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Songwriting Session with Mike Vial
CATEGORIES: Songwriting Session

Mikevial_PressPhoto2small_PhotoCredit_AnneGlista

Credit: Anne Glista

Songwriting Session is a column that goes behind-the-scenes with artists and songwriters. Each Sunday, a new songwriter will share their journey and provide lessons they’ve learned along the way. This week, Mike Vial shares what he has learned as a songwriter.

 

Mike Vial has had a whirlwind six months. Days after the release of his new album, A World That’s Bigger, the Michigan-based singer/songwriter was hit by a car as he was walking to play a show. Vial soon found himself hobbling on crutches and lucky to be alive. He admits that, thankfully, his guitar has more cracks than him. Now fully healed, Vial chatted with me over the phone about his new album, his journey to becoming a full-time musician and some of the stories behind the songs on the record, which details the birth of his first daughter and the loss of a family member.

Vial has been a songwriter for as long as he can remember. The 35-year-old began writing poems and playing guitar in high school. He’d continue crafting songs as an adult in between his day job as a high school English teacher where he taught for eight years. In 2011, he decided to quit that job to focus more time on his artist career. Six years later, Vial continues full speed ahead with his songwriting and looks back on how it all began.

“I do remember the first song I wrote, and it was when I was a freshman,” he recalls. “I wrote a bunch of crappy songs that were more like the terrible poetry you would read in high school. I had a whole binder and I threw it away. I wish I still had it. The first song that I ever kept was when I was leaving for college. One classic breakup song. It was the first time I was singing.”

Vial admits that he had always pictured himself as a guitar player and not the frontman. During his senior year of high school, he and his friends were showcased as part of their school’s talent show where they performed three songs. Since no one could sing harmony in the band, Vial sang and he remembers it going pretty well.

“Finding my voice as a singer has been a very long journey. I think writing the song gave me another step in that direction that I was going to be the singer, and then I was going to be the artist in the front,” he admits.

While college mostly involved him reading books and teaching classes, he made some time for playing guitar and writing songs. He says that there were many little victories along the way that kept reminding him once he graduated that music wasn’t just a far off dream.

Years into his professional career, Vial often found himself playing bar gigs throughout Michigan after a long day of teaching. It was the steady money that eventually convinced him to finally leave his teaching job after eight years.

“I’m learning that there is no clear transition. It wasn’t like I had the perfect sign that it was right to quit my job. I just had to take the leap,” he explains. “It was the little victories along the way, and just in knowing I had to give it a shot. I think one thing is, and now that I’m a dad I definitely can relate to this whole thought I had. I needed to give myself time to figure out what music was going to look like before we started a family.”

As he approached his eighth year of teaching he realized it was “now or never,” explaining that the more comfortable one is in his lifestyle, the harder it is to leave. He describes music as a calling and says that when crafting a song, the music often comes first for him before the lyrics.

“There’s a moment in songwriting for me, where I feel like there’s enough development and there’s enough to go on, where the song is going to get finished, and it’s going to be pretty good,” he shares. “I know when I have the feeling, and I can’t explain what exactly it is. There’s enough structure there, there’s enough interesting parts. For the first set of lyrics, they usually come in the process when I’ve got a set structure of music and then I start humming and finding melodies. Then I find some lines, and the lines usually lead me to an idea. Then I’m off to the races.”

Vial adds that songwriting for him is “very chaotic.” He says the chaotic and messy process is the fun part for him.

 

 

“A World That’s Bigger” is the first song that Vial wrote as a father and is the title track to his latest release. He said it started with a Neil Young-esque riff that he jammed to before stumbling upon some melodies. He recalls humming as his daughter, Ginny, was sleeping in her bouncer.

“I was playing as quietly as possible. She’s just a baby, she can sleep through anything. I was lucky to catch that idea of the first verse, which is the first thing that I wrote lyrically for it during the processes of finding the chords that I was liking,” he recalls. “I was thinking about Ginny and I walking to this historic one-room schoolhouse down the street from our house and the baseball field and the church there. Then the theme of the weight of responsibility as a parent took over. Once I had the first verse and the chorus done, I knew that that was going to be a song.”

“Burning Bright,” meanwhile, was inspired by his late relative, David Plawecki, who started a pay-it-forward movement where he would give away $100 to everybody he knew for them to then give that money away to somebody else. Vial says he tries to write songs that are universal and this song embodies a universal theme of loss and death.

