John Rich Opens Up About Learning the Value of Hard Work in ‘Cowboy Environment’

by Clayton Edwards
(Photo by Jason Kempin/Getty Images)

John Rich knows the value of hard work. Over the course of his career, he has been part of two incredibly successful groups. First, he was in Lonestar from 1992 to 1998. Later, Rich became one half of the hit-making duo Big & Rich.

In addition, Rich has released several solo albums. However, John isn’t just a performer. He also owns a live-music venue and bar on Nashville’s Lower Broadway called Redneck Riviera. Rich is also the face of Redneck Riviera Whiskey. In short, that man is all about the hustle.

John Rich grew up on the high plains of Amarillo, Texas. It was there that he first learned what hard work really looked—and felt—like. In the latest episode of The Road You Leave Behind with Marty Smith, John Rich opened up about his Texas roots and how life there taught him about hard work.

The Cowboy Way

John Rich and Marty Smith discussed Rich’s long road to stardom. As with any good journey, they started at the beginning. To kick it all off, Marty asked what John’s youth was like.

John Rich’s memories of his time in Amarillo are full of two things: hard work and family. He says the area where he was raised was “a wild west, agricultural, cowboy kind of environment.” He then went on to talk about the concrete examples he saw growing up. For one, his great uncles were WWII veterans who “legitimately looked like John Wayne.”

They had wrinkles deep enough to plant corn in and faces that looked like leather. They earned those wrinkles and that leathery skin by spending hours a day on horseback and working the land on tractors.

Hard Work Is In Rich’s Blood

Then, John Rich mentioned his late grandmother. She lived to be almost 89 years old. During her lifetime, she saw the Great Depression, the Dust Bowl, and WWII. As a result, she worked 40-hour weeks nearly until the day she died. When he asked her why she still worked so hard at her age she told him, “Because I can and that’s what you’re supposed to do.” Rich’s grandma taught him to always bring something to the table. Anything less was unacceptable.

Then, John Rich spoke about his father. Rich’s dad worked hard every day. Not only did he learn about hard work from his dad, but he also got his love of music from his dad. About him, Rich said, “One of his extra jobs that he took on was teaching guitar lessons.” Rich went on to say that his dad did just about everything. His dad slopped hogs, worked as the night watchman at Amarillo National Bank, and he worked on a car lot.

John said, “He was mowing people’s grass, detailing people’s cars, giving guitar lessons, and still visiting people in the hospital and preaching on the weekends. He was pulling hundred-hour weeks.” Rich’s father set an example of how hard work pays off. Examples like that create successful people who don’t know when to quit.

John Rich still carries that spirit of hard work with him wherever he goes.

For more about John Rich and other artists, watch the full video podcasts on Outsider’s Youtube or listen on  Podbean or Apple Podcasts (below).