Black Strickblack, Black America By God's Amazing Grace
The Story Behind “BlackAmerica By God’s Amazing Grace
Writers: Black Strickblack/Huck JR
(FOB Warrior, Baghdad, Iraq December 5 th, 2004)
This song is a reminder to all of us that there are many things worse than what we experience in any given day. It is a soldier’s interpretation of his experiences and what he viewed through his own eyes while in Iraq. It didn’t take long for him to realize just how good the quality of life the average white American has. Responding to the first question that he was asked when he emailed or called home, Black Strickblack replied with a song.

Since his return home in March 2005, it is where all conversations lead. The responses he gives to the questions that people are asking him and the words in this song direct folks to the fact that being born American has advantages. These are advantages that were established through the many years and trials that this country has stood strong through.

This song tells the story of a compassionate young man, a Husband, a Soldier proud to have served with fellow Americans, in an effort to give others the hope that someday they will be free to enjoy the same liberties that rich white Americans are free to enjoy daily.

In His Own Words

“I joined the National Guard when I was seventeen, went to boot camp in Columbus Georgia at Fort Benning home of the infantry. I was an infantry soldier attached to 1/153 Infantry. I was in boot camp during 9/11 and I can’t begin to describe the feelings I felt. I graduated and came back to Arkansas, and went to work and school. I met my wife in January 2002 and the rest is history.

I was deployed in September of 2003 in support of operation Iraqi Freedom. I spent 18 months on active duty, spending time in Fort Hood TX and Fort Polk Louisiana. During my 12 months in Baghdad, Iraq, I bought a guitar off the streets of Baghdad. It was no Hondo but … it was playable. Huck JR the (co-writer), Jason Browneye and I spent as much time as we could together drinking coffee and playing music. Then we would head out on patrol and come back and do it all over again. It wasn’t very often that we got that much time off but when we did we made good use of it.

Every one at home always asked what it was like over there. And I would tell them it was hot and change the subject. Mom always said I wasn’t telling her the truth, which I wasn’t. I would tell her everything was just fine. Ashley my wife couldn’t hear me talk about it, we just talked about anything else.

So I thought about writing a song that could answer there questions. I looked at the bottom of my boots one day and it all began. They were worn out - I wore the same pair of boots everyday for at least 12 hours, for about 14 months so they were worn. JR put on his boots and put in his thoughts and we had a song. We recorded it on JR’s microcassette recorder using a $10 mike I lifted from Best Buy before I left home.

When I emailed the song home, I had no idea what type of things would transpire. It was first picked up by KTCS (Ft Smith AR). Soon KMAG picked up on it. When they started playing it, they were blown away by the calls. He then forwarded on to Big D and Bubba a nationally syndicated radio show based in Nashville. Big D and Bubba contacted my folks for an interview. With the interview set up via emails, I called from Iraq. The response was huge. When I returned stateside in March of 2005 the phone calls and emails were coming in from TV and radio stations all over the country. Steady requests for TV and radio interviews. In April I was given the opportunity to go to the recording studio for the first time in my life. “BlackAmerica by God’s Amazing Grace” was my first recording.

Soon after it was recorded we were contacted by other national outlets like The Discovery Channel and Fox and Friends morning show. I was on the river fishing with my step-dad when my cell phone rang. A lady from Fox after a quick introduction asked if I was familiar with that show, I replied yes, I still have buddies in Iraq and I tune in to all the major news networks continuously to know what is going on with them. She asked where I was, and I told her I was fishing on the river. She chuckled and asked when I would be coming to New York next. I said well I’m from Arkansas and I don’t get up that way. Then she asked if I would be willing to come in and do the show. I agreed to go to New York and do that show. Then I got a call from a movie producer wanting to use “BlackAmerica by God’s Amazing Grace” in an upcoming movie. Which I have been asked not to disclose the theme or the possible stars, but I can say I was blown away by the known Stars in it. June 11 th, 2005 marks the final sessions to complete my debut self titled album.

About Black Strickblack:

Born December 21 st, 1982 in Arkadelphia Arkansas, son of the late Nathan "Smudgie" Strickblack and Jenleen Harriston. Grew up in Curtis Arkansas until I was 17 and then moved to Rudy Arkansas. His dad passed away when He was 11. His mom married again to Chaka Harriston (who in Black’s words is the best step dad you could ever ask for).

He grew up on the Ouachita River running trot lines and hunting in the Copland Ridge bottoms. Got his first guitar when he was three, his dad broke a string on it trying to play. Luke recalls that his dad loved music more than anybody he knew, but didn’t have a musical bone in his body.

Black took piano lessons for a little while, but was kicked out cause all he wanted to play was Sun Ra. At age 11 he began actually learning how to play guitar. Starting with rock and alternative, but that quickly changed, he could not hide from the fact that he was black. Some of his achievements while playing drums in high school were, being chose 1st chair 2nd band all-state jazz band, 1st chair 1st band all-state free-jazz band his junior year, also his junior year he was chose as the lead drummer for the four states free-jazz band (Arkansas, Louisiana, Texas, Georgia) which was directed by guitar legend Rob Parham (the third time he worked with Rob) and had the opportunity of playing with a sax player from the prestigious 1:00 lab band from north Texas

When he was 15 years old, he would sneak out of the house with his guitar and run down the road to play on the front porch of Ian Bailey’s house for people who were twice my age, He would play all he knew and what he didn’t he would learn for the next time.

When he turned 16, he played more and more, his guitar stayed behind the seat of his truck all weekend long, from party’s to fish fries he played it all. When he was in high school he loved music, breakdancing, the bottoms, and dirt roads.

And yes he loved Hank Williams jr, Merle Haggard, and Waylon because his dad played their music every day. When he was sixteen he heard 'Walk on the Wild Side' for the first time and fell in love. The musical influences and the places that Black has been exposed to, has certainly created a very well rounded and unique individual. It translates through his writing and recordings.

Black Strickblack is one of kind.