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Read the Jon Pardi Cover Story
CATEGORIES: Features

Jon-Pardi

Jon Pardi’s star power continues to rise after a year of back-to-back No. 1 singles and a big win at the ACM Awards where he took home the trophy for Best New Male Vocalist. At his home in Dixon, Calif., though, he was always the star.

An adorable 1991 clip of a young Pardi posted to YouTube shows the singer performing Alan Jackson’s “Don’t Rock the Jukebox” with a toy rifle in hand that he strums like a guitar and a makeshift microphone stand where he belts the lyrics. A hint of what was to come 26 years later, a now 31-year-old Pardi is witnessing his lifelong dream come to fruition with the success of “Head Over Boots” and “Dirt On My Boots” from his sophomore album California Sunrise and his first-ever ACM Awards win in early April. It is fair to say that 2017 is unequivocally Pardi’s breakthrough year.

“It’s definitely like opening another chapter to where I’m going and what I’m doing and it’s exciting,” Pardi tells me over the phone recently from a tour stop in Canada. “I’ve been at the ACMs a lot so it was really awesome to go in there and win an award. It meant a lot to me. I was really sincere in my acceptance speech. The ACMs are great and there was the rush of playing on the awards show.”

The singer is currently on the road with Dierks Bentley and Cole Swindell as part of the What the Hell Tour and feels a different rush every night when he sees the seats filled as he takes the stage as the first opener each evening.

“There’s definitely a fan base out there that listens to all the music. California Sunrise is opening a new chapter to bigger things I would say. We’ve got a lot of great tours coming up next year that I can’t even talk about. You know how we’ve got to keep secrets,” he says with a laugh.

While he may be staying mum about what’s in store for the future, he is much more open about his past. Pardi moved to Nashville on February 23, 2008, a date forever etched in his memory. He nostalgically recalls dreaming of relocating to Music City since he was 18, but he says he had to grow up a bit first. He had a band in Chico, Calif., but the guys were graduating college and moving on to other jobs. After his drummer quit the band, Pardi knew he wanted to continue as a singer and songwriter even if he had to do it on his own. He saved money from working construction jobs, adamant that he had to at least try to chase a music career in Nashville.

After talking to several people in Nashville and learning more about Music Row and the songwriting community, he finally decided to made the leap from Northern California to Tennessee and hasn’t looked back since. While life as a musician is often a struggle, Pardi said it was songwriting that kept him going.

“Before Nashville, I was always writing melodies and songs. It’s like a piece of me that I kept recharged,” he admits.

Now it’s his fans that keep him going. He says he is thinking of them as he begins to work on his third record, just like he did when carving away at California Sunrise. Without a single on the radio for most of 2015 as he toured with Alan Jackson and played his own club shows, he says it was the fans that kept him inspired.

“If we didn’t have the fans, we’d be bummed out, but we’d show up to these clubs and sell them out and they’d be rowdy. We’d be having fun and they’d sing all the songs on the first record,” he marvels. “We’d play a new song and it’d be on YouTube the next day. That year connected the dots to California Sunrise, and kept you going. It’s really awesome to have die-hard fans. They keep the wheels going on the bus, and the request lines open.”

For more of my cover story on Jon Pardi, visit Sounds Like Nashville.

May 6, 2017 | | (0) comment comment
Mary Bragg Releases New Album ‘Lucky Strike’
CATEGORIES: Features, Interviews

Mary Bragg

Credit:  Alex Berger

Mary Bragg grew up surrounded by music at her home in Georgia. Her father is a musician and choir director at her hometown church, so she and her family spent Sunday mornings singing together. While she credits church for her musical education, she also has vivid memories singing along to the radio and trying to harmonize Alabama songs as a youngster. It wasn’t until her first trip to Nashville following high school graduation that Mary was introduced to Americana music. A colleague at an internship handed her a Patty Griffin album and soon she delved into the works of other artists like Emmylou Harris, Townes Van Zandt and Lucinda Williams. After 10 years living in New York City and navigating the music scene there, Mary moved to Nashville and will release her latest project, Lucky Strike, on Friday, May 5. Her fourth full-length project, Lucky Strike, is her first album recorded in Music City.

