All music genres have a formula. Rock has rebellion, the Blues has your woman did you wrong (or vice versa), Hip Hop has - well, I'm sure it has something but I couldn't tell you what it is if my life depended on it. Country has family.
The danger of Country's overt sentimentality is that it strays into the maudlin, becoming a self-parody Remember the ending of Harry Chapin's "30,000 Pounds Of Bananas"? How he tried to write a country ending and so he added his Mom because the song already had a truck? It was funny because it's true.
But when Country is on, it is dead on. I wrote about this once, a few years after Dad's death and how one song captured her grief - to paraphrase Shakespeare a grief so profound that like the Bay of France it had no bottom.*
And so to today's song, which does the same. You will have to go read it at American Digest where Gerhard van der Leun writes about the memories triggered by this simple piece of formula that rises above the trope. The simple becomes deep, aye like the Bay of France which has no bottom.
It made me remember my own Grandpa. I think he might have liked this song.
Go and read. This is the finest thing you'll see all day, other than your family. Oh, and if you don't know the lyrics to Mama Tried, you can find them here.
* In olden times sailors would navigate by, among other techniques, casting a sounding lead - a weight on a long string. If the weight hit the bottom, you would pull it up counting how much line it took (this is the water depth). The Bay Of Biscay off of France was notorious for being so deep that the weight would never hit, thus it "had no bottom".