John Rich has been working hard his whole life. From his earliest days in the music business, he has kept his nose to the grindstone. In fact, he got his start by singing at Opryland USA while he was still in high school. Then, he helped to found that band that would one day become Lonestar. Before joining the band, he had to learn a whole new instrument on short notice. Rich started playing guitar at a young age. However, he had to learn to play bass in just a few days. After his departure from Lonestar, Rich kept hustling. He dropped a few solo albums. Then, he joined up with Big Kenny to form Big & Rich. On top of that, he owns Redneck Riviera, a bar/live music venue in Nashville. Rich is also the face of the whiskey of the same name. Talk about a workhorse.
So, you may be wondering where he got the work ethic to do all that he does. The fact is, hard work is in John Rich’s blood. He spoke to Marty Smith about this and several other things in the latest episode of The Road You Leave Behind.
John Rich’s Grandmother Showed Him What Hard Work Looked Like
When you think of an 88-year-old Texan grandmother, several images might come to mind. Most of them probably involve taking care of a home and cooking big meals on Sunday afternoons. There might be a fair amount of quilting and daytime TV watching thrown in for good measure. That’s not what John Rich’s grandma was doing at 88 years old. Nope. She was still working forty-hour weeks. If that’s not impressive enough, she, unfortunately, didn’t live to see her 89th birthday. So, Rich’s grandma worked dang near until the day she passed on. Now, that is some serious work ethic.
The subject of John Rich’s grandmother came up while Rich was telling Marty all about his childhood in Amarillo, Texas. He started by detailing her history. Granny Rich, as he called her, grew up just outside of Amarillo. She lived through the Dust Bowl as well as the Great Depression which struck at the same time. Then, WWII came along.
When the War came, those who weren’t overseas fighting or in far-flung bases training had to work extra hard. It was at this point in history that American women entered the workforce in droves. Many women, like John Rich’s granny, never left the workforce.
He told Marty that she was an impressive woman. Then said, you could ask her why she still worked forty-hour weeks at her age and, as Rich said, “She would take a big long draw off of her cigarette, look at you and say, ‘Because I can and that’s what you’re supposed to do,’.”
John Rich went on to say that she taught him that it was important to always be a provider. She said that it was unacceptable to not bring something to the table.