Navigating Nashville

“When I first came to Nashville, I just wanted to write great songs. I did continue playing shows and toured, but I wasn’t sure if I was going to be able to make a career as an artist work. I’d go to shows all the time and it’s hard not to be overwhelmed by the amount of talent here. What I’ve learned from writing every day was that writing is just as fulfilling to me as playing shows and so I let that temporarily dictate how I directed my time. I continued writing every day, not thinking about touring as much, and really not thinking about making records. It was Jim [Reilley], my co-producer [who said], ‘Stop it. It doesn’t have to be this or that. You are great and you need to make this record.’”

The Big Apple

“As much as I loved living in New York City for so long, I did feel like an afterthought to the city, because really everything is an afterthought to the city. [The song] ‘Lucky Strike’ is how I feel about my career and my struggle because it’s about believing in something despite not being dealt the hand that you wanted to have been dealt. Somehow you’re still believing that it is possible, that it can happen, that you can find some semblance of success as you go along. It’s not that you’re suddenly successful, it’s that your definition of success is changing. I feel like my current measure of success is unrelated to what the outward impression of success appears like.”

Honest Writing

“In pinpointing sadness, which can often feel isolating, we’re telling that listener out there, ‘Hey, you’re not alone. You’re not the only person who’s felt invisible in a sea of 8 million people in New York City. You’re not the only person who’s lost a parent.’ That’s the beauty of music—that people can feel comforted by hearing someone else’s pain, which might be much like their own. Every now and then, somebody’s listening close enough where they’re like, ‘Oh, man. That really got me just then,’ and that’s the moment that I’m always looking for.”

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

May 5, 2017 | | (0) comment comment
Meet Rick Brantley: the Springsteen of the South
CATEGORIES: Features

Rick Brantley performance

Credit: John Williams – HD Perfect Video & Photo

Rick Brantley released his new EP Hi-Fi today (April 14) and the six tracks from the project include some of the most descriptive and heartfelt lyrics you’ll hear coming out of Nashville. The South Georgia native recently sat down with The Shotgun Seat as part of their video series The Hang at George Dickel Distillery in Tennessee and You Sing I Write was on hand to ask a couple questions and learn the stories behind some of Brantley’s standout songs.

Brantley brought along frequent collaborators Tia Sillers and Mark Selby, both who co-wrote several of the songs featured on Hi-Fi and his previous release, Lo-Fi. The three songwriters sat together as the Shotgun Seat’s Annie Dineen hosted the livestream chat and performance. While Brantley is well known for his detailed characters and unique themes within his music, frequently drawing comparisons to Bruce Springsteen, both Sillers and Selby raved about writing with Brantley.

“I’ve never met anyone that’s such a method actor,” she says. “If we’re going to write a song about a person we have to go back to birth. We have to know what happened to him in fourth grade and we have to deliberate these things.”

Rick Brantley Tia Sillers, Mark Selby

Credit: John Williams

As Brantley explains, their collaboration often includes testing out what will work in his songs and what he feels comfortable singing. A fan favorite is “Claudette,” a song about Brantley’s childhood crush which appeared on his previous release Lo-Fi, and the singer/songwriter admits that he doesn’t remember writing the song.

“To be completely honest, I don’t really recall writing much of that song. That was a lot of Tia just talking to me writing shit down,” he says with a laugh. “Mark wasn’t there that day, he was on tour. It was incumbent on me to be the musical guy and I did that. I was thinking to myself, that’s all I have to do that day. That was a song we wrote and forgot about which is funny now because I can’t think of doing anything and not playing that song.”

Selby applauds the track, calling it “the perfect song.” Meanwhile, Sillers says Brantley’s “Hurt People,” featured on Hi-Fi, is a perfect song to her.

“I get this thing called song envy, incredible envy that I’m not a part of a song, and it’s gotta be ‘Hurt People.’ When he came in and played that I was so mad, I sulked for weeks. ‘Hurt People’ is a song that was so great and empowering to Rick . . . it raised the bar for him with all the other writing relationships too.”

