A DECADE OF LESSONS: What I Learned from Country Stars in Ten Years

It has been a decade, y’all.

For the past ten years, I’ve been making a living out of loving country music. Which means I’ve spent those ten years (and then some) learning life lessons from the people who make it. And what a schooling it has been. I’d always thought country artists were full of a special kind of wisdom, but now I know it for a fact.

Whether they meant to or not, country stars taught me things I took to heart.

This is by no means an exhaustive list of what I’ve picked up backstage, on tour buses, in green rooms, or on the phone. It’s more like an abridged version of the highlights, from Tim McGraw in 2009 and from Luke Bryan in 2019, and just about everyone else in between.


Tim McGraw: Don’t forget to remember the memories.


Rusty Russell

Blake Shelton: Always say I love you.

Rick Diamond

Kenny Chesney: Make music that touches all generations.


Zac Brown: Remember where you came from.

Kevin Winter

Sara Evans: Bluegrass can make the old stuff sound new again.


Rick Diamond

Dierks Bentley: Keep a real journal, and keep it up.

Kevin Winter

Tim McGraw: Give yourself permission to keep yourself to yourself.


Kevin Winter

Tim McGraw: It’s okay to lose the twang.

Jason Kempin

Jason Aldean: Get comfortable with the uncomfortable.


John Shearer

Trisha Yearwood: Welcome your next chapter.

Ethan Miller

Eric Church: It’s okay to love yourself.


Sheryl Crow

Sheryl Crow: Where you’re from matters as much as where you’re headed.

Maddie & Tae

Maddie & Tae: Everybody has to start somewhere.


Kevin Winter

Randy Houser: You can dream small, too.

Cole Swindell: A healthy obsession with the past is perfectly fine.


Matthew J. Lee

Toby Keith: Break up with Nashville every once in a while.

Timothy Hiatt

Jake Owen: Revisit the tip jar that built you.


Rick Diamond

Luke Combs: Recycle rejection into fuel.

Robyn Beck

Kacey Musgraves: Ask your own set of questions.

Garth Brooks: Time changes, but you don’t.


Luke Bryan: Go for it now so you don’t have regrets later.

Rick Diamond

Lindsay Ell: Do your part to move all the needles.

Alison makes her living loving country music. She’s based in Chicago, but she’s always leaving her heart in Nashville.