The 59-year-old singer was this week’s guest on the John Wayne Gritcast. And he opened his episode by explaining how the Western icon helped shape his life and bring pride to his hard-working family.
Like most kids in the 60s and 70s, Travis Tritt idolized John Wayne—the ultimate cowboy. And luckily, so did Tritt’s father. In fact, one of his favorite pastimes was heading to the drive-in to catch Wayne’s latest flick, which meant that a young Travis got to tag along.
“A lot of the first times that I ever saw John Wayne movies was originally at the drive-in with my dad,” he shared. “My Dad was a huge John Wayne fan. I mean, everyone in my family loved him. But, to me, he always represented not just a great movie star.”
Though the I’m Gonna be Somebody singer recognized Wayne’s on-screen talent, he saw something much bigger in him. And that was his ability to connect with everyday Americans.
“He also represented Americana,” Tritt continued. “And that was extremely important in my family because we all had humble beginnings, humble backgrounds. We looked for people in entertainment that we felt represented us as middle-class working people and John Wayne probably more than anybody represented that to me and my family and practically everybody I knew at that particular time.”
Travis Tritt Saw John Wayne as a Role Model
As Travis Tritt continued, he gushed about John Wayne’s natural ability to be a role model to boys and girls around the country who were struggling to figure out their place in the world.
“I was just a kid, and I was trying to find out what I liked and what I represented and what I looked for in people that I considered to be ‘heroes.’ And John Wayne fit the bill perfectly for all of that.”
Mostly, Travis Tritt noticed that John Wayne embodied all of the qualities of the blue collared American, while most Hollywood stars lived lives that were completely unattainable by most.
And the Grammy-winning singer also respected Wayne for being devoted to the American life and showing that devotion both on and off-camera.
“I loved his movies, loved what he stood for. [And] Loved the fact that he loved his country and the people in it. He loved the freedoms that we all enjoy in this country. And that represented exactly the way I felt, my family felt. So he was just a natural hero.”