So I know it's been a long time since I've written BUT that's because we've been taking a lot of video footage for my webisodes "Keepin Up With Cavanaugh." If you haven't seen them yet you NEED to check them out!!
Anyways, I just wanted to take a quick minute and tell you all about the Blake Shelton Cruise that I got to be a part of a few weeks ago. First of all, I know this sounds crazy, but to be honest I was a little skeptical about being on a boat for that long, and I wasn't the only artist who had the same thoughts, however, I NEVER, the entire time I was there, wanted to leave, I STILL wish I was back there!! The artists on the cruise included the man himself, Blake Shelton, also, Jerrod Neiman, Lee Brice, Easton Corbin, Trace Adkins, and a number of other regional artists like myself including Nik and Sam, Brinley Addington, and my good buddy Clayton Anderson. The cruise left from Miami and went to San Juan, St. Thomas, Tortola, and Nassau.
As far as the artists on the boat, it was awesome simply for the fact that most of the time when we are all on the road doing shows together we seldom have more than a few minutes to hang out and talk and catch up. Over the course of the week, I got to spend quality time with many of my favorite artists/friends whether it was on the boat or off the boat.
As far as the fans, same thing. Typically on the road, you the artist, rarely have time to do more than sign an autograph, take a picture, and maybe have a little small talk before you have to pack up and get down the road to the next gig, or get the musicians home to their families. Spending a week in the Caribbean on the same boat with all these fans however, really gave me the quality time to get to know some of them. I met alot of new friends over the course of the week, and I mean that. I got to hang out with alot of friends/fans in a very chill environment. We got to do alot of things like go to dinner, chat it up over a pina colada on the beach, and even just spend time by the pool together where I could pick their brain and find out where they're from, who they're favorite artists are, and when they fell in love with country music. I can't say it enough, this was awesome to finally spend time like this with fans. I hope over the course of my career I get to spend at least a little time like this with every fan at some point. I love it.
The best part of the entire trip by far was the MUSIC! There were over 80 shows during the course of the week and several by all the artists I named above. Just to be able to spend time and go to shows and be a music fan was awesome. Again, with all the time on the road and in the car, it's rare that you get a chance to do this. The support among all the artists was just as amazing. It wasn't rare at any show to see several other artists sitting out in the audience as fans and cheering on their peers. Let me take this time to say this as well, Lee Brice is by far the most talented singer/songwriter/entertainers I have seen in a LONG LONG time. That guy has more talent than I can explain. If you haven't been to a Lee Brice show. GO get tickets now!!
The cruise itself was again, amazing. The food, the hospitality, the people putting on the production, meaning everyone from the ones coordinating the logistics to the sound crew, everyone was awesome. I'd never been to the Caribbean but going once made me wanna go back again. The water was more blue than I'd ever seen it. And standing on the hills looking down at the water on some of these islands was literally like something you'd see in a movie. My favorite place was probably St. Thomas. Favorite drink was by far the Banana Bacardi Colada. I know that sounds a little girly but I guess you can get by with that in the islands haha. Again, thanks to everyone who was a part of this, I hope I get to be a part of another cruise like this soon!!
Ok so I haven't written a blog in FOREVER I know. This summer has been great so far, working on new music still, shot my first music video for my song "Country as I Wanna Be," and I've done a ton of shows. Over the last month I've played through the Midwest doing shows with Lee Brice, Jerrod Neiman, and my buddy Clayton Anderson, as well as a big 4th of July show out at Camp Lejeune (pronounced LejERNE as we found out). Last weekend we put 1,927 miles on the pavement, and this weekend about 1,200.
We are hoping to have the new video out and available for you all by mid September. Can't WAIT for you all to see it. I worked with a video producer named Marcel, who is like a wild eyed crazy scientist, there's probably a better description for him, but seriously, this guy's house looks like MacGyver's workshop. He has tons of projects going on, and I'm SO GLAD that he fit me in his many things to do. I got to drive around in a 71 Camero all day long and at the end of the day we drove down highway 100 on the west side of Nashville and found the perfect sunset from the side of the road that was coming down through a power line trail. It was REALLY really cool. Anyways, when it was finally time to see the final edit, and by then I'd seen many, I went over to Marcel's house and instead of him just hitting the spacebar and showing me the video on his computer, he took out this huge projector to his back yard, killed all the lights on his house, cranked up the volume (loud enough to piss off the neighbors I'm sure), and let me watch the final product, or so I thought. Before the second time through watching the video on the "big screen" from the outside, he said "Hey let's go back in I wanna try a different shot for that line." A few days later it was FINALLY done.
The rest of the music will hopefully be out sometime in the fall, and I hope to announce that to you all soon as far as when exactly that will be! Shows are picking back up and I as I always say I'm LOVING seeing more and more familiar faces every time I go out to a show or to a town. And sometimes I'll go to a town I've never even played before and see familiar faces, THAT is awesome.
Hopefully it won't be another 3 months before I write. I will say however, I might be writing a little bit less now that we started our webisode called "Keepin Up with Cavanaugh"! Stay tuned to Youtube and Facebook for episode 2 coming up this week. Hope to see you all out on the road soon!!