 

 

“I’ve learned I have to write about what I know,” he shares. “The way in which I approach is totally up to me because I’m writing the song and I’m not writing a memoir. That is another key balancing act of what’s going to do the song justice versus what’s going to do my ego justice. I have to be writing about what I know to get to the part where I don’t get stuck in a loop and I have enough to go on and I have enough interest to explore it.”

Vial admits that he’s been wanting to write a murder ballad but if he’s writing one, he needs to know that he’s relating to the speaker in the song.

“If they’re angry, I have to feel that anger. Fortunately, I’ve never hurt anybody but I’ve got to relate to that anger to get that song done,” he explains. “When it’s a relationship song, I’ve got to relate to them on a very personal level to get the seed of the song. It might grow in a different direction, but my seeds have to be really personal to get to the end. Otherwise, I just don’t feel like I have enough to go on.”

One song that has struck a chord with listeners is Vial’s “Girl On the Mountain, Boy On the Beach.” It’s a song for refugees that was entered into the Grassy Hill Songwriting Competition. While it didn’t win the prize, it did allow Vial to travel to Connecticut and play the song for the folk community there. He says it was a victory for him as a songwriter as so many people came up to him following his performance explaining how moved they were by it.

“It was the kind of song that gave myself permission to go in the folk direction,” he concedes. “Anytime we get to go to another city and play for a small or large audience is a win for the artist. That’s a part of the challenge. It’s a dream to just keep writing, let alone trying to play to people.”

 

For more on Mike Vial, visit his website or stream his latest album below.

March 26, 2017 | | (0) comment comment
Songwriting Session with Steve Moakler
CATEGORIES: Songwriting Session

Steve-Moakler

Courtesy: Essential Broadcast Media

Songwriting Session is a column that goes behind-the-scenes with artists and songwriters. Each Sunday, a new songwriter will share their journey and provide lessons they’ve learned along the way. This week, Steve Moakler shares what he has learned as a songwriter.

 

Steve Moakler released his fourth album, Steel Town, on Friday (March 17), but he admits it feels like it is his first record. The singer/songwriter co-wrote 10 of the album’s 11 tracks, which he says makes for a personal release. As he explains, Steel Town has so much “chapter one information” and as a result, many of the songs vividly paint the picture of his roots. On “Steel Town,” Moakler discusses what life in his hometown south of Pittsburgh was like and how it shaped who he has become.

“In a steel town you learn how to bend and not break / How to hang in, how to cut loose, how to find a way / How to start from nothing and build it from the ground / Everything that matters most I learned about in a steel town,” he sings on the chorus.

“There are a lot of songs about looking back, and also a lot of songs about trying to be in the moment and appreciating the moment,” he tells me of Steel Town. “All those looking back moments come from my roots in a steel town. And I think it’s taken me, really, 10 years of being gone to really understand how much I’m a product of that place and how much it has given me that I bring with me everywhere.”

Another personal song is the rowdy “Siddle’s Saloon,” where Moakler pays homage to his grandfather’s home bar. Located in his grandfather’s basement, it’s a place his family still gets together to reminisce about old times. “Siddle’s Saloon” is a song that marks new territory for Moakler and one that he can’t wait to play live.

“It’s a very personal song but it also is the most up-tempo, rocking [one],” he says. “It sounds honestly like a Celtic bar blue collar anthem. It’s got a great energy to it and I think it’ll be really, really fun to play live, and should add a lot of energy to the show. That, paired with what it means to me, probably puts it in the running for the song I’m most excited to play.”

At heart, Moakler is a songwriter first and foremost and fans get a glimpse into his life throughout the entirety of Steel Town. Well known for penning songs for other artists including Dierks Bentley’s “Riser,” Moakler says songwriting is what first brought him to Nashville, adding that it is his deepest love.

“The thrill of the chase of writing a song, the feeling that comes over a room and over you when you’re writing a song you love,” he says, pausing. “When we wrote ‘Wheels’ and when I wrote ‘Steel Town’ and really all the songs on this album, that excitement of tapping into something new and special and real, that feeling keeps me going. I really don’t know what else I would do. If I ever lost my voice or for some reason couldn’t travel anymore, I could write songs and I could still be a pretty fulfilled, creative person. That really is my first love.”

 

 

For more of my interview with Steve Moakler, visit Sounds Like Nashville.

