Mar 29, 2024

Six Things with Country Music Star Josh Abbott

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Six Things with Country Music Star Josh Abbott

Phi Delta Theta’s engagement team met with country music star Josh Abbott, Stephen F. Austin ’04. Josh Abbott formed the Josh Abbott Band in 2006 with his fraternity brothers Austin Davis, Neel Huey, and Andrew Hurt.

Do you feel that Phi Delta Theta made a difference in your life? 

I went through recruitment at the Texas Eta Chapter at Stephen F. Austin, and three things led me to Phi Delta Theta. First, they were the only fraternity to have a brand-new house, and it was the only one on Greek Circle with five sorority houses. It felt like they were doing it right to be the only ones with that. Second, as I went through recruitment, I became buddies with a handful of guys. We all had different top threes but had Phi Delta Theta in our three, so we all agreed to do it together. I’m still very close with a couple of those guys to this day! Third, a family I really respect from my hometown (the Isom’s) all chose Phi Delta Theta at Texas Tech. I thought, if Phi Delt was good enough for them, then it was good enough for me! Just felt right. I only lasted at SFA for one year. I wasn’t thriving academically and just didn’t feel at home, so I decided to return to my West Texas roots and transferred to Texas Tech. Clayton Isom, Texas Tech ’04, from my hometown, was on the Executive Committee then and encouraged me to affiliate. I was hesitant because I was older and knew that the Texas Epsilon Chapter was so prestigious and respected. I wasn’t sure how I’d fit in as an outsider, but I stuck with it and am so glad I did. They changed my life. 

What is your most memorable experience or moment from Phi Delta Theta?

My most impactful memories from my time at Texas Epsilon stem from my time on the Executive Committee as chaplain. I really enjoyed organizing a handful of chapter churches throughout each year. Singing praise and worship songs at those events led me down the path of playing guitar in front of others, which definitely led to my career. We won the Bininger-Stitt Excellence in Ritual Award both years I was chaplain and I co-founded a Bible study group called GreekWide that still exists today. 

Who from your chapter inspired you? Have you ever told them that? 

Honestly, if not for the Isom family from my hometown, I’m not sure I would’ve pledged Phi Delt or affiliated at Tech. They’re some of my closest friends and their parents and siblings are family to me. A lot of my Fraternity brothers from Tech inspire me because even though they’re separated by distance in other fields of work, they’re successful and leaders, and good fathers and husbands. I’ve got a whole fantasy football league with brothers I respect. I’ve always admired Wes Welker, ’04, and how determined he was. Guys like Cody Campbell, ’03, and John Sellers, ’04, inspire me; not just for their massive success, but the way they brought along so many of our brothers with them and blessed their lives too. Bill Dean, ’61, is someone we all look up to. He’s the godfather of Texas Epsilon. In terms of celebrities, gotta shoutout Burt Reynolds, Florida State, ’58. No one can rock short shorts and a ‘stache like that, dude.

What accomplishments or career milestones are you most proud of, and how do you attribute them to your experience?

I often reflect on some of the things we unknowingly learned in college. Formals, for instance, where we dress up, bring dates to a social function, dine together, and discuss topics. It really prepares you for attending gala’s and events as an adult. The recruitment process prepares you for presenting yourself to others with a firm handshake, eye contact, and introductory small talk to get to know others which helps with clients and meeting others in business and life. The Phikeia education period really installs the idea that anything worth having is worth working for and earning, and if you do that, you’ll always respect and value it more. 

How have you stayed connected with Phi Delta Theta after graduation?

To this day, Phi Delt is a huge part of my life. Most of my closest friends are Phi Delts. I’ve invested in multiple deals with or because of brothers from Texas Epsilon. My bandmate Austin Davis, ’08, on banjo, was a TXE. We started jamming together in college, leading to the band and this whole crazy path. To this day, Fraternity brothers hire me or connect me with others for private parties. I bought my home with a brother who was my realtor and found the preschool for my kids because of another brother. I even have guys from other chapters come out and shoot me the sign from the crowd. I’ve had countless doors open because of Phi Delta Theta and will be eternally grateful for this experience. 

Advice for current students?

If I could talk to my undergraduate self, I’d have a handful of advice, ha ha! But mostly, I’d say keep networking because you’re surrounded by great young men who will be leaders in their fields down the road. I think I unknowingly did a good job of that anyway, but I’d tell anyone to network well in college because it truly can shape your life afterward.  

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