Rick Brantley

Credit: John Williams

Brantley co-wrote “Hurt People” with Ashley Ray and the song details how often “hurt people, hurt people.” The first verse has Brantley recalling a childhood bully who frequently beat him up. One day he finally had enough and decided to confront him and when he rode his bicycle over to his house he found him, “sitting on his porch with his arm in a sling and a welt on his face in the shape of his daddy’s high-school ring.” As Brantley observes in the song, “Then it hit me. Hurt people, hurt people,” he sings on the haunting piano ballad.

A memorable track on his album, “Hurt People” is a profound one that the listener walks away replaying in his head long after hearing it. While Brantley says there’s a certain level of honesty to all his songs, he stresses there is also joy and hope.

 

 

“The thing I love about the new record is there is so much joy and so much hope. ‘Hurt People’ or ‘Enough Rope’ from Lo-Fi, they’re serious songs,” he notes. “I think one thing we’re good at is saying something that’s serious and to the point in a very joyful way. I would say ‘Fine So Fine’ is as honest a song as ‘Hurt People’ just in a different way.”

To watch Brantley’s livestream, visit Facebook. Listen to Brantley’s new EP Hi-Fi on Spotify below. For more, visit his website.

April 14, 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 Emma White
CATEGORIES: Features, Interviews, Songwriting Session

Emma White EP COVER

 

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, Emma White shares what she has learned as a songwriter.

 

Emma White was born into a musical family as both her mother and grandmother were singers and songwriters. In fact, Emma was named after Emmylou Harris while her siblings are named after a James Taylor reference. So, it’s safe to say that music has been woven into her life from an early age. Over coffee at Nashville’s Portland Brew, White recalls her music filled childhood fondly.

“We would have hootenannies all the time. My family got together and played and sang,” she says with a smile. “I was into pop music at the time. My family was always singing John Prine and Patty Griffin. They exposed me to something I might not have chosen on my own but it was always a part of me.”

White loved pop and R&B music while her family preferred country. Her latest EP blends all three genres and she credits her time studying at Berklee College of Music in Boston for helping her evolve as a songwriter.

The singer/songwriter wrote her first song as a teenager and began shopping her demos around at the age of 16. She’d often perform Lauryn Hill songs at talent shows in Maryland with the dream of being a singer. However, it wasn’t until she heard a Clive Davis interview where he stressed the importance of being able to write songs that she realized she should focus more on songwriting.

After living in Boston and New York, White made her way to Nashville although she admits she never thought she’d wind up in Music City.

“I was a New York girl, but every opportunity and every door that ever opened ended up being down here,” she says.

The first song she released professionally was called “His Eyes” and she first thought it was an R&B track. People advised her to submit it to a local Maryland radio station where it won an undiscovered talent contest with their country station. Suddenly, she realized she was actually writing country music.

White’s latest EP released on Friday (Feb. 3), merges her passions for songwriting, country, pop and hip-hop. While the songs include classic country songwriting the production hints at pop and R&B. This is exemplified in the standout song “My Ex,” co-written with Jesse Lee (Kelsea Ballerini’s “Peter Pan”).

“We kept that storytelling aspect of it, and then when I worked with my producers we really wanted it to be a hybrid of R&B and country,” she says of the song “My Ex.”

White’s new single “Not That Into You” is more pop based and sounds like a song that would fit in perfectly on radio in between Taylor Swift and Kelly Clarkson. She says it’s her favorite song she’s ever written and was inspired after a trip to LA. While attending an industry event a man there was making strong advances towards her. Taken aback, White turned the off-putting experience into a song that embodies a humorous portrayal of a girl pushing a guy away.

“I had seen the movie He’s Just Not That Into You and on my Facebook there are always ads: ‘Why are you single? This is why. Buy my guide.’ I thought in a theatrical way about [writing] it. I wanted to take on a gutsier character,” she explains. “I wanted it to be something a little bit shocking that you might not hear a female say. While I was writing it I sent it to my best friend who lives in New York. She had been on a million Tinder and Bumble dates and she was like, ‘I love this song. I totally get it.’ She wrote, ‘I’m not playing games or hard to get.’ So, I put it in the song and she’s the co-writer on this song.”

