Why country music ?
~ Country music fits my personality and it stands for the important things in life that I think we are slowly loosing sight of here in America: family, hard work, respect and freedom. I was raised under those guiding principles and you don’t see a lot of music emphasizing that message these days. Also, I believe you write the best music when it is an extension of yourself and I couldn’t think of a better place then country to put my ideas into reality.
If everything would be possible (waking the dead included) , which two people should sing the ultimate country duet?
~ Karen Carpenter (The Carpenters) and Gary LeVox (Rascal Flatts). The combination of these two would smash the gap of what could be the most epic duet in country history. Karen Carpenter’s classical haunting voice and pristine control combined with the contemporary pop voice of Gary, in a country ballad?? The thought is giving me goose bumps.
What song you ever recorded means the most to you and why?
~ It would certainly be “Bring me Back” off ‘The Starting Line.’ Since I first began recording music I had always dreamed of writing a song that I could record in the studio with my sister as a duet. She is an amazing singer with such untapped talent. I wrote that song specifically as a duet for her and I to sing, and to have it come together the way it did was something I will cherish forever. It has been a dream of my mom to have us both sing on tape, I was glad I got to make that happen for all three of us.
Who would you like to write a song for you?
~ Neil Diamond or Joe Walsh.
What is the one thing that readers/fans would be surprised to know about you?
~ Probably that my music tastes are pretty eclectic and sometimes I feel like I’m all over the map. I appreciate a great song from any genre but above all I have incredible respect for a well-written tune. I hear songs from other genres all the time and think “man I wish I had written that.” and I love breaking down the dynamics, what makes it special. Having a diverse taste is a valuable tool when writing because there is always place to pull good inspiration from.
Give us one country song you never want to hear on radio anymore and tell us why.
~ This may be on the boarder of classic rock but I’m throwing it in the hat anyway because this was the first song to come to my head – SWEET HOME ALABAMA – The first 100 times you hear it you love it but then you start to realize it is like one big long jam session that never seems to end. It is so overplayed that I dare you to find a jukebox in a bar in America that doesn’t have this song in it. Also, my first band I was ever in, used to play that song and it always got a monumental response but after singing it live at least a few hundred times I just wanted to jump in front of traffic every time I saw it next on the playlist. Still to this day I almost crash my car, trying to turn the radio station when it comes on.
What is the question interviewers never seem to ask you and…you wish they would? (Please provide your answer as well.)
~ I wish reviewers would ask me: “How hard is it to go from zero to eventually recording your own professional produced album?” I think this is such an important question to ask because when I was starting out in music recording an album seemed like an impossible dream meant for other people. I wish someone would have told me that everything I experienced to get here was part of the journey. It’s a terrifying experience taking the steps to become a musician because it generally feels like an impossible task when you are just starting. You will meet some of the most fierce resistance life can throw at you, from your peers, your superiors, your family, your bank account and (sometimes especially) your partner! Everyday there is a reason to give up and it gets harder the closer you get to your goal. Ultimately you will fail more times then you can count before you have any success which is true with mostly anything in life worth doing. Whatever your musical goals are you will feel proud of what you have accomplished given everything you have been through, as long as you keep pushing forward. Truth is, there is no magic formula for creating music you are proud of but I recommend surrounding yourself with good musicians and learn from everyone who knows something more then you do, and don’t let your pride or ego get in the way of your progress.
Describe the ultimate recording studio (not the technique but the facilities)
~ The studio would be out in the woods as an adjacent separate building from the main house (like a barn). In the studio first and foremost, a large main room about 1000 square feet with 20 foot ceilings separated from the editing and mixing board room. The walls of the rooms would be made of a dark wood and be hung with all kinds of interesting junk to pull inspiration from (ex. Cow skulls, old bicycles, empty retro coke machine.. I could go on). In the middle of the large room would be a big concert grand piano a drum set and benches to sit for bass and guitar. There would be an isolation booth for vocals off to the side and instruments everywhere.
The mixing room would be long and narrow but dark and intimate. There would be a long sectional couch in the back with a wood coffee table and a fridge filled with bottled water, beer and other types of hard alcohol. Obviously this room would have the best recording gear money could buy and the best sound system you could fit.
Johnny or June ?
~ Johnny – talk about a man with a story to tell. He was edgy and didn’t care what anyone thought about him or his craft. His songs still hold up after all these years and will continue to be staples in country music after anyone reading this is long gone.
Are you still nervous before going on stage and if so, do you use any “rituals” to calm you nerves.
~ Every time still till this day I get a little bit of a cramp in my stomach before I perform regardless the size of the show. It is always right at the moment when I’m about to walk on stage and it lasts up till the first note comes out of my mouth. Then after that, it’s completely gone. The strangest thing is that I never feel nervous to do a show especially after all these years but there is nothing I can do to really shake it. What helps is being well rested and having a few sips of coffee right as I’m heading up to play. Feels good on the throat and the caffeine helps get the blood flowing.
What was the most memorable day in your musical career and tell us why.
~ It had to be when I received the final mixes from my last album ‘The Starting Line.’ Hearing the songs mixed and mastered for the first time was a flood of emotion because it was the realization that I was completely doing the right thing, musically. The cumulation of the album achieved all of my goals and expectations, and I knew I had something special on my hands. Even though I had done many albums before in my career, this was the first one that had all my heart, blood and tears poured into it. I can’t wait to get back into the studio to do the next one.