A familiar voice on the Texas music scene, Jamie Lin Wilson has been making music for quite some time, first as a member of The Gougers and then as a part of the all female quartet, The Trishas. On May 19th, she released her first full length album, Holidays & Wedding Rings. The album, a collection of twelve personal yet universal songs that highlight love, heartbreak and family, showcases Wilson's ability as a songwriter to connect with the listener through voice, lyrics and melody. The busy mom of three graciously took the time to talk about the album, keeping family a priority and more.
Congratulations on the release of the lovely Holidays & Wedding Rings. How exciting must it be to have finally released your first full length solo record?
Man, it is such a relief. I think that’s the word that I’m looking for (laughing). It’s very, very exciting, which is an understatement because I’ve been waiting for this day for so long. I’ve had the record in the can since October, but I had a baby at the end of August and I could not physically release it until….right about now (laughing). I’ve been waiting for everybody to hear it, and what makes it even better is that people seem to like it.
The album was funded via a Pledge Music campaign. How did you find taking that route to make an album?
It was really, really good. It was nerve wracking for real (laughing), because if you don’t get all of what you have asked for, you get nothing. You have to make sure that you ask for the right amount, that it’s enough so you can do what you need and want to do, but you also have to make sure it’s not too much so that you wouldn’t meet your goal.
It’s also putting yourself out there. It’s one thing to make something and then sell it and say, this is what I’ve made would you like to buy it from me, like past business experiences. In this case you’re asking people to give you money beforehand and put their faith in you that you will make something that they like! This seems to be the way things in the music industry are going right now though. It’s really hard to get people to buy an album after it’s made because you can listen and get it for free. People buy music on iTunes all the time and that’s great, but it’s more and more expensive to make a record and cheaper to get the music after. You have to sell way more albums in order to make what you put into it, but people seem to want to be a part of what you’re doing. It’s nerve wracking to ask people to help, but they want to do it; they want to help you realize your dreams. It was a really, really great experience.
The campaign was over 100% successfully funded, which speaks a lot to your fans and friends.
Yeah it does. And you know what? I sent all of the packages out myself, so I had to physically put in all of the addresses and look at every name; and looking at those names was so cool. There were a lot of people whom I didn’t know, a lot from out of state and even out of the country. Then there were also people whom I grew up with and haven’t seen in many years. It was so nice to see every name and notice every person. I was overwhelmed by the amount of support I got not only from the small town that I live in now but from the small town where I grew up.
I last spoke with singer-songwriter Kristi Hoopes in February after it was announced she won the Lyricord Songwriting Contest with her song “At Least It’s Something.” Now the young female singer is preparing to release her new single, “In My Own Sweet Time.” Kristi kindly took the time to speak about the track, and her plans for the summer.
Since we last spoke, what has been going on with you professionally?
Well, we're about to release a new single and we are starting to book summer shows. Hopefully I am going to get to play at CMA Fest this year at one of the little venues downtown and there will be more exciting things on the schedule! Summer is going to be a busy touring season, and I’m really excited about it.
Your new single, “In My Own Sweet Time” will be released June 12th. What can you tell us about it? Did you write it?
I did not. I was presented with five selections and out of those I chose “In My Own Sweet Time” and another song, “Goodnight Jesus,” by Don Schlitz. “In My Own Sweet Time” was written by Jessi Alexander, Jon Randall and Jennette McCurdy. When I heard the demo, I immediately loved it. It’s a fun summer song to play in the car and jam out to. It's also a great uplifting song that really hits home with me in the sense that I am following my dreams, and know that I will get where I want to be when I’m ready. I am going to the take the time and appreciate the things around me while I do. I hope when we release it everyone really likes it.
JB and the Moonshine Band's two previous albums have produced six Top Ten singles and three consecutive No. 1's on the Texas charts. Averaging over 150 live dates per year, the band has garnered attention for their high energy live shows and will mark their 1000th show this summer. In addition to that milestone, they are set to release their third studio album, Mixtape, on June 30th and are taking a stand on their Second Amendment rights with the project's lead-off single, "Shotgun, Rifle, and a .45." Front man JB Patterson kindly took the time to talk about the album, his personal convictions with regards to the Second Amendment and more.
