OFFSTAGE: 9/11 Happened Before Some Country Artists Were Artists

(CMT Offstage keeps a 24/7 watch on everything that’s happening with country music artists behind the scenes and out of the spotlight.)

Taylor Swift was only 11 and still living on a Christmas-tree farm in Pennsylvania. Carrie Underwood was 18 and had just graduated from her Checotah High School in Oklahoma. And Scotty McCreery was only 7 and hadn’t even picked up his first guitar. It’s hard to imagine that that horrible, tragic, life-altering September day in 2001 was already 10 years ago. And that so many of the country artists we talk about now weren’t even artists yet when it happened. I talked to a few of the relative rookies and found out where they were when the world stopped turning that September day:

“When 9/11 happened, it was my sophomore year at Ole Miss. I remember getting a call from my mom saying to turn on the TV because the world was coming to an end. … Me and my roommates sat in front of the TV all day, watching in disbelief as the unimaginable was broadcast right in front of our eyes. All of the sudden our world was different. We didn’t feel quite so safe.” — Josh Kelley

“I was on the phone with my friend who is now out with us on the road as a production manager. He said ’Jones, turn on the TV.’ I was standing in the living room of my parents’ house in silence with the phone to my ear for a good five minutes as we watched in a stone cold stare.” — Joshua Jones, Steel Magnolia

“I was in 10th grade. I remember all of us being brought into a room with a TV during PE. We had no idea what we were watching. My friend and I seriously thought it was an old foreign film documentary or something. Once we realized what was happening, I went numb. It was just so unbelievable and scary.” — Meghan Linsey, Steel Magnolia

“I remember exactly where I was. I was in bed in Los Angeles, and my mom woke me up. I was mad … like, ’Damn it, mom, I’m sleeping.’ But she goes, ’You need to turn on TV.’ At that time, both towers were on fire. I went outside, and Sunset Boulevard was like a ghost town. If you’d wanted to, you could’ve driven 100 mph down Sunset. It seems like it was yesterday. That’s what our parents went through when Kennedy was shot. It stopped the nation.” — Christian Kane

Alison makes her living loving country music. She's based in Chicago, but she's always leaving her heart in Nashville.