Man time flies, I always look before I write these blogs to see when the last time I wrote was and it's always alot longer ago then I think. Anyways, since the last show of the Jager tour I've been doing a bunch of acoustic shows. I actually got to play a show with the Casey Donahew band (a Texas band) a few weeks ago up in Columbia, Missouri. What a great group of guys and man can they entertain a crowd!! I also got to head back up to Columbus Ohio and play a show with Justin Moore and I can say the same thing about him. It's no wonder why he brings in 1500 people a night! On a side note, I LOVE getting off stage when I'm opening for a bigger act and then just sitting back in one of the wings and watching whoever I've just opened for take the stage. It's always an education and I've learned alot by watching artists who are paving the way for me. By learned alot, I mean I've learned alot about what to do and what not to do as well! haha.
On a totally different subject, as many of you know, over the last month or two I just randomly started writing a song from stage. This has been the coolest experience for me to just wing it every night (mainly when I do acoustic shows) and try to come up with lines and melodies on the spot. Before this last weekend I'd had the chorus written and since then, meaning just this last Friday and Saturday night, I've learned how to incorporate the audience more in the writing. Last night we finished the first verse in Quincy, Illinois. I say finished, it might need two more lines. That's the cool thing about writing, you never know when it's done and it's like putting together a puzzle in a sense. The song I'm writing, which I think I'll title "Can I get a Hell yea" was actually started as a joke on stage about 6 weeks ago when I was telling people how my road manager was saying that I always say the same things on stage. He happened to be out there that night so just off the cuff I started writing a few lines, more less making fun of him and in spite of what he was saying. It didn't take long to realize that what I was writing was pretty entertaining! Maybe that means the stuff I "always say" IS good stuff for the stage!! haha...I'm definitely not the only artist who has his/her sayings and favorite things to do from the stage. Speaking of this road manager, Scott Gunter, I do have to take a second to say a little something about him. Scott and I met years ago when I first moved to town and at the time he was working at Universal Music publishing. I'd go in and play Scott my songs and he would tare them apart. Literally. Scott, at the time, was working with writers such as Craig Wiseman ("Live Like You Were Dying" "Where the Green Grass Grows") and Anthony Smith ("Run" "Chrome" "Cowboys Like us") so it's no wonder why at the time my songs did not live up to his standards. Regardless, through years of torture, Scott, along with a few others, really helped me to hone in on who I was/am as a writer. About a 2 years ago, Scott left Universal because he wanted to get out on the road and get away from Nashville. He spent a while in Texas, then Georgia, then who knows wherever else. Not long after, or over the last year I should say, Scott has gone out on the road with me, called clubs for me, emailed papers and websites, and spent relentless hours helping me to get my tour/business/music whatever you wanna call it to the next level. I'm saying all this now because as of recently he just took a job to work for a new Texas label. So, it's a good time for me to mention that NO ONE along my career so far has helped me and done as much for me unselfishly (whether he says so or not) as this man has. No matter how far I get or how long I live this crazy life of music I will forever be thankful for the time that he has put into my career. Scott, I will miss the road trips, the making fun of you from stage, the breakdowns, and even the arguments. Thank you buddy. (Ps, I sound like I'm speaking at your funeral, sorry) Enough of that haha!
I'm pumped for the next week because I'm going back to Athens, Ohio to play at a bar called Red Brick and I'm playing up at Joe's Bar in Chicago on Friday doing my first headlining show there! I'm proud of this. I'm also into the mixing phase of my new album! At least for a few songs. I'm chomping at the bit to hear these things. And I can't WAIT for you all to hear them as well! As I always say, thank you to all of you who take time to read this, take time to come out to the shows, and spend your money to get there and back. To say I appreciate it is an understatement.
Well we just finished the Jager tour Saturday night in Dixon, Illinois at the Dixon theater. It's been an awesome few months and I've gotten to travel around with my good friend Josh Thompson everywhere from Maine to California. It was awesome to end the tour in the Heartland of America! My last week started with a few acoustic stops of my own starting in Athens, OH. I'd played Athens before with Jerrod Neiman and Lee Brice back in January and this was the first time I'd been back since then. I played in the basement of the Red Brick bar on their country night. The response was great, we had a bunch of people come out and above all alot of people who knew the songs! Even "Country as I Wanna Be" which I have yet to release. The next night I stopped in Kent, OH at a bar called Checkers and Trophies. This show was completely different from the Athens show but not in a bad way. It was great to just sit on a barstool and tell stories of my songs and just pretty much "wing" it for 2 hours. By the way I ate at a great little steakhouse in Kent called Pufferbilly's that used to be an old train station. Worth checking out if you're ever in that area!
Friday and Saturday night were spent with Josh Thompson playing at Theaters in Zanesville, OH and Dixon, IL. Both shows were great. Dixon, Illinois as I found out is actually the hometown of President Ronald Regan. At least one of them, he lived there from the time he was 3 til he was about 18 and apparently had performed at the theater we played at. Saturday morning I woke up and walked to a small breakfast cafe about a half a mile from the venue and probably walked right past his house according to the local folk.
Again, thank you to Jager and Josh Thompson for having me out for the last few months. It has been a blast to say the least and I can't wait to do it again!!