White’s new EP includes seven songs, all of which she co-produced, and spans several genres. She says this was intentional as she wanted each song to stand firmly on its own.

“For this album, I wanted to make every song stand on its own sonically. It definitely has an overall pop/country feel,” she shares. “Some songs lean more pop/rock and others have an urban thing going on. I really wanted to create a fingerprint for each song. There are certain melodies you’ll hear in certain songs and different textures in each song. It’s a blend of a lot of things.”

It has been a long musical journey for White, who now lives in Nashville full-time. She says if she could have told herself anything before taking the leap into music it would be to buckle up because there are a lot of highs and lows. She adds that having patience is important and stresses at being open to collaboration.

“I think co-writing has really expanded my sound and songwriting,” she admits. “You always learn from other people in the room. We can do so much more when we’re working together.”

She adds that she’s constantly trying to find a balance between success as a songwriter and simply doing it because she loves to write.

“You never want to have to compromise certain things. I think the biggest thing is staying true to what you think is good,” she says. “Being a songwriter is often a struggle but it’s all I’ve ever wanted to do. Performing, singing and music is woven into who I am. It’s always felt like it’s what I was meant to do. It chose me, I didn’t choose it.”

For more on Emma White visit her website and to purchase her music, click here. Catch Emma live in Nashville on Monday evening (Feb. 6) for Whiskey Jam at Winners Bar & Grill.

February 5, 2017 | | (0) comment comment
Trace Adkins Discusses New Album ‘Something’s Going On’
CATEGORIES: Features, Interviews

I’ve been lucky to have been able to chat with some of country music’s most respected artists over the years. Earlier this week, I sat down for an interview with Trace Adkins who gave me an early preview of his upcoming 12th studio album Something’s Going On, which is due for release on March 31. It was a full circle moment for me as five years ago I ran into him on the street in New York City, before I ever dreamed of moving to Nashville. Below is an excerpt of that interview:

Something’s Going On boasts songs written by Tyler Farr, Craig Campbell, Old Dominion’s Trevor Rosen and Shane McAnally, among others. One of the tracks, “Whippoorwills and Freight Trains,” written by Phil O’Donnell, Jeff Middleton and Brandon Kinney, is a song Trace cites as the most honest on the album.

“It’s just a lonely . . . ,” he admits with a pause. “The last few years have been personally pretty difficult and I think ‘Whippoorwills and Freight Trains’ really speaks to where my emotions and everything have been for the last few years.”

It’s also a song that Trace confesses was difficult to sing while in the studio, along with another track called “If Only You Were Lonely,” which was written by Jon Coleman and Troy Johnson.

“I really remember recording [“If Only You Were Lonely”],” Trace says. “The day I was in the studio singing that one, something happened in the booth and I had to stop for a while. I couldn’t maintain my composure, it tore me up. It hurts when it happens but then you go, ‘Wow. Thank you, God, for moving me like that when I was singing a song.’”

The centerpiece of Something’s Going On is the album’s first single, “Watered Down.” Written by Shane McAnally, Trevor Rosen and Matt Jenkins, it’s a song that Trace says summarizes his current state of mind.

“Lyrically, from the very first line it really encapsulates and summarizes where I find myself, it seems, at this point in my life. I’ve mellowed out a little bit hopefully and calmed down a little bit, trying to stay out of the news,” he says with a laugh. “Everything about the song just fit exactly where I seem to be in my life right now.”

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

February 4, 2017 | | (0) comment comment
Kip Moore Gets By with a Little Help From His Fans
CATEGORIES: Features

kip-2

I’ve been a Kip Moore fan for years. I can’t remember exactly what song or video first hooked me, but there was something inherently different about him from the other country artists I had been listening to. He is one of the most honest artists I’ve had the pleasure of interviewing and our chats over the past two years remain some of my favorites.

