It's that time of year when florists enjoy brisk business, restaurants add more staff to accommodate the Sunday crowds, and greeting card aisles at local retailers are filled with folks tripping over each other to find a card with just the right sentiment. That's right, it's almost Mother's Day. As we all prepare to celebrate those special ladies in our lives, we asked some of your favorite artists to share what they learned from their moms, and also what's the best 'mama' song they've ever heard. Here's what we discovered.
Steven Curtis Chapman – "My mom was great about sending my brother and me out to the school bus every morning with a scripture or verse. Her favorite verse is Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding. Acknowledge Him in all your ways and He will make your paths straight. We had a long driveway, but she would be yelling it as we ran out the door. We'd get to the school bus and almost every time, by the time she got to the end of the verse I was on the school bus and the doors would close, so it took me a while to learn the whole verse, I think, because I never heard the end of it.
"That's one of my most vivid memories of my mom – planting seeds of faith in my brother and me when we were young. She did a great job of not preaching at us. I didn't feel like she was preaching and shoving it in our mouth like a bitter pill. She was just constantly showering gentle showers and planting these seeds of God's word in us and in many other ways. I think that was the most powerful way she trained us in the way that we should go... I'm just really, really grateful for my mom."
Trevor McNevan, Thousand Foot Krutch – "'Follow your heart. God knows best.'"
The Oak Ridge Boys' Duane Allen – "My mother never sent me to school or church in dirty clothes. She would stay up late at night, washing and ironing for me so that I would always be clean. She told me that I should never wear dirty or 'hole-y' socks or underwear because I might have an auto accident.”
The Oak Ridge Boys' Joe Bonsall – "My mother is THE reason I have ever achieved any success in life at all. She taught me to work hard, honor God, tell the truth and never forget the sacrifices of the men and women who sacrifice for our freedom. I try to heed her words every day of my life!”
Aaron Shust – "My mom is not a person who has ever had sayings like, 'Stand up straight,' 'Wash behind your ears,' or 'Floss every day,' but she has communicated by example what it means to live a life in pursuit of God. She is up early daily studying the Word, and every moment is an opportunity to share the love of Jesus with each person she meets. Advice or not, I'll follow that."
The Blind Boys of Alabama's Jimmy Carter – "'Have faith in God and trust him for everything.'"
Brandon Heath – "'Don't chew with your mouth open.'"
Jason Crabb – "I'd say that the 'advice' from all those switches I got growing up make me a better person today."
Ronnie Dunn – "My mother is 82 years old and I have to call her every now and then to tell me where I lived and the 12 schools that I went to in 12 years. I'm still leaning on her as my rock in a lot of ways. She held the dam together when my dad was out doing his craziness. What did I learn from my mother? The first thing that pops up is just faith. If you want something in life, or you feel like it was meant to be, chase it. Believe it can happen. That was her deal. She was very spiritual."
Brad Paisley – "Class. She has class. She's got a lot of that. She's a great teacher. I think I'm a pretty good teacher of certain things and I get that from her."
Darius Rucker – "'It's much easier to nice than to be a jerk.'"
Julie Roberts – "Mama never let me give up on my dreams. She'd say, 'Nothing worth having comes easy, so don't you give up, girl.' Then she'd say, 'And remember, the people you pass on your way up, you're gonna pass on your way back down, so you better treat everyone nice. Everybody gets in their britches the same!"
James Otto – "The best advice I ever got from my mother was, 'Marry that girl!'" (after meeting his wife, Amy, for the first time)
Michael Anderson, Building 429 – "The best advice my mom ever gave me was to follow my dream of playing music and to never give up on that."
Lily Isaacs, The Isaacs – "The best advice I ever got from my mother is 'Nothing ever stays the same.' This concept prepared me for accepting whatever comes my way. Sometimes that's good and sometimes it's devastating. However, the advice is so true and helps me savor moments in life that I know always create memories!"
Elaine Roy, The Roys – "Best advice Mom ever gave me was to respect myself and stand by the values she instilled in me."
Lee Roy, The Roys – "Never forget where you came from and go back when you need to be reminded."
Sheri Easter – "Best advice from Mama: 'Smile!' It's carried me through some tough moments."
Jeff Easter – "Wear clean underwear."
