Country hit songwriter has strong Heartland ties - KFVS12 News & Weather Cape Girardeau, Carbondale, Poplar Bluff

Country hit songwriter has strong Heartland ties

He taught her values that now ring out on radios and iPods across the country, including her recent number one hit. He taught her values that now ring out on radios and iPods across the country, including her recent number one hit.
PUXICO, MO (KFVS) -

If you watched the American County Music Awards, you may have recognized a name from the Heartland.

Natalie Hemby helped write the song that won Song of the Year, “Automatic,” by Miranda Lambert. During her acceptance speech, the writer give thanks to her grandfather, George Hemby, a longtime Puxico, Mo. resident.

Most of us know the song. We sang along as Miranda Lambert and one of her co-writers made their way to the stage.

“I want to thank my co-writers Natalie Hemby,” Miranda Lambert had said.

What many may not have known, is that Natalie Hemby has close Heartland ties.

“This is for my grandfather, who recorded the first song I ever wrote, I love you George,” Natalie Hemby said from the stage.

“She was playing the piano in there and singing and I just, well, she didn't know I was recording it, but I bet she's still got it,” George Hemby said.

George is Natalie's grandpa. He said when he heard her speech, he couldn't help but get emotional.

“You know, tears rolled up,” George said.

Natalie wasn't raised in Puxico, but she visited her grandma and grandpa often. It created fond memories for both of them: riding horses, fishing, and, of course, performing.

“Ever since I was a little girl, he would sing with me, he would, uh, he has this fireplace and there's a hearth on there and I used to stand on that hearth and sing songs to him all the time,” Natalie said.

“She performed on that just when she was big enough to walk, just about,” George said.

However, it wasn't only music George shared with his granddaughter.

“George is one of the hardest working men I know,” Natalie said.

He taught her values that now ring out on radios and iPods across the country, including her recent number one hit.

“Doing it the hard way, doing it all by hand. He had a really hard life and he made a good life for himself,” Natalie said.

Through her years of success in writing countless hits, Natalie has stayed humble.

“She's wrote with about every female singer in Nashville,” George said. “You won't never hear her tooting her own horn as the ole saying goes.”

Of course, George said he couldn't be more proud to see “his little Natalie” on the big screen.

“She's quite a gal,” George said.

However, he said the only thing better than seeing her there, is to see her in person.

“She has to come home once in a while. I tell her the bluegill are biting,” George said with a laugh. “I always tell her I'll leave the light on for her.”

Natalie often performs at the Puxico Homecoming, when she's visiting George and her friends and family.

She said music runs in her blood. Her grandpa, father and uncle, just to name a few, are all musicians.

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