Country Stars Share Spirit of Thanksgiving

I’m sure every year feels like THE year that you’ve got the most to be thankful for if you’re a celebrity. There are always more fans, more music and hopefully, more awards taking up space on your trophy shelf.

In the new country special issue of People magazine, the country artists we know and love count their blessings out loud.

Like Brad Paisley, who is grateful to be able to be generous. He spent time this year in Haiti, and since then he has given a portion of his ticket sales to Live Beyond, a group that helps bring water, medical care and support to families and orphans. “It’s given me a perspective you can’t get in America because we’re so spoiled,” he said. “You’re left with two feelings: What I did was nowhere near enough, and what if I did nothing? Any little thing you do is a start. It’s addictive.”

Same with Blake Shelton. He’s thankful he could give his time, talent and treasure when the tornadoes hit Oklahoma so hard. “So many people were left with nothing, and all I can wish for is that we gave those affected some strength knowing that they had friends who wanted to help them rebuild their lives, and that they were loved, and life would go on.”

Luke Bryan feels blessed this year not just because of his big award show wins, but because of the emotions that come with them. He told People that after being named the ACM entertainer of the year, he cried for an hour with his family. “There’s been three times in our life where we were that emotional: my brother’s death, my sister’s death and that night. It was so fun to have the joyous emotion.”

Jake Owen says it’s the substance in his life he feels most grateful for. And her name is Pearl. “You can chase the dream all you want, you can make as much money as you want, but if you don’t have anyone to share it with, you’re not quite as far along as you thought. I guess I have a lot more substance in my life now.”

Taylor Swift always seems grateful, this time of year or any time of year. But 2013, specifically, has her feeling blessed with the time she spent on her tour. “I watch video back of the shows and the crowds, and I get so nostalgic. The fans put so much effort into being there. Almost everyone dressed up or brought signs or memorized all the words to every song. That was the biggest blessing, to have all those fans show up to see you sing your songs and sing along with you.”

For Darius Rucker, it’s all about the kids. Not just his own, but the ones in Charleston, S.C., who have disabilities. He plays for those kids and has become an advocate for them. “To see kids who can’t speak, or who can’t get their arms up, just light up when you sing a song … it’s the greatest gift. They just want to be happy, and playing for them gives me the greatest feeling I could ever ask for.”