Mother’s Day is Sunday, May 9. One band has recorded a song that is a tribute to mothers everywhere. The video and the story behind the song resonate with so many right now.
Written by Jukebox Rehab’s Jon Montgomery, “Hey Mama” talks about the emotions he felt while only being able to see his mother through the window of her nursing home. She has multiple sclerosis and went into the facility right before the pandemic began. When they closed the home to visitors, the only way he could see her was through her bedroom window. But he brought his guitar and played for her anyway.
“I always did my best to stay strong as I could while I was there talking to her. But she didn’t know and nobody really knew that every time I was walking back in my truck, I would get a little emotional,” Montgomery said.
One night the emotions he bottled up for months came pouring out in a song.
“It was weighing on me pretty heavy,” Montgomery said. “I went to sleep that night and I had this idea for ‘Hey Mama.’ And I started hearing just the first two lines of the song.”
The next day his friend and bandmember Dustin Bryant came over.
“I was like, hey man, just I’m going to throw this out there and threw out the first line, first chord. And I think he actually teared up a little bit and he was like, we gotta, we gotta get this out of ya today,” Montgomery said.
According to Bryant, the two talked a lot about what Jon was feeling.
“So we dug in, we dug in on every aspect, every thought, every feeling,” Bryant said. “And so we went into this whole roller coaster of emotions before we really got to narrowing down what it was we wanted to say.”
They recorded a demo and sent it to the others in the band who agreed they needed to record it. But first, Montgomery had to see what his mama thought.
“I sent it to her and she called me immediately and she was just bawling crying. I could hear a couple of her aides in the background crying and you know, it tore me up pretty good. But it was that reaction that I think sparked the idea that we shouldn’t keep this to ourselves,” Montgomery said.
That’s when the band realized just how many people could relate to what Montgomery’s family was going through.
“Not just sons and daughters or mamas or fathers in the same situation, but, CNAs and health care workers that were all dealing with the same thing,” he said. “Watching families come to windows. Seeing the patients have to deal with it. So we felt like it was the right thing to do to share this message with as many people as we could.”
That’s also when the band decided it would be a great way to celebrate those health care workers and what they’ve had to deal with as well.
“We just kinda felt like during these times it was what, what was needed, you know, with all the nurses and doctors and first responders, they needed something to lift them up,” drummer Mike Pitts said.
Guitarist Morgan Keene knew that well. His mother works at a nursing facility and told him about the heartbreak at the windows.
“All you can do as a son to a mother who’s in that industry is when I heard the song is to thank Jon for writing a song like that I knew would touch my mother as well,” Keene said.
If music sings to the soul, then this song is soul cleansing for many. And while it is bittersweet the band also hopes it will be encouraging.
Bryant says they want it “to maybe remind people just how good we have it, even when we think it’s really tough. ‘Cause it could always be worse. Could always be harder. Could always be more stressful. Could always be more emotional. So hopefully people get something out of it that’s positive.”
According to Montgomery, the band always wants to touch emotions.
“At the root of what we do, no matter what we, what song’s about or anything, ultimately at the end of the day, we just want to reach people and we want to reach people in the hearts and souls bring true emotions to the surface in any way we can. I think that’s our, it’s not a job, but that’s, that’s our role as musicians, artists to make somebody feel something. So, knowing that’s happening is very rewarding.”
Jukebox Rehab was busy during the pandemic and recorded a new LP. It’s called “Heaven in a Chevy” and “Hey Mama” is on it. You can get it at JukeboxRehab.com.