The new single, “Shotgun, Rifle and a .45,” is a song that makes a pretty clear, bold and brave statement.
This specific song deals with my convictions and refers to the Second Amendment of the Constitution of the United States of America, which is our right to bear arms and our right to own guns. We’re trying to raise awareness about the need for people to join in and become vigilant to protect our liberties. It’s something that’s not only important to us, but was to our forefathers as well, who felt it important enough to make it the Second Amendment of the Bill of Rights. It’s important to honor our forefathers, what they fought and died for, and what they believed.
One of the many other things that inspired this song is a video on YouTube of a city council meeting in New York. Aaron Weiss, who is a combat veteran from Iraq, was speaking out against the Safe Act. It was one of the most powerful speeches that I have ever seen. Our military, by far, is the best in the world. Many of them are overseas on a mission, fighting in the name of freedom. They are fighting so hard for the freedom of others and we don’t want them to return home to see our freedoms being taken away here in America. As a society, we need to honor them by playing our small part in staying vigilant as stewards of liberty.
Originally from Kansas, but now calling Nashville home, Logan Mize has broken out in a big way with his current single, “Can’t Get Away From A Good Time.” Newly signed with Sony, he released his debut EP with the label, Pawn Shop Guitar, on May 19th. Poised for a big 2015, Mize kindly took the time to talk about the album, being a “new” artist and more.
It has been a few years since we heard new music from you. Congratulations on the release of the EP, Pawn Shop Guitar.
Thanks, I’m very excited to finally put new music out!
Pawn Shop Guitar is your first release with Sony. Was the process of making the record with a label much different from doing it independently?
When I was independent I felt like I had to beg people to work with me. This time around I have people who want to work with me, which is nice. It’s also great to be able to have the time when you are in the studio. Before, I was always on a budget and had to work fast to get things done. This time around, I had the time, which I used to really listen to songs. I changed players up a lot on the record, too. Previously, I kept it consistent and had the same band for the whole project, but I had a good mix of folks playing on this thing. I still played a lot of acoustic and electric guitar, but I had two different drummers, different bass players, and several guitar players. I rotated players to come up with different styles and sounds. It was a blast making this EP and I'm excited to get a full album out in the future.
Levi Lowrey released his third album, and first independent release, My Crazy Head, on May 12th. The album contains ten extremely personal, detailed and honest songs that find Lowrey in a good place; one filled with family, dreams and a happiness with being able to do what he loves. Lowrey graciously took the time to speak about the album, the importance of family and more.
For a few months over the past year, you went back and were framing houses.
I needed to get away from music for a while. I went back to framing, which is something that I did before I did music full time, and worked with my old crew again. I did it for several months basically taking a break, and clearing my head.
You returned to music and released what could be described as your best album yet. With it, you did something very unique, you partnered with the fans to promote and distribute the album. What inspired you to take that route?
I had a long drive from the job site back home every day and I would watch Shark Tank on the way home. Rather, I would listen to it as I was driving. It got me thinking about offering profit sharing to fans and having a global distribution of the music through the fan base as opposed to a company. Instead of everybody in a company getting a piece of the pie, I thought about giving it to the people who will actually promote the music. The fans do that, so why not give them what they deserve.
How has the process been working so far?
The process has been incredible. The fans are making money for the first time in history. We have well over 200 partners and their support keeps me on road. Since the beginning, we’ve always tried to keep music a community and cultivate that family feeling in our fan base. To me, music belongs to the community and the community belongs in it. I played bluegrass growing up and you didn’t go to a jam session to hear how awesome you were; you went to catch up, talk about life and then play and listen to others play. I believe in that wholeheartedly, and believe that music needs to be experienced that way as much as possible.
That’s something that you have successfully cultivated, as you have a growing and very devoted fan base.
Circling back to the record, what sort of things did you do differently on it, if anything?