March 19, 2017 | | (0) comment comment
Songwriting Session with Jamie Meyer
CATEGORIES: Songwriting Session

Jamie Meyer

Credit: Lukasz Malyszka

Songwriting Session is a column that goes behind-the-scenes with artists and songwriters. Each Sunday, a new songwriter will share their journey and provide lessons they’ve learned along the way. This week, Jamie Meyer shares what he has learned as a songwriter.

 

Jamie Meyer describes himself as a Swedish fish in a sea full of cowboys as the Gothenburg, Sweden, native currently splits his time between his homeland and Nashville. While he grew up on an eclectic blend of music including Swedish country, Rod Stewart, Queen, Del Shannon, Bruce Springsteen and Roy Orbison thanks to his mother, he recalls frequently listening to Def Leppard, Bryan Adams and Bon Jovi.

“At the end of every month, when she got paid from work, she always promised that I could buy one CD,” Meyer recalls. “I would spend the whole month watching hours of MTV in the ’90s trying to decide which artist I wanted to buy a CD from.”

It wasn’t until his first trip to the States years later that he would be introduced to American country music. Meyer was in Chicago and he vividly remembers being in awe of the many country radio stations here as there were no country stations for him to listen to in Sweden. An early favorite for Meyer was Kenny Chesney’s “She’s Got It All.”

While Meyer raves about the music festivals each summer in Sweden, he says the live music scene in Music City is incomparable.

“In Nashville you’ll find it everywhere, 24/7, and you can’t help but rise to the occasion and push yourself to becoming better. I love that about Nashville,” he shares. “Writing songs in Nashville is different, too. You often start with a title. In Sweden, we often start with the melody. To me, that was a big challenge to navigate. Nashville has helped me in writing better lyrics, even though I will probably always be a melody writer. Marrying Swedish pop melodies with the Nashville way of telling stories has become an interesting mission for me.”

As Meyer explains, country music is not about where you’re from, it’s about “feeling it on the inside and sharing your story.” Meyer is currently sharing his story with he world in the form of his brand new EP Miss This Town, which was released earlier this month. The seven-track recording was all co-written by Meyer with frequent collaborators including Swedish producer Hakan Mjornheim, Johnny Garcia, Jimmy Mattingly, Bridgette Tatum, Steve Dean, Adam Wood and Sarah Derr.

 

The collection of songs are personal for Meyer as two of the tracks touch upon the death of his grandparents. He calls “Holy Ground To Me” the most honest song on the EP as he wrote it while struggling over the loss of his grandparents.

“Sarah Derr did a phenomenal job putting my thoughts into words. Jimmy Mattingly on the fiddle, Peter Ljung on the piano and Hakan Mjornheim’s string arrangement and production is a match made in heaven,” he adds.

The title track, meanwhile, was inspired by Meyer’s eventual move from his hometown.

“It started with a hashtag I wrote on Instagram when I was taking a photo an early morning in Gothenburg, Sweden. I lived with the title for a while and after my grandfather’s funeral the storyline of the song was obvious but it’s also a very universal song,” he explains. “I can see how it can connect with anybody leaving a place or even someone getting ready for graduation.”

 

While Meyer’s heart is showcased on every track on the EP, so is his energetic live show. “Live to Die Another Day” is a guitar-fused jam that details living on the edge. It’s the EP’s standout song that also showcases Meyer’s uncanny pop melodies and striking guitar parts.

For more on Jamie Meyer, visit his website. Stream the album below via Spotify.

March 12, 2017 | | (0) comment comment
Songwriting Session with Jessie Jo Dillon
CATEGORIES: Songwriting Session

Jessie-Jo-Dillon

Photo credit: Kate York

Songwriting Session is a column that goes behind-the-scenes with artists and songwriters. Each Sunday, a new songwriter will share their journey and provide lessons they’ve learned along the way. This week, Jessie Jo Dillon shares what she has learned as a songwriter.

 

Songwriting runs in the family for Jessie Jo Dillon. The daughter of Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame inductee, Dean Dillon, she admits that her father was often a huge shadow to be in. As a result, Jessie Jo frequently discouraged herself from becoming a songwriter. It was only a matter of time, though, that she realized music was her true calling.

Dillon grew up in a musical family with her songwriter father and two musically inclined brothers. She remembers being surrounded by music with everything from country to rock ‘n’ roll from the ’60s and ’70s being played in her home. The Eagles, the Rolling Stones, Led Zeppelin and Bob Dylan were frequently on the speakers and she recalls constantly writing as a child.

