Born and raised in the Ozarks, Strickland is a descendant of farmers who have lived and worked in and around Dallas County, Missouri since the mid-1800s. Currently he farms 283 acres near Buffalo, in southwestern Missouri, that were purchased by his great-grandparents in the 1940s. A reflection of his own rural lifestyle, Strickland's songs chronicle life in small-town Missouri. Whether writing about economic difficulties or simply the vagaries of the weather, his songs spring from personal experience.
As a musician and a farmer, Strickland has tried to balance farm life with a desire to make music, and has recorded and released several records to date. He also draws musical support from many fine and talented Missouri musicians, including some former members of the Ozark Mountain Daredevils.
While Strickland often tours and performs solo, as he did in the KDHX studios, his latest CD, "Balanced on Barbed Wire" features a full band with country and Americana instrumentation. The record features banjo and resonator guitar by Mark Cassidy and mandolin and violin from Dave Wilson, while Lou Whitney and John Anderson round out the rhythm section on bass and drums respectively.
In addition, John Dillon and Steve Cash of the Ozark Mountain Daredevils appear on the song "Hard to Hold," a tune Strickland wrote and has said reminded him of the Daredevils. Dillon also contributed "1949" to the album, a song which had never been recorded or released by the Daredevils.
Strickland's deep and weathered voice feels both as rugged and as familiar as the Missouri back country he sings about. It is particularly well-suited for his unique, first person perspective on rural life, and for his songs which convey a stoic, come-hell-or-high-water sense of endurance and regard for the hardships of rural life.