For a lot of people, when they look back on 2017, they may remember a year riddled with natural disasters, including back-to-back hurricanes, catastrophic wildfires and record-breaking snowfalls. Others will remember that tragic night in Las Vegas when 58 country music fans lost their lives in the massacre at the Route 91 Harvest Festival. And there are those who will remember the legendary stars who left us sooner than we were ready for.
But there were a lot of bright spots in country music this year, and we can think of about three dozen right off the bat. Or, to sum it all up, 2017 was the year of the country music baby boom.
First, we crunched some numbers:
- By our count, 37 babies were born to country artists in 2017.
- December was the busiest month with seven little ones making their big debuts.
- Boys outnumbered girls, 22 to 15.
- 20 of these arrivals were first babies for the families and two were the fourth
- James proved to be a popular middle name with four boys and one girl receiving the monogram.
- Two of our most precious additions may not have grown in their mommy’s tummies, but most definitely grew in all of our hearts.
Now let’s look at our babies!
Little Big Town’s Kimberly Schlapman started the year off with a big surprise when she announced that she and her husband, Stephen, had adopted a baby girl, Dolly Grace, in January. Dolly was actually born on Dec. 31, 2016, but since we didn’t learn about her arrival until the calendar page turned, we’re calling here a 2017 baby boomer!
On Jan. 12, Mo Pitney’s wife, Emily’s first baby girl, Evelyne Nadine, surprised everyone with an early debut. Just a few days later, on Jan. 16, Waterloo Revival’s George Birge and his bride, Kara, welcomed baby boy George James. Putting the finishing touch on January was Dan + Shay’s Shay Mooney, who had an amazing year when he and then-girlfriend, Hannah Billingsley brought that little nugget, Asher James, into the world on Jan. 24 and then later in the year, tied the knot in October.
We can recall just one lucky charm that arrived in March, but how adorable is he? The Cadillac Three’s Jaren Johnston and his wife, Evyn, welcomed bouncing baby boy Jude Daniel on March 30.
April’s flowers were in full bloom as Zac Brown Band’s Jimmy De Martini and wife Stacey brought home the first blossom of the month with their fourth child, baby girl Jonelle, on April 4. A few days later, on April 7, High Valley’s Curtis Rempel and his bride, Myranda, added another bud to the bouquet with a daughter named Millie June. It wasn’t all girls for April, though. Rising singer-songwriter and Kip Moore discovery Erik Dylan and wife Jackie brought home their second little one, baby boy Hawke James, on April 16.
May was a super busy month for adding to country music families! Brett Kissel and wife Cecilia welcomed a sweet daughter, Aria Cecilia, on May 2, and on May 5, Josh Abbott and his now fiancée, Taylor Parnell, delivered pretty little Emery Farryn. Holly Williams and hubs Chris Coleman added their third blessing to their family on May 12 with son Arlo Gale, and Midland’s Jess Carson and his wife, Camille, grew their family of three by one more—son Parker Emmanuel—on May 14. And Randy Rogers and his sweet wife, Chelsea, proved that it isn’t just April that brings showers when they welcomed daughter Rainey Ryan on May 15.
Of course, we’ll never forget when Thomas Rhett and Lauren Akin’s little cutie-patootie, Willa Gray, arrived from Uganda around Mother’s Day.
June brought a boy/girl split for country music with Lee Brice and his beautiful bride, Sara, adding their first girl, Trulee Nanette, on June 2 to a family that already boasted two handsome boys. Austin and Melanie Webb then celebrated their first, a boy named Owen, on June 4. Back to the girls, Stephen Barker Liles and wife Jenna gave son Jett a baby sister, Rayni Bell, on June 8 and, Justin and Kate Moore finally got their little boy when Thomas South arrived on June 11, joining three beautiful sisters in the Moore home.
August was a hot month for new arrivals. First-time mom Ashley Monroe and her husband, John Danks, welcomed their son, Dalton William, on Aug. 4. Then, just three months after her big sister arrived, Ada James joined the Akins family of dad Thomas Rhett, mom Lauren and sis Willa Gray on Aug. 12. And on Aug. 29, Danny Gokey and wife Leyicet added baby boy Gabriel Daniel to the family.
September brought us four new little apples for our bushel basket starting when LoCash’s Chris Lucas and wife Kaitlyn added Violet Reid to their family on Sept. 3. Trailer Choir’s Big Vinny and his bride, Jenny, welcomed their first, Jagger James Van-Zant, on Sept. 12. John Carter Cash and wife Cristina also delivered their first, little Grace June, on Sept. 18, as did Mike and the Moonpies frontman, Mike Harmeier and his bride, Chase, who brought home first son Levi Brazos after his Sept. 25 arrival.
October may have been a slow month for arrivals, but it was important as both were first-timers! Delta Rae’s Ian Holljes and wife Rebecca welcomed Leo Richman on Oct. 6, while singer-songwriters Greg Bates and Shelley Skidmore celebrated the birth of their first, Bo Rogers, on Oct. 19. And while we don’t have specifics, we also know that Farewell Angelina’s Lisa Torres and her hubs also welcomed a handsome son in October.
November saw a tiny lull in the action, but we were still excited to see Clay Walker and wife Jessica welcome Ezra Stephen early in the month. And just a week or so later, on Nov. 11, we learned of the highly anticipated birth of Brantley and Amber Gilbert’s first son, Barrett Hardy-Clay.
Now hold onto your sleigh bells because things got real in December!
Dec. 1 saw another much-heralded arrival when Jason Aldean and wife Brittany welcomed son Memphis Aldean Williams. We took a brief second to catch our breath before a shower of babies came starting with the Dec. 12 arrival of Dylan and Blair Scott’s baby boy Beckett Scott. Two days later, on Dec. 14, singer-songwriters Rodney Atkins and Rose Falcon welcomed their first child together, a handsome son named Ryder Falcon. Then, two more days later on Dec. 16, sweet Casey James and his bride, Kelli, announced the arrival of their second child, a boy named Maverick Pearce.
We had another tiny break before we were off to the races again with Lady Antebellum’s Dave Haywood and wife Kelli giving big brother Cash a baby sister, Lillie Renee, on Dec. 22. Florida Georgia Line’s Tyler Hubbard and his wife, Hayley, celebrated the arrival of their bundle of cuteness, Olivia Rose, just a day later on Dec. 23, and Craig Wayne Boyd and his wife, Taylor, closed out the year with a new little boy for their family. Graydon Scott made his debut on Dec. 28.
Oh, baby, that’s a lot of babies!
Now, a little disclaimer – we apologize to any country artists who we may have missed in our countdown and we hope that they’ll remind us because nothing excites us here at Rare Country more than a country music baby, and we have celebrated every single one! We also weren’t able to include pictures of all of the new additions due to unavailability.
It’s looking like 2018 is going to be another great year for country stars adding to their families. And although we aren’t expecting numbers like we had in 2017, it’s still early in the game!
Happy Baby New Year, y’all!