“I was always fascinated with words and the way they made people feel,” she tells me over the phone during a break from a writing session. “I had an English teacher that encouraged me all the way through, ‘You’re a writer, you’re a writer,’ [she said] even when I was trying to discourage myself from doing it.”

Adamant about not following in her father’s footsteps, Dillon moved to Los Angeles for a year where she soon found her songs being critiqued by a woman in publishing who urged her to go home. Taken aback at first, she thought the review was harsh but that wasn’t what the woman meant.

“No. You really can do this but you’re a country songwriter,’” she recalls her saying. “You need to go home because you really can do this.”

That was the push Dillon needed and she moved home around 2008 where she hit the ground running, but again was determined to do things her way. She didn’t want anyone to think she was joining the trade because of her father so she put more pressure on herself to strike out on her own and her hard work eventually paid off when she acquired a publishing deal a year later at the age of 21.

In 2010, she’d receive her first Grammy nomination for her very first cut, a song she wrote with her father and Casey Beathard called “The Breath You Take” that George Strait recorded. The song was nominated as Best Country Song at the 2011 awards ceremony. Dillon had the idea for “The Breath You Take” and called her dad and told him about it. That day he was writing with Beathard and invited his daughter to join them.

“We wrote it super quickly and I think it meant the same thing to all three of us, even at different stages in our lives: slow down and take it all in,” she explains. “We get so caught up in trivial things that don’t really matter in the grand scheme and it is just a moment of, ‘You’re going to miss the point of all of it if you don’t take it all in.’ That was a really special song for all three of us.”

 

 

For more of my interview with Jessie Jo Dillon, visit Sounds Like Nashville.

March 5, 2017 | | (0) comment comment
Dashboard Confessional End Nashville Residency with Fiery Sold-Out Show
CATEGORIES: Concert Reviews

Dashboard Confessional closed their fifth and final night at Nashville’s Basement East on Tuesday (Feb. 28) to a sold-out crowd. The packed room had longtime fans singing along word for word throughout the band’s lengthy catalog that spanned back to 2000’s The Swiss Army Romance.

The band’s residency was a homecoming for the musicians and the evening struck a chord with frontman Chris Carrabba, who remarked that he loved being able to drive to work every day. “It’s weird to be able to drive to work,” he admitted mid-set. “This week has been the best week of my entire life.”

Some famous fans in attendance agreed, as Kacey Musgraves and Paramore’s Hayley Williams posted videos of themselves singing along throughout the night. As Musgraves noted, Dashboard were “making my dreams come true tonight.”

Carrabba & Co. kicked off their set shortly after 10 p.m. with “Vindicated” and as the first guitar lick was played the venue erupted into screams. While the audience sang along, Carrabba wasn’t convinced they were fully into the show.

“Stop acting like you’re in L.A. and put your hands up,” he commanded.

The audience more than obliged and the Basement East quickly turned into a sweaty rock club as Dashboard fired through their set. While many of the songs played were well over a decade old, you’d never know it based on the audience’s reaction. Hands were in the air and voices were at an all time high screaming along.

Several songs into the set Carrabba asked if the crowd liked love songs. “You wanna sing a love song?” he asked before slowing down the performance for fan favorite “Stolen.”

“We live here too,” Carrabba later said. “It’s nice to be home with you guys. This is the last of a six-night stint and I really don’t want it to end.”

Throughout the band’s 90-minute set, they peppered in some new music. One song was the striking “We Fight,” which urges the listener to make his voice heard among those who frequently try to shut him down. “Somewhere there’s a kid who needs to hear this,” Carrabba sang alongside soaring guitar accompaniment.

“I never really fit in anywhere,” Carrabba prefaced the song, adding that finding music helped him feel included. “The thing that I’ve always loved about this music scene is that when I look around at a show, everyone is represented. There are people of every race and who practice every religion . . . we all seem to get along in here.”

He then urged concertgoers to bring that acceptance outside of the club and into our everyday lives. It’s a statement we can all get behind. Following the performance of “We Fight,” Carrabba closed the wall between performer and audience once again as his band left the stage and he was alone with his voice and his acoustic guitar. His three-song solo set included “The Places You Have Come To Fear The Most,” “Ghost of a Good Thing” and “The Swiss Army Romance.”

