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Introducing: Luke Strickland
By Gary Voorhies  
2006 CMA Close Up News Service / Country Music Association, Inc. 

Born in Arkadelphia, Ark., Luke Stricklin grew up playing on the river and hunting with his family. His father, who passed away when he was 11, instilled a love of Country Music in his son. Stricklin's early musical influences include Merle Haggard, Waylon Jennings, Keith Whitley and Hank Williams, Jr.

After he studied piano and drums, Stricklin developed a passion for songwriting.

He joined the Arkansas National Guard while he was still in high school. On his second day of small arms training, his drill sergeant announced that the September 11th attacks were underway.

In March 2004, he went to Iraq where he and a fellow guardsman passed their free time by writing songs on a laptop computer. He recorded "American By God's Grace" in Baghdad using a cheap microphone and e-mailed the song back to his family in the states. They sent the song out to local Country stations and demand grew.

By the time he was discharged, CNN, Fox News, Newsweek and the "Today" show had reported on the young singer from the military.

Stricklin's hometown Country station, which had first played his military anthem, set up a show for Stricklin when he returned and before long he had a manager. 

A week later he was in a Nashville studio recording a CD for Pacfic-Time Records, which was produced by Luke Wooten and released last September. Stricklin penned three songs on the album, including the title track, "American By God's Grace," which fellow soldier J.R. Schultz co-wrote. 


Who is your musical hero? "Keith Whitley."

What CD is on your stereo right now? "Keith Whitley Remembered and Shelly Fairchild."

What book is on your nightstand right now? "The Last True Story I Will Ever Tell, by John F. Crawford."

What do you sing in the shower? "Anything Country."

What is your pet peeve? "A dirty house."

What actor would portray you in a biopic about your life? "Josh Lucas."

What moment in your life would you relive if you could? "All of high school."

What song do you wish you had written? "'I'm Moving On,' written by Phillip White and D. Vincent Williams."

What word or phrase do you find yourself saying over and over again? "I'm broke."

Which mode of transportation do you prefer - planes, trains or automobiles? "Automobiles."

Who is your dream duet partner? "Alison Krauss."

If you wrote an autobiography, what would the title be? "What Not To Do."

When they look back on your life in 50 years, what do you hope people say about you? "I would like for people to look back and say he was a good man, friend, husband, and father."

On the Web: www.lukestricklin.com


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