Craig Strickland: The Country Music Star We Lost Too Soon

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Contributors: Andranick Tanguiane, Fred Lerdahl,


It is with a heavy heart that we must say goodbye to country music star Craig Strickland. He was taken from us far too soon, and will be sorely missed.

Early Life and Career

Craig Strickland was born on October 8, 1990, in Kansas City, Missouri. His family has a rich musical tradition, and Strickland was exposed to country music at an early age. He began playing guitar when he was just nine years old and by the time he was a teenager, he was already performing with his father and brother in a band called Strickland.

Craig Strickland’s early life

Craig Strickland was born on July 21, 1990, in Tulsa, Oklahoma. His father, Randy Strickland, was a Baptist minister, and his mother, Kelly Strickland, was a stay-at-home mom. Craig was the middle child between his older sister Brittany and younger brother Tyler. Craig grew up in a strict religious household and attended a Baptist church. He began playing guitar when he was 13 years old and started writing songs soon after.

After graduating from high school in 2008, Craig enrolled at Northeastern State University in Tahlequah, Oklahoma. He studied to be a wildlife biologist and was an avid outdoorsman. He was a member of the NSU Bass Fishing Team and often went on hunting trips with his father and brother. Craig graduated from NSU in 2012 with a bachelor’s degree in wildlife biology.

After graduation, Craig moved to Nashville, Tennessee to pursue a career in music. He met his future wife Kayla on one of his first days in Nashville. The couple got married on August 17, 2013. Craig continued to write songs and play shows around Nashville while working various odd jobs to make ends meet. In 2014, he released his first EP “All American Mutt” under the stage name “Strickland”. The EP received positive reviews and helped to establish Craig as a promising new artist in the country music scene.

In 2015, Craig formed the country music duo “Backroad Anthem” with his friend Toby Keith Benton. The band released their debut EP “Feels Good” later that year and became popular for their party-friendly style of country music. Backroad Anthem toured extensively throughout 2016 in support of their EP and were opening for some of country music’s biggest stars like Luke Bryan and Florida Georgia Line by the end of the year.

Craig Strickland’s musical career

Before his mainstream success, Craig Strickland was a well-known figure in the country music community. He got his start performing at local clubs and honky-tonks in his hometown of Bartlesville, Oklahoma. From there, he went on to play at larger venues in Tulsa and Oklahoma City. It was clear from an early age that Craig had a natural talent for singing and playing guitar.

In 2009, Craig auditioned for the television show Nashville Star. Though he didn’t win the competition, his performance caught the attention of country music producer Troy Verges. Verges invited Craig to come to Nashville and co-write songs with him. This opportunity led to Craig signing a record deal with Sony Music Nashville in 2010.

Craig’s debut album, Backroad Song, was released in 2016 and reached #1 on the Billboard Country charts. The album’s lead single, “Backroad Song,” became a massive hit, spending three weeks at #1 on the Country radio charts. The album’s success propelled Craig into the national spotlight and made him one of the most promising young stars in country music.

Sadly, Craig Strickland’s life was cut tragically short when he drowned during a duck hunting trip in Arkansas in December 2016. He was just 29 years old.

The Tragic Accident

The world was shocked when country music star Craig Strickland was reported missing after a hunting trip gone wrong. Strickland and his friend, Chase Morland, had set out on a duck hunting trip in Oklahoma, but when a storm hit, they were forced to seek shelter. Unfortunately, they were unable to find their way back and both men perished in the cold.

The events leading up to the accident

Craig Strickland, country music star and lead singer of Backroad Anthem, tragically lost his life in a duck hunting accident on December 27, 2015.

Strickland and his friend, Chase Morland, had gone duck hunting in Oklahoma despite severe weather warnings. The men were reported missing when they did not return from their outing as planned. A search and rescue operation was launched, and Morland’s body was found within a day. Strickland’s body was found a week later.

According to the autopsy report released by the Oklahoma Medical Examiner’s office, both men died of hypothermia. Strickland’s boat had capsized, and he drowned while trying to swim to shore.

The loss of Craig Strickland was a tragedy felt by the entire country music community and beyond. He was only 29 years old at the time of his death.

The search for Craig Strickland

On December 27, 2015, country music singer Craig Strickland went missing in Oklahoma after the boat he and his friend were using to go duck hunting capsized in a severe storm. The search for Strickland lasted nearly a week, before his body was recovered on January 4, 2016. He was 29 years old.

Strickland’s death was a tragic loss for the country music community, and his wife Helen immediately vowed to keep his memory alive. In the months following Craig’s death, Helen started the Live Like Craig Foundation, which aims to “provide support and encouragement to those facing difficult life challenges.” She also released a song called “The Long Way” in honor of her husband, which debuted at No. one on the iTunes Country chart.

Helen has continued to honor Craig’s memory in the years since his death, and last year she released a book about their relationship called Still Here: Love Lives On. In it, she opens up about the pain of losing her husband and how she is coping with life without him.

The aftermath of the accident

On December 27th, 2015, country music singer Craig Strickland and his friend, chase Morland, set out on a duck hunting trip in Oklahoma. A winter storm had begun to roll in, and the two became stranded when their boat capsized. Morland’s body was found the following day, but Strickland was not found until January 4th, 2016. He was only 29 years old.

