M CraigStricklandBackroadAnthem

Craig Strickland  (born Craig Michael Strickland on June 2, 1986 in Alma, Arkansas) was the lead singer of the country band Backroad Anthem. In one of the more tragic celebrity deaths of last year, Strickland was declared missing Dec. 28 after going on a duck hunting trip during a winter storm north of Tulsa, OK shortly after Christmas.

On December 26, this ominous Tweet was sent by friend and hunting companion Chase Morland:


 "In case we don't come back, @BackroadCRAIG and I are going right through Winter Storm Goliath to kill ducks in Oklahoma. #IntoTheStorm."


drusky web banner1


The Tweet was sent as he and Craig headed into a winter storm with wind gusts over 40 MPH and temperatures in the teens. The pair were in a flat bottomed boat which overturned. Morland's body was found 2 days later. morlandStrickland's dog was recovered alive. As the days and search dragged on, the search area was narrowed down based on a trail of evidence composed of debris from the boat. 

On January 5, search teams found Craig's body. He had struggled out of the water, but died of exposure in a thicket of brush and trees. Authorities said it made him more difficult to spot, clad as he was in camoflauge hunting apparel.

Craig leaves behind wife Helen Wisner, a former Miss Arkansas. Craig was an avid fisherman and hunter, known to travel across the midwest, primarily for bow hunting deer. He and Morland doubtless knew the risks, as evidenced by Morland's Tweet, but it is still a tragedy considering that the six-man band released their debut album Torn on Sept. 4, 2015, mere months ago. Artists tend to take risks, from partying too hard, to the everyday risks invovled in a life of travel. In fact, we all do, and have had moments of sheerest folly which we now safely recall and ask ourselves, "What was I thinking?" Sometimes though, luck runs out as it did for Craig and friend Morland.craig strickland 3

To see any artist cut down in his prime is always a loss. We have only his work thus far to say what the future might have held for Craig Strickland and this talented band of musicians hailing from a genre reinventing itself in a modern age. We can only say that he will be loved and missed by his family, friends, and the country music community in general. RIP Craig Strickland. - J




Category: Main Stage