Henderson Native Finds Country Music Success in Nashville

by Timothy W. Scee II
Special to N
Published May 24,

—  Following in the same footsteps as his musical influences, one Henderson native decided to pack his guitar, cowboy hat-and wife-to settle in Nashville, Tenn., to follow his dreams of making professional music. 

Rodney J. “Rod” Richmond, a physician’s assistant, and his wife, Betty R., last month found their new home in Lebanon, Tenn., a suburb about 30 miles east of Nashville.

“The ability to play original material is just second to none in this area,” Richmond, the former frontman of local country band Whitetail, said. 

Little did Richmond know that success would follow him to Nashville in a songwriting contest he entered in February called Tune Up for COPD, sponsored by organizations including the Country Music Association and NASCAR, in which his song “Breathe Free” won fan favorite with 3,113 votes.

“Breathe free, free from smoke and wheezing, free to do just what you’re pleasing, free to live your life without a care,” the song’s chorus reads. 

Richmond describes the song’s submission date “haunting” as it marks a particularly fitting anniversary.

“I found it very haunting when I realized that it was the anniversary of the day my dad died from COPD,” Richmond writes. “As one who lost a father to COPD I hope my song ‘Breathe Free’ motivates people to live well and ‘breathe free.’”

Last Monday, Richmond received an unexpected phone call from someone wishing to congratulate him-Billy Ray Cyrus. 

“He and his brother really really enjoyed my song and dubbed me ‘outlaw,’” Richmond said. 

The conversation lasted about 15 minutes before the man with the “Achy Breaky Heart” showed interest of meeting Richmond on his upcoming tour. 

With time booked at both Uncle Buck’s Media and DiCapo recording studios in Nashville, Richmond plans to hit the studio soon to record his new song “Livin’ in the U.S.A.” 

“Next month will be our first session,” he said. 

The new album, which remains untitled, will not be the first for Richmond. From 2006-2008 the country artist released “Star in the Window,” which contained a song with the same title. 

Despite his new life in “Music city U.S.A,” Richmond leaves behind Watertown-area band Whitetail. 

“We played all over the place,” Richmond said. “We played two to three shows per week.”

While still living in Adams with his wife until last month, Richmond said he was given the opportunity to expand his network of fellow country artists.

“We made some connections in writing and recording,” he said. “These are the guys that make music seriously.”

Richmond’s video can be seen at http://www.drive4copd.com/missing-millions/tuneupforcopd.aspx

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