Why country music ?
~ Country Music is running through my blood. I was raised on a steady diet of artists like George Strait, Chris LeDoux and Garth Brooks growing up, and I’ve always identified with the genre because of my own rural roots. Country music is all about telling great stories and telling the truth, and I love that.
How did you get involved with Book ’em?
~ Book ’em is a non-profit organization in Nashville, Tennessee that works with children’s literacy. I was a big reader as a kid, and it was a natural fit for me to donate proceeds of my album sales to help Book ’em provide books to Nashville children.
Who is the best country artist when it comes to writing songs that tell a story.
~ I think there are some great artists and great songwriters, and a few that are great at both. One Canadian artist/writer I’m really impressed by is Derek Ruttan. He co-wrote a song called "That’s How I Wanna Go Out" and the first time I heard it I just wept. It was so beautiful! I also think Jamey Johnson is an amazing artist/writer with songs like "In Color."
What song you ever recorded means the most to you and why?
~ For my current album, Stories Behind Songs, I’d say "I Wasn’t Done Lovin’ You Yet." It was a co-write with friend and hall-of-fame songwriter Thom Schuyler (who has penned hits for artists like Kenny Rogers). It’s a song that means a lot to me because it’s honoring a relationship that meant a lot to me.
Who would you like to write a song for you?
~ More like with me! I’m itchin’ to write with hit songwriters Rhett Akins, Dallas Davidson and Ben Hayslip, a trio that call themselves "The Peach Pickers" because they grew up in Georgia. Collectively they’ve written #1 hits by Blake Shelton, Rodney Atkins, Lady Antebellum and many others. I’m working on some song ideas that I think they would dig until that day comes!
Whisky wine beer or….?
~ Milk! I grew up on a dairy farm and I still love the taste. 🙂
If you could turn back time to make only one change, what would you change?
~ Hmmm…this got a little personal all of a sudden, didn’t it? Well, I guess I wish I would have told someone how I felt about them before they were gone. You make as much peace with it as you can and give it to God, and at the same time you still live with some regret.
What is the question interviewers never seem to ask you and…you wish they would? (Please provide your answer as well.)
~ I wish interviewers would ask me about my black lab Jessi Lu and the tricks she can do. I taught her how to play dead when I say ‘bang, bang’ and shoot her with my finger. Maybe I have too much time on my hands!
Describe the ultimate recording studio (not the technique but the facilities)
~ I’ve heard OMNISound, Blackbird, Sound Kitchen and Oceanway are all great in Nashville.
Johnny or June ?
~ I’m going with Johnny here because he had the whole country rebel thing going for him. I also love the "American Recordings" he did later in life. There’s some grit there, and it’s not everyday you get to hear that kind of voice covering songs by Nine Inch Nails and Tom Petty.
Give us your top 3 country songs ever.
~ Whew! I think my head just exploded. I guess if I have to choose three, I’d go with "The Dance" by Tony Arata (recorded by Garth Brooks), "The Gambler" by Don Schlitz (Recorded by Kenny Rogers) and "Crazy" by Willie Nelson (Recorded by Patsy Cline).
What was the most memorable day in your musical career and tell us why.
~ The most memorable day so far in my musical career was August 29, 2011. That was the day that the country duo Acklen Park released a song I co-wrote to U.S. country radio stations as a single. It’s a song called "Lost" and I co-wrote it with Bill DiLuigi and Scott Jarman. And it’s climbing the Music Row charts as we speak!