Backstage with Sammy Kershaw in Roanoke Rapids, NC | Photo by John Speight

Backstage with Sammy Kershaw in Roanoke Rapids, NC | Photo by John Speight

"I'm a country music singer. I'll die a country music singer." - Sammy Kershaw


I was side stage in the wing watching wide-eyed. I was sitting on a barstool with a paper bag full of Logan's roasted peanuts in my lap because it was the only thing I could find to eat backstage. Sammy Kershaw was talking to the crowd about how he started in the music business and who his influences were when he said, "I'm a country music singer. I'll die a country music singer." And right there, covered in peanut shells, I sobbed. Because, I felt the same way.

Opening for Sammy Kershaw was a call I was so excited to get, for a couple reasons. #1 - I love Sammy Kershaw. I used to stand on the fire place hearth and sing "Cadillac Style" when I was a little girl. I'd wait all day for CMT to air the "Meant To Be" music video so I could sing along with a remote control for a microphone on my brick hearth stage. I've been a fan of his and appreciated his music for so long but I appreciate it so much more now because that sound, his sound, seems to be dying in the country music genre. And reason #2 - It was my 5th wedding anniversary and I couldn't think of a better way to spend it than singing country music on stage with my guitar-playing husband. So, we were beyond excited for the opportunity!


I briefly met and talked with Sammy backstage before he took the stage and he was incredibly kind. I am always hesitant to meet the artists that I open for because I understand the demand of "show day" and I know their time is valuable - I don't want to inconvenience them. But, I'm also hesitant because, I'm a fan. And I've got this image in my mind as to what they would be like, how they would act off stage, their mannerisms. And, if I were to catch someone on an "off" day (hey, we're all human) that image would be tarnished (however, so far everyone I have opened for and met before the show, has been exceptionally kind and welcoming). But, I knew I really wanted a chance to talk with Sammy to thank him for his music and the songs that shaped so much of who I am as an artist. Sammy said his hero was George Jones and in many ways, Kershaw is my Jones. George Jones was in his prime when Sammy was coming along and it was the same for me - Sammy was on the radio and on the top of the charts when I was growing up. Meeting and talking with him was wonderful, and he was so friendly and personable. I'm so thankful for our time together.

But there I was, covered in peanut shells, sobbing. Because I felt the same way. I'm a country music singer. I'll die a country music singer. And whether that's what the future will holds for me forever or not, country music is where it all started. It's where I fell in love with a simple, heart wrenching lyric coupled with an acoustic guitar. It's where I learned how to inflect my voice to portray emotions. It's where I first heard a steel guitar solo and asked, "What's that?!" It's where I learned how to tell stories that move people through a melody. Standing on that fireplace hearth singing along to Sammy, Reba, Alan, Faith - that's where I learned how to perform. Country music is where it all started for me and in some ways, it's only just begun.



I LOVE a romper, especially on stage. You can find some really pretty, feminine styles that feel like a beautiful dress but, the shorts (or pants, hello jumpsuit!) make it easy for me to freely move around on stage and perform!