I did this one all on my own. I basically locked myself in the basement for a couple months, played all of the instruments, mixed and engineered it. It was very freeing; extremely freeing to do it that way and have that responsibility. When you are in the studio you are typically working on someone else’s dollar and you have a time frame, which doesn’t lend itself to creativity. You usually have to go in with a general idea of what everything is going to sound like, but with this record I got to throw everything at the wall and see what stuck.
I am hard on myself and somewhat of a perfectionist, but I didn’t allow that to take over. I have always felt, and still do, that every time you re-do a song, you lose a little something. I don’t punch in two notes here and there to make it sound better, I just use the best of whole takes, which is something I believe in. Someone once said something to the effect that “it’s our faults that make up our style, our distance from perfection that make us what we are.” I believe that. I guess I’m a pure as I can be in a digital world.
Originally from Lawrenceville, GA, Sarah Peacock was raised in a musical family and knew she wanted to pursue music from a young age. Her love for music took her to Nashville where she attended Belmont University, majoring in commercial music with an emphasis on music business. In 2005, Peacock was introduced to the road--a place she called home for many years. Now settled in Nashville and thankful for all of her experiences, both good and bad, Peacock has seen the benefits of slowing down. In addition to receiving awards and accolades, she was named The Listening Room Network’s Artist of the Year and received endorsements from Taylor Guitars. Peacock graciously took the time to talk about her journey, new music and more.
You have been writing and performing music for quite some time, what initially spurred you to pursue it as a profession?
My grandma taught me piano at age four, but I grew up around music my whole life. My family was pretty conservative; we weren’t allowed to listen to a whole lot of different types of music. It may sound hokey, but I listened to a lot of Amy Grant. In high school I listened to other types of music and just knew it was something that I wanted to pursue. Music was just in me I guess. It was almost like a calling.
Your music merges quite a variety of styles. Is there anyone you consider a musical influence or anyone in particular you admire?
I started touring in 2005 and it’s been an interesting journey. My musical style has morphed over the years; before it was more pop-rock, but now it’s definitely more country. I began living in Nashville off and on and I grew to appreciate country more. I enjoy the older country artists, like Reba and Garth, as well as the newer ones, like Lady A and Miranda Lambert. I love classic rock too, especially the Wilson sisters [Heart]--they’re probably my favorite band. I incorporate other styles, but I am definitely more in the country vein, especially in the last five years. I think it fits me because my music is story telling, which is hard to fit into other genres.
Growing up in Oklahoma, Adley Stump never dreamed of a career in music. In fact, she was a marketing major at Oklahoma State University when she decided to audition for Jeopardy. She missed the deadline for that show, but soon found herself auditioning for a little show called The Voice. And the rest as they say, is history. Now Stump is preparing to release her debut album, Like This, which includes the touching single "Stay At Home Soldier." Stump kindly took the time to talk about her journey, the single and the unique relationships she has formed to help spread the word about the music and assist others.
There is a pretty incredible story behind your entry into music.
I have always loved music, but I never thought to dream this big. The Voice was the very beginning for me. I was in college as a PR marketing major and like any broke senior decided to go on Jeopardy and hopefully win some money. I googled Jeopardy and a bunch of reality shows came up. Turns out I missed the deadline for Jeopardy, but some of my sorority sisters saw something for The Voice and said “you should audition for this, it would be funny for everybody.” I wasn’t a singer; the most I did was karaoke on Wednesday nights after I had enough Miller Lite in me (laughing)! But, I took them up on the dare. Long story short I auditioned for season 2 and ended up on the show which needless to say, was a life changing event for which I am so grateful. I have friends who wanted to sing since they were little and they would have given their left leg for what I was given. I have taken everything very seriously and made the decision to go with what I was given and earn everything else.
It’s really ridiculous how this all happened, but it’s the farthest thing from easy. In the two and a half years since the show, I have been very blessed, but I have been working my butt off, seizing every opportunity and continuing to grow. It’s really, really exciting when the work pays off. My background in marketing and business have helped too. Our partnerships with different corporations have helped give us an infrastructure and a viability.
You have done some really interesting things partnering with companies to get the music out to people. How involved were you in developing those partnerships?