I just got back home after a 10 day run on the west coast. I'd never been before and it was a amazing!!! We did 7 shows in 10 days as part of the Jager tour I'm doing with Josh Thompson. We flew out last week and started at a bar in Flagstaff, AZ along the historic route 66 called the Museum Club. From there we went and played Mesa, AZ at Toby Keith's I Love this Bar and Grill. Then we ended the weekend in San Miguel, CA. Really good crowds all 3 nights. We got on the bus after San Miguel and set up camp in a small town south of Santa Cruz call Aptos. We had 3 days off and the beach was within walking distance. The first of our days off we just walked around and I watched Josh Thompson and our drummer both take a dare to strip down to their boxers and run into the water, which was still really cold. that was hilarious! Especially watching them freeze their butts off all the way back to the bus. I spent most of those three days just relaxing, and running on the beach in the afternoons, however, on the 3rd day I got up really earlier and rented a car by myself and drove up Highway 1. I'd never been before and the scenery was/is AMAZING!! It truly is like something you'd see in the movies. I drove all the way from Santa Cruz up to and through San Francisco. Making several sightseeing stops along the way. I went through a few cool towns called Half Moon Bay and Pacifica. I made a few stops (yes a few) for seafood as well. I was a little let down by the seafood selection however, maybe because a few months ago I was in Portland, Maine, and the first thing I saw on the menu at Sam's Chowder bar ( I think that was the name) was "Maine lobster" imported from Maine!! haha...Anyways, I drove into san Fran, crossed the golden Gate Bridge, saw Alcatraz, from a distance that is, and started heading back. Again, to me the best thing was just the scenery and peaceful drive up Highway 1. Now I know why alot of people talk so highly of California.!
On Wednesday we started the tour back up in San Jose, CA, a town just southeast of San Fran. I played with Josh of course as well as Eden's Edge. Really nice people and a great band!! The next night we played in Davis, CA on campus at UC Davis at a bar called The Graduate!! This was an AWESOME night!! I love playing in College towns and watching everybody show up and ready to party and raising their beers in the air!! It was really cool to hang out with everyone for a bit as well. The next night we stopped and played in Ridgecrest, CA, just a few miles off an Army base, which is where I found out they test bombs for the military, which makes sense cause this place was out in the middle of NOWHERE!! Every way I looked around it was deserts and mountains with nothing on them. I searched for a place to rent ATVs or dirt bikes for the day since there were so many trails around there but I had no luck...any suggestions for next time???
The last night we spent in San Diego and this was the perfect way to end our trip! I had NO IDEA how beautiful and "beachy" and "tropical" San Diego was. We played at a place called Typhoon Saloon which was just about a mile off the beach. All day people passed by on skateboards in bathing suites and bikinis. I once again felt like I was in a movie. My mother and sister and their friend came to visit me for that day and we went over to Coronado Island. I REALLY REALLY wanna go back soon. The beaches were beautiful with big waves and the bays were really calm to where you could take out a boat and ski or wakeboard (this is on my list of things to do when I go back). For about 2 minutes my sister and I stood on the beach and watched these dolphins about 150 yards off shore jumping in and out of the water...that was awesome. After that it was seafood/Mexican food, soundcheck, more walking around, then showtime. This club was really cool with a VIP section that we hung out in after my show and watched Josh Thompson play. The crowd was GREAT and again it was such a cool way to end our trip. As most of you know by now I really spend alot of my time these days traveling in the Midwest but I gotta say I can't WAIT to go back to California again. Thanks to Josh and the Jager team for having me out on all these shows... Headed to Oxford, Ohio on Wednesday and Joes bar in Chicago on Friday, should be another great week!!
Back from another long weekend! I started out on a Jager date w/ Josh Thompson in Columbia, SC at a bar called Jillian's. Pretty cool gig and a good crowd. From there the next morning I flew to St. Louis and had my guys pick me up at the STL airport and head to a gig in Jerseyville, IL which is about 45 miles from there. Oh btw, when they got there, there was a shatter in the bottom right side of my windshield the size of a golf ball, and from there was a long crack that was running towards the top of the windshield, long and getting longer. I'd already had another crack on the top of the window and to be honest I wasn't sure all weekend if my windshield would make it back to Tennessee...they said when this happened, and they still have no idea what hit it, that they had to stop and vacuum glass off the dashboard. I'm having it replaced today...
Anyways, we played Friday night in Jerseyville, IL at Mulligan's West, cool little bar and GREAT food, had a few people drive from the Springfield area, always appreciated. Saturday night I played up at a bar called Champs in Sterling, IL. This is northwest Illinois. This was a GREAT gig. The bar staff was awesome, radio came out, and we sold a bunch of CD's. And I mention that because to me that's always a good sign that people are digging the original songs. As opposed to some bar band that comes in there and plays ALL covers. there were about 200 people there. Can't wait to go back!!
Other than road dogging it, lately I've been busting my butt trying to get this new recorded music done so me and my producer can start showing it around town. So far we tracked (meaning put all the instruments down) on 4 songs. And I've done the vocals for all of them I just have to go back and tweak a few words and lines here and there...From there we'll start editing and then mixing...The guy mixing these songs mixed and produced all the Nickleback records so this should end up sounding pretty dang good! Can't wait for everyone to hear the new songs!! Oh yeah, and apart from working with these producers I'm also producing a version myself of my new song "Country as I Wanna Be"...I think/hope this song will be HUGE! it is truly who I am as an artist and where I come from..I can tell people can really relate...
That's it for now...if I haven't said it lately thank you to everyone who's been coming out to the shows and spreading the word!! I love playing music and I love my job, and without you all I wouldn't be able to do this...more soon...
