Eli "Paperboy" Reed grew up immersed in the country music of his father's extensive record collection, learning names like George Jones and Waylon Jennings. Among all the albums, one artist stood out: the outlaw Merle Haggard. "He could get to the heart of these extraordinarily complicated emotional sentiments in two-and-a-half minutes, and that was something that really stuck with me as I began to find my own path as a songwriter," says Reed. "Mama Tried" is the first single from Reed's new tribute to Haggard called Down Every Road. It faithfully retains the original melody and even much of the personality of the 1968 hit, but Reed ups the pace with his own take on Memphis soul and gives it a modern rendering you could almost imagine Haggard delivering himself.