Country Stars Deserve Labor Day Praise, Too

Time Onstage Is Just Part of Job

Labor Day means a lot of things to a lot of people — the end of the white-pants season and the beginning of football season. A three-day weekend, it’s a time for barbecues, picnics and adorable patriotic cherry pies in Mason jars you found on Pinterest.

It’s all in order to celebrate hard-working Americans.

And it’s easy to look at a country star’s life — and maybe his or her place on the Forbes highest-earners list — and assume their work ethic doesn’t always correlate with their pay. There’s sometimes the assumption that they make a lot but don’t really work all that hard. I mean, how hard can it be when you’re singing songs for an hour and a-half a night?

But for every 90-minute set an artist plays at night, he or she probably had a day that included:

1. Early morning phone interviews with radio stations
2. More phone interviews with national media
3. Songwriting on a claustrophobic bus
4. Photo shoot for magazine story
5. Paperwork
6. Listening to demos, demos and more demos
7. Emailing the record label bosses
8. Soundcheck
9. Trip to a local doctor for throat issues
10. Vocal warm-up exercises
11. Tweeting to stay connected with fans all day long
12. Meet-and-greet with radio staffers
13. Meet-and-greet with sponsors and their guests
14. Meet-and-greet with fan club winners
15. Meet-and-greet with the band’s families and friends
16. Meet-and-greet with VIPs
17. Onsite interviews with local media
18. Dinner, pep talk and prayers with the band
19. Hair and makeup for the women
20. After-show celebration until the bus driver tells everyone, “Wheels up”

And all of that it just during a tour. When an artist is off the road, I’m sure many of their days are just as packed with more songwriting, meetings with labels and producers and managers, recording sessions and more.

It’s not back-breaking, get-your-hands-dirty work, but it is work. And while their jobs may not be the kinds of hard-working jobs you typically celebrate on Monday, country singers are working hard nonetheless.

So happy Labor Day, you guys.

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