Tippin lets patriotism permeate his
By CHRISTOPHER MITCHELL
- The Herald-Dispatch
Tippin’s song "Where the Stars and Stripes and the Eagle Fly"
isn’t just a chest-thumping call to unite a nation of aching
Americans. As the lyrics "And there’s a bell that still echoes
/ The price that it cost to be free" certify, Tippin’s
patriotic anthem also speaks to the fragile nature of freedom,
and what it costs to preserve it, more so now than ever in
post-Sept. 11 America.
all Americans remember that when they gather to celebrate this
very special Independence Day.
hope this Independence Day means as much to others as it does
to me," the country singer said, phoning from the road last
week. "It is going to be one of the most important
Independence Days that we’ve ever had. In light of the tragic
events of September 11, we’ve come to know again that freedom
isn’t free. Maintaining our freedom has its cost."
A man of
simple means, the South Carolina-bred Tippin takes the virtues
of freedom very seriously. When the nightmarish events of that
crystal-clear September morning unfurled, Tippin -- like most
Americans -- was angry.
do that to America," he said.
But, at a
time when most Americans struggled to turn on the television
news channels, struggled to comprehend the reasoning behind
the terrorists’ plot and struggled to move forward with their
lives, Tippin rechanneled his anger and his heartache into
recording the two-year-old song.
written ‘Stars and Stripes’ with (fellow Nashville writers)
Kenny Beard and Casey Beathard a couple years ago, but it
didn’t fit the theme of the album we were working on at the
time," Tippin said, speaking about the theme of his 2000
"comeback album" "People Like Us."
the song over a 48-hour recording session and got it to radio
as fast as we could. I knew without a doubt it would be very
helpful for a lot of folks. I just wanted to help soothe
people and help them with the whole healing process following
Samaritan, Tippin, and his record company, Lyric Street
Records, donated all of the money generated by sales of the
single to the American Red Cross Disaster Relief Fund. Since
the single hit streets Oct. 2, it has helped raised more than
$70,000 for the organization.
emerged as one of Nashville’s preeminent recording talents
with his debut single "You’ve Got to Stand for Something." The
song reached the Top 10 in 1991, and became a rallying cry
that year for U.S. forces serving in the Persian Gulf War.
Tippin said he found the opportunity to entertain soldiers
fulfilling in Saudi Arabia.
went to the Gulf, I got a chance to go over there and reassure
the troops that we felt good about what they were doing for us
in Kuwait," Tippin said. "They were liberating the country
from an intruding dictator, and I got to take the message to
those folks about how much we appreciated them and how we were
proud of ’em. Doing that meant a lot to me."
sense of pride in his country has permeated every aspect of
his life, from his "I Got It Honest," DIY, working man
reputation to his rousing live show, replete with his young
son Teddy reciting the Pledge of Allegiance to begin every
performance. Needless to say, when a federal appeals court
ruled last week that reciting the Pledge of Allegiance in
public schools is an unconstitutional "endorsement of
religion," Tippin was incensed.
a show in Grand Junction, Colorado, last night and before
Teddy came onstage to recite the Pledge of Allegiance, I made
a comment about ‘Well, I hope I don’t get ya’ll arrested for
my child reciting the Pledge of Allegiance," Tippin said. "The
crowd went crazy. I think that reflects the great amount of
pride that’s in this country right now. There’s more pride
here now than there’s been in a long time."
gearing up to release his ninth studio album in 11 years,
Tippin hopes the new album "Stars & Stripes," which has a
Sept. 9 release date, builds upon his previous gold and
platinum successes. To date, he has sold nearly 6 millions
copies of albums like "Read Between the Lines," "Call of the
Wild" and "Lookin’ Back At Myself."
But if you
call him a troubadour, be forewarned. The modest star isn’t
trying to be a hero. He’s happy just to do his part, singing
songs for his country in its time of need.
end, it just matters what the songs mean to people," he said.