Dave Ray of Dave & Jess Ray – "One time when I was a child, I stole some candy that my sister had bought. When my mom asked me about it I lied – which is never a good idea – and continued to lie until I couldn't take it anymore and admitted that I had taken the candy. It felt wonderful to finally let go of the burden that my little lie had become. I thought everything was settled, but my mom reminded me that I needed to apologize to my sister. Reluctantly I said those difficult words, 'I'm sorry I took your candy.' In response, my sister said some of the best words you can ever hear: 'I forgive you.' It was a reminder to me that admitting wrong is not enough. Relationships still need to be repaired, and that takes apology and forgiveness.
Danen Kane – "Be where you are. It's so easy not to be present when you are with people because you are thinking of a million other things you need to do or other places you wish you were at the moment. But it is important to always give people your full attention, heart, and care when you are with them. If you are always thinking of someone or somewhere else you are never really anywhere."
Terry Eldredge, The Grascals – "'Always be honest and true to yourself.'"
Danny Roberts, The Grascals – "'Go to church, learn about Jesus and get saved!'"
Terry Smith, The Grascals – "'Keep it country!'"
Jonathan Steingard, Hawk Nelson – "'You'd better get good at apologizing. That's a skill you, in particular, are going to need.'"
Daniel Biro, Hawk Nelson – "My mom would always tell me, 'If you want something done, you gotta do it yourself!' Now, I have learned over the years that I can trust others and sometimes it's hard, but sometimes I still think to myself, 'If you want something done, you gotta do it yourself.' Ha!"
Justin Benner, Hawk Nelson – "My mom always says, 'Time and truth walk hand in hand!'"
Jason Dunn, Hawk Nelson – "My mom taught me never to settle for second best."
Montell Jordan – "'Always wear clean underwear in case you get into an accident.'"
Beckah Shae – "With every tough encounter she always told me to 'rise above it.'"
Downhere's Jeremy Thiessen – "I remember every time my mom had to spank me she would hold me afterwards and tell me she loved me. That was really formative."
Carter's Chord – Best advice our Mama ever gave us is: "Don't chase boys. Make them chase you and don't ever date a boy who is prettier than you!"
Dominic Balli – "'Dominic Balli: the world does not revolve around you.'"
Jaime Jamgochian – "I feel like I have the world's best mom. I'm sure there are some people out there who beg to differ that their mom is the best. I think that is the beautiful thing. God knows exactly what we need, when we need it and places us in the families He chooses. Even before my family was really walking with the Lord my mom would always say to me: 'Just be who God made you to be, nothing more, nothing less. Be YOU because there will only ever be one of you.' I LOVE that and try to live it! Thanks, mom!”
The all-time best songs that celebrate mom!
"Mama's Song" by Carrie Underwood –Darius Rucker and Thousand Foot Krutch's Trevor McNevan
"Mama Knows" by Shenandoah –Jason Crabb
"The Hand That Rocks the Cradle Rules The World" by Glen Campbell. "It's a great, great quote and such a great song," says Steven Curtis Chapman. "I remember thinking, 'wow what a great statement! Moms need to hear it and need to be reminded because they are the most unsung heroes of the planet earth. Moms in every culture – just the impact that they have on the lives of their children. There's such a quiet power that they have. My version of that was 'One Heartbeat at a Time' on the This Moment record. It was written for my wife Mary Beth after I called home one night and Shaohannah was crying in the background and she was spending all night trying to console and comfort her. I thought of all the nights she'd been up rocking those sick, crying babies to sleep and she felt like she didn't get anything accomplished, but the truth is, she's changing the world one heartbeat at a time."
"My favorite 'mama' song would definitely be 'Bohemian Rhapsody' by Queen." –Hawk Nelson's Jonathan Steingard
"Mamas, Don't Let Your Babies Grow Up to Be Cowboys" –Brandon Heath
"Superwoman" by Alicia Keys –Michael Anderson, Building 429
"Held" by Natalie Grant. "I love the song because it deals with probably the worst fear of every mother and provides encouragement to those who have gone through the loss of a child," says Dave Ray of Dave & Jess Ray. "There are no easy answers to hard questions, but it's good to know that even in the midst of pain, God is faithful."
"Mama's Arms" by Joshua Kadison. "I bought the album in college, and being 600 miles away from home for the first time in my life for months at a time, that song resonated," says Aaron Shust. "Not the funeral part, thank God. Just the missing my Mom part."
