Bart Crow has been making an impressive mark on the Texas music scene for quite some time now. He has released five albums, including a live recording, Brewster Street Live, and has had multiple number ones and numerous top ten hits on the Texas charts. His songs are honest, relatable and written from the heart. Bart will be coming to NYC to play Hill Country Live on March 8th. He graciously took some time to call and talk with us about having his dream life, his plans for the year and playing New York City.
You and your music are known all over Texas and the Midwest. Can you tell us just a little bit about yourself and how you chose music as a career?
Well, I was raised in a small farm community in central Texas. I graduated from high school and went into the army from '95-'98. I came back, went to college and the music progressed from there. I actually graduated college with a bachelor’s degree in public relations and a minor in marketing. When I graduated, I just wanted to make something of myself. I decided that I would get a real job and play shows when I could. My approach was to do that and whichever one outweighed the other would be the path I would take. I had a really good job with the oil and gas company, but when they had mandatory layoffs I asked not to be put on the rehire list. My now wife and I decided to move to Austin and focus on what we were supposed to be doing on this planet. We wanted to see if there was something we could do with the music and make it work. We put our nose to the grindstone and as I tell people, I was too stubborn to quit and too lazy to do anything else. From there, it morphed into what it is today; making music and being blessed to play all over the world.
The way I look at it, I've got my dream life. I have a wife and three kids. We have a house, health insurance and we are not starving.
You listened to such a variety of music growing up from Skynyrd to Haggard to Metallica, what made you gravitate towards the country genre?
It's who I am and what I know. I'm from the sticks. I grew up in a rodeo family, my Dad still has a rodeo arena in his front yard, and I did that for a little while myself. I like stories and being real. As an artist, I try to be as honest as I can. My music depicts who I really am. I think my songs can be read as stories that are really relatable. I can tell you the back story of every song I have written and recorded. Somewhere within every song, whether it is a portion or a concept, there is truth, whether it is about me, someone close to me, or someone I met. I use a lot of my influences in my music from rock n' roll to keep it upbeat to Dean Martin to Merle Haggard to Lynryd Skynyrd.
When someone listens to your albums or reads the liner notes, that honesty really comes through. To me, all of your albums are ones that can be listened to from start to finish.
One of the things I really appreciate hearing is when someone says that they can play my albums from start to finish. That's what I strive for. Each one of my albums is a portion of my life. They are songs and stories, but also all of my creativity up to that point. When we are in the studio, we are working hard for hours and hours, putting a lot into it. To hear that someone likes a record as a whole, well, mission accomplished.
You have had much success on the Texas charts with multiple number ones and top ten hits. Are you content with that?
I am always thrilled and excited each time we have success. It's very meaningful, but as for my personal goals of where I want to take my art, my music and my business; I am not content with that at all. Having the success that I have had was a mountain to climb and I am not discrediting that at all. It is flattering and awesome and it means we are doing the right thing and somebody’s listening, but to me the time has come to be a part of something larger. I have never been content. I am happy and appreciative, but I have much higher mountains to climb now. I cannot do that staying in one particular region regardless of where that is. I want to keep working that, but I want to take what we are doing down here and spread it further.
You are coming to NYC and playing Hill Country Live on March 8th. Have you played NYC before?
I have been to New York City a half a dozen times, but haven’t really played a real show there. My wife and I came to NYC on vacation, we were eating at a brewery and I told the waitress what I did. She gave our number to her boyfriend who ran an open mike night. The next night we went over to the place and I ended up playing a couple songs. I was asked to play a couple more and then got invited to another open mike night. I ended up playing four different places when we were there. I didn’t even have my guitar, but people were so nice to me and really digging the music.
Now I get to come to New York City and have my own show. I am so thrilled to come and play my songs, it's unreal. It is just like when I went to Europe. It is amazing that music has taken me to so many incredible places. You know, I have played places for free and scribbled down places that I wanted to play and now I am playing those places. That's so incredible I cannot wrap my head around it. That said, I want to come play your beautiful city next time, knowing that a station has been playing me up there.
Your last album, Dandelion, was released in 2012. It had three singles, two number ones, “Little Bit of Luck” and “Dandelion,” and “Loving You’s A Crime.” Will there be any more singles?
There is probably going to be one more single within the next month, but I am already started recording a new record. We have four tracks done. I want to record another ten to fifteen songs and then whittle it down to the songs that can make the best album. I hope to have a new record out in September or October of this year with a single from the album released a month or so prior to the release of the album.
You have three young children at home. How do you balance touring and family?
I don’t think about it too much because touring really is our bread and butter. It would just eat me alive at times when we had our first child. My wife was always very encouraging telling me to remember that it is quality over quantity. We can’t get mad at the blessings God gave us to be here on earth and play music. It is just the way our lives are and we are blessed with what we have at the Crow house. I have to work really hard and get all my ducks in a row now though so I can fly home when they get older and are playing sports. I don’t plan on missing much.
What are you listening to now?
I like the Gaslight Anthem album a lot. Also, Jason Isbell's Southeastern; talk about a grand slam. The Lone Bellow record, man I can’t enough of that one. It’s really, really good. And then of course, I play Steve Earle until the records turn to ashes.
Bart will be playing Hill Country Live in NYC on March 8th. For tickets and information visit here. Don't miss it!!
For more information visit www.bartcrowmusic.com
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