The news of Strickland’s death sent shockwaves through the country music community and beyond. He was a beloved husband, son, brother, and friend. His loss is deeply felt by all who knew him.

This tragic accident is a reminder of the dangers that come with venturing into the great outdoors. It is important to always be aware of the weather conditions and to be prepared for the worst. Our thoughts and prayers are with Craig Strickland’s family during this difficult time.


It’s been almost two years since Craig Strickland passed away, but his memory and his music live on. The country music star was taken far too soon, but he left behind a lasting legacy. From his work with the Backroad Anthem to his solo career, Craig was a gifted musician with a bright future.

Craig Strickland’s impact on country music

Craig Strickland was more than just a talented country music singer. He was a husband, a father, a son, and a friend. He was a man who loved life and loved making music. He was taken from us too soon, but his impact on country music will be felt for years to come.

Strickland first burst onto the country music scene with his band Backroad Anthem. The Arkansas-based group quickly rose to fame with their blend of traditional country and modern rock. They released their debut album in 2013, and it included the hit single “Country Boy.” The song became an instant hit, and it helped propel Backroad Anthem to new heights.

In 2015, Strickland made the decision to go solo, and he released his debut solo album “In the Mood.” The album was a huge success, and it featured the hit single “Whiskey in My Water.” Strickland’s solo career was off to a great start, and he was well on his way to becoming one of the biggest stars in country music.

Tragically, Strickland’s life came to an end far too soon. In 2016, he died tragically in a hunting accident. He was only 29 years old.

Strickland’s death sent shockwaves through the country music world. He was beloved by fans and respected by his peers. He will be remembered as one of the brightest stars in country music history.

Craig Strickland’s impact on his fans

Craig Strickland was more than just a country music star. He was a husband, a father, a son, and a friend. He was a man who loved life and inspired those around him. Craig’s untimely death has left a hole in the hearts of his family, friends, and fans.

Craig’s music touched the lives of so many people. His songs about love, loss, and life connected with his fans on a deep level. He sang about the highs and lows of life with such sincerity and emotion that his fans felt like he was singing about their own lives. Craig’s music will continue to inspire and comfort his fans for years to come.

In addition to his musical talent, Craig was also an amazing husband and father. He was fiercely loyal to his wife Kaylah and devoted to his young son Landon. Craig’s love for his family was evident in everything he did. He was always quick to tell Kaylah how much he loved her and he doted on Landon every chance he got. Craig’s family was the center of his life and they will miss him dearly.

Craig Strickland was an incredible man with a passion for life. He will be missed by so many people but his legacy will live on through his music and the memories shared by those who loved him.

Remembering Craig Strickland

Craig Strickland was an American country music singer and songwriter. He was best known as the lead singer and guitarist of the country rock band Backroad Anthem. Craig was born on October 5, 1990 in Little Rock, Arkansas. He was a talented athlete and played football and baseball in high school. He later attending the University of Central Arkansas on a baseball scholarship.

Tributes from Craig Strickland’s friends and family

Craig Strickland’s friends and family are mourning the loss of the country music star, who died at the age of 29.

Strickland’s wife, Helen, took to social media to share her grief, writing: “My husband, my best friend, the father of my sweet little boy went to be with Jesus today. He fought harder for his life than anyone I know.”

The couple’s son, Sammy, was born just seven months ago.

Strickland’s bandmate and close friend Chase Rice also paid tribute to the singer on social media, writing: “I have no words. I lost one of my best friends yesterday in a tragic duck hunting accident. My heart aches for his wife Helen and his family.”

Rice continued: “Craig was one of the most talented guys I’ve ever met and an even better friend…I know he’s in heaven jamming with Hank Williams Jr right now.”

Strickland’s death has shaken the country music community and fans around the world. He will be greatly missed.

Tributes from the country music community

The country music community is mourning the loss of one of their own. Craig Strickland, lead singer of the country band Backroad Anthem, was found dead Monday after he went missing during a hunting trip in Oklahoma. He was 29.

Strickland’s body was found in Kaw Lake, according to the Seminole County Sheriff’s Office. The cause of death has not been determined, but authorities said they do not suspect foul play.

Backroad Anthem’s manager, Brian Duncan, told CNN that Strickland and his friend Chase Morland had gone duck hunting on Kaw Lake on Sunday. Morland’s body was found on the shore on Monday afternoon, and a search for Strickland began. The singer’s dog, Sam, was found alive with Morland’s body and is now being cared for by Strickland’s father-in-law.

Many in the country music community have taken to social media to express their condolences for Strickland’s family and love for the singer. Here are some of the tributes:

“I can’t even put into words how devastated we all are by this news,” tweeted Chase Rice, who co-wrote Florida Georgia Line’s hit “Cruise” with Strickland. “We just played show number 300 together last week.”

“I am heartbroken over CraigStr 10 years touring together laughing & writing songs,” tweeted Dylan Scott. “He & Chase were 2 of my best buds.”

Granger Smith wrote on Instagram that he’d played a show with Backroad Anthem just two weeks ago. “This business is tough enough without losing somebody so close to home,” he said. “Craig was one of those guys that no matter how long it had been since you had seen him… it felt like you were right back at home sharing a beer and a laugh like no time had passed at all.”

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