North Augusta native McKenna Hydrick, 31, has gone from playing the spunky yet sweet Molly in the Augusta Players’ production of “Annie” to recording music in Nashville and performing in concerts with big-name stars like Eric Church and Montgomery Gentry.
The country singer released her new single, “Good Man Down,” on Nov. 10.
“I wrote ‘Good Man Down’ about my husband, Andrew, during a tough time in our lives as parents,” she said.
She and Andrew are the parents of three sons, two of which have Eosinophilic esophagitis, which is an inflammation of the esophagus.
“They were in and out of hospitals all the time,” Hydrick said. “We were scared and overwhelmed and trying to figure out how everything was going to come together. My husband was working so hard, and I felt like he couldn’t catch a break. He is a man of integrity and made sound choices, yet nothing seemed to ever go his way.”
Her husband’s work never seemed to slow down, from his paying job to caring for his family.
Feeling a bit defeated, Hydrick remembered laying in her bed and talking to God, trying to stay strong.
“While ‘Good Man Down’ sounds a little dark and mysterious, it truly does give me hope because I do believe that good will always triumph over evil,” the singer said.
The family resides in Augusta but are looking into moving to Nashville, where Hydrick travels to write and record her music.
“We are certainly in a better place. We sold our house, and my husband got a day job ... but the fight isn’t over,” the singer said. “We have gotten our children stable by God’s grace and some pretty amazing doctors, but we are learning what it’s like to be the parents of children with a chronic disease. It takes patience, sacrifice and a lot of planning.”
In September, the performer released her debut single, “Ever After.”
“This song is also about my husband and me, and our forever love despite life’s trials,” she said.
Hydrick has shared the stage with the likes of Tracy Lawrence, Randy Houser and David Nail, and her six-song EP is expected to come out in March.
“I have co-written every track on the upcoming EP and am very proud of the work that has brought us this far,” she said. “In 2013, I gave music up completely because I was so exhausted from caring for our boys and felt like I could never accomplish my dreams. Writing and singing just reminded me of what I hadn’t accomplished in my life ... I’m so thankful, though, for my husband and for how he pushed me to write and sing again. He’s the reason all of this has happened.”
“Good Man Down” and “Ever After” are each 99-cents and can be downloaded through outlets like Google Play, iTunes and Amazon.
Hydrick is one of the performers for the first Palmetto Bowl block party, which will be held from 5 to 10 p.m. Friday on Newberry Street. Tickets are $5 in advance and $10 at the gate. Advance tickets are available at Aiken Drug Company, 101 Laurens St. S.W., Unique Expressions, 1521 Whiskey Road, Lominick’s Drug Store, 839 Richland Ave., and Fox & Lady, 104 Laurens St. S.W. For more information, visit www. aikenblockparty.com.
For more information on Hydrick, visit www.mckennahydrick.com.
Stephanie Turner graduated from Valdosta State University in 2012. She then signed on with the Aiken Standard, where she is now the features reporter. She primarily covers health topics, arts and entertainment, authors and restaurants.