Back to School: 25+ Photos of Country Stars Then and Now

Even your favorite country artists had to face the all-too-infamous school photos, smiling awkwardly in all their grade school glory.

Written by SLN Staff Writer
Back to School: 25+ Photos of Country Stars Then and Now

We can hear the bells…school bells, that is! With summer sinking slowly behind the shadow of fall, the air fills with the sound of pencils sharpening and lockers slamming between classes.

The annual traditions of school shopping for that show-stopping first day look and buying every single unnecessary classroom accessory to look cooler than all the other kids in your grade have fallen back into season, and with that comes the all-too-infamous school picture.

Sounds Like Nashville decided to celebrate the yearly tradition by calling on some of your favorite country artists to submit their candid school photos, no matter how awkward or silly they may be. Everyone from Dolly Parton to Carrie Underwood to Brett Young contributed to the hilarity and reminisced the days where the only stress came from wishing your mom packed the right dessert to trade with pals at the lunch table.

Check out some of the exclusive back-to-school pictures of the country music community back when they grabbed their knapsacks and learned the 1-2-3 basics from behind their freshly-Lysoled desks:

Jake Owen

Jake Owen, sans front teeth, was all smiles in this classic yearbook photo. Before he was criss-crossing the U.S. in a tour bus, the Florida native spent his days at “Beachin'” with his twin brother near his childhood home in Vero Beach.


Sporting a gold monogrammed pin, Reba looked adorable as ever in her fifth grade portrait. McEntire did plenty of performing during her time in her Oklahoma grade school, making her debut singing “Away in a Manger” in a school play during the first grade. Now, she’s a bona fide superstar!

Bobby Bones

Long before he entertained the masses every morning on the radio, nationally syndicated radio host Bobby Bones of The Bobby Bones Show was a cute kid sporting a mullet in the 4th grade. Now, the Arkansas native is an accomplished radio DJ, stand up comedian, author, recording artist, and philanthropist.

Miranda Lambert

Braceface no more! Miranda Lambert traded her “Vice” of those chronic 80s bangs for a lighter and wavier look nowadays, but it still looks like “We Could Be Friends” in the good ol’ school days regardless!

Brett Young

“In Case You Didn’t Know,” Brett Young hasn’t changed a bit since his high school years! The singer/songwriter, who is about to embark on his first headlining tour, showed off his baby blues in his 11th grade yearbook photo.

Carrie Underwood

Like Brett Young, Carrie Underwood has always looked like Carrie Underwood, even from her middle school days. After finishing her school years in Oklahoma, the “Church Bells” singer made the best decision possible when she auditioned for American Idol. Fun fact: Her trip to Hollywood Week was the first time she’d ever been on an airplane!

Luke Combs

Luke Combs has traded in his school portraits for promo images as he’s grown from an adorable young kid to a successful country star. Combs has clearly done his songwriting homework as his tunes have clearly struck a chord with fans, who blew his smash “Hurricane” up the country radio charts.

Chris Janson

Chris Janson is always talking about how cute his kids are. After seeing this cute snap, there’s no doubt they get their good looks from their doting dad.


No one could mistake those blonde corkscrew curls back in the day for anyone but Cam! Just as adorable as she is now, the “Mayday” singer must have traded her love of red in second grade for her yellow adoration.

William Michael Morgan

He may be “Missing” his signature cowboy hat, but William Michael Morgan still has those boyish good looks!

Jerrod Niemann

Jerrod Niemann may have traded the school bus for a tour bus, but his good looks haven’t changed one bit! The singer/songwriter is gearing up to release his new album, This Ride, on October 6.

Carly Pearce

We love “Every Little Thing” about this photo of Carly Pearce in kindergarten! Growing up in Kentucky, music was always a big part of Pearce’s life…So much so that she left high school to be home-schooled at the age of 16 so she could take a job singing at Dollywood in Pigeon Forge, Tennessee. She will release her debut album on October 13.

Tyler Farr

Tyler Farr may look “Better in Boots,” but this pee-wee football league photo is just as cute! He’ll forever be No. 55 on his team and in our hearts.

Dolly Parton

Dolly Parton gives hope to band nerds everywhere! The highly-successful singer, actress, businesswoman, philanthropist once played drums for her marching band. Since her high school days, she’s gone on to become one of the most successful celebrities around, with a career spanning 50 years.

A Thousand Horses

We’re not blowin’ “Smoke!” The guys of A Thousand Horses have made quite the transformation from their school-aged days!

Seth Ennis

“Look at You,” little Seth Ennis! From his preschool days until even now, Ennis swung high to the sky toward his dreams and eventually, “Woke Up in Nashville,” to pursue music.

Kacey Musgraves

Kacey Musgraves was “Pageant Material” long before she became a household name. The Texas native looks adorably innocent in this throwback glamour shot-style snap, complete with chunky bangs and an animal print tee.

Alan Jackson

Alan Jackson still sports the same charming smile as he did in first grade, now with a few more teeth! The Georgia native, who turns 59 later this year, will keep “chasin’ that neon rainbow” on his Honky Tonk Highway Tour throughout the fall.

Jillian Jacqueline

“Reasons” why we are obsessed with Jillian Jacqueline’s school photo: 1) Look at those bangs! 2) The red background definitely creates a mood. 3) As a first grader, she’s rocking that whole ‘smize’ vibe, if you know what we’re saying.

Cole Swindell

Someone’s not looking too thrilled to go to school (a.k.a. channeling every kid’s thought process)! Thankfully, Cole Swindell was just in the “Middle of a Memory” for this picture from his younger days. Little did he know he’d be racking up No. 1 hits in Music City in his future!

Sara Evans

Sara Evans is the definition of a true ‘glow-up.’ No one needs a “Marquee Sign” to see the truth clear as day that this country singer looks just as gorgeous as she did back in high school.

Darius Rucker

Darius Rucker lived for those Friday night lights before moving up to the big leagues…of music, that is! “If I Told You” Rucker would one day have his name up in lights for music rather than football, he would have never believed it!

Craig Campbell

Craig Campbell traded his graduation cap for that of a cowboy kind to launch his country career. He currently tips his lid to his fans out on the Huntin’, Fishin’ and Lovin’ Every Day Tour with Luke Bryan.

The Railers

They say good looks run in the family and that certainly rings true for The Railers. Brothers Jordan and Jonathan teamed up with Jonathan’s wife to create this talented trio.

Levi Hummon

Cheesin’ hard, we see! Levi Hummon gives all the “Guts and Glory” with a sweet little smile back in kindergarten, and we love it!

Jon Langston

Before he touched down in Nashville, Jon Langston was a star on the football field. Sporting his varsity jacket and class ring, the Georgia native looked as handsome as ever in high school.

Mary Sarah

Show off them sparkling pearly whites, Mary Sarah! Country music and NBC’s The Voice wouldn’t be the same “Without You,” even though high school looked just as fun as life now!

Easton Corbin

Is that you, Easton Corbin? The Florida native is almost unrecognizable in this childhood throwback photo. One thing’s for sure though – he’s always been “A Little More Country Than That.”

Drew Baldridge

Drew Baldridge might have hit a homerun or two back playing ball in high school, but he got himself a grand slam by becoming a country singer in Nashville. Now, Baldridge only hopes to “Rebound” back onto radio with his catchy music!


The guys of Levon haven’t changed much since their school-aged days… except now, they have a whole lot more hair!