Last Tuesday, we talked to singer-songwriter Whitney Duncan during our latest segment of Songs I Grew Up On. Raised in Scotts Hill, Tennessee, halfway between Memphis and Nashville, Duncan cites five iconic country songs from her childhood – several of which were performed by female artists – as her greatest inspirations while writing her own music. We had a lot of fun accompanying Duncan as she took her trip down memory lane.
1. “Fishin’ in the Dark” by Nitty Gritty Dirt Band (1987)
Duncan claimed this song represented the “summers of [her] childhood” growing up in the country. “It’s one of those timeless songs. It’s a classic!” she said. Duncan has also covered this song herself many times.
2. “Strawberry Wine” by Deana Carter (1996)
This song holds a special place in Duncan’s heart because of its truthful depiction of a young love she herself has experienced. “It hits home for me because I remember being 17…being young and in love. It’s the perfect song,” she mentioned. “It’s impossible to cover and do it justice. [Deana Carter’s] so perfect for that song. I never felt like I could make that song mine. It’s just a perfectly written song.”
3. “Maybe it was Memphis” by Pam Tillis (1991)
Duncan listens to this iconic Pam Tillis song and thinks of home. “I’m a Tennessee girl,” she reminded us. “Halfway between Memphis and Nashville.” Upon reflection, Duncan also said she had begun to recognize a pattern in the songs she loves: they have to do with summer memories. This particular song reminds her of summer in the south. “You can feel the heat in the song. It always takes me back.”
4. “Good Ol’ Boys Like Me” by Don Williams (1979)
It’s no surprise this classic Don Williams song made Duncan’s top five. However, her love for the tune goes beyond its general popularity. She said that it reminds her of the classic country music she used to listen to with her grandfather in the car, and she also has deep appreciation for the way he sings it: “Don Williams' voice just always spoke to me and his tone. It was always so soothing but also deep and buttery”
5. “Any Man of Mine” by Shania Twain (1995)
“I had to have a sassy one in there,” exclaimed Duncan. “When Shania came on the scene, she just rocked my world! I loved everything about her from her voice to her music videos to her cute little crop tops.” Duncan admired her individuality, the fact that she made her own decisions separate from the path that the country music industry of her time laid out for her. “She just did her own thing, and she didn’t care what Nashville said,” Duncan added. “I think she really impacted us all.”
Whitney Duncan has a new EP out now titled I'm the Fire. It features six songs including“Too Drunk to Drive," “Tomorrow Girl," and “Harder to Leave."
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