Corey Mayo

Writer of the Kenny Chesney hit, "In a Small Town." Song written about his home town. Writer of the George Strait hit, "You'll Be There".

Source: Alabama Music Hall of Fame

 

 

Glencoe's Aimee and Cory Mayo follow their father's success in Nashville

By Lisa Rogers

Times Staff Writer

Published: Friday, October 12, 2007 at 6:01 a.m.

Last Modified: Friday, October 12, 2007 at 7:24 a.m.

Aimee Mayo and her brother, Cory Mayo, may live in Nashville, some 200 miles from their hometown of Glencoe, but the successful songwriters have remained close to their small-town roots.

One of Cory's hit songs, "In a Small Town," recorded by artist Kenny Chesney on his "The Road and the Radio" CD released in 2005, is about Gadsden. Another of Cory's songs, "You'll Be There," was a George Strait hit.

Aimee, at 36, her brother's senior by six years, has an impressive list as well. Tim McGraw, Faith Hill, Kellie Pickler and Martina McBride, to name a few, have recorded songs she has written. She won BMI songwriter of the year in 2000 for the huge hit, "Amazed," performed by Lonestar.

The siblings followed in their father's footsteps.

The late Danny Mayo hits include "If I Had You," performed by Alabama. He wrote "Keeper of the Stars," performed by Tracy Byrd, and Pirates of the Mississippi's "Feed Jake," which earned song of the year honors.

That's just a few of the more well-known songs, but he wrote lyrics for years - a talent both his children inherited.

"Whenever we were in the car with Dad, he was always playing his demos," Aimee recalled. "Now we're doing that to our kids."

Family musical influences aren't limited to their father's side. Music flows through the veins of their mother's family.

Their mother, Becky Thornhill, née Harwood, was from Hokes Bluff, where her grandfather wrote Gospel music and her father sang.

"He made me take piano lessons because he loved to sing," Thornhill recalled. "He wanted me to play so he could sing along."

 

That piano marked a turning point in her life: It's where she left a note to her mother explaining that she and Danny Mayo were running away to get married.

Danny grew up in Alabama City and went to Emma Sansom High School. Becky went to Hokes Bluff High. They met in high school, and then he joined the Navy. When he got his papers to go to Charleston, he begged her to go with him.

So they eloped.

"When we first got married, I didn't even know he could write," she said. "Just out of the blue, he went to a little studio over in Attalla and cut his first demo. I couldn't believe when he let me listen how good it was."

He went to Nashville when Music Row was nothing more than a row of old houses, Becky said.

When they divorced after 10 years of marriage, he moved to Nashville.

"That's when things really started rolling for him," she said. "He got a writing deal."

Their two children kept the couple close.

"We stayed friends and a had a pretty good relationship," Thornhill said.Even though her husband's talents had surprised her, Aimee's writing talent did not.

"All through high school, she loved to write poetry and stories," Becky said. "She kept a catalog of it. The first time I read something she wrote, I thought she had copied it out of a book."

Becky's sister, Debbie Weaver, remembers a Christmas gathering of the Harwood family when Aimee was a young girl.

"We told her to write something about us," Weaver said. "She just wrote a poem about her paw paw, maw maw and all of us in just a few minutes."

Aimee, a Glencoe High graduate, moved to Nashville when she was about 20, and her mother told her to take her poems to a publisher.

 

"I waited tables and still was writing a few lyrics," she said.

She got her first publishing deal when she was 22.

Her first big hit, "Places I've Never Been," performed by Mark Wills, reached No. 3 on the country music charts. She was 23 years old.

Her biggest hit, "Amazed," recorded by Lonestar, stayed at No. 1 for eight weeks in 1999.

Since then, she has accumulated a long list of hits recorded by some of the hottest acts in country music.

She met her husband, Chris Lindsey, at the Blue Bird Café, a showcase for Nashville songwriters, and the couple now have a studio at their home.

"My husband plays every instrument," she said. "He'll be in our studio and come up with more ideas and lyrics than I do."

