Carolyn Kruse

Carolyn Kruse

Carolyn Kruse

Ask anyone in the arts how they got started and you are likely to hear a relative mentioned. “My dad always had music on… My Cousin had a band…my mother is an artist.” Many artists even have famous family members who inspired them, or continue to be a major influence on their art. The world of country music, it’s no different. Lots of famous country stars often name their family influences in interviews as motivating factors. So, I thought I’d put together a list of 11 country stars and their famous family members, with the help of Taste of Country (including some others not listed here).

Country Stars And Their Famous Family: Nature or Nurture?

Take a gander at some of country music’s brightest stars and their notable family members. The majority here are musicians, but in one case we have a country star, who started out as an athlete, and his famous relative who was an athlete. Some work closely with their talented relatives, while others are simply inspired.

In all cases, these country artists grew up in creatively nurturing environments. Perhaps, these stars inherited their musical talent. Yes, there is nature and nurture involved in these 11 country stars and their famous family members.

You’ll likely know about a least a couple of these famous names on the list, from the Thomas Rhett family to a pop princess and her 90s country icon of a father. Most are related by blood, but not in one particular case where a country queen is related by marriage to America’s talk show sweetheart. Have fun discovering the musical talents and how they run deep in families. Did you grow up with music in the house? Most of us took lessons, but I discovered early on that I’m a better listener of music than a musician.

  • 1. Thomas Rhett and Rhett Akins

    Thomas Rhett and Rhett Akins

    (Photo by Rick Diamond/Getty Images)

    Let’s start with the obvious. Most people who are fans of Thomas Rhett know his dad is a famous songwriter, and even had a couple of big hits in the 1990s. He was even given is father’s name, as a middle name. Thomas Rhett is the song of Rhett Akins. Thomas didn’t want to rely on name recognition to earn his way in country music, so he dropped the Akins.  Rhett has written so many songs for so many artists. You’ve likely heard of the following:

    • Small Town Boy- Dustin Lynch
    • Dirt On My Boots- Jon Pardi
    • Huntin’, Fishin’ And Lovin’ Every Day- Luke Bryan
    • Boys Round Here, and Honey Bee- Blake Shelton
    • To Be Loved By You- Parker McCollum
    • And a whole lot of Thomas Rhett collabs From “Half of Me,” to “What’s Your Country Song,” “It’ Goes Like This,” “Star of the Show” and more!

    Rhett Akins scored a big hit of his own in 1995 with “That Ain’t My Truck.”

  • 2. Hillary Scott And Linda Davis

    HIllary Scott and Linda Davis

    (Photo by Rick Diamond/Getty Images)

    Lady A’s Hillary Scott grew up listening to and watching her mother, Linda Davis sing and perform. She had a duo, and released solo music, before scoring a huge #1 hit with Reba McEntire, “Does He Love You.” Linda was Reba’s backing vocalist for her road band. She has also recording and won awards for her Christian music career.


  • 3. Eddie Montgomery and John Michael Montgomery

    John Michael Montgomery and Eddie Montgomery

    John Michael Montgomery and Eddie Montgomery attends the 2011 Kentucky Music Hall of Fame and Museum Induction (Photo by Stephen Cohen/Getty Images)

    From 1992-2000 John Michael Montgomery scored a bunch of hits, including 7 #ones, from “I Swear” to “Sold (the Grundy County Auction Incident)” and many more. As kids, he and his brother, Eddie sang together. Eddie ventured out and teamed up with Troy Montgomery to become the popular country duo, Montgomery Gentry. Together they made hit music from 1999 to 2011. Montgomery Gentry was best known for “My Town,” “Gone” and “Somethin’ To Be Proud Of.”

  • 4. Parmalee

    Parmalee at Nashville Songwriters' Awards

    Parmalee attend NSAI 2022 Nashville Songwriter Awards at Ryman Auditorium on September 20, 2022 in Nashville, Tennessee. (Photo by Terry Wyatt/Getty Images)

    Brothers Matt and Scott Thomas grew up with music. They performed with their father in a group called Jerry Thomas and the Thomas Brothers Band. After their dad retired the brothers started Parmalee with their cousin Barry Knox and their long-time friend Josh McSwain. Today, Parmalee is enjoying great success on the charts and on the road. They have 3 #1 hits, “Carolina”  “Just the Way,” and “Take My Name.” Their current hit, “Girl in Mine” is a top 20 hit, and climbing. 


