Although there are plenty of romantic and sunny-day songs in the country genre, some artists have lived through truly inspiring experiences of struggle and difficulties. Luckily for us, these artists have chosen to share their inspiring Cinderella stories in their songs, allowing us to really learn more about their experiences through their music. While not every artist has had this type of experience, these 4 rags to riches stories can inspire us in our day-to-day lives:
1. Freddie Hart
Freddie Hart, born Fred Segrest in 1926, was one of 15 children. He had a poverty-stricken childhood, but there was a rich music influence within the family that young Fred inherited. His early songs like “Loose Talk” did not gain widespread success on their own, but were good enough to catch the attention of influential country musicians like Carl Smith, Patsy Cline, and George Jones, who recorded them. After excelling in such a struggle, it should come as no surprise that he took the stage name Hart when he first signed with Capitol Records in 1953.
2. Johnny Cash
Back in the 1950s, when country music was just starting to come onto the larger music scene, Johnny Cash was singing songs about his traditional roots of poverty and hardship in top hits like “Country Boy.” He kept up this style of story-telling up to three decades later with covers like Tom Petty’s “Southern Accents.” Despite what his name may suggest, his early life was filled with hardship and poverty. However, Cash said that the absence of money gave him the freedom to follow his heart and make such beautiful music that simply tugs at the heart strings.
3. Dolly Parton
Another celebrity on the country scene who started off her career with empty pockets but a soul bursting with emotion and music was Dolly Parton. Her dad was a hardworking farmer who struggled from day to day to feed his large household, which was simply no easy task.
“Coat of Many Colors,” Parton’s signature song, tugs at the heartstrings as she tells the story of how her mother made a coat of many colors for her from a box of rags and how proud she was of her mother’s labor of love. Parton went on to rule the country music roost from the late ‘60s through all of the ’70s, but didn’t forget her humble beginnings and the golden chances life had eventually given her. She is a philanthropist par excellence, giving back to society in the best way possible.
4. Carrie Underwood
The success story of Carrie Underwood is a modern “rags to riches” one. She was born to working class parents and grew up in a small rural town in Oklahoma, with a dream to pursue the talent in her voice. However, vocal work wasn’t on the table early in life for Underwood, and she decided to complete her degree in journalism, a course she completed with honors.
More by chance, Carrie chose to audition for the fourth season of American Idol in 2005, and the rest as they say is history. With all-time chart-topping album like Some Hearts and Carnival Ride grossing in platinum sales, she has already left an impressive country music legacy, and still has a long way to go.
These true stories of talent and hard work will surely impress budding country music fans, and will help them appreciate the music of their favorite artists more than ever before. With so many inspiring stories in the history of the genre, it begs the question: who inspires you most as a country musician?
Image Source: Wikimedia, John Carter Cash, CMA