Hailing from Georgia, country newcomer Cole Taylor has quickly become an in-demand country songwriter for a multitude of country artists like Luke Bryan and Cole Swindell. Having had a hand in co-writing #1 hits for FGL ["Sippin' On Fire"] and Luke Bryan ["Home Alone Tonight,"] Taylor is now ready to step into the spotlight as an artist himself. His latest single, "Cold Beer," is currently winning over listeners on Sirius XM's On The Horizon program with its infectious groove and relatable story. Recently, Taylor took the time to talk about his roots, the single, and more.
You began writing when you were around fourteen years old, so was music something that you always wanted to pursue?
Yes, it was. I started singing in church when I was twelve and began playing guitar in high school. Once I played guitar well enough I put melody with lyrics and in college started playing in bars and building a fan base. I knew that I loved songwriting and performing and decided to move to Nashville - and here I am today.
In 2013, you moved to Nashville where, in under a year, you acquired a publishing deal and became an in-demand songwriter.
When I moved to Nashville, I had already known Cole Swindell and Greg Hill, who is now my manager. Cole gave me a lot of advice about where to go and who to connect with and Greg really encouraged me to write. So, I took the time and about three months later, I went back to Greg with songs I had written. He and I met with a lot of people and I was ultimately signed by Universal. Early on, I found my champion at UMPG in Ron Stuve who got me into rooms where I was able to write with good people and songs like “Sippin On Fire” and “Home Alone Tonight” were born. It’s all been such a blessing. I know so many people come to town and nothing happens for them for ten or fifteen years, so I count my lucky stars every day I get to do this for a living and have had some success early on.
The songs you mentioned both went to #1 and you have songs on hold by other well-known artists. What do you think draws artists like FGL and Luke Bryan to your songs?
I think it starts with an undeniable melody. Growing up, I fell in love with the music of Garth Brooks, Randy Travis, and Alan Jackson. They had songs with nice melodies and simple lyrics that were easy to digest – and that’s what I do with my songs. I try to write songs with simple lyrics that people will hear and relate to.
But, in addition to those country artists, I also listened to Master P and Usher and what I really enjoy doing is putting a R&B melody in a country song. It’s funny because when people ask me to describe my music I tell them it’s the sound of a burnt cd because when I was growing up you could have anything you wanted on one cd - and that’s what my music is, it’s a bunch of different genres, not just one.
Jacob Davich is known to many for his roles in various Hollywood movies such as The Aviator, where he played a young Leonardo DiCaprio, and The Adventures of Sharkboy and Lava Girl, but all the while he was acting, Jacob felt the pull of music. He immersed himself in piano and guitar and eventually decided to follow his passion and pursue music full-time. Recently, he released his debut song, "My Father's Gun" and kindly called to talk about his roots, the song, and more.
You’ve been acting since you were a boy, but being that your Father was a composer, was music something that was always there for you or something that you recently became interested in?
Growing up around a working composer was really cool. My dad had a studio behind our house, so it was normal for me to walk to the studio, hang out, and watch the musicians do their thing. My Dad had me take piano lessons as a kid and as I got older, around 8th or 9th grade, I started playing the guitar. Before I picked up the guitar though, I randomly got my first commercial [for iTunes]. I was literally on the street and two girls were interviewing for a commercial; I rapped an Eminem song and I guess a little boy rapping Eminem was cute because I got the commercial. After that, I was spotted by Martin Scorsese or Leo DiCaprio and was cast as a young Leo in The Aviator. I continued acting, but was always playing the guitar and listening to various types of music like Rap and Classic Rock. In fact, the first two songs on my iPod were “Welcome to Atlanta” by Ludacris and Don McLean’s “American Pie” - that’s where my head was (laughing). Later, I got into James Taylor, whose finger picking style and chord formations I really liked. I had great guitar teaches, but if I wanted to learn something I was the meticulous nerd who looked up videos on YouTube and learned a song note for note until I could play it properly. Doing it that way increased my knowledge base and gave me a wide breath of songs I could play. I ate it [playing guitar] up, stayed with it, and over time music became more important than acting and I felt like I had no choice but to pursue it.
Shinyribs delivers a cure for what ails you on their exuberant fourth release, I Got Your Medicine. Tracked at the legendary Sugar Hill Recording Studios, the album unites humor, heart, and soul on a funktastic twelve track collection that will free you from your cares, touch your heart (and funny bone), move your body...and leave you with a huge grin on your face. Front man, lyricist, and multi-instrumentalist Kevin Russell graciously took the time to chat in depth about the album, which releases on February 24th, and much more.
I Got Your Medicine is such an appropriate title for the album. It really is musical medicine for the soul. Why did you choose I Got Your Medicine, which is also a track on the album, as the title of the project?
Using it as the album title was Jimbo’s [Mathus, who co-produced the album] suggestion, he thought it was a great lead and title track and I agreed with him. “I Got Your Medicine” is my attempt at writing an Allan Toussaint song; it puts forth that New Orleans R & B groove, and really ties everything about the album together. Lyrically it works with all the other songs too, which is something I didn’t hear at first, but once Jimbo said that to me, I thought about it and listened to it with that in mind. You know, I’ve arranged and produced myself before, but I found that with Jimbo, I had someone who helped me make objective decisions because I tend to let my imagination wander and overthink things too much at times.