The night was far from over and when the band rejoined Carrabba on the stage they kicked the energy right back up where they left off. Highlights included the impassioned “Screaming Infidelities” and set closer “Hands Down.” Not quite ready to leave, as the song came to an end Carrabba asked the crowd if they had “a little more” for another sing along of the chorus. They did and the night ended in an epic sing along.

“See you soon,” he promised his Nashville neighbors. “If you see me on the road stop and say hi. I like people.”

March 2, 2017 | | (0) comment comment
Album Review: Aaron Watson’s ‘Vaquero’
CATEGORIES: CD Reviews

Aaron Watson

Credit: Joseph Llanes

Aaron Watson shocked the country world in 2015 when his independent album The Underdog debuted at No. 1 on Billboard‘s Top Country Albums chart with no major support or label. The milestone made Watson the first-ever independent male country artist to have an album debut at No. 1.

Since then, the Texas singer/songwriter has been hard at work on his follow-up, Vaquero, which was released on Feb. 24. Watson wrote or co-wrote every song on the 16-track album and the record showcases his unique brand of traditional country music. Each song tells a striking story that stays with the listener long after the last note is played. Many songs include country instrumentation at the forefront whether its soaring fiddle accompaniment, boot stomping rhythms, pedal steel or acoustic guitar.

Vaquero kicks off with the sweet ballad “Texas Lullaby” about a young Texan who finds himself called off to war. While fighting for his country and fearing for his life, his love back home in Texas keeps him hopeful of returning. Meanwhile, the poignant song’s vivid imagery keeps the listener intrigued and rooting for the soldier’s safety.

 

While the upbeat “Take You Home Tonight” keeps listeners tapping their feet with soaring fiddle accompaniment, the nostalgic “These Old Boots Have Roots” dig deeper as Watson sings of how he’ll always stand his ground and not forget where he comes from. “So I’ll march to the beat of my heart pounding like a drum,” he sings.

Penned by himself, “They Don’t Make ‘Em Like They Used To” is one of Vaquero‘s standout tracks. It’s a song that Watson says is his best-written on the album and this is evident as the ballad has the singer looking back on his youth and remembering the important values many people were taught as children.

“So you live the kind of life so long after you’re long gone / You’ll always be there in their hearts and your love light will shine on / And someday they’ll sit around down at John T’s Country Store / They’ll be laughing over stories you told a thousand times before saying / They don’t make em like you anymore / They don’t make em like you anymore,” he sings.

 

Other highlights include the sultry “Run Wild Horses” with driving electric guitar and the striking “Vaquero” where Watson tells a tale of meeting a Mexican cowboy mourning his departed wife at the bar. Struggling financially, the cowboy asks Watson for a shot in exchange for some wise words. It may be the best tab he’s run up as he goes home to his wife, reassessing the blessings in his life.

“He said don’t leave your beer in the hot Texas sun / Don’t argue with a woman when she’s holding a gun / Never cheat when it comes to love or dominos . . . don’t live your life like a sad country song,” Watson sings.

Good advice runs deep on Vaquero. Another track, fittingly titled “The Arrow,” this time has Watson offering lessons he’s come to learn in his life and bestowing them on his children (and listeners). “Don’t you forget every sunset will become a sunrise soon again / So be bold and be brave and beware . . . stay razor sharp and find your mark as you go chase your dreams,” he offers.

An album that offers just as much escape as it does wisdom, Watson leaves his mark once again on Vaquero. The Texan proves just why he launched to No. 1 with his last release and if Vaquero is any indication, he will do so again.

For more on Aaron Watson, visit his website. Vaquero is available now.

March 1, 2017 | | (0) comment comment
Little Big Town Host ‘The Breaker’ Release Party at Ryman Auditorium
CATEGORIES: Concert Reviews, Features

I had the pleasure of interviewing Little Big Town earlier this month about their new album The Breaker, how Justin Timberlake and Pharrell Williams helped inspire the project and much more. On Friday, they kicked off the first-ever residency at Ryman Auditorium and brought out surprise guests Chris Stapleton and Sam Hunt as well as played many of their hits and their new album in its entirety. Below is an excerpt of my review.

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Little Big Town made history on Friday night (Feb. 24) when they kicked off the first-ever Ryman Auditorium residency. Dubbed “Little Big Town at the Mother Church,” the band’s stay was initially announced for six nights and then extended to nine due to overwhelming popularity.

