Country Music Stars Who Grew Up in Small Towns: From Willie Nelson to Miranda Lambert

by Jacklyn Krol

Discover stars like Willie Nelson, Miranda Lambert, Hank Williams, among others and the small towns they called home.

Hank Williams

  • Town:  Georgiana
  • State: Alabama
  • Population: 1,806

Hank Williams’ childhood home was made into a museum for fans to visit. The Hank Williams Sr. Boyhood Home Museum features pieces from the time period along with memorabilia straight from the Williams family. The country crooners first brief home was on a farm in Mount Olive, just southwest of Georgiana. The family lost their home to a fire and relocated to 127 Rose Street.

Kacey Musgraves

  • Town: Golden
  • State: Texas
  • Population: 200

When Kacey Musgraves was a child, her family relocated nearby to Mineola, Texas. Her record, Same Trailer Different Park, was inspired by her experiences in her hometown. Musgraves revealed to The Guardian, that her family still lives there and her aunt runs an art gallery. The town is known for its sweet potatoes and they even run an annual festival to celebrate it.

“It’s actually really fun,” she told the outlet. “All these old ladies get together and they have sweet potato pie-cooking contests and they crown a Sweet Potato Queen and a Little Miss Tater Tot. I definitely tried out for the Little Miss Tater Tot. I’m pissed that I didn’t get it. I don’t know what the hell happened, but I’m still bitter.”

After she graduated from high school, she moved to the city of Austin to pursue her music career.

Johnny Cash

  • Town: Kingsland, Dyess
  • State: Arkansas
  • Population: 512, 288

Johnny Cash was born on February 26, 1932, in Kingsland and his family moved to Dyess shortly after. His home is now on the National Register of Historic Places cited as, “Farm No. 266, Johnny Cash Boyhood Home.” The town boasts an annual heritage festival and now features virtual tours of his museum. Cash’s songs, “Five Feet High and Rising” and “Pickin’ Time” were inspired by his experience in Dyess. The first song tells the story of a flood that ripped apart the town while the second is based on his memories there.

Carrie Underwood

  • Town: Muskogee, Checotah
  • State: Oklahoma
  • Population: 37,000 , 3,142 

Carrie Underwood was born in Muskogee and grew up on her family’s farm in Checotah. She released the song, “I Ain’t In Checotah Anymore” on her 2005 album Some Hearts. The song talks about the comparison between her small town to the city life.

Underwood never forgot her home and has donated to her town on a regular basis. The American Idol alum donated and helped build the fire department, town’s first splash pad, animal shelter, Boys and Girls Club, new school playground, new sports uniforms and equipment, and musical instruments to the school. Travel Oklahoma offers a “Carrie Underwood Itinerary” where fans can travel the state and visit integral places of her life.

Willie Nelson

  • Town: Abbott
  • State: Texas
  • Population: 317

The native Texan grew up in an extremely small town in Abbott and raised by his grandparents. His first experience in music was performing at church. Nelson speaks highly of the town and credits it with inspiring his music.

“It goes all the way back to where I was born,” Nelson told The New Yorker. “Used to say the population never changes, because every time a baby’s born a man leaves town. So, anyway, I grew up in that town, and—excuse my language, but our motto down there was all we know how to do is fight, fuck, and throw rocks. [Laughs] It was fun. We fought bumblebees, each other—it didn’t matter. We just had a good time wrestling and boxing and growing up, like kids do.”

Miranda Lambert

  • Town: Longview, Lindale
  • State: Texas
  • Population: 81,653, 6,011

Miranda Lambert was born in Longview but grew up in the small town of Lindale, Texas. “The people from Lindale are just country, good Texas people, Lambert said. “They are down to earth. Everybody’s got an ice-cold glass of tea and probably something fried in their house, and they’ll invite ya’ in! It’s very warm here. I mean, to me, the epitome of how you think of Texas people being, that’s how people in Lindale are.”

Lambert’s family opened the Pink Pistol Boutique in the town. It sells Lambert merchandise and her exclusive wine collection.

Luke Bryan

  • Town: Leesburg
  • State: Georgia
  • Population: 3,006

Luke Bryan is from the great state of Georgia in the small town of Leesburg. Surprisingly, Bryan is not the only famous face from the town. San Francisco Giants All-Star Buster Posey and American Idol winner Phillip Phillips.

“I loved growing up here,” Bryan told Parade. The song “Muckalee Creek Water” was inspired by the real creek he grew up fishing at. “Being a Bryan, you’re predestined to be a fisherman,” he admitted. He stayed in his hometown until nineteen when his family encouraged him to go to Nashville to pursue his music career. Some of his family still lives in the town to date.

Eric Church

  • Town: Granite Falls
  • State: North Carolina
  • Population: 4,628

Eric Church was born and raised in Granite Falls, North Carolina. He worked for his father at a furniture upholstery company, Clayton Marcus. He bought his first guitar at 13 and began writing his own music at home. “Give Me Back My Hometown” was off of his 2014 album, The Outsiders. The tune was inspired by the town.

“Something that anybody knows more than anybody else is their hometown,” Church said in an interview with Roughstock. “That’s where they’re most comfortable, that’s their comfort. The loneliest thing about this song to me is here’s a guy who’s left in that place that should be the most comforting place to him, and it’s actually the place that haunts him because the girl left him, and there are memories of her everywhere.”

Sam Hunt

  • Town: Cedartown
  • State: Georgia
  • Population: 9,999

Hunt was truly born and raised in Cedartown. He played on his high school football team which led to his collegiate career in the sport. He stayed in the town until 2009 when he decided to move to Nashville to pursue a career in country music. Hunt returned to his hometown to marry his fiancee Hannah Lee Fowler.

Brad Paisley

  • Town: Glen Dale
  • State: West Virginia
  • Population: 1,548

Brad Paisley is proud of his roots. “I think every writer is influenced by how they grew up,” Paisley told WV News. “I’m lucky to have come from a place that was very, very much exactly what you would expect for training for country music.”

“I got to play for so many people that showed me how to do this, that I wouldn’t be here without it,” he added. “I think if I was born somewhere else, I don’t know necessarily what I’d be doing.” During his near-hometown show, he called it a “home game” for him.