Backroad Anthem Is Moving Forward But Never Forgetting

Written by Lauren Laffer
Backroad Anthem Is Moving Forward But Never Forgetting
Photo credit: Liza Hippler

Up-and-coming Arkansas-based band Backroad Anthem was relatively unknown until tragedy struck nearly two months ago when lead vocalist Craig Strickland and a close friend were found dead after being reported missing during a hunting trip.

The bodies of both men were found within days of each other after widespread searches were held near the lake.

In spite of the tragedy, the remaining five band members, Toby Freeman, Eric Dysart, Josh Bryant, Brandon Robold, Isaac Senty, have chosen to push forward and pursue their dream in honor of Strickland and his passion for music.

“We’re all just trying to hold up and just kinda band together right now,” Robold told Sounds Like Nashville during the 2016 Country Radio Seminar. “We’re just doing a really good job with the music part of it. Being able to play music and continue to do what we love to do. We all love to do; it’s been really therapeutic for all of us, so it’s helped a lot.”

With such a tragic loss, it came as a surprise that they band would choose to release their single and music video for “Torn” just weeks after laying their friend to rest.

“Obviously we’re still working through it and working through all the emotions and everything. There was never really a time where we thought of not going forward,” Robold explained. “When all this happened, we knew the best way we could honor Craig and this legacy in this band was to move forward and continue. This was Craig’s baby; he started it and kind of built it from the foundation and it was his idea to begin with. So, he would kick us on our tails if we decided not to go on and move forward. We can talk about a lot of things cool going forward and we have a lot of things happening and everything.”

The most important thing for fans to understand, says Robold, is that the band is moving  forward in order to honor Strickland’s legacy.

“We just want them to know we’re still gonna do this and work as hard as we have and even harder now. Everything that happened with Craig gave us an extra kick to do this and do it for him. This year, we’re going to be out touring all around. We’ve been doing about 150 dates a year and we’re gonna push for that again this year. Continue to push the single and the fans have been incredible through all this, so we’re looking forward to getting out and seeing them and having them come to the shows. It’s gonna be a good year.”