Well this last week was crazy to say the least...First of all, I had a GREAT show in Athens, Ohio. It was my first time there but the audience was very welcoming and receptive. I opened up for Jerrod Neimann and Lee Brice with just me and a guitar. We played at the Auditorium right on campus and there were about 1,300 people by time I went on stage. Here's where the story gets good...
On the way back from Athens about 70 miles from Nashville my SUV started acting really weird like the transmission was slipping or something. Long story short, somehow 3rd and 4th gear got completely burnt out. I (or me and my road manager) spent the rest of the afternoon along exit 2 on Interstate 65 in Kentucky, trying to find a reasonable mechanic to replace a transmission, the transmission itself, and a tow truck, and someone to come get us..Oh yeah, AND a VAN so we could get to Ft. Wayne, Indiana on Friday and Columbus Ohio on Saturday with my band...What a mess...
Anyways, Friday morning I got the van, it had a 2 and 1/4 inch ball on it, I didn't even know there was such a thing, I needed a 2 inch ball for my trailer, no worries though, I got the trailer mount off my truck that I was gonna use... Problem was, the guys who I rented this van from, when they bought it, they were never given the keys to the trailer mount on the back of the van so I couldn't get that off, next option would be that I had to change the actually ball off the hitch, my pipe wrench was still in my SUV, which at this point was at the mechanic, so I ran down to the hardware store, bought the tools that I needed, however, the ball on this freakin van was NOT coming off. So my trailer was in no way going with me for the weekend, that was apparent, finally me and the guys took all the seats out of the van that we could spare and barely got all our stuff in the back, we did have to leave a few things behind though. Made it to ft. Wayne, Indiana and played the Rusty Spur. By the end of that night for some reason, probably lack of sleep, stress, and being on the phone all day the day before, my voice was gone. The next night we played at a cool little bar in South east Columbus, Ohio called Chances R. Thanks to EVERYONE who came there and could help me sing along!! It was an awesome bar and they have amazing wings if anyone is ever in the area :) Can't wait to go back there and play that place! It was awesome to see a group of people in Ohio who knew the songs and knew all the words. Sunday afternoon we made it back to Nashville....barely... More to come soon!!
So I just got back from a 5 day run in Florida to finish out the year...Out of the last 18 days I've been gone for 14 of them..NOW I'm starting to feel like a musician!! Started out the month playing in Columbus, OH at the Bluestone, a 113 year old church that has been turned into a venue, followed by a show the next day at 8 Seconds Saloon in Indianapolis. Both shows with Josh Thompson and both were great! The next day I played down in Columbus, Indiana, a little south of Indianapolis. Really cool little cozy bar, we just stood on the floor and sang and it was a lot of fun being such a relaxed environment. And everyone was very welcoming from the owners, to the bar staff, to the crowd. Oh yeah, this is the first time I've EVER done this but that night I said how is everyone doing here in "Columbus, Ohio?!"...Oops...You have to cut me a little slack since I did just play in Columbus OH 2 nights before and we were in another Columbus...ha-ha..the crowd was very forgiving...
During the time of this 3 day run I got a last minute call to go out to Vegas for three days and play an hour long acoustic set for 3 nights in a row at the Gold Coast Hotel during the NFR finals...What a great excuse to go to Vegas for the first time!! haha...I honestly didn't do much since I did go out there to work...Monday night was the ACA's so I did get to hang out with a few friends of mine who were already out there and some other artists that I'd seen throughout the year on the road. That was awesome...
My next show was in Winston Salem, NC opening again for Josh Thompson. This was a pretty good show and pretty normal up until the solo of my last song "College Years" when I walked to the edge of the stage and kicked a beer into some girl. I noticed halfway through playing my solo that her boyfriend was looking like he was about to jump onstage and kick my ass...He kept saying "You kicked that right on to my girlfriend" In my mind I was thinking that "she shouldn't have had it on stage" but I didn't wanna make a scene...I apologized about 100 times and also had my road manager go up there and see if they were ok after the fact..yikes!! Oh well...all part of being on the front row I guess!!
The last 5 days I was in Florida with Josh...The first stop was at an Arena on the Seminole Indian Reservation, a beautiful 36,000 acre piece of land. I didn't play that night cause it was just a private event josh was doing, I was on the bus though, so I was there...The guys down there drove us around the land that day for a few hours but the real kicker was once the show was over that night they took me and Josh and few other people out Hog Hunting...Talk about crazy! The weather was perfect, and honestly I could've just road around on those big 6 wheelers we were on all night without any action. After riding through about 3 pastures the dogs that we were with finally caught sent of a hog and took off through the night...I'll save the details incase there's anyone with a soft stomach, needless to say, it was really intense by time we got to the dogs and the hog, and we almost had a casualty by time the night was over. The rest of the trip was pretty good, I played with Josh's band one night and the rest of the nights acoustic. We played Jacksonville, Kissimmee, Tampa, and then Bradenton.