  • 5. Brothers Osborne

    Brothers Osborne

    (Photo by Rick Diamond/Getty Images for Country Thunder)

    Actual brothers, here. Guitar slinger John Osborne is the brother of lead vocalist TJ Osborne. These brothers were raised on music. Both of their parents wrote and played music, their uncles and cousins also played. And the entire Osborne clan (John and TJ have 3 other sibblings) would often play at their family home in Maryland. Brothers Osborne first started out playing with their dad went to Belmont University to pursue music in college, and TJ followed him to music city. They first performed separately, before decided they were better off as a duo. The Grammy Award winning duo is bests known for their hits, “Stay a Little Longer,” “It Ain’t My Fault,” and their collaboration with Dierks Bentley on “Burnin’ Man.”

  • 6. Reba McEntire and Kelly Clarkson

    Reba and Kelly Clarkson

    (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)

    A couple of divorces can’t keep these women from being forever family. Kelly was married to Brandon Blackstock. Brand is the son of Reba’s ex-husband Narvel Blackstock. Both Reba and Kelly have since divorced the Blackstock men, but they are truly sisters for life.

  • 7. Billy Ray Cyrus and Miley Cyrus

    Billy Ray Cyrus and Miley Cyrus

    (Photo by Ian Gavan/Getty Images)

    The world fell in love with this father/daughter Billy Ray and Miley Cyrus when they worked together in the hit Disney TV series, Hannah Montana. The TV launched in 2006, about 14 years after “Achy Breaky Heart” made him a country music superstar. Another branch in this musical family tree…Dolly Parton is Miley’s Godmother. Miley pursued pop music, and Billy Ray even scored a huge pop hit with the artist, Lil Nas X, on the song “Old Town Road.”

  • 8. The Chicks

    The Chicks

    (Photo by Scott Gries/Getty Images)

    The 13 time Grammy Award winning goup, the Chicks share a family connection. Sisters Martie Maguire and Emily Strayer (formerly Robison) started the band back in 1989 in Dallas, TX. They went through several lineups in the group before being introduced to lead singer, Natalie Maines, by her father Lloyd Maines. Lloyd had played steel guitar on a couple of their albums and when the sisters were searching for a new lead vocalist, he passed along the demo tape that had earned Natalie a full scholarship to Berklee College of Music. The rest is Chicks history. They went on to become one of the most successful female groups in country music history, and all genres.


  • 9. Brett Young and Randy Vataha

    Brett Young isn’t the only star in his family to play at Foxboro Stadium. Did you know Brett has an uncle who played for the New England Patriots? His Uncle Randy Vataha played wide reciever for the New England Patriots from 1971-1976. Meanwhile, Brett himself, was quite the athlete.He played quarterback in high school, and was heavily recruited as a baseball pitcher. He even won a baseball scholarship to play at Fresno State. Brett was eventually selected in the MLB Draft by the Tampa Bay Devils Rays and Minnesota Twins. An inury led him straight down the music road, his other great passion.

    Brett Young reflects on his family's Patriots ties before playing at Gillette Stadium this weekend

    Gillette Stadium is a special place for Brett Young to perform. His uncle, Randy Vataha, played for the Patriots in the 70s.


  • 10. Gary LaVox, Jay DeMarcus and James Otto

    Rascal Flatts

    Joe Don Rooney, Jay DeMarcus, and Gary LeVox of Rascal Flatts attend the 2018 CMT Music Awards. (Photo by Mike Coppola/Getty Images for CMT)

    James Otto

    (Photo by Kevin Winter/Getty Images for ACMA)


    Did you know Rascal Flatts frontman Gary LaVox is related to his longtime bandmate, Jay DeMarcus? They are actually second cousins. But wait there’s more! Jay’s wife Allison has a sister Amy, who is married country singer James Otto. Otto scored a huge hit in 2008 with the song, “Just Got Started Lovin’ You.”  So Jay Demarcus and James Otto are brothers-in-law.


  • 11. The Band Perry

    The Band Perry

    (Photo by David Becker/Getty Images)

    The Band Perry was a popular trio who burst onto the country music scene in 2009, and continued to churn out hit songs until 2014. They are no longer together as a music group, but will always be together because they are family. The trio is made up of Reid, Kimberly and Neil Perry. Kimberly just officially announced the launching  her solo career earlier this month. Kimberly started her music career as a teenager, and a solo act. Her brothers were first her roadies, then her opening act, before they decided to become a trio. As the Band Perry they scored 9 top 20 hits, 4 of those were #1s. Their first #1 was “If I Die Young” and was written by Kimberly.

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