MARINE CORPS BASE CAMP LEJEUNE, N.C. -- The Marine Corps Community Services hosted an up and coming country music singer to perform at the Marine Corps Exchange here Dec. 6.
Luke Stricklin, a national guardsman, served 18 months on active duty and spent 12 months in Baghdad where his music career started.
Stricklin played and wrote country music songs on his down time, which helped him hone his playing and song writing skills.
“During my 12 months in Baghdad, I bought a guitar off the streets of Baghdad,” said Stricklin. “It was no Martin, but it was playable.”
While Stricklin was in Iraq, his family would ask him about how things were going.
“I would tell them it was hot and change the subject,” Stricklin said. “So, I thought about writing a song that could answer their questions. I looked at the bottom of my boots one day, and it all began.”
After writing the song with input from his friend J.R. Shultz, they recorded the song on Shultz’s laptop and emailed the song home.
“When I emailed the song home, I had no idea what type of things would transpire,” said Stricklin. “It was first picked by KTCS at Fort Smith, Ariz., and KMAG.”
The song was later forwarded on to Big D and Bubba, a nationally syndicated radio show based in Nashville, Tenn.
“When I returned stateside in March of 2005, the phone calls and emails were coming in from TV and radio stations all over the country,” Stricklin said.
In April, Stricklin was given the opportunity to go to the recording studio for the first time and began recording his album “American by God’s Amazing Grace.”
Stricklin started playing music at a young age when he started taking piano lessons but wasn’t allowed to take anymore lessons after a short time because all he wanted to play was Jerry Lee.
He started playing the guitar at 11 years old, starting with rock and alternative rock, but he could not deny his country roots. In high school, he played drums and was chosen first chair in the second band all-state jazz band, first chair first band all-state jazz band his junior year and first chair for the four states jazz band including Arkansas, Louisiana, Texas and Oklahoma.
When he was 16, he played his guitar more and more, keeping it in behind the seat of his truck all weekend and playing at parties and fish fries.
Stricklin is currently touring the nation promoting his first album with fellow guitarist Lyle Parman.