Since this is probably the last blog of the year I gotta say that 2011 has been great, and I KNOW 2012 will be even better. We are already set up for a great year. As I've always said, I appreciate everyone coming to the shows SO much and putting in the money and the miles to get there. It means the world. I'm looking forward to getting back in the studio and cutting some new songs as well here soon. That said, I should have another acoustic song up on iTunes as well here soon...ALOT of stuff going on, oh yeah! I also heard the final version of my Josh Thompson cut called "Be Your Boy Tonight"...it sounds KILLER..make sure you all call up your radio stations and request his new single called "comin Around" Merry Christmas and see you all in 2012!!!
Just got back from a weekend run in Illinois. What a GREAT weekend!! Friday night we played a bar in Jerseyville, Illinois called Mulligan's West. Jerseyville is about 20 miles from the river and is a town of about 10k...The bar was a cool little place w/ GREAT food and a cool atmosphere..No stage, we just played on the floor by the fireplace almost as if in someone's living room...it was nice just to play a laid back show.
From there we drove up to Decatur, Illinois for a Saturday night show at a bar called Timbuktu Saloon which I had yet to play. This bar was SO nice and the show was just one of those times where I had a moment in the middle of it where I was so thankful for loving my job so much and doing what I do. It's so easy to get caught up in comparing yourself to other artists and not being thankful (I know several famous artists who are still chasing the guy in front of them and it eats at them more than they want to admit), Saturday night, I was truly thankful. We played a 2 hour set at first and then another one hour set later on. It was awesome to hear people singing along with MY songs and hear people singing with even the VERSES of the songs. This was SUCH a good night and if I could've I might have just stayed and played till the sun came up. Thank you to Frank and Charlene the owners for having us and to 95Q for promoting the show! I really hope to be back up soon.
Besides this weekend everything has been staying at a good pace. I just got done recording two new acoustic songs which will be available soon to everyone, and I hope to start recording a new EP come Feb. or March. I also in the last few months have had my first (surprisingly first) experience in hiring my lawyer to track down money from a bar. Haha...it was a long and ridiculous process but all part of the business I guess.. I have this weekend off and then I'm playing almost the entire month of December with Josh Thompson. First weekend in Columbus, OH then Indianapolis and then a four day run in Florida in December. Can't wait!!!
Can't believe it's been over two months since I've written. Bottom line, I've played alot of shows in the last several months!! Last night I did a show in Nashville for William Morris Entertainment (my booking agency) and it was me, 3 other newer artists and RONNIE MILSAP! And since it was a private event for industry people and he was the special guest, he played in the middle which meant I had to follow HIM!! Haha...Honestly, I just had to just pretend that I was going out playing my own show, if not, I would have not felt worthy to follow Ronnie Millsap. Other than last night, I've been back and forth to Missouri, Illinois, Indiana, Ohio, and even another trip to NC in the last few months. A few weeks ago I went up Carbondale, Illinois and opened for the band Brushfire. Really good band and a GREAT bunch of guys, from there I went on to the town of Hermann, MO where I'd been once before. I had the night off cause we weren't playing til 1pm the next day (Sunday). So I got to hang out in a German town on a Saturday night, during what they call Octoberfest, and watch everybody stumble all over themselves. It was actually quite entertaining... We walked into a bar at 7:30pm on Saturday and the place looked and smelled like it was 2am...Drinks spilled everywhere and dang near EVERYone was walking around like zombies in a daze. I felt like I was in another world, actually I think I was. That was a great weekend.
Other than traveling playing shows I'm also planning on doing a 2 or 3 songs acoustic session in the next few weeks and putting it out in the digital world to be available for everyone. I'm really excited about this cause after all, just me and a guitar is where all the songs start. I'm still not sure what songs I'm doing or if it's gonna be songs I've already recorded or even songs I may record with a full band on my next album. Or songs that I'll keep out there just as these acoustic versions. Suggestions?? Again, thanks to everyone for coming out to the shows and all the messages and comments. Hope to see you all soon!!!
So I finally had the chance to fill out this 20 questions survey a friend had sent me. I thought it would be something different than me rambling like normal. check it out.
1. What was the first song you wrote?
I wrote my first song when I was 14 called "Some Things Never Change" It was NOT the Tim McGraw song...Although I wish it were that good.
2. If you could go on tour with any country artist, who would it be?
I think every artist probably dreams of touring with one of the big dogs. For me at this point in country music it would probably be Keith Urban. If I could go back in time I'd love to go on tour with John Denver in the 70's
3. Where is your favorite place to eat in Nashville?
I usually go in phases. But typically any Mexican restaurant suites me fine
4. What was your first job?
I grew up building pools in the family pool business. After that I waited ALOT of tables
5. Out of all your songs, What is your favorite?
Just like restaurants that usually goes in phases. But I have consistently loved and always will love a song I wrote called "Rented Houses." I wrote it with my friend Jeremy Spillman who is a great writer and it was the first song we ever wrote together. It poured out in about 3 hours which is pretty fast for me. When the crowd and the venue is just right this song is incredible to play live. I feel like it really creates a moment in the show and hopefully always will.
6. Do you play any other instruments?
Sometimes I'll fool around and write on piano but I don't claim to be a pianist.
7. What is your all time favorite album?
Easy, "Everywhere" by Tim McGraw. A close second would be the "No Shoes no Shirt No Problem" album by Chesney as well as some classics like John Denver's greatest hits and George Strait Greatest hits one, AND the first 4 Garth Brooks CD's. All those albums were the ones I learned to play to.
8. What 3 things do you have to have with you when you are on the road?
Nothing out of the ordinary. my guitars, and some new music that I usually download before the trip, and most recently a Jump rope.
