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Thanksgiving Traditions, Blessings & Memories of the Stars

Christopher Polk, Getty Images

Thanksgiving is a day when even the busiest artists park their tour buses to spend the holiday with family and friends. But before they carve the turkey, or settle in for a long afternoon nap, several country music celebrities paused to reflect on what they are truly thankful for this season.

Vince Gill: “I’m thankful for the kindness that evolves in my life,” the Country Music Hall of Fame member tells The Boot. “Life is pretty easy, it’s calm, there’s no drama. It’s really beautiful. Great family, great friends, a lot to be thankful for.”

Sugarland‘s Jennifer Nettles: “I’m most thankful for health, and the health of my loved ones and family,” says the mom-to-be, whose first baby is due any day now. “I’m thankful for the safety of my brother who came back from Afghanistan. I’m thankful for music and to have a wonderful partner and manager and a wonderful group of people to go on the road with and do what I love. I’m thankful for the fans that buy the records to allow us to do what we love. I could list on and on, but I am a happy girl.”

Sugarland’s Kristian Bush: “Thanksgiving is a very special time for me. My mother passed away during Thanksgiving and I always get sentimental and want to play,” he tells Country Weekly of the decision to perform a solo show every Thanksgiving weekend in the Decatur, Ga. club where he got his start. “I think it’s important to have a show like this that you go to every year as a musician. It helps define time.”

David Nail: “I’m thankful for my family,” the singer tells The Boot. “This year, out of nowhere, it’s been a long time since I’ve lost a relative, and my grandmother is fading pretty fast, so I think it causes you to slow down. I definitely felt guilty wondering if I had been going home enough, if I had soaked up these last few years with her as much as I should.”

Taylor Swift: “I keep a tight grasp on the fact that careers end every day,” Taylor says, insisting she has so much to be thankful for, even though her busy promotion schedule keeps her from spending this holiday with her family. “It is possible for you to say the wrong thing, do the wrong, have a bad stroke of luck and it could be over, so why not appreciate every single day while you have it because there’s no guarantee for anything.”

Lee Brice: “I’m probably at one of the best times of my life,” Lee tells The Boot. “Happy in my personal life, with my family and in my career. I just really am at one of the highest points of my life that I can ever remember. So there’s just too many things even to mention. [Son] Takoda’s healthy and happy … Life is just so fragile and you never know, so every day, I talk about how lucky we are to be healthy and happy. And then to have this career that’s just blossoming like it is right now, I just couldn’t be more thankful for all of it.”

Chris Young: “I’m a big family person,” the “Neon” singer says. “My mom, dad and sister were always really, really supportive of me doing this. Listening to me practice for hours when I was a kid, even though I’m sure I was terrible. Learning to play guitar and trying to sing at the same time was really an awkward phase … My Dad, a couple years ago beat lung cancer, so he’s still around. Having him is amazing. When somebody has something like that, you’re blessed for every day you have them … My niece. I have a new little baby niece. My sister has no idea what’s in store for her when she’s old enough to play drums. She’s getting a drum kit, guitar, amps — everything that makes noise, she will have. And a lifetime supply of candy bars!”

Watch a Video on How Stars Are Celebrating Thanksgiving

Easton Corbin: “(I’m thankful for) having family and being able to spend that quality time with them and obviously, the opportunity to do what I do,” he reflects. “But absolutely during that time, being able to spend that time with family and your loved ones. We used to always go to my grandma’s at Christmas and Thanksgiving. We’d go there for the big meal. I don’t get to go back much. A lot of times I’ll stay up [in Nashville] for Thanksgiving, and then go down during Christmas, but we’d always go to my grandma’s.”

Florida Georgia Line‘s Brian Kelley: First thing that comes to my mind is the great team that’s around us,” he tells The Boot. “This year has been absolutely unbelievable for us. It wouldn’t have happened without the team that we do have around us – the best in Nashville. Our manager, publicists, label, everybody. We’re super thankful for them and wouldn’t be here without them.”

Florida Georgia Line’s Tyler Hubbard: “Everything that’s happening has floored Florida Georgia Line, but I think we both see deeper,” he tells The Boot. “We see behind that. We see our whole team, our ‘family’ is what we call them. We couldn’t do it alone. We get texts or e-mails or Facebook messages and Twitter messages just about every day, from people we haven’t heard from in years, to people we talk about daily. That keeps us going. When we’re exhausted or tired and can barely talk or sing, that encouragement from family and friends kind of keeps going. I’m very thankful for the support of family and friends.”

Eric Church: “I’m thankful for my family, my son, my wife and great health,” says the CMA Album of the Year winner. “I’m thankful for the success we’ve had lately. I’m thankful for (my album) Chief, I’m thankful for what the fans have done. I’m thankful that we’re starting to have some hit songs on the radio, and I’m thankful that I was given the opportunity to do it my own (way).”

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