Finding time now to write lyrics is more difficult. The Mayos have three children, with the newest addition, Lola, less than 2 months old. Levi is 7, and Oscar is 5. They're cousin, Cory's son Jack, is 2 1/2.

But raising families doesn't slow them down.

"We still try to write every day," Aimee said.

Cory made his way to Nashville when he was 22, but he kept his writing talents under his hat for years

"He had never written poetry or anything like that," his mother said. "Cory is a brilliant songwriter, he just hasn't been in the business as long as Aimee. Aimee says he has more talent in his little finger than she does her whole body."

The first song Cory wrote was a surprise for his dad's 50th birthday bash at the Broken Spoke inside the Ramada Inn.

 

Their dad was staying in the hotel, but when he didn't show up for the party, Aimee had friends go check on him. They didn't have any luck, so she got hotel management to open the door.

They found her father on the floor, dead of an apparent heart attack.

"Cory had written the first song he had ever written for his daddy's birthday and he never got to sing it," Thornhill said of her son.

Some time later, at the Blue Bird Café, Aimee and Cory took part in a tribute to their father. She asked Cory to sing that song.

"He wrote the most beautiful song for his dad," his mother said.

There wasn't a dry eye in the house. But publishers saw more than emotion. Cory received several offers after that.

He never sang his father's song again, but he has written many others.

"He has a God-given talent," Thornhill said.

When Thornhill's first grandchild was born, she and her husband, Mike, sold their home and moved to Nashville.

Thornhill is proud of her children's accomplishments.

"But one thing I'm most proud of is that they've kept their feet on the ground," she said. "I told them both, `Remember that God gave you this talent, so use it.' Songs are stories that can be healing for someone who needs to hear them."

Aimee wrote a song in memory of a friend from Hokes Bluff, Jerry Worthy. "Who You'd Be Today" was a hit for Kenny Chesney last year.

Some of Aimee's other hits include "Let's Make Love," recorded by Faith Hill and Tim McGraw; "My Best Friend" and "Drugs or Jesus" by Tim McGraw; "This One's For The Girls" by Martina McBride; "Backseat of a Greyhound Bus" by Sara Evans; "There Will Come a Day" and "You're Still Here" by Faith Hill; "Simple Life" by Carolyn Dawn Johnson; and "It's Always Something" by Joe Diffie.

 

She started her own publishing company - Little Blue Typewriter - in 2005, and has published songs such as "Men & Mascara" by Julie Roberts; "Firecrackers and Ferris Wheels" by Blue County; and "Red High Heels," "Girls Like Me," "My Angel," "One of the Guys," "I Wonder," "Didn't You Know," "Small Town Girl" and "Wild Ponies," all recorded by Kellie Pickler of "American Idol" fame.

Aimee is excited about some other new projects.

"We have the title cut on Carrie Underwood's new album and Faith Hill's `Red Umbrella,'" she said.

Aimee is thrilled that she, her brother and her late father will be the first inductees in the Etowah County Entertainers Hall of Fame.

"One of the first things I thought about was how all I wished for when I was in high school was a job at the Record Bar in the mall," she said.

Aimee and Cory will have their families with them in Gadsden for the induction ceremony.

"I'm so happy they're doing it and including our dad," she said. "I can't wait to come home. It's going to be fun."

The induction ceremony is at Convention Hall tonight. Doors open at 6, with a silent auction at 6:30. Items to be auctioned include autographed guitars, original, handwritten versions of hit songs, autographed clothing items from country music stars and celebrities. Sports memorabilia also will be auctioned.Cost to attend the event is $10. Heavy hors d'oeuvres will be served.

 

Source: Glencoe's Aimee and Cory Mayo follow their father's success in Nashville | GadsdenTimes.com

 

The Road and the Radio, Kenny Chesney22 More Hits, George Strait

Listen: The Road and the Radio by Kenny Chesney - Download The Road and the Radio on iTunes

Listen: Amazon.com: In A Small Town: Kenny Chesney: MP3 Downloads

Listen: 22 More Hits by George Strait - Download 22 More Hits on iTunes

Listen: Amazon.com: You'll Be There: George Strait: MP3 Downloads

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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