9. What is the weirdest thing you ever signed?
Nothing too strange YET
10. When you were a kid, what did you want to be when you grew up?
I've always wanted to play music for a living
11. What is your favorite song currently on the radio?
Honey Bee by Blake Shelton
12. If you could vacation anywhere in the world, where would it be?
I took a trip to a little town called Banner Elk in NC about 2 years ago and it was amazing. I'd really like to go back soon. I'd love to travel the world someday but honestly there is so much here that I want to see in our country it will probably be a long time before I do or have the desire.
13. What do you like to do in your spare time?
I LOVE to wakeboard whenever I can find a lake and a boat. I also like to deer hunt when I can. It's about the only thing I can do anymore where I'm not consumed by my phone and email.
14. What CDs are currently in your vehicle?
Keith Urban - Defying Gravity and Eric Church - Chief. Also some of my new demos
15. What TV show would your fans be surprised you watch?
The Office and 2 and A Half Men
16. What is your favorite movie?
The Shawshank Redemption
17. If you could do a duet with another artist, who would it be?
I've always thought Martina McBride was the best singer in country music. I would love to record a song with her.
18. What advice has another artist given you?
Probably the same advice most every up and coming artist gets. Stay positive and stay the course.
19. You are a songwriter. Which artists have cut your songs and what is the name of the songs?
I've had a handful of little cuts here and there. Recently I've got a song on the Colt Ford "chicken and Biscuits" album called "She ain't Too Good For that" that was a duet with Colt and Joe Nichols. I have a song on the Steve Holy album coming out this week called "Like I'm Famous" and Josh Thompson just recorded a song him and I wrote called "Stay at Home" that will be on his next album.
20. Tell us something original that your fans should know about you.
I just bought a new Gretch electric guitar TODAY!!!!!!!
Just got back from another long weekend. Once again I got to go out to Jacksonville, NC and play at Gus' Warehouse, by far one of my favorite bars to play. We spent the following day driving ALL day to a gig that we had to play yesterday (Sunday) in Columbus, OH...It was a long drive but beautiful. We drove through all of Virginia and across West Virginia. Me and the band decided to sing John Denver's "Country Roads" a few times, this sounds goofy but the scenery was truly inspiring, so it seemed fitting.
Earlier this week I got to play up at the Huron County Fair in Norwalk, Ohio. Being onstage there was definitely one of those "moments" that I have now and then. Norwalk is about smack dab between Ft. Wayne, IN and Rootstown, OH, two towns which I've played a few times now. I got to play between Thompson Square and my producer Josh Thompson. It was such a pleasant surprise that when I got on stage that several people knew my songs and were singing along. This was awesome!! Thank you to everyone who came out and to everyone I got to meet that night. I'm learning the more I do this that there'll be times where I have to go on 3-4 hours of sleep a night for several nights in a row. This last week or two has definitely been one of those times. It's all worth it though...Keep believing and spreading the word!! I'm brain dead, more here soon...
Well I just got back from a 3 day acoustic run. Just me and a guitar on the road for twenty plus hours. I left Nashville Friday morning and headed to Fulton, Missouri for my first "Acoustic Farm party" as I called it, that I've ever done... It was ALOT of fun and turned out great. I wanted to do something like this so I would actually have a chance to hang out with people and talk as opposed to my usual of rushing to get to the gig in time for soundcheck, rushing back to the hotel, grabbing some awful fast food, and hurrying back to the gig. Then playing the gig, hanging by my merch table for a bit then rushing off so we can get a few hours of sleep before we leave the next morning. This was quite the opposite. However, this gig was not for the faint of heart, it was about 20 minutes from Columbia (where i usually play when I'm in that part of Missouri) way back down a dirt road and people actually had to GPS the address and find their way there, unlike stumbling in to a club.
I had my buddy Clay Cumbie come out and play for about an hour before I got up there. Clay is a great singer/songwriter that I've written several songs with back when he lived in Nashville. Best part of the night, I started singing, and about 4 songs in I sucked a mosquito right into my throat. I could NOT get this out for the life of me. I tried drinking, spitting, swallowing, nothing...by about song number 7 I barely had a voice, I had to have Clay get up and sing a song. I stepped off stage and found a subway sandwich to eat somehow and hoped that would somehow get it up or down (I know this sounds disgusting). I got back up on stage and finally by the end of the night my voice started opening back up. I can honestly say that was the first time that's ever happened to me and I hope it's the LAST!!! Thank you so much to everyone who came out. It was great to spend time with you all and hang out for a change. And a special thanks to Rocky and Jeanne who own the beautiful piece of property we set up on and to my buddy Cole who helped with all the arrangements of the show.
The next day I packed up and headed to Illiopolis, Illinois ( a tiny town between Springfield and Decatur). I played a club called Bunkers which was a cool little bar out in the middle of nowhere it seemed like. It was great seeing a few familiar faces once again and knowing that this was the second or third time a few of those people had seen me.
The next morning I woke up and headed to Memphis, TN where I was supposed to play a pre-party for the Eli Young Band show at a bar called Newby's. When I got there however they informed me I'd just be playing a 45 minute set on the main stage before Eli Young and Carter's Chord. This was awesome. Newby's is a cool little college bar and I can't wait to go back. After the show I finished out my weekend by driving another 3 and a half hours back to Nashville...a LONG day...
