One of country music's most revered traditions finds veteran artists sharing their time and expertise with the genre's breakout stars. Roy Acuff's advice for Minnie Pearl, Patsy Cline's friendship with Loretta Lynn and Luke Bryan's selfless interest in Brent Cobb, Cole Swindell and Alex Miller instantly come to mind, with countless other backstage or on-air interactions finding established names changing lives by paying it forward.
When Travis Tritt and others discovered in the late '80s and propelled to fame in the early '90s came along, their country music idols were alive and active, with the likes of Conway Twitty and George Jones still headlining shows and recording quality music. Tritt learned all he could from those greats as well as members of The Highwaymen and perhaps his wisest and most generous hero turned peer in the music industry, Charlie Daniels.
"I remember one of the earliest conversations I had with Charlie Daniels where he told me, he said, 'Look, I'm not the smartest guy in the world, and I never claimed to be. But I have been in this business for a long time, and I know how much it can feel sometimes like you're on an ocean that is stormy with no compass. So if there's any way I can help you navigate that, please feel free to call me anytime, day or night'," Tritt told Wide Open Country in March 2021. "That just meant so much to me. I probably used those numbers that he gave me more than I should have. But everything that I know about the business side of the music business, I pretty much learned from Charlie Daniels and Waylon Jennings and people like that. They were extremely helpful, so I always try to pay that forward whenever I get the opportunity."
Although they're hardly new or unestablished, Brent Cobb, Dillon Carmichael and Ashley Monroe got to learn directly from Tritt as co-writers suggested by producer Dave Cobb for Tritt's recent album Set In Stone.
Daniels, a Southern rock innovator, Grand Ole Opry member and Country Music Hall of Fame inductee, died on July 6, 2020 of a hemorrhagic stroke. He was 83 years old.