For rising country music star Levi Hummon, covering the Dixie Chicks' "Cowboy Take Me Away" with Runaway June honors more than a classic hit's 20th anniversary. It allows Hummon to add his own stamp to a song co-written by his famous dad, Grammy award-winning songwriter Marcus Hummon.
"I grew up hearing that song, and actually one of my first memories of the co-writing experience was when the Dixie Chicks flew my entire family out to a ranch in Texas to help write for the album Fly," Hummon says. "They sent me out to feed the animals and go play in the yard, and I remember walking back to the room after my dad had been in there with Martie Maguire. I remember hearing that [sounds out opening riffs]. That was my first memory of a song being created."
For his own take on a song he likens to a family heirloom, the younger Hummon turned to a different trio of family friends: Runaway June's Naomi Cooke, Hannah Mulholland and Jennifer Wayne.
"I thought it'd be a really cool thing to be like a conversation between two lovers, and there's no better artists to do it with than the women that are representing where the Dixie Chicks left off 20 years ago," Hummon says.
As a second-generation performer, Hummon already followed similar footsteps as Lloyd Maines' daughter, Natalie.
"I have a kinship for anyone who's had a parent or sibling in the music business like Thomas Rhett or buddies of mine like Tucker Beathard, Casey Beathard, all those people," Hummons says. "It's an interesting road to take because you run from it for so long, and then at some point, the music bug hits you. You get to decide whether to embrace that your parent is part of the music industry or if you run from it and try to do your own thing."
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Hummon avoided covering his dad until now, choosing to carve out his own niche with songs like "Stupid," "Change My Life," "State I'm In" and "Don't Waste the Night" and through repeat appearances on the Grand Ole Opry stage. However, he's never shied away from putting himself out there as the proud son of Marcus Hummon, writer of Sara Evans' "Born to Fly," Alabama's "The Cheap Seats," Rascal Flatt's "Bless the Broken Road," Tim McGraw's "One of These Days" and others.
"I've been really blessed because I'm really, really close to my dad," Hummon adds. "I totally want to give credit where it's due and embrace the fact that my dad has been so helpful and so impactful in my career. Especially from the aspect of learning songwriting because that's where I feel we're the closest."
Hummon's family is known around Nashville as more than a father-son team of singer-songwriters. Hummon's mom Becca Stevens is a preacher and the founder of Thistle Farms, a nonprofit social enterprise dedicated to helping women survivors recover and heal from trafficking, prostitution and addiction.