Smyrna’s Wicks returns for sold-out Boys & Girls Club benefit

Smyrna’s Chuck Wicks will perform a benefit concert for the Smyrna Boys & Girls Club Saturday night at the Smyrna Opera House. (Submitted photo)

SMYRNA — Country singer and Smyrna native Chuck Wicks is coming home this weekend.

He plays a sold-out show Saturday night at the Smyrna Opera House to benefit the Smyrna Boys & Girls Club.

Aside from a chance to see old friends and family members and help raise money for a cause near and dear to his heart, it’s a chance to just be thankful.

On Feb. 28 of last year, Mr. Wicks, 39, was involved in a crash in Mississippi as Mr. Wicks was traveling from Nashville, Tennessee to Mardi Gras with three others from his syndicated radio morning show to serve as a parade grand marshal.

The vehicle hydroplaned after striking a puddle during a rainstorm and it rolled twice into a ditch full of water.

Mr. Wicks suffered a broken neck, skull and back. An attending doctor told him he was lucky to still be walking and talking.

Weeks of rehabilitation and being confined to a neck brace followed.

“The whole thing was intense and I was very lucky,” he said Tuesday afternoon by phone from his home in Nashville.

“It was a good time for me to reflect while I was healing and getting a second lease on life. I don’t think I’ve changed too much because of it because I have always been someone who goes for it. But it served as a reminder of how blessed I am to be here and how I have to make the most of every day.”

Five months later, he participated in the Music City Triathlon in Nashville and finished fifth in his age group. He’ll be featured on NBC Sports this fall on “Ironman: Quest for Kona” a series that follows those competing in the Ironman endurance race. An avid hunter, he resumed doing spots for the Outdoor Channel.

“Getting back to doing those things was such a reminder that they were almost taken away from me and that I came so close to never being able to do them again,” he said.

Now fully healed, he’s also back to his first love of music. He’ll deliver all of his hits and more at Saturday night’s sold-out show.

“If you can’t sell out in your hometown, what are doing in the business?” he joked.

Chuck Wicks is pictured in a hospital room shortly after a vehicle crash that fractured his skull and a vertebrae. (Submitted photo/Facebook)

“It’s been a while since I’ve come back home and I’m excited to see a whole bunch of people, raise some money for the Boys & Girls Club and have it all revolve around music, which is what I love to do.”

He’s performed twice before at Smyrna High School for previous Boys & Girls Club benefits but this will be his first time at the Smyrna Opera House.

“I remember as a kid I would go by this old building and notice how cool it was. When I was doing “Dancing with the Stars” (in 2009) we rehearsed in there once before a show in Maryland. So this going to be really cool for me,” he said.

An avid baseball player as a kid, he said he understands the importance of what the Boys & Girls Club offers.

“I grew up right on Sunnyside Road playing sports as a kid and working on the (potato) farm. I was so fortunate just to be a kid and have access to sports and a lot more. And that’s what the Boys & Girls Club can do for other kids,” he said.

The 1997 Smyrna High graduate hit the music scene in a big way.

His first single “Stealing Cinderella” produced the biggest debut for any new country artist in all of 2007, with 52 of the stations on Billboard’s survey adding it in its first official week of airplay.

It was also the fastest-climbing debut country single in 2007, reaching No. 5 on the country charts in January, and 56 on the Billboard Hot 100.

Released in 2008, “Starting Now” peaked at No. 7 on the Top Country Albums charts.

Other albums have followed, including the EP “Rough” in 2008 and the full-length record “Turning Point” which hit No. 12 on the country charts in 2016.

He’s prepping a new single called “Better than Flowers,” which will be out in late September. He’s filming the music video now with Olympic gold medal-winning gymnast Nastia Liukin.

A fellow “Dancing with the Stars” competitor, Mr. Wicks is pleased to have her as his co-star.

“She’s a good friend. I wasn’t sure whether to ask her and thought she may say no but she’s great. She didn’t even hesitate before she said yes. She’s a huge country music fan,” Mr. Wicks said.

“It’s fun to be putting new music out.”

He said the plan is to put out a new song every four to six months.

For the last six years, Mr. Wicks has also been a radio star. He co-hosts the syndicated morning show “Ty, Kelly and Chuck” for Cumulus Media. Although no local radio stations carry the show, it can be heard on the iHeartRadio app and website.

He said he’s having a blast on the show.

“It’s a different landscape and no other artist is doing it. But it’s a lot of fun,” he said.

What isn’t all that fun are the early hours.

“I grew up on a farm but not on a dairy farm,” he said. “I’m up and out of bed by 4 a.m. and ready to go. You get used to it. Naps are my best friend. I’m like a kindergärtner again. Just give me an area rug and I can nap anywhere.”

The show features the top country artists of the day. Mr. Wicks says its fun to talk to them and to the “best fans in the world.”

“It’s exciting to just get a chance to sit down and talk to artists that you’ve known for years and you get each other. You both understand the craft and when we sit down in the same room, all the walls are down. They know that I’ve been in that chair before and we’ll just have a fun conversation.

“Country music is so small and so niched. Everybody trusts everybody and it truly is like family.”

For more on Mr. Wicks, follow his Instagram page at Instagram.com/ChuckWicks.

Reach features editor Craig Horleman at chorl@newszap.com

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