Each of the band’s nine shows at the Ryman will feature different support acts and surprise special guests and the residency’s start did not disappoint. Both Sam Hunt and Chris Stapleton graced the stage while Brent Cobb opened the show. Throughout Little Big Town’s set, the country quartet performed their new album, The Breaker, front to back as well as threw in several older fan favorites. Meanwhile, the excitement and the honor to be the first act to play a residency at the famed venue was not lost on Little Big Town.

“Oh my goodness were at the Ryman everybody!” Kimberly Schlapman said three songs into the set. “And we’re here all year long! We are so excited about this night y’all. We worked on this record for over a year and we’re so happy. We’re going to do this two times. We’re going to play this record once tonight and tomorrow and that’ll be it the whole way down. So thank you for being here. We hope we remember the words but you won’t notice if we don’t!”

Friday was a special day for the quartet as it marked the release of their seventh studio album, The Breaker. In celebration, Little Big Town played the entirety of the record track by track kicking things off shortly before 9:30 with the upbeat Lori McKenna and Hailey Whitters-penned “Happy People.” The spotlights shined brightly on all four members throughout each song as their voices echoed within the venue’s church pews and stained glass windows.

Highlights included the stunning “Free” which showcased the quartets striking harmonies, the beautifully nostalgic “We Went to the Beach” and the synth-heavy ’80s rock throwback “Drivin’ Around,” which Audra Mae was a co-writer on. Following the band’s energetic performance, Karen Fairchild called out the songwriter who was in attendance.

“Maybe you should come tomorrow night and sing it with me,” Fairchild suggested. “If you’re not from Nashville you might not know, but we have the best songwriters in the world. So many of the writers are here tonight who collaborated with us on this record. We are really blessed and fortunate that we get to live in this town and we get to create music with these people. Thank you to all the writers that are here tonight, thank you for sharing your talents with us.”

For more of my live review visit Sounds Like Nashville.

February 27, 2017 | | (0) comment comment
Drake White Performs for Southwest Passengers at 35,000 Feet
CATEGORIES: Features

It’s been a long journey to making a career out of my love for music and every now and then there is a moment that reminds me it’s all been worth it. One of those moments happened Monday morning (Feb. 20) when I was invited aboard a flight from Dallas to Nashville to witness Drake White surprise Southwest Airlines passengers for a performance mid-flight. Here’s my recap via Nash Country Daily.

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Passengers flying from Dallas to Nashville on Monday morning (Feb. 20) were in for a surprise when Drake White stepped up to a microphone and performed several songs for unassuming flyers.

“Sorry if y’all wanted to sleep on this flight,” Drake apologized. “It’s not gonna happen.”

Drake’s set was in partnership with Southwest Airlines and Live in the Vineyard’s Live at 35, a series where artists perform 35,000 feet in the air. It was a unique experience for both Drake and his band as well as passengers on board. While Drake has previously toured with Zac Brown Band at baseball stadiums and is now headlining his own Spark Tour, he admitted there was no way to prepare for this performance.

“We’ve played so much and so many different places,” Drake told me after his performance as the Southwest flight made its descent into Nashville. “Everything from Domino’s Pizza to Fenway Park. You just accept it. You just get on up and let your heart do the talking.”

Accompanied by his guitarist and another band member playing washboard, Drake began his set at the front of the plane with “Story” as passengers looked on, snapped photos and filmed video. He then segued into his current single, “Makin’ Me Look Good Again,” which he wrote about his wife.

For more of my interview with Drake, visit Nash Country Daily.

February 21, 2017 | | (0) comment comment
Read the Kip Moore Cover Story
CATEGORIES: Features, Interviews

Kip Moore is learning to take life one step at a time. The singer/songwriter has been moving full speed ahead since the release of his debut album Up All Night in 2012 with little to no time off. In late 2016, he announced he’d be taking a much needed break from the road. This doesn’t mean he’ll stop releasing new music though. In fact, it’s quite the opposite as his new single “More Girls Like You” was released on Feb. 10.

Moore co-wrote the soaring power ballad with Steven Olsen, Josh Miller and David Garcia. The radio-friendly track details how he’s been “living like a wild ol’ mustang out in Montana fields” before he meets the lady of his affections. Now, he’s switching his lifestyle and thinking about settling down.

“So God made girls like you make guys like me / Wanna reach for the brightest star, set it on a ring / Put it on your hand, grab a piece of land / And raise a few / More girls like you,” he sings in the chorus.

