Grange Fair preview: Entertainer Sammy Kershaw

Sammy Kershaw
Sammy Kershaw Photo provided

Sammy Kershaw is not your average country star. He has serious plans for the future of his beloved genre.

“Man, for someone like me who had George Jones’ music imprinted in my DNA before birth, the last few years have been rough as a fan of country music,” Kershaw said in a national interview earlier this year. “Country music is not a formula. It’s a music with its own soul and I’m all about saving that soul!”

Since Kershaw’s debut in the early ’90s, he has never failed to reach closer and closer to that goal. His concerts are consistent sell-outs, and his hit records are seemingly never-ending. He has released 10 studio albums, with three Recording Industry Artists of America platinum certifications and two gold certifications.

More than 25 singles have entered the Top 40 on the Billboard Hot Country Songs charts, including the No. 1 hit “She Don’t Know She’s Beautiful.”

Other top-10 hits include “I Can’t Reach her Anymore,” “National Working Woman’s Holiday,” “Love of my Life,” “Cadillac Style” and “Haunted Heart.”

Despite the accomplishments, Kershaw says that isn’t what inspires him to make music. After a period of doubt about whether there was still a place for him in country music, Kershaw said, he heard an old Johnny Paycheck song called “Old Violin.”

“Then, the last line in the song came on, and it said, ‘We’ll give our all to music, and we’ll give our life.’ That line changed my mind-set in an instant,” Kershaw said. “I thought to myself, radio might not ever play me again, and people might not want to hear me, but I need to do some new music — for me.”

Although his inspiration source comes from within, his contributions to society do not just appear in the charts. In his hometown of Kaplan, La., Kershaw established the Sammy Kershaw Foundation. Through donations of more than $2 million so far, the foundation has granted wishes through the “Make-A-Wish Foundation,” established camps for disabled children and more.

Kershaw’s father died when he was 11, and as the oldest of four children, he was forced to grow up quickly. This has greatly influenced his dedication to helping children in need. Regardless of his tough childhood, Kershaw has turned his difficulties into hit songs to help guide others through life’s trials.