When did you first know that you wanted to be a musician?
I was born and raised in Nashville, so I was always surrounded by music. But I didn’t really know I wanted to be a musician until around middle school (maybe age 14-15). I was initially really interested in hard rock/metal – my first favorite bands were Metallica, Godsmack and bands like that. It wasn’t until I discovered artists like Brad Paisley, Joe Nichols and Nickel Creek that I knew I actually wanted to be a musician full-time. Funny story, I never thought I would be a singer whatsoever until I mistakenly joined the school choir in high school. They named it something like “Vocal Performance” and I thought it was more like vocal lessons. I almost quit when I found out it was choir, but I ended up being in it every year until I graduated. Best mistake I ever made.
Can you tell me the story behind your song ‘Downtown’?
‘Downtown’ is a funny one. It would never normally have been on my radar as a single or a title track. It is just a very straightforward song with a simple chord progression. I remember sitting down to write it and I could only think of the word “jaunty”. If you can imagine songs like ‘Wagon Wheel’, ‘Chicken Fried’ or the chorus in Zach Bryan’s song ‘Revival’, that’s the style I wanted. It took about 20 minutes to write the first half of the song and I was ready to throw it out. I shared the first half of the song online and people really responded to it. So I decided to finish the song.
It’s a very unassuming song, but it debuted at #1 on the UK Country iTunes charts. So it’s a special song to me. It also taught me a good lesson about songwriting: Don’t throw out a song just because it doesn’t speak to me at first.
You’re working on a new EP set to be released later in the year, what can you tell us about that?
It may actually be an album if the songs keep coming as fast as they are now. But that is only if I can get the vision of the album together. I have never released a full album, and I want the first album to be a cohesive unit. I want it to have a point. This project is my first attempt at a collection of country songs. But I can safely say that my songwriting style is firmly planted in the country/americana genres. I have already released ‘Downtown’ and ‘How Bout Kentucky’ from the project, but I have another tune I’m really excited about called ‘Cowboy Sitting at the Bar’ that I plan to release as a single before the tour starts in May.
You’ve travelled a lot both in your career in the air force and as a touring artist, where’s your favourite place you’ve ever been to?
That’s a good question. It would be a mix of three places. First would be a little island in the South Pacific called Mystery Island. The other would be Alaska. Alaska is where the outdoors were perfected. I have never seen such incredible scenery. Last would be the wine regions of Illinois. That’s mainly because it was such a weird time of my life where I was living in my car and trying to make it with music. Honorable mentions would include my hometown, Nashville (specifically Broadway), and Ireland.
How excited are you for this UK tour and what can fans expect from you this time?
This tour is just bigger. We’ve upgraded everything from venue size to production. I have put a lot into this tour to make it a show people won’t forget. Production means a lot to me, and I think it gives fans what they pay for, so I invest a lot into it. For instance, we’ve upgraded lighting to make it more intense and interesting. The show is a mix of country covers and my tunes, so any country music fan is going to have a good time. I like to play long shows, and this one is gearing up to be over two hours long. I don’t have two hours worth of country songs (yet), so the covers help keep the show going.
What’s been your proudest moment in your career so far?
If I had to choose one, it would be building up my music career so much that I could walk away from being a lawyer. I was about a year away from becoming a corporate lawyer, but I wanted music to be my life. So I put a lot of effort into my live shows and it has really paid off.
What’s next for you?
I am at the point in my career where I accept most opportunities that come my way if they make sense. So I plan as much of my year as I can, but I also leave myself open to things that may come up.