The space between Chris Janson and the story he tells during "Bye Mom" will allow listeners in for years to come. There's a maturity to this new song that's remarkable.

Co-writer Brandon Kinney's mother died, and soon after, he and Janson sat down to write a tribute song that became something bigger. This kind of circle-of-life song is essential to the country music experience (Luke Combs' 2019 hit "Even Though I'm Leaving" tells the same story, about Dad), but it doesn't always work. Often this is because the singer squeezes too hard, something Janson is inclined to do when he writes about his own life.

The distance between singer and subject, plus a tender acoustic arrangement, leaves room for every detail of this masterfully written story song to permeate. The songwriting pair found a languid melody for the chorus that suits his overall message of taking things for granted. The final verse is no surprise, but the way he frames his mother's death is creative and special. Janson's next musical chapter is beginning with perhaps his best ballad to date.

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Did You Know?: Chris Janson's Mom's name is Carrie.

Chris Janson's "By Mom" Lyrics: 

Bye Mom / That’s what I said, at 5 years old, the first day of school / Already then, I thought I was way too cool / I thought I had it figured out, and I didn’t know a thing / Bye Mom / Don’t worry about me, I’ll see you at 3 at the bus stop / And I know you’ll be there to pick me up, in the old truck.

Chorus:
Oh that’s just the way it is, when you think you’re grown but you’re still a kid / And you don’t know you’re somebody / That somebody loves more than themselves / And there’s a beauty in the innocence, of not knowing that the time they spent / Is more than one could ask for, and that’s a special kind of love / And it’s only there for a lifetime then it’s gone / And it’s Bye Mom.

You can drop me off down the block around the corner square / All my buddies are waitin’ for me just over there, I’ll see ya later on / Bye Mom / It’s a cap and a gown, then a brand new town, 8 hours away / Don’t cry I’ll be ok.

Repeat Chorus

And by mom I sang a million mornings at the Bryan Street Baptist Church / And by mom I waited hours and hours, ‘til she got off of work / And by mom I stood and cried and laid a rose onto a grave / And ‘Bye Mom’ were the last words that I spoke, before we sang Amazing Grace.

Repeat Chorus

Warner Music Nashville

Top Country Songs of 2021, Ranked

You'll find much more than just the Top 10 Country Songs of 2021 on this list.

Our team has sourced fans to create 10 superlatives for this mid-year version of the year-end songs list. Best Country Tearjerker? Best Country Baby-Maker? Best Country Breakup Song of 2021? Keith Urban, Carly Pearce, Chris Bandi and more help make up this portion of the Top Country Songs list, while hitmakers like Thomas Rhett and Little Big Town lead the 10 best songs portion.

Did your favorite song of 2021 make this list? To be considered, the song must have been released in 2021 or have actively charted for a portion of the year (see "Wine, Beer, Whiskey"). New artists including Lainey Wilson, Breland and Triston Marez crack the Top 10. Let us know your favorite song of 2021 at Twitter or email, at staff@tasteofcountry.com.