"People say, 'Who does this guy think he is, getting out of a helicopter in a fur coat, drinking a cocktail, smoking cigars and being a big-shot?'"

John Rich is well aware that his image might give people the wrong idea. Still, he makes no apologies for it. The country singer/songwriter tells The Boot what he thinks is the biggest misconception about him.

"Probably that I am superficial," he says. "I'm anything but superficial. I'm very empathetic. I grew up in a trailer park in Amarillo, Texas. We went to the food bank once a month ... I know what it's like to not have your own new pair of tennis shoes until you're 16 years old and go to school wearing hand-me-down clothes you bought for a quarter at the thrift shop, while all the other kids are wearing brand-new Reeboks."

Rich says growing up poor is what made him so ambitious, succeeding in school, sports and eventually in the music industry.

"You have to stand up for yourself and say, 'You may have better shoes, but I can hit free-throws and you can't. I'm first-chair trumpet, you're sixth-chair trumpet. Your daddy dropped you off in a Mercedes, my daddy dropped me off in a Plymouth station wagon. But guess what? I can compete.' Growing up that way made we want to overcome what I had to overcome."

Rich says he knows his story is not unique. That's why, he says, people are relating so much to the several autobiographical songs on his solo album, 'Son of a Preacher Man.'

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