Every August, the town of Challis, Idaho plays host to thousands of visitors from around the country and the globe for the annual Braun Brothers Reunion Festival. A family-friendly event for the music enthusiast, the BBR brings both well-loved and up and coming artists together with their fans in a picturesque setting for three unforgettable days. This year, the BBR will be held from August 10th-12th and will feature fourteen plus artists, including Parker McCollum who made a notable entrance onto the scene with his 2015 album, The Limestone Kid. As part of our continuing series showcasing artists performing at this year's BBR, McCollum very kindly took the time to talk about the festival, his current single, and more.
The Limestone Kid was an incredibly well-received full-length debut. Was music something you always wanted to pursue?
I knew that I wanted to be a songwriter and play music for a living from a very early age. When I was twenty, I met Corby Schaub [formerly of Ryan Bingham and The Dead Horses] who offered to produce for me. We released a four-song EP [A Red Town View] and then we made a full album [The Limestone Kid]. We sent a song from that album, “Meet You In The Middle,” out to Texas radio and around the same time, I won the Larry Joe Taylor Songwriting Contest. Those two things together took us from having no shows, making no money, and having no career whatsoever to the exact opposite. It was like the flip of a switch from doing nothing to doing something non-stop. We released a couple more singles from the album and hit the road hard for the past two years, and now, we’re ready to release our second record in July.
The new album, Probably Wrong, will be released in three parts. Why did you decide to release the record in that fashion?
I was listening to John Mayer, who released The Search for Everything in the same way, explain how people today consume music and how they're more likely to listen to singles rather than a full album. I realize it’s hard to get people to dive into records nowadays, but I like making records, and I don’t ever want to stop making records. Releasing the album like this is a way of giving people what they want while still doing what I want to do. Probably Wrong will be released as Sessions One, Two, and Three. Session One, which drops July 7th, is four songs, Session Two is another four songs, and Session Three is all eight tracks, plus the last two songs.
Did you team up with Corby again?
This time around, the record was produced by Lloyd Maines at Cedar Creek Studios in South Austin. They don’t make people in music like Lloyd anymore and working with him was truly magical. It was absolutely a once in a lifetime experience.
The first single from Session One, “I Can’t Breathe,” was recently released. It’s one you wrote with Micky Braun [Micky and the Motorcars].
I was sitting in my living room one night before Christmas a year or so ago, and Micky called asking if I wanted to write. I really didn’t have any ideas and didn’t want to show up empty-handed; I wanted to bring him something that could carry weight, and maybe impress him a little bit. The night before we were going to meet, I had struck up that line “I can’t breathe,” which was pretty much how I was feeling at the time. At that point, we were six to eight months into constant touring, and some super raw emotion just poured out. I had maybe the first two lines of the song and half the chorus done when we met the next day. He really liked it, and we ended up writing about 60% to 70% of the song, and then we didn’t touch it for over a year. When I was ready to make the record, I told him I wanted to cut the song, but since we weren’t finished with it, I sent him what we had, and he wrote a second verse and a bridge. I showed it to Lloyd and the guys, and it was the song that everybody who listened to it, just loved. I write songs because I don’t like to talk about the way I feel. I like to be fine all the time, so when a song this heavy comes out, there’s a feeling of accomplishment, and Micky was instrumental in that. I learned a lot from him in the short amount of time we spent writing.
That song, about the push and pull of the road and home life, definitely delivers a lot of emotion.
How did the two of you initially connect?
I used to play the Saxon Pub at 12am on Sunday nights for nobody, and I mean nobody. A lot of artists and musicians hang out at the Saxon though, so I just ended up going and hanging out there on weeknights when I wasn’t playing. I did that for a while, and eventually, they gave me a weeknight slot and the second or third time we played we were hanging out and Micky came up to me. He told me he liked my songwriting and asked if I wanted to co-write sometime. And, of course, I said absolutely.
Before I wrote with Micky, I had never co-written a song with anyone except my brother, but Micky and I are on the same page with how we write, and hopefully, we'll be able to make it happen again. I’m a huge Motorcars and Reckless Kelly fan – they are both some of the first bands in the scene I was ever into – and all of the those guys have gone out of their way to tell me that they like my songwriting, which means so much. I have a ton of respect for them and what they do.
And this year, you’ll be joining them in Idaho for the Braun Brothers Reunion.
Micky contacted me a few months ago and asked if I wanted to play the BBR and I did not hesitate to say yes. I’ve never been to Idaho, and don’t even know what it looks like, but I know it’s going to be a good week. We were advised to come up and stay the whole time, so hopefully, we can make that happen.
It will be a good week. Are you looking forward to seeing anyone who is performing or are you familiar with everyone?
I’m looking forward to seeing Randy and Wade. I’m also a huge Turnpike, Jamie Lin Wilson, and Jack Ingram fan. You know, that’s the coolest thing about getting to play something like this festival - when I was twelve or thirteen I would sit in my room and listen to Randy’s records and Jack’s records, and now I get to play a festival where those guys are all in one place -it’s surreal. I just turned 25, and to get to do things like this is unbelievable. To dream about something and then ten years later have it - I don’t take that for granted whatsoever.
For all of the information on the BBR from lodging to the full lineup please visit the official website HERE
Tickets: BBR 3-Day Pass for ages 13 and up $124.30
BBR 2-Day Pass for ages 13 and up $86.30
Tickets purchased online will be picked up at will call at the venue and are non-refundable. One day passes will be sold at the front gate while supplies last. The BBR is held rain or shine.
Kids age 5 and under are free. Kids age 6-12 are $15 a day and can only be purchased at the front gate. Kids age 13 and up pay full adult price.
To stay up to date with Parker McCollum visit his official website
Find him on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram
Pre-order Probably Wrong: Session One HERE