The more I interview Kip, the more I notice his fan base. They are unlike any fans I have ever come in contact with over the years and by far the most rabid. Any time I mention I’m interviewing him on Twitter, I have several RTs and numerous questions from his fans within seconds.

It’s more than that, though. They have made some of my interviews with him into photo essays and are the first to reach out and compliment me on my chats with him. They’re a supportive group that I have watched in awe over the past two years and decided that there is definitely a story here. So, I pitched the idea to Nash Country Weekly and they loved the idea. I interviewed several of Kip’s co-writers and fans, but unfortunately the fan portion didn’t make it into the published piece so I wanted to share it on You Sing I Write since they are the ones that inspired this article. You can read my complete article in Nash Country Weekly. Below is an interview with some of Kip’s biggest fans and fan sites.

“Passionate. Rabid. Loyal. Stubborn like I am. Gritty. Blue-collar.”

These are the adjectives that Kip Moore uses to describe his fans. When I ask Dan Couch, Erik Dylan and Westin Davis — three of his frequent co-writers — and four fans — Kristen Diotte, Kristin Hamlin, Linda Alberts and Twinkle Zaman — to describe him, the depiction is the same with ‘authentic’ thrown in several times.

Since releasing his debut album Up All Night in 2012, Moore has seen much radio success with “Somethin’ Bout a Truck,” “Beer Money” and “Hey Pretty Girl.” As he geared up to release his sophomore album Wild Ones however, the radio hits didn’t come as easily but that didn’t deter his fans. In fact, he says his fan base doubled in the past year without having a hit song in steady rotation.

That fan base is building as quickly online as it is the concert setting. Kristin Hamlin, the woman behind Twitter fan page Kip & the Slowhearts has steadily built a community of over 130,000 Kip Moore fans. She says she decided to start the page two years ago to showcase his character. In doing so, she’s met two of her best friends at Kip’s concerts and is constantly interacting with fans who travel out of state to see the singer live.

“They’re so loyal to him. I see so many people travel to Timbuktu for his show numerous times a year,” she says. “The people going with me to his Chicago show, it’s probably their 30th show and their 25th out of state show.”

As with any artist with celebrity status, there are some downsides to fame.

“What Kip does, he’s just got this thing where he makes people feel like they know him. He’s admitted that it’s one of his biggest Achilles’ heels. Fans get the wrong idea sometimes. He gets the crazies,” she explains as a recent Dr. Phil episode demonstrated.

“I think that’s why his fans are so loyal to him. He makes them feel like they’re a friend. He pays attention to them and you don’t hear that every day from celebrities.”

Part of the reason fans feel like they know Kip is because he makes an effort to sign autographs after nearly every concert, something he confesses he might not be able to do for much longer. But it’s this dedication that has the fans coming back for more, including Kristen Diotte from Ontario, Canada, who frequently travels to the States to see Kip.

“I actually left Lady A’s encore early to find the spot where he would be signing and there was already a line waiting for him and that line damn well went for probably two hours,” Kristen recalls of her first Kip Moore concert experience. “I’ve never met another artist with that commitment.”

Singer-songwriter Erik Dylan has a cut on Kip’s latest record called “Comeback Kid” and says the fact that he converses with, takes photos and signs autographs for fans makes that fan a lifer.

 

“The hour-and-a-half you’re onstage is very, very important but the time you spend after the show and before the show making sure people know that we respect them as fans too is very important,” Erik explains. “I see a lot of Kip fans who go to three and four shows in a row. You don’t see that in country music often. You see that in rock music and a lot of that too is because Kip’s show is a band that’s been together. The fans see those familiar faces every time. They’re not just hired players, they’re his guys. They’ve been through thick and thin.”

Linda Alberts, who runs the KipDiehardFans Twitter account and Facebook group says the reason he has so many dedicated followers is the way he connects with his audience.

“When an artist can keep and gain fans it is a testament to who they are as a person,” she says. “If your music is good and it touches people, it doesn’t matter where it lands on the charts. It just matters that it’s good and your fans know it. Kip never gave up and we knew he was fighting for his music, so we never gave up on him.”

