about moms? Because while it might not be as heavy handed as others (like C.W. McCall’s), this song about making something out of nothing and inspiring your kids to be more than just the sum of their parts is really special.