Lee Greenwood could easily talk about the accomplishments he has had in his career, but the entertainer prefers to talk about what he is doing today as he continues to write and record with the same passion and integrity that has always fueled his stellar career.
"I want my family to see what I do and not just what I did," he says of sharing his passion for music with his wife Kim and their two sons, Dalton and Parker. "I like the artistry of it. I could have been a carpenter or a farmer, but I love the spirit of the music. The creative ideas still flow and I am writing much more than I have in previous years. I always love to create something new."
To that end, Greenwood has a new seven-song EP titled "I Want to be in Your World". He wrote three of the seven songs, even pulling out his saxophone to lend a jazzy air to a couple of the original tracks, "Here Comes Love, There Goes My Heart". He also covers the Michael McDonald/Kenny Loggins ballad "I Can Let Go Now." McDonald dropped by the studio to play piano on the song.
Greenwood claims a string of hits including "Ring on Her Finger, Time on Her Hands," "It Turns Me Inside Out," "Somebody's Gonna Love You," "I Don't Mind the Thorns (If You're the Rose)" and "Dixie Road." He has won numerous accolades including, Male Vocalist of the year for the Academy of Country Music, two Male Vocalist of the Year awards from the Country Music Association and a Grammy for Top Male Vocal Performance in 1985 for "I.O.U." Also in 1985, he took home CMA Song of the Year honor as the writer of "God Bless the USA."
Celebrating its 30th anniversary this year, "God Bless the USA" has been voted the most recognizable patriotic song in America. The singer knows first-hand what it's like to have loved ones fighting for the freedom of all Americans, as his father served in the Navy & the Merchant Marine in World War II.
"God Bless the USA" went far beyond what Greenwood expected when he wrote it in the back of his tour bus in 1983. The song has been in the top five on the country singles charts three times (1991, 2001 and 2003), giving it the distinction of being the only song in any genre of music to achieve that feat. It was also #1 on the pop charts after 9/11/01.
Greenwood says; "USA is the song I always felt the need to write". "I wanted to have something that would unite Americans from coast to coast. I wanted to instill pride back in the United States. The song represents my family, my community and those men & women who have paid the price for the freedoms we all love & enjoy."
In 2011, Beyonce offered her version of "God Bless the USA" as a download, with the proceeds going to the 9/11 firefighters fund in NYC. It is popular with contestants on the Fox Network's "American Idol" & was the winning song in the 2011 "Dancing with the Stars" competition on ABC. It is performed at all military and patriotic events across the United States.
Greenwood performs for many charitable events and gives his time & name to numerous organizations and fundraisers. He is the National spokesperson for "Products for Good", "Operation Never Forgotten" and, on the advisory board of the "Challenger Commission". The singer is also a member of the National Endowment for the Arts Council, a Presidential appointment.
Music has always been a part of Greenwood's life, even while growing up on a farm near Sacramento, California. He started playing the piano when he was seven and the saxophone at 12. In junior high, he started his first group, called the Moonbeams. By the time, he finished High School he played most all the instruments in the orchestra and was the Drum Major for the marching band.
Greenwood graduated from high school in June 1960. He passed on a track & music scholarship to the College of the Pacific along with a professional baseball career. He also elected to skip his high school graduation ceremony because he had a job at the Golden Hotel & Casino in Reno, Nevada with his own band, the "Apollos". That turned out to be a great choice.
The California native was discovered in 1979 by Larry McFaden, who saw him performing in a show at the Nugget Casino in Sparks, Nevada. Larry was the bass player and bandleader for Mel Tillis. He brought the singer to Nashville and got him signed to MCA Records. He began working with producer Jerry Crutchfield, with whom he recorded his debut album "It Turns Me Inside Out." The title track became his first hit, followed by "She's Lyin", Ain't No Trick" and "Going, Going, Gone."
"Choosing songs to record is always exciting," says Greenwood. "I'm a songwriter as well and I love lyrics that have depth and emotion. I'm thankful for the many writers & artists who have contributed to my career."
Greenwood took his career a step beyond songwriting when he released his new book, "Does God Still Bless the USA". It features a calendar called "Prayers of a Patriot" and includes two songs, written by Greenwood, for download in the back of the book.
Lee and his wife, Kimberly, a former Miss Tennessee, fell in love on his 1989 USO/DOD tour. They were married in Nashville in 1992 and have two sons, Dalton and Parker, 18 and 14.