On a totally unrelated note, last week I got to go in the studio and watch Josh Thompson record a song I wrote with him and his producer Phil O'Donnell. It was awesome to watch the whole thing go down and I gotta say it was REALLY cool knowing that I wrote a song on a Tuesday and the following Wednesday it got recorded. I could use a few more of these :) That's it for now. Please keep spreading the word out there and know that I try to keep up with returning messages and comments the best I can....sometimes it just takes me a few days or one slips through the crack...but I always love hearing what people have to say! More to come soon...
What a CRAZY last week it's been!! This last week as most of you know has been CMA Fest here in Nashville, pretty much a weeklong festival in downtown Nashville where almost every country music act there is makes several performances, signs autographs, and has fan club parties. My week started last Tuesday when I went to 12th and Porter ( a hole in the wall club here in Nashville) to see my good buddy and producer Josh Thompson at his fan club party. Josh was great, he just sat up there with a guitar and played whatever anyone asked for. Later on in the hour he got me up to do a couple songs. It's so cool to start seeing familiar faces out in the crowd and see people who are die hard country music fans who not only come to one fan club party but several!!
On that Thursday, I went downtown to lower Broadway with Josh and we both signed at the Carl Black Chevrolet booth for about an hour. Honestly, when my manager asked me to do this I was a little skeptical because I figured most people would just wanna be there to meet Josh and have him sign something, but I was really surprised when I met SEVERAL different groups of people who'd seen me out on the road this past year, some which even brought photos they'd taken with me out on the road for me to sign that day!! how awesome is that!!
After that, I played my EP Release show for my new EP "One of Those Things" at the Longhorn Steakhouse in Brentwood, TN. This turned out to be EXACTLY what I wanted it to be! Just a small intimate crowd with just me and a guitar playing all the new songs off the EP. Again I say, it's awesome to see so many familiar faces out at the shows more and more often. After I played the songs off the EP I just took requests for the rest of the hour and signed CD's afterwards.
The next day, Friday, I played up in Decatur, Illinois opening for Josh Thompson at the Macon County Fair. This show was a true testament to how loyal and die hard country music fans are... We knew it was probably gonna rain before we got on stage. They'd given me the warning that depending on how bad the weather gets they might have to stop me part of the way through the show. About 2 songs in it started raining, nobody moved, and we just kept playing through. About song 8 the lightening started coming in and they shut us down immediately...I went back on the bus wondering if I was gonna finish the performance or not, Josh had to be in Wisconsin the next night so he HAD to get on stage soon. They said it was a rain DELAY... So I decided to head to the grandstand where people were taking cover to finish playing. I stood up on two chairs and played for about 40 or 50 people gathered around the merch booth. I just took requests and played a verse and chorus of some of my songs. this was awesome!! and probably what was even cooler now that I think about it, was that there was a BIG group of people that waited out in the front of the stage to hear josh play. They just stayed out there through the lightening and rain. How insane is that!! by time I got back to the bus the entire place was a mud hole. there was 3 inches of mud on the bus everywhere, my SUV which I drove up to meet the guys that day was covered... Josh went on eventually and played for about an hour..There were girls with wet t shirts, guys with no shirts on each other's shoulders, it was awesome to watch from back stage. Getting out of there was tricky too, my truck was sliding on all fours it was so muddy, and my boots weighed about 40 pounds by time I left.
The next night I played in Hermann, Missouri (a REALLY cool small Germantown on the Missouri River) opening for Jason Jones, great weather, really good crowd. I busted butt back to Nashville Sunday morning, got back just in time that afternoon to take a shower, empty out the car, and go meet the band to play on the Hard Rock stage for CMA fest that afternoon at 5pm. The show was great, once again, familiar faces were great to see. it was a great ending to a crazy four days!!! Headed to play an acoustic show in my hometown Springfield, MO. this Thursday night. Can't wait!!
HOW DO I KNOW THAT PLAYING MUSIC IS WHAT I AM SUPPOSED TO BE DOING???? I have wanted to write this for a while but I've waited because I wanted to be in the right mood and make sure I could get all my words and emotions out on this page the way I wanted...and mainly my emotions. After all, that's what music is. And also, being that I feel like I am about to turn a major corner in my career, I didn't/don't want this to come across as any less genuine if in two or three years I were to say these things while standing at the place I'm trying to get to. I don't and wouldn't want people to read this and say "well that's easy for HIM to say he is (fill in the blank) and he has (fill in the blank)"...So, I'm writing this right now. As a starving artist?? Probably can't say I'm a "starving" artist because at this point I am making a living playing music. Although, I am far from being a multi-millionaire, and some days even now, trying to make a living playing music feels impossible...I know perception is everything, so maybe to some I just blew my cover, BUT I really wanna just be honest so this all makes sense....I want to put down in words how I feel right now, about what I do, and what it is that my soul thrives on every day.
