Country stars share their 4th of July memories

4th of julyPhoto courtesy My Nice Profile

Happy Independence Day my fellow Americans, and happy Thursday to the rest of my readers from the rest of the world. Today is the day of beer, barbecue, fireworks, a day off from work (for most of us) national independence, national pride, and all that other jazz. 

In honor of the 4th of July, Capitol Records Nashville recently asked a bunch of their artists to take time to talk about their own traditions, memories and what the holiday really means to them. 

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Billy Currington: “My best memories would be hanging out with my mom, brother and sister on the beach on Tybee Island right off the coast of Savannah, Georgia. We’d go there every year, and we’d light our own fireworks and watch the ones that they had for us. They were the best times, some of the best times of my life.”


Darius Rucker: “Oh, I love fireworks. We had the bottle rocket fights and all that good stuff. I was the typical little crazy kid, you know. In South Carolina, it was always legal, so we shot fireworks when it was legal. We did all that sort of stuff. I almost blew my hand off once.” 


David Nail: "In Kennett, Missuri where I grew up the Fourth of July, it was a race to get your car parked so we could watch the fireworks at the airport. They did them off the golf course. I wasn’t fortunate enough to be a country club kid to watch it from that side of town. You’d be riding through town at 8:00, 9:00 in the morning, you’d see lawn chairs alongside of the road, people getting their spots so you could see them. Even though the town was so small you could sit in your front yard and watch them. That wasn’t good enough. Everybody wanted to see them up close. I can remember doing that as a kid, and as we got older, it became a little easier to get our spot. As a kid, you wanted to get there as quick as possible and be up front, just so you could say you were up front."


Dierks Bentley: “I’m extremely patriotic. I love this country, and I love the history of this country. I read books on this country. I spend my time on the road traveling physically throughout the country. The soldiers and their families are constantly on my mind. We work closely with the Wounded Warriors Project. We think about this stuff all the time.”


Drake White: “If you go from my hometown to Nashville, you go past Monteagle Mountain,a nd there are some of the biggest fireworks stands, I’m gonna say, in the nation. So, every time I go by there, I walk in and just try not to spend over $200 on fireworks, ‘cause you never know when a good firework is gonna be needed. [chuckles] So, if there’s weddings, I’m gonna sneak around and throw a fireworks show, just because I love fireworks. So, Fourth of July for us, if it wasn’t spent on the lake or spent on the river, we went down to the beach and there were always fireworks involved. It’s one of my favorite, favorite holidays.”


Eric Church: “The Fourth of July for me, growing up we would always go to the lake, we didn’t live on the lake but we would all go to the lake. Had a buddy who had a pontoon and we would always get on the pontoon and you go out and you’d tie all the pontoons together and just have a big time. This was before, I was younger then, the adults were having more fun than we were, you know it was just to go swim in the water and shoot off fireworks. Basically, water tailgating is what it was. And then as we got older, same thing…we would just, us younger kids had our own boat and we had as much fun as the adults."


Josh Turner: “Yeah, we had fireworks around, especially my Daddy’s family. All the individual families had a lot of competition with each other and tried to outdo each other to try to see who had the biggest and baddest fireworks and all that. [laughs] My daddy, I think, was the smartest one. He just went out and bought maybe $25 worth of fireworks and let everybody else put on the big show, so he saved a lot of money.” [laughs]


Keith Urban: “1989 was the first year I came to the States, and it had always been my goal, but I had no plan on how to get here. It was just a case of keep playing, keep getting better at what you do, and then hopefully, somehow, some way I’ll end up over here. The guy who was managing me at the time, we just planned a trip over here – it was actually for the New Music Seminar in New York. And we came over for that, and then we did a trip down to Nashville, and I shopping my little demo around. I think I humored everybody more than anything else [laughs] with my tragic, ill-fitting demo for the time. So, I left there, but I was just so committed to coming back as quick as I could.”


Little Big Town: “It’s such a huge sacrifice what these men and women do for us, and not only the ones that are serving, but the families that are left here at home. Kimberly and I met a young girl that, she’s 21 years old and she has a third baby and her husband has served multiple times overseas. She’s raising these children at home, and doing a great job and the best she can, and he’s serving his country. And he’s making a monstrous sacrifice, but so is she and so are those children, and we just can’t take it for granted. I mean, it’s just a huge commitment that they make, and what an honor. We love to be able to sing for them and entertain them and to say thank you whenever we can.” (Kimberly: “Yeah.”)


Luke Bryan: “Some of my favorite Fourth of July memories were spent on Lake Blackshear down in Georgia with my family. I was always kind of in charge of driving home from Tennessee and picking up all the fireworks and my nieces and nephews always got excited when I rolled in because they knew I had all the fireworks. But, it was always a great memory, and I miss not getting to do that as much as we used to.”


Scotty McCreery: “You know, every July 3rd or July 4th, I’ve always been back home in North Carolina and just kind of always gone to the lake about two minutes from my house, and there are fireworks and the symphony. But this July 4th is gonna be a little more special to me, because I get to [perform] on A Capitol Fourth in Washington, D.C. As a country music singer and as an American, and that’s gonna be huge to me to be in our nation’s capital and performing for the folks out there and just being where it’s all happening. It means a lot to me to be invited to go play that, and I’m gonna take it all in and have a great time.”

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Lady Antebellum: “For many, many years in a row, we would be up at the lake for Fourth of July, and having those memories of being on the boat and going tubing and skiing and enjoying being out in the summertime, great weather on the water. But, then for me, Fourth of July was when [husband] Chris [Tyrell] proposed. So, I got proposed to on July 2nd up at the lake, the same lake I grew up going to, and so that’s probably the biggest highlight of Fourth of July to me – getting a rock on my hand.”