James Otto – "My favorite song that salutes mothers is 'Mama Tried' by Merle Haggard."
Carter's Chord – "A song that always makes us think of our Mom is a song called 'Burgundy Shoes' by Patty Griffin."
Montell Jordan – "I'll Always Love My Mama" by the Intruders and "Sweet Sadie" by The Spinners
Jaime Jamgochian – "The best song that I have heard recently is from a friend and fellow artist, Daniel Kirkley. We have actually done some touring together in the past and in a Mother's Day concert he sang a song called 'A Mother's Song.' It talks about the power of a praying mother and the incredible role she plays in one's life. There was not a dry eye in the room."
Julie Roberts – "My favorite 'mama' song is one that I found in 2003 that had not yet been recorded. I loved it so much that I put it on my first record. It's called 'The Chance.' The lyric that's my favorite in the song is I'll never sit on the sidelines in life. I'll dance every dance while I still have the chance."
Jamie Johnson, Terry Smith, Terry Eldredge and Danny Roberts of the Grascals all agree on "Medals for Mothers" sung by The Osborne Brothers
Beckah Shae – "It would have to be my song 'Momma' cause it's straight from my heart."
Jeremy Thiessen, Downhere – "The song I can hear my mother singing/praying over me would be Lee Ann Womack's 'I Hope You Dance.' I start to get teared up when I listen to it as if my mom were singing it to me."
Joe Bonsall, The Oak Ridge Boys – "Mama's Teaching Angels How to Sing" and "Mama's Table"
Duane Allen, The Oak Ridge Boys – "Years ago, we were pitched a song but we turned it down because we feared the title might cause controversy. About two years later, it came back around to us. A producer stuck his head into our listening session and said, 'Glen Campbell just turned down this song because of the title, but it is a hit.' We said, 'Let's hear it.' When the song started playing, I knew every word. It was not a Mother’s Day song, but we decided to dedicate it to our four mothers, go to each of our hometowns, film a shot with each of our mothers and release the video first, and we did a few weeks before Mother's Day.
"The song immediately went into heavy rotation. Then we released the single. By the time the single came out, people thought of it as a Mother's Day song, and we never got one word of criticism about the title 'No Matter How High I Get (I'll Always Look Up to You).' So with a little advance planning, we were able to direct the subject matter towards our mothers. It was a huge hit for us."
Danen Kane – "A Song For Mama" by Boyz II Men
Jason Dunn, Hawk Nelson – "My 'mama song' is 'January' by Goldfinger. It has nothing to do with my mom, but it's still a great song!"
Elaine Roy, The Roys – "'Coat of Many Colors' is such a tribute to the love [Dolly Parton's] mother had for her. It's also a great lesson in life that we are not rich by what we have, but of who we are and how we love."
Lee Roy, The Roys – "'Mama Don't Forget to Pray for Me' [by Diamond Rio]. No one is gonna pray and worry more for you than your mom... you can count on them! I can really relate to the lyric being on the road myself, knowing my mom is praying for me is a comfort!"
Sherri Easter – "I wrote a song ‘She Loved’ about my mama. It was so personal that I wasn't sure if I'd ever sing it publicly. I'm glad I did...it's one of our most requested songs."
Jeff Easter – "Medals for Mothers" by The Osborne Brothers
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About the Writer
Deborah Evans Price has covered Christian/Gospel music for Billboard magazine since 1994. She also contributes regularly to CountryWeekly, CMA Close Up, Devo’Zine, Christian Single, HomeLife, BMI Music World, and other publications.
A Nashville resident since 1983, Deborah has held editorial posts at Radio & Records, Country News, American Songwriter and Billboard. Amy Grant, Trace Adkins, Brad Paisley, Charlie Daniels, 3 Doors Down, Third Day, Don Henley, Bon Jovi, Chris Rice, Sandra Bullock, Mercy Me, Alan Jackson, Smokey Robinson, Carrie Underwood and Steven Curtis Chapman are among her many interviews. Additionally, she's a sought-after music industry analyst who has been interviewed on CNN, MSNBC, TNN, The Today Show, and ABC PrimeTime Live, among other outlets.
Deborah is a member of the Gospel Music Association's board of directors and a graduate of Leadership Music. She resides south of Nashville with her husband, Gary, and son Trey.