Off the bat I was very involved. Two years ago we partnered with Nissan and developed a plan together and we are currently doing something similar with Little Black Dress Wines. They want to move cases of wine and I like wine, so we wrote a song, and printed it out on ninety thousand bottles which will be sold at Kroger. I will go around, perform and do a bottle signing. We’re also putting together a guest bartending night which should be fun. It’s a different and fun way to do things. The power in some ways has shifted into the hands of the fans. You can get leverage on your own; you don’t necessarily have to have a label. I like building things on my own, and driving a concept. It keeps me on my toes and the nice thing is I don’t have to wait for someone else to tell me I can be successful. It’s an innovative way to release music without having to drop sixty thousand dollars on an album and then not have a way to promote it. We are about six months into it and I’ve seen the weight it does carry. My biggest fear would be looking back in a year and not having elevated my presence or doing all of this work and losing it all because I put it in someone else's hands. I want to take these opportunities and continue to grow my career; not simply ride on the current publicity. I wear seventeen hats most days, but I am learning a lot and getting smarter. Plus, I am surrounded by such cool people. I am enjoying the journey.
A fixture on the Texas music scene for years, Ray Wylie Hubbard surely doesn’t seem to show any sign of taking it easy. At 68, he released his latest album, The Ruffian’s Misfortune, on April 7th. Hubbard is a master storyteller and the album takes you on a ride (albeit a brief one as the record clocks in at a little over thirty minutes) that can be both gritty and raw as well as introspective and contemplative. In addition to releasing the record and touring, Hubbard will publish his first book A Life…Well, Lived in the coming months. Ahead of his show at Hill Country Live in Brooklyn, Hubbard graciously took the time to talk about the record, the book and much more.
So, after releasing more than a dozen records is there anything you do to keep it interesting and new for yourself?
Well I feel fortunate because I get to sleep with the label president, who of course isn’t Clive Davis (laughing). [Hubbard’s wife Judy runs their label, Bordello Records] So, for a songwriter I feel fortunate that I am able to write about whatever I want really, which is a great place for me. I’m not writing because I have a publishing deal where I have to write so many songs a year or write to get someone else to cut it. I can just write about blackbirds or stone blind horses or chick singers—anything I want. She [Judy] says “you write that and I’ll try to sell the damn thing.” I have that freedom as a writer not to have to worry or to think of a specific thing to write about in the future. Does that make sense in a way?
Absolutely. You have the ability and freedom to write about what you find interesting and she has your back.
Yes, that’s a really good place to be and really keeps it interesting. If I drive by a snake farm and wanna write a song about it, I can write a song about it. Or I can read Aesop’s fables and say I like that idea of a blackbird talking and if I want to incorporate that into a song, I can. I can write about Jessie Mae Hemphill or Charlie Musselwhite knowing the songs aren’t going to be hits or even played on the radio a lot, but I know they’re songs I enjoy. I just enjoy writing. I enjoy the process and I like being able to let people know about those artists, like Jessie Mae.
I have never been mainstream; I’m way to the edge of any country singer. I’m not a full on rock n’ roll guy or folk purist or a dyed in the wool blues guy. I’ve been so fortunate to have seen guys like Freddie King, Lightnin' Hopkins and Ernest Tubb. I’ve been influenced by all of that so I’m not limited when I write which is a good place for me; I enjoy that. I’ve also been influenced by old roots rock and 60’s garage bands. We went into this record with the idea to do it like that. If you listen to a lot of bands, like the Beatles, the Stones, and even the Go-Gos--listen to their first records. They didn’t have auto-tune; they just went in, plugged in and played. So our whole idea was like, you may not like the singer or the songs, but you’ll like the way it sounds. When you listen to the record you can hear us play. There’s Lucas on the guitar, he just plugged into old amps, and Eleanor Whitmore from The Mastersons came in, we put a mic on her fiddle and she just played. It’s just real musicians really playing on the record and I think that comes across. I’m very pleased with the sonic quality of it.
Those influences, and then your versatility, are definitely heard on The Ruffian’s Misfortune. You’re bluesy one minute, hard rockin’ the next and soft and thoughtful at other times. Is that where you are personally, still rocking yet also more reflective?
