This wasn't the way their story was supposed to unfold. No one anticipates or prepares for what happens when sudden tragedy strikes – even as songwriters and storytellers whose job it is to conjure both reality and fantasy, Backroad Anthem found themselves as part of an unimaginable narrative this past December, when their bandmate and spiritual brother, Craig Strickland, left for a hunting trip and never returned. But one thing was always clear to the group of friends from Arkansas: they had to keep going, keep making music, keep living out their and Strickland's dream. So now, the road looks different for Backroad Anthem. It's uncertain, but they'll walk it together – with Strickland very present every step of the way, cemented deeply in their memories, prayers and minds.
Based out of Fayetteville, AR, a band of six talented singers, instrumentalists and writers came together in 2012 out of a joint love for music – and a desire to make a sound that is fresh, rollicking and respectful of the past while steering full- steam ahead into the future. Melding influences from nineties country to bluegrass to classic rock, they started out at church and quickly saw the promise behind what would become what we now know as Backroad Anthem – Strickland on lead vocal and guitar, Toby Freeman (Lead Vocals/Electric), Eric Dysart (Fiddle), Josh Bryant (Lead Electric), Brandon Robald (Bass/Vocals) and Isaac Senty (Drums.) Strickland was a vigorous force – "extra extraordinary," as Freeman puts it, with a natural knack for frontman duties. Freeman lent sublime balance and smart harmonies, while the rest of the band filled out their songs with passionate and energetic instrumental performances that pushed their sound straight to the cutting edge of the genre.