I have been asked before "how do you know that you are SUPPOSED to play music??"..." how do you know this is your calling??? I guess I have just always felt like it was and didn't think of it beyond that. But in the last few years, having been hit in the face a couple times with the reality of the music business, and I should emphasize "business," I have asked myself that question a few times...IS this what I'm supposed to do?? I can't imagine myself doing anything else. But after all, there is no security in playing music, writing songs, or anything else that comes with it. And for those that do reach stardom, for 99 percent of the them it fades away in a few short years...And EVEN THEN, in alot of those circumstances, the artist or songwriter has somehow managed to blow millions of dollars on who knows what!! In addition to that, they usually put a marriage or two down the drain as well... So there's no financial security, it's extremely tough/near impossible to have any sort of normal personal life for the busy traveling musician, and there are obviously no guarantees. And oh yeah, there's also the emotional torment of knowing your hopes and dreams hinge on a very few people's opinions and decisions. Luckily this part of it however, I have almost overcome. Not by getting the approval of some "gate keeper," but mainly for the fact that I have taken it upon myself to get out on the road and play music. And to find people who are hungry to hear new music and people who might feel the same way about words and melodies that I do... I couldn't not get out and play anymore, I LOVE playing music WAY too much to not be on the road playing every time I get the chance. And most the time I have just as much fun playing for 10 people who are into the songs as I do for 100 people. And the same for writing, even if I write a song that might never see the light of day, but made me laugh while writing it, or feel that thing that you feel when you hear THE song, if just for a brief moment, it was worth the day's work...
SO....maybe I still don't have any solid answer to the question... I mean, is what I just said about writing songs and playing out on the road enough to justify feeling like you're "called" to do something??...I don't know...This is what I do know though: When it comes to listening to music I can become the biggest dork ever, I can drive down the road in my car blaring the same song over and over again, all day long, and play the best air drums to it that anyone has ever seen. And I mean that, when I find a song I love, I can get lost in it, and it takes me to a completely different place, and I can literally listen to it about 75 times straight. That's actually what I've done this last week with Blake Shelton's song "Honey Bee" and the Easton Corbin song "I Can't Love You Back." I LOVE THOSE SONGS!!! I also know this, I'm far from the most talented singer or songwriter or guitar player to step foot on this earth. I'm reminded of that almost daily when I am in Nashville and hear a new song a buddy of mine wrote or a demo that he/she just sang on...I'm SO humbled by the talent in this town. All that said, God has given me a work ethic that I simply cannot ignore. He has, I feel like, given me a drive, passion, discipline, whatever you wanna call it, to play music and to try and constantly better myself as a singer, songwriter, guitar player, and performer. For what?? The only reason I can think of... it's what I am supposed to do, what I am called to do. Oh yeah, and did I mention I love it? And yes, the egotistical side of me hopes that I can sit down next to a great singer songwriter someday and out play or out sing them, but that is being selfish. The bigger picture is that I think that someday, if not already, I can touch someone's life through a song I've written or a song I've sang. Or take their mind off whatever they might be going through in their life for at least an hour or two... I really, really feel like that is possible....and if I think THAT, then I cannot NOT think that this is what I am supposed to do... As for 10 or 20 years down the road, who knows, I might not even live that long for all I know. But as for right here right now, and ever since I was 12 years old, I feel and have felt like this is what I'm supposed to do. And even if someday, for reasons or circumstances beyond my control, I find myself working an office job or construction or whatever, I can't imagine coming home and not picking up the guitar before my day is over.
I was looking back through my calendar for the last few weeks trying to see what I've done since the last time I wrote one of these and I was surprised to see how MUCH I've done and all the places I've been. I guess I need to start writing these more often. That's a good thing though!! I just got back from a weekend in Columbia, MO yesterday. What a great time! I've played up there several times but this was the first time to play at Whiskey Wild Saloon. What a great bar! and a BIG bar for sure!! The first night was me and the band for about 3 sets, the second night we opened for Thompson Square ("Are You Gonna Kiss Me or Not"). It was a sold out show!! 1700 people. We rocked it out for about an hour and everyone (from my perspective) was really receptive. I love college towns. Especially this one since I grew up about 3 hours south in Springfield, MO. So..thanks to everyone up there for being so welcoming... I hope to be back SOON!!
As well as a great weekend in Columbia, I also got to play down in Huntsville, AL and up in Ft. Wayne, IN. about a month ago. These are two of my favorite places to play. Since it was too cold to play out in the courtyard at Humphrey's in Huntsville we played an acoustic set inside. It was so much fun to just have everybody standing right there and singing the songs in the corner of this little bar all night!! And as always, it's great to see so many people who are catching on to the songs and know all the words. The same with Ft. Wayne, IN at the Neon Armadillo. It was awesome to look out and see so many people who knew the words to my songs.
I've also played in Bowling Green, KY and Augusta, GA in the last month. Here's something random and weird, I've had about 3 times in the last month where (beyond anyone's control) the sound system, or the power, or something has crashed right in the middle of us playing...this makes for a VERY awkward moment. I'm learning however, that that's just par for the course haha.
One of the coolest things I've done lately I'd say is play the 2nd Annual Benefit for City of Hope at The Hard Rock Cafe in Nashville. I got to share the stage with alot of great talent including Thompson Square, Chuck Wicks, and Josh Thompson. And it was all for a great cause!!
I guess that's it for now, or at least for the most part...There are so many little things that happen while going to and from these shows and in the car on the way there and back that make me laugh...Sometimes I wish I could just record my life from Friday through Sunday. Then again, ALOT of that time would just be one of us driving while everyone else is just sleeping, so I'd have alot of editing to do to get to the good stuff...more soon!!