As I’ve gotten older I think more about mortality. There are songs on there like “Barefoot in Heaven,” “Hey Mama” and “Jessie Mae,” where she sings of black angels. I’ve said before I hope God grades on a curve because you know I’m not Mother Teresa, but I’m not Attila the Hun either, so maybe I’d get a C- (laughing). It’s not a concept album, but there is a theme that runs through it.
In the year since releasing her debut album Walking Wires, Logan Brill has proven herself to be one of the most exciting emerging artists today. With a stunning voice, Brill brings a grit and authenticity mixing blues, country, rock and Americana into a sound she can claim as her own. Praised by outlets such as Billboard, Pollstar, and CMA Close Up Magazine, Brill has already had many firsts in 2015 and there will surely be more to come as she releases her new album, SHUTEYE, later this summer. In anticipation of her performance at Midtown Live in NYC, Brill graciously took the time to talk about her whirlwind couple of years, her new record and more.
So for those who might be new to your music, can you give us a little back story? Was music something that you knew you wanted to do from an early age?
Yeah, music was definitely a big part of my life growing up in Knoxville. My parents always played music in the house; we were the family that sat around the living room or the camp fire with guitars. I grew up knowing music was a big part of what brought me joy and what brought my family together. As I got older and performed out, which I did from a young age, I realized how much I loved it. The seed was definitely planted very young for me.
You graduated from Belmont, but took an unconventional major there.
Yes, I did. I spent two years in their commercial voice program, which I loved. It was a great program where all of the professors were, currently or in the past, in the business, but two years in I decided to go in a different direction. I decided to pursue music outside of school and change my major to something totally random. I chose French, which lemme tell ya, I use every day (laughing)! So I studied French in school and spent all of my time out of school pursuing, playing and writing music.
Singer songwriter Cory Bishop released his self-titled EP in October of 2014. The EP consisted of five well written tracks of love and hope that fit nicely under the Americana umbrella. Now Bishop is preparing for an entirely different project. Switching gears to rock with pop sensibilities and now part of The New Schematics with Michael Bare, the two are readying the release of their new single "Born Without Borders," a lush, emotional, lyric driven single with pop/synth sensibilities. Cory graciously took the time to talk about the change in direction, new music and what's ahead.
Quite a lot has been going on professionally with you. Talk about shifting your focus from Folk/Americana to Pop.
It’s definitely been a major shift, but it was a pretty natural evolution back to rock and roll, which is kind of my roots. As much as my Dad raised me on Bob Dylan, I liked Weezer, Green Day and Nirvana as well. The stuff we’re doing isn’t that heavy, but it definitely has power chords and more rock. The record has a modern influence, but it’s also blended with what I had been doing previously into something that crosses over genres.
You said it happened pretty naturally, but what inspired you to go this route?
To be honest, a lot of it had to do with playing live. When you play at bars with just an acoustic guitar you get drowned out a lot by people talking or another guy in the corner. I’ve always been a hard hitter on the strings and was just like “I need to rock.” Plus, my voice isn’t tender, it has a bit of an edge to it. So it evolved through those things as well as working with Michael. We’re always on the road listening to music and he got me back into a lot of pop and rock that I had drifted away from which helped reinvigorate that passion. One of the first bands we bonded over was The Killers. I’m a huge Springsteen fan and it turns out Brandon Flowers [lead vocalist for The Killers] is too, so it worked backwards: Springsteen got me into The Killers.
In addition to a new musical direction, you are also now part of a duo.
Yes! Michael and I met at a Christmas party in 2013. We had a conversation about words, writing and English. We both love words and we just hit it off. I’m a very out-going person, so I was just like “dude, we should be best friends” and he was like “okay.” Like I do with a lot of people, I slowly absorbed him into my life. We ended up getting together and writing and the first time we finished a song was on Valentine’s Day. It was very bromantic (laughing). Eventually, I dragged him to the studio where he did some background vocals on my EP from last year. Then he came out on tour with me and when it came time to work on a new record, something that was initially going to be a solo project, evolved into a full band. Our producer, Andrew, who knew Michael from an internship in Nashville, really helped push us to modernize our sound and gave me the guts to really go epic and ambitious.