While Kip’s sophomore album Wild Ones was delayed, he admits he was in a dark place and had “every single fear that you could possibly imagine.” During that time, it was his fans that kept him going.

“You doubt what you’re doing because people are telling you it’s too left field. And people are telling you it’s not enough alike the first record and the first record was so successful and you’re gonna lose your fans and they’re not going to play this on the radio,” he explains. “To see the fans coming out in droves like they are and singing every single song from top to bottom, it validates everything for me for sticking to my guns. It was a hard fight.”

Kip writes every single song on his albums and this is a major reason why fans gravitate to him, because they know each lyric he sings is his truth and comes from the heart.

“He does it in a way where as you’re listening to his music you’re picturing exactly what he is saying and it just makes sense,” Twinkle Zaman, who runs Twitter fan site Bad Girls Want Moore explains. “It paints the perfect picture.”

And with that, he leaves his greatest mark on his fans. Kip’s songs are affecting their lives, some who say they depend on his music to get through each day. It’s a compliment he takes very seriously.

“It’s made me realize that there’s a lot more at stake now,” he says. “It’s made me realize I have a voice now. It’s also made me feel more responsibility in my writing.”

For my original article on Kip’s fan base, visit Nash Country Weekly.

January 1, 2016 | | (0) comment comment
Songwriting Session with Leigh Nash
CATEGORIES: Features, Songwriting Session

Leigh Nash

(Credit: Alysse Gafkjen)

Songwriting Session is a new weekly 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, Leigh Nash shares what she has learned as a songwriter.

 

After spending over a decade with Sixpence None the Richer and years honing her sound as a solo artist, Leigh Nash released her debut country album The State I’m In last month. On the 12-track release, Leigh co-wrote each song and says writing was a pretty big leap as it was often difficult for her.

“I love to write but the issue for me is having the confidence in yourself,” she admits, speaking softly as we sit at Nashville’s Headquarters Coffee on album release day.

Throughout the writing process, Leigh would often question if she was capable of writing material that people would want to hear. Having grown up listening to Conway Twitty, Charley Pride, Johnny Cash and Jim Reeves, she wanted to keep their melodies and style of music alive within her album.

“The way they wrote songs, I really love it and that was my school as far as songwriting goes, by listening to those old classic songs,” she adds.

So how did she get over her lack of confidence with songwriting?

“Just by doing it,” she explains. “I’ll get my guitar out and come up with something I feel like is a strong story and a good solid melody and I want to finish it.”

Leigh looked to friend and songwriter Jesse Hall to help her craft some of the songs on her new album. He’s someone she says is like a brother to her. When she played him her ideas and he wasn’t bored and didn’t shy away from the project, she knew she had a partner in the project.

“He helped me make it exactly what I dreamed of in my head. Him loving it gave me confidence,” she adds. “As you go and more people hear it, it drew more out of me. It fed off of itself. Now I have immense confidence in my writing abilities. It took exercising the muscles enough.”

Some of the more vulnerable moments on the album come in the form of songs Leigh wrote with her husband, musician Steven Wilson, including “Tell Me Now Tennessee” and “High Is Better.” She stresses that vulnerability is the key to everything in life, especially in songwriting.

“If you can be vulnerable, I think a lot of good things will come to you,” she adds. “That’s when we’re the softest and our ears are the most open.”

 

 

While Leigh admits to having had some arguments with her husband during the writing process, ultimately the songs that made the album were written together from true life, relationship struggles and things she had said to her mom on the phone.

“We both have to be in the right mood,” she says of writing with her husband. “I think it’s hard to write with your spouse because they’re the ones that get your worst. I would never say to a friend, ‘I don’t like that chord.’ I get real cutting. If we’re in a good space we work off that. I love writing with him. Subject-wise, we do a good job. It helps when we’re writing something we’re both excited about.”

Leigh Nash’s album The State I’m In is out now. Read more of my interview with her on Taste of Country.

October 4, 2015 | | (0) comment comment
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