Country Music Has A Full (And Famous) Family Tree
People in show business share stronger connections than you likely ever realized, and country stars are no exception. Many singers have followed in the footsteps of famous family members to chase their own careers in the spotlight, and they’ve paid off.
Many of these artists have been so successful that some fans forget or just flat-out don’t know that they’re related to another famous star. In this list, we’re going to share some of those surprising family connections with you…ones that you likely never realized before!
Of course, we’re not going to mention the insanely obvious relatives, such as Hank Williams and Hank Williams Jr. or Pam and Mel Tillis.
— Ron Newcomer (@ron_newcomer) April 18, 2015
Also, not all of the famous family members we’ll name are country singers themselves…one was a legendary sports star, another is a famous TV evangelist, and a few have acting backgrounds.
Are you ready to see just how full the country music family tree really is? Then start scrolling through our list below!
Linda Davis Is The Mother Of Hillary Scott From Lady A
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The Lady A frontwoman was born with music in her blood! Hillary Scott is following the same path that her mom, country singer Linda Davis, blazed decades prior.
Linda started her career as a member of the duo Skip & Linda before going solo. Since then, she has released five studio albums and 15 singles, including the chart-topping duet with Reba McEntire “Does He Love You.”
Linda married Hillary’s father, country singer Lang Scott, in 1984. But she kept her maiden name as her stage name, which is why few people have ever made the connection that she is related to Hillary.
When Hillary released her solo gospel record in 2016, she invited her mother, father, and sister Rylee to sing on it with her. They were credited as “The Scott Family” on the record, which went on to win a Grammy for Best Contemporary Christian Music Album.
Thomas Rhett’s Dad Is Rhett Akins
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Only a few of you probably knew that there are actually two Thomas Rhetts out there in the world! The youngest of the two is of course, Thomas Rhett, one of the most popular artists in modern country music.
Thomas is actually a Jr., because his father is also named Thomas Rhett…though you know him as the star singer-songwriter Rhett Akins. Known for songs such as “That Ain’t My Truck” and “Don’t Get Me Started,” Rhett was one of the most popular singers in country music during the 1990s and early 2000s.
Rhett hasn’t released an album now since 2008, but has written songs for many other artists through the years, including his son. Just a few of Thomas’ famous tunes penned by his dad include “Life Changes,” “Playing with Fire,” and “Drink a Little Beer,” which Rhett is also featured on.
Darrin Vincent’s Sister Is Rhonda Vincent
Larry talks to Darrin Vincent, Jamie Dailey (Dailey & Vincent) and Rhonda Vincent backstage at the Opry on WSM 650! pic.twitter.com/5JCFl7pcxS
— The Gatlin Brothers (@gatlinbrothers) July 28, 2015
The Vincent family makes music a family affair!
Separately, you are probably familiar with Darrin Vincent of the bluegrass group Dailey & Vincent and bluegrass artist Rhonda Vincent. But we bet you never put two and two together to realize that Darrin and Rhonda are related…they’re siblings!
The two actually performed together years ago in their family group, known as The Sally Mountain Show. Brother and sister have reunited to sing together many times since then, and fans always rejoice when they do.
Eddie Montgomery’s Brother Is John Michael Montgomery
— Jennifer Palumbo (@JenNimePalumbo) September 30, 2013
This one may have been a little bit easier for y’all to figure out! Though since Eddie Montgomery is really only represented by his last name in Montgomery Gentry, we can understand if the connection was something you never made before.
While Montgomery Gentry didn’t burst into the mainstream until 1999, Eddie’s brother John Michael Montgomery was already pretty experienced in the field. His solo career kicked off in 1992, and he soon became one of country music’s defining voices.
But before that, John actually sang with Eddie! The two have continued to perform together through the years, and it’s always a good time when they do.
Tim McGraw’s Father Was Tug McGraw
For a large part of his childhood, Tim McGraw grew up believing that his stepfather was his birth father. But at the age of 11, he learned that his father was actually the famous baseball player Tug McGraw.
Tim was the one who discovered the truth about his dad when he was searching through his mother’s closet to find some quarters. In his search, he discovered his birth certificate.
After Tim’s discovery, his mom took him to meet Tug, who denied that Tim was his child. He didn’t accept him until he turned 18, and after that, the two developed a strong bond that lasted for the rest of Tug’s life.
Tug passed away in 2004, and Tim later went on to honor him in his music video for “Live Like You Were Dying.”
Charles Kelley’s Brother Is Josh Kelley & His Sister-In-Law Is Katherine Heigl
— The Boot (@thebootdotcom) July 21, 2016
Charles Kelley of Lady Antebellum isn’t the only musical one in his family. His brother, Josh, is also a country music singer, known for hit songs such as “Georgia Clay” and “Only You.” With Charles, Josh was featured on the 2017 Colt Ford song “Young Americans.”
But Josh is more than just a singer. He is also an actor, having made appearances in the film Jackie & Ryan and the TV series American Dreams.
Through Josh, Charles also has another famous family member…his sister-in-law Katherine Heigl.
The Grey’s Anatomy actress and Josh have been married since 2007, and share three children. She later went on to direct two of his music videos, one for “Naleigh Moon” and another for “It’s Your Move.”
Gary LeVox’s Cousin Is Jay DeMarcus
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Even though these two are both in Rascal Flatts, we bet you never had any idea that they’re family!
Gary LeVox and Jay DeMarcus are actually second cousins, and they’ve been singing together for years. The two started out as singers in country star Chely Wright’s band, which is when they met their future Rascal Flatts bandmate, Joe Don Rooney.
Joe Don came into the picture when Chely’s regular guitarist wasn’t available for a show. He stepped in, and immediately hit it off with the two cousins from Ohio. Their on-the-spot connection inspired the trio to form Rascal Flatts.
The rest, as they say, is history!
Mickey Gilley’s Cousins Were Jerry Lee Lewis & Jimmy Swaggart
— Justin Taylor (@between2worlds) August 30, 2016
Country singer Mickey Gilley passed away in 2022. He had not one, but two famous family members!
The man behind major hits such as “Room Full of Roses” and “Don’t All the Girls Get Prettier at Closing Time” may not have been a singer if it wasn’t for his cousin Jerry Lee Lewis. That’s because Jerry was the person who taught him how to play piano, which only increased Mickey’s passion for music.
Jerry hit it big before Mickey started his own career, but prior to that, they sang boogie-woogie and gospel music together
They were also joined by another cousin of theirs, Jimmy Swaggart, who Jerry also taught piano. Unlike his other cousins, Jimmy did not chase a musical career. But those times spent singing gospel music together were clearly influential, because he went on to become a TV evangelist.
Now there’s a triple family connection we bet y’all never made before!
Dolly Parton’s Goddaughter Is Miley Cyrus
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While not related by blood, Dolly Parton and Miley Cyrus consider themselves to be family!
Miley’s dad, Billy Ray, became close with Dolly after he opened some shows for the country legend in 1992. A year later the two collaborated on a song of Dolly’s titled “Romeo,” and both appear in its music video.
But Miley was born before that video’s release, and Billy asked his dear friend Dolly if she’d like to be her godmother. Knowing how busy her schedule was, Dolly replied, “I don’t know if I’ll be around to where I can actually do all the duties that a godmother does. So let me be her fairy godmother.”
Over the years Dolly and Miley have worked and performed together many times, and it’s always a joy when they do. Watch one of our favorite duets of theirs in the video below.
As surprising as Dolly and Miley’s connection may be, we’re curious to know if any of the other family ties in this list surprised you more!