Ohio-based country band The Shootouts celebrate one great love on their song "California to Ohio." The song is based on frontman Ryan Humbert's grandparents real love story.
"Out of any song I've ever written, 'California to Ohio' means the most to me. It's based on a true story: In February of 1953, my grandfather Corporal Ronald D. Humbert hitchhiked from Camp Pendleton, California back to Hartville, Ohio to see my grandmother, Norma and their newborn baby daughter -- my aunt Denise," Humbert tells Wide Open Country.
Humber co-wrote the song with singer-songwriter Kim Richey and even included specific details from his grandfather's journey.
"When I was doing some co-writing in Nashville with Kim Richey back in 2014, we started talking about family history and this story came up," Humbert says. "Even though it was based on a true story, it originally was going in a slightly different direction. I called Grandpa from the studio to ask him details about his trek. After Kim and I parted ways, I had an idea to rework the verses to specifically tell more about his journey. With Kim's blessing, I did that part on my own."
Beyond being a beautiful tribute to Ronald and Norma's marriage, the song also celebrates the kind of man Humbert's grandfather was.
"My Grandparents were married for nearly 65 amazing years before Grandpa passed away unexpectedly in an auto accident in October of 2016. While working on pre-production for the album, our producers Jim Campilongo and Luca Benedetti asked me to write one final verse to the song before we recorded it -- to complete the story. I was hesitant at first, but now I can't imagine it without that third verse," Humbert says. "The song tells very specific details, but is also open enough for others to put themselves into the song. I can't tell you how many people have come up to us at shows to share their family military stories. It's truly inspiring that this song touches others as much as it's touched my family."
"My Grandpa was one of my heroes," Humbert continues. "They don't make many men like him anymore. He was a hard worker. He was smart, caring and strong. The Shootouts played 'California to Ohio' at his 85th birthday party, and he and Grandma danced together, just the two of them, down in front of the stage. Four months later he was gone. I'm so happy that Grandpa got to hear this song and that he loved it. Our recording, and this video, is dedicated to his memory."
The video features photos of Humbert's grandparents and serves as a lasting celebration of the love they shared.
Watch the video for "California to Ohio" below.
For more information on The Shootouts, visit their official website.