Friendships Flourish Offstage Between Country's Biggest Stars

This appeared in Country Weekly - August 26, 1997

The buddy system is alive and well in country music. From Garth Brooks to Neal McCoy, from Deana Carter to Waylon Jennings, country stars of all types have turned to each other for offstage friendships and someone to hang out with when it comes time to have fun.

"It's really rare to find a musical soulmate and a buddy and a brother to boot," Marty Stuart says of his friendship with Travis Tritt, but he could be speaking for many of his fellow stars like:

  • a bond between two Tracys--Byrd and Lawrence--which led to a successful concert tour;
  • a pairing of Suzy Bogguss and Kathy Mattea, which results in delicious home-cooked meals and shared fan club parties;
  • a linking of young superstars Bryan White and LeAnn Rimes that has helped both cope with the pressures of burgeoning careers;
  • the neighborly friendship between Kix Brooks, Tim McGraw and their families

Whatever the bond and whatever the attraction, the star friendships all have one enemy: time. Hectic schedules and long road tours mean the friendships are more a thing of quality than quantity.

For Travis and Marty, the trouble is worth it. "I knew four minutes after I met Tritt that we were brothers for life," says Marty of the pal he first met backstage at a CMA Awards Show. "Come hell or high water, thick or thin, right or wrong, he's my brother and I'll stand beside him."

"Marty was just the best man at my wedding," Travis says. "He's one of the few people in this business that I can say I call a friend. Marty and I have been known to hang out at my house or go out to the pistol range. Some of the best times, the funniest times, and the happiest times that I can remember have been with Marty Stuart beside me."

From the cradle to the grave, or at least from their first hit to their farewell tour, country stars have learned to count on each other for compassion and understanding. Perhaps none can explain the country buddy system better than Marty Stuart, again speaking of Travis Tritt:

"When we're old, fat, ugly and bald, and nobody cares about us any more but our mamas, we're still going to be best buddies. And that's the way it is."

Writer unknown

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