In “My Friend Fred,” Sammy Kershaw Shares a Story of Addiction

"It is destroying and has destroyed a lot of great lives and families," he says.

Sammy Kershaw is showing a sensitive side in his new video, “My Friend Fred,” bringing to life the struggle of addiction.

One of country music’s true storytellers, Kershaw lets this narrative unfold through flashback, as well as his own solo performance with just an acoustic guitar. By also showing someone in the throes of a harrowing addiction, Kershaw hopes to encourage viewers to show love and compassion to those in a similar situation.

Take a look at Sammy Kershaw’s video for “My Friend Fred,” then read our exclusive interview below the player.
http://www.cmt.com/video-clips/96p2dl/music-videos-sammy-kershaw-my-friend-fred
What do you remember most about the shoot for this video?

The day I shot the video is a pretty hard one to forget. We had three back-to-back shows that weekend, Thursday, Friday and Saturday night. The video was shot Friday morning, March 6th, but I also had a really bad case of bronchitis through that whole run.

We shot my parts for the video at Wieting Theatre, a historic and beautiful theater in downtown in Toledo, Iowa. It was pretty chilly that morning and I felt so bad I didn’t want to get out of bed and off the bus to do it, but walked in there and it took us every bit of 20 minutes to get my parts done. The video director, Zach Van Dorn, and his great crew made it very easy for me that day.

How does the video bring your song to life?

Life came into Fred by the two little brothers featured in the video. We could have just played out every line of the song in the video but every line in the song tells the story. The brothers (Fred in the white shirt) really show how loving and full of life Fred used to be as a little boy and how he got into the terrible shape he’s in now through the years.

What message do you hope your fans take away from the video?

The main message I would like fans to take away from the song and video is that a lot of times we just kind of ignore or throw people like this away. I really believe that if we took the time to help them a little bit more, and really show that we love them and that their life really does mean something, it might help the process of them finally getting rid of this terrible addiction, whether it be opioids, heroin, methamphetamines, etc. Whatever the drug may be. Plus, it’s a huge problem in our country that needs to be addressed and talked about more. It is destroying and has destroyed a lot of great lives and families.

How did it feel to see the finished product for the first time?

To actually see the song come to life in pictures and video was very cool the first time I saw it. I watched it about a dozen times back-to-back and I knew that Zach had captured the song the way it was meant to be. Also, another thing is, we did not have to make any additional edits from the first version that Zach sent over. It was perfect from the beginning.


Songwriters: Billy Lawson and Ed Hill; Director: Zach Van Dorn