The song came to fruition when Moore began discussing how crazy his life has become since moving from South Georgia to Nashville more than 10 years ago. Since his artist career has taken off he’s seen much of the world, and throughout his many travels he has noticed one constant theme: the joy a family brings people, no matter the ethnicity.

“Watching a man with his kids, and especially when they have a little girl, if you watch that complete sense of awe they have for that kid, I paid attention,” he tells me over the phone with a slight Southern drawl. “I’ve seen all different walks of life with that.”

While Moore admits that he has never eagerly awaited fatherhood, he is slowly becoming more open to the idea of having his own family one day.

“I’ve always felt that chapter would be fun, but I’ve just never chased after it,” he says, pausing. “For the first time in my life, from all my travels and everything that I’ve been doing, I look forward to that chapter. I think it’ll be a blast teaching my little girl how to surf, or my kid to play basketball, or whatever it is, hanging out and living that life.”

The song is a romantic one, in that it details how strongly the main character feels about his significant other.

“He thinks that she’s so incredible that hopefully when we do have kids they turn out just like you,” Moore explains. “I look forward to being so crazy about somebody that you want to have kids that turn out like them.”

“More Girls Like You” is the lead single off Moore’s upcoming project. He wrote the song four months ago and says he felt like it was a good way to start the flow of his third album. While he’s tight-lipped about the release, he revealed that he has produced most of the record by himself.

For more of my cover story on Kip Moore, visit Sounds Like Nashville.

February 13, 2017 | | (0) comment comment
Songwriting Session with Natalie Hemby
CATEGORIES: Songwriting Session

Natalie-Hemby

Photo credit: Kate York

Songwriting Session is a column that goes behind-the-scenes with artists and songwriters. Each Sunday, a new songwriter will share their journey and provide lessons they’ve learned along the way. This week, Natalie Hemby shares what she has learned as a songwriter.

 

Natalie Hemby had a long journey to releasing her debut album, Puxico, in January. The Nashville native and established songwriter is well known in Music City for penning hits for Miranda Lambert (“White Liar,” “Automatic”) and Little Big Town (“Pontoon,” “Tornado”), among others, but for years she was trying to make it as an artist. Hemby found herself close to a record deal several times throughout her first decade as a songwriter but due to the shifting musical landscape and regime changes at labels, she never signed on the dotted line.

“When I hit 30 I just gave it up,” Hemby tells me over the phone two days after her debut album dropped. “I was just like, ‘I want to write music. I don’t really care what that looks like. I don’t care if anybody every hears it. I just want to write music because I love to write songs.’ I even worked a job at Comcast for a while, which I actually really loved because I learned so much and I got a lot of great song ideas out of it.”

Hemby says her day job at Comcast grounded her and made her love songwriting even more. At the time her husband, Mike Wrucke, began producing Miranda Lambert and the two women became fast friends. Hemby soon found herself singing on Lambert’s first three albums and the Texas native kept urging her to set up a co-write.
“I thought she was hilarious and I really loved her music,” Hemby recalls. “She kept telling me, ‘Hey, we should get together and write.’ She said that a few times and the third time she was like, ‘No, I’m serious. Let’s write!’”

The two songwriters finally got together and the first time they met they wrote “White Liar,” which would become both Hemby and Lambert’s first No. 1. They continued their partnership and co-wrote four songs featured on Lambert’s third album, Revolution. Meanwhile, Hemby likens Lambert to a younger sister and says she respects her songwriting.

“I’m really lucky that I get to connect with somebody like her because she is a deep well of lyrics, and talent, and she’s hilarious. We had our first No. 1 together and it all sprung from that. The great thing is, she was also very respectful of me. She knew that I loved to write and that’s why we have such a great relationship, we just love music. We love good music.”

Another song Hemby co-wrote with Lambert was their CMA Single of the Year and ACM Song of the Year, “Automatic.” Hemby remembers Nicolle Galyon bringing the idea to their writing session.

“I probably contributed the least lyrically to the song,” she admits. “Melodically, those were my melodies. Each person has their role each different day. Like for ‘Only Prettier,’ I came in with that chorus and the first verse. I wanted to map this out pretty straightaway. I had the chorus, the first verse, and then melodies. With this one I took a backseat because I’m not the only one who loves nostalgia. Miranda loves that kind of stuff. Nicolle had this idea, ‘whatever happened to waiting your turn.’ Those two really carved out a lot.”

For more of my interview with Natalie Hemby, visit Sounds Like Nashville.

February 12, 2017 | | (0) comment comment
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