With his previous singles, “Women, Water, And Beer” and “When The Fish Didn’t Bite” receiving critical praise, singer-songwriter Travis Rice recently released his new song, “Don’t Waste The Rain.” The tune, a romantic ballad, showcases a different side of the singer and demonstrates his versatility as both a writer and performer. Shortly after its release, Rice kindly called to speak about the new single, its video, and more.
On January 13th, you released your new single, “Don’t Waste The Rain.” Did you write the song and can you tell the story behind it?
I wrote the song a couple of years ago and finally had the chance to record it last Fall. As far as the premise of the songs goes, well, if you’ve heard it, it’s pretty self-explanatory. My girl had to go to work on a stormy, rainy day and I’m trying to persuade her to come back home, get into bed, and enjoy one another’s company. You always hear the cliché of people saying not to waste the pretty, sunshine filled days and this song is the flip side of that where sometimes the time best spent is the time when you’re doing nothing and there are no distractions - you just have time to really soak each other in and not waste a moment.
Natives of Mobile Alabama, Gary Stanton and Charlie Muncaster came together to form Muscadine Bloodline in early 2016. The duo recently released their first single, “WD-40” as well as their self-titled debut EP that features songs, fueled by passion and authenticity, that merge country and southern rock. Calling in from the road, Charlie and Gary spoke about their roots, their current single, and more.
The two of you came together as Muscadine Bloodline in 2016, but you both had been pursuing music for some time. Can you talk about how you formed the duo?
Charlie: I grew up performing in choir and picked up the guitar around 14. Then, while studying at Auburn University, I started a band. Gary and I both had our own projects and one time I had a hometown show in Mobile and I was looking around for an opener when someone suggested Gary. After that, we stayed in touch - eventually writing, opening for, and playing gigs with one another such that people told us they really liked what we were doing which led to us tossing around the idea of being a duo…and here we are today.
Gary: I’ve been playing guitar since I was nine and when I wasn’t out playing sports, I loved having time alone in my room with the guitar. I went to Southern Mississippi for Entertainment Industry Management, so I knew I wanted to be in the music industry. I wanted to be a writer, but being in a band gave me the outlet to both write and play live which I enjoyed.
Was it always country music that you gravitated to?
Charlie: I’ll tell you this, if you plug in our iPod you would be thrown for a loop. I listen to everything from Rap and Rock to Hardcore, and Texas and Classic Country. The country artists we like are people like Brothers Osborne, Brett Eldredge, Wade Bowen, Turnpike Troubadours and Stoney LaRue. We dig their sound and style.
Gary: I fronted a Hardcore band in high school, and really didn’t like Country until I was about seventeen. I really gravitated to the songwriting aspect of it where when you listen to a song there’s a story there and you can put yourself in the place the artist is talking about.
In 2008, singer-songwriter Todd Deatherage moved to Austin looking to form a band that played his favorite traditional country songs. Todd collaborated with his co-worker at the Allegro School of Music, Derek Tarnow and together they performed at local venues, eventually adding Matt Winegardner on drums, Derek’s wife Loren on backing vocals, and Phil Spencer on upright bass. The Merles quickly garnered a local following and are now preparing to release their debut album Hate To Say Goodbye on February 10th. In advance of the release front man Deatherage kindly took some time to talk about the band’s roots, the album, and more.
Even though the band may be new to many, The Merles have been together for quite a few years now.
The Merles began in 2005, so it’s been a long journey. The idea for the band actually originated when I was a singer-songwriter living in Brooklyn performing more in an Americana/Rock/Pop style. In addition to performing my solo music, I formed The Merles with friends as a side project where we busked at Prospect Park and Grand Army Plaza. Eventually, I moved to Austin and put a band together using the same name and now, we’ve grown and evolved to the place we’re at - preparing to release our debut album.
As the band evolved, did your sound as well or did that remain constant from Brooklyn to Austin?
I grew up in Dallas and country was always there but I didn’t really like it. I had a friend in high school who went on to be in a band called 1100 Springs and he introduced me to the rockabilly country stuff and I really fell in love with it. As for The Merles, we always had that same traditional sound with mainly a brush on the snare and upright bass. And although we started out as more of a cover band, we now have original songs, which has been a fun progression.
With five albums and over a dozen top ten singles on Texas radio, singer-songwriter Rich O'Toole is gearing up for the release his of latest album, American Kid on March 17th. The new project finds O'Toole once again teaming up with Ilya Toshinsky for the ten track project which consists of nine originals and one cover ("God Save The King") that shine a light on carefree days, love, and heartbreak. O'Toole kindly called to talk about the album, what's ahead, and more.
You’ll be releasing your new album, American Kid, next month. This being your sixth album, did you do anything differently this time around?
I always try to get better with every record and I think this one, overall, has some of the best writing I’ve done. We recorded it in Nashville and mastered it in New York with Greg Calbi who did Springsteen’s Born To Run, John Mayer’s Continuum and so many other records we all know and love. Springsteen is my idol, so being able to work with Greg was a dream come true. I was a little nervous, but we met and hung out and he was just the greatest guy who has the greatest ear and really helped make the record sound great.
Why did you decide to title the album American Kid?
I like to have iconic titles that hit you in the chest when you read them. To me, American Kid, through its stories, represents what’s going on in America right now and using that as the title wrapped the whole album up for us.