The Shootouts are back and they’ve taken their best shot with their brand new record, Bullseye. Released last week, on April 30th via Soundly Music, Bullseye is your ultimate escapist album, a set of songs that are just honest to goodness fun. It’s been a trying time in modern human history, and The Shootouts wanted to do their part to give their fans a short reprieve from the harsh realities of life. Many of the songs on Bullseye are out and out barnburners, authentic upbeat tracks that do their best to pay homage to the music that lead singer Ryan Humbert grew up on; classic country, bluegrass, and gospel. You can think of it as modern honky-tonk music, rooted in a rich tradition that also fits seamlessly into the here and now.

Among the many highlights contained on Bullseye is the song “Another Mother.” This may be the most special moment on the album, one that not only digs deep into that rich country music history, but also celebrates Humbert’s most significant inspiration in life, his mother. In the song, Humbert reflects on the enormous influence and impact his mother had on him, prior to her unexpected passing in 2018.

Joining us today for a special guest blog, just in time for Mother’s Day, is Ryan Humbert himself in which he digs deep into “Another Mother,” how his mother’s passing impacted him as an individual and as a songwriter, and the message he hopes listeners take away from the song.

“Another Mother” by: Ryan Humbert

“‘How is it possible that it’s been 819 days since the last time I saw an incoming call with your name on it?’

This is just one of the many random questions that flash through my mind daily when I think about my mom, Judy. She passed away the night before Thanksgiving, November 21st, 2018, at the age of 64. It happened suddenly, and with no warning. One minute she was cooking and laughing with my sister in the kitchen. The next minute, she was gone. We were shell-shocked, to say the least.

I can say with full certainty that there are few things more life-changing than watching your sister perform CPR on your mom on the kitchen floor. That image is seared into my mind like a bad movie stuck on a loop.

There’s no easy way to describe what losing a parent feels like; those who have can surely sympathize. Your whole life changes from that moment forward. And while losing a parent is never easy, it’s an even harder pill to swallow when it happens suddenly. There is no goodbye, no time to make amends, to offer that final ‘I love you’ or any of the countless afterthoughts on which we often dwell.

It is said that oftentimes, beautiful art blooms from even the most devastating tragedy, and turning life-changing memories and moments into art is a tried, tested, and positive form of healing the soul. I kept coming back to this, and to the idea of honoring her in song.

As a songwriter, I knew that it would be good for me, healthy even, to address this devastation through my primary art form. I suspected that wrangling this piece to the ground would help me cope with her loss in a way that only other songwriters can fully understand. But it had to come when the time was right.

Almost a year after her death, in October of 2019, whether I was ready or not, the song started writing itself. Within just a few frenzied hours, I penned ‘Another Mother.’

The message I wanted to convey revealed itself quickly: Do not take the important relationships in your life for granted. Each day could be your last one on Earth, so make sure your loved ones know how loved they are. My mom made sure my sister and I knew that, and it’s something I strive to pass on in all my relationships and friendships.

When it was finished, I sent a rough work tape to Emily Bates, also a member of the Shootouts and my longtime singing partner. She knew my mom well, and I knew she’d lend an empathetic, sensitive ear. Her response mirrored what I was feeling: This song had to be on the next album. The band agreed and we worked up an arrangement quickly, then sending a demo to Chuck Mead, who was producing the album.

Fast forward to early March of 2020. The Shootouts are in Nashville, cutting our new album Bullseye as a worldwide pandemic is setting in around us. When it came time to record ‘Another Mother,’ I managed to keep my composure for most of the session. I was hoping the work ahead would help take my mind away from the heaviness of the song. That worked… for a bit. About halfway through the song I completely broke down while singing this line:

“She taught me all the good things that I’d need, and she’s still watching over me when I see her in my dreams.’

Artwork for ‘Bullseye’ by The Shootouts

My voice cracked once, and that was it. I stopped singing. Tears flowed. Silence from the control room. All of us teary-eyed. Chuck and Emily came into the vocal booth, hugged me, dusted me off. I regained composure, started singing again, and made it through. That moment needed to happen; the emotion had to be so raw that it would cut through to the heart of the song. I’m certain it came through on the final recording.

I’m so happy with how ‘Another Mother’ turned out, and I think if she were here, my mom would love it and approve, too. I hope that it might help others heal wounds of their own.

My sister and I were incredibly lucky to have had my mom in our corner. She was always there for us, and in many ways, she still is. She taught us so much, some by design and some by default, seeds planted that will continue to grow and thrive for many years to come.”

“Another Mother”
(Ryan Humbert)

Barefoot in the backyard, clothes damp on the line
Waiting for the wind to sing, calling us inside
Standing by the backdoor, hand over her heart
She didn’t say a single word, her smile said it all

She taught me all the good things that I’d need
Except living in a world with just her memory

So always say I love you, call her every day
Find the time to find the time
To thank her in every way
‘Cause it can all change in a minute
So count the blessings that she grew
Cause you don’t get another mother
When her time here is through

There’s quiet strength in quiet days when the kids have come and gone
Staring in the bathroom mirror at the woman she’d become
Sixty years has come and gone but not without a fight
And even through the thick and thin she knew she got it right

She taught me all the good things that I’d need
And she’s still watching over me when I see her in my dreams

So always say I love you, call her every day
Find the time to find the time
To thank her in every way
‘Cause it can all change in a minute
So count the blessings that she grew
Cause you don’t get another mother
When her time here is through

Come hell or high water, fire or brimstone
Her heart shines like a diamond, stronger than she knows
And when the day had ended her work was never done
‘Cause nothing stands in the way of a mother’s love

Always say I love you, call her every day
Find the time to find the time
To thank her in every way
‘Cause it can all change in a minute
So count the blessings that she grew
Cause you don’t get another mother
When her time here is through

But her love will last forever
Until your time here is through

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