Florida-based independent artist Buddy Brown wasn't a name many music fans were aware of...until now. Brown's latest EP, 'I Call BS On That' which was released on October 7th, is a five-song set that flew past chart mainstays like Chris Stapleton and FGL to give Brown his first #1 album. During an extremely busy few weeks, Brown graciously took some time to talk about the album, giving people something special with his music and more.
First of all, congratulations on I Call BS On That debuting at #1. Were you pleasantly surprised?
I was blown away. From how well our previous releases had done, I thought maybe we had a shot at the top ten, but #1….that’s something crazy I’m still trying to figure out.
It’s a huge accomplishment for an independent artist and something that really speaks a great deal to the fan base.
It really does. In order to promote the album, I released an acoustic version of “I Call BS On That” that went viral, really fueling the whole thing. We had so many people jump on board with 18,000 new Facebook fans and an eleven million person reach in one week - which has never, ever happened. The fan base has grown to 270,000 people from an amazing underground movement. It’s been really, really cool.
Backing up just a bit, your music is new to a lot of people, but you’ve been pursuing music for eight years. Was music what you always wanted to do?
It was. I played football and wanted nothing else but to play in the NFL, but I also loved to sing. So, in 2009 I put up my first YouTube video which got hundreds of thousands of views. I kept on recording music and making records and each one would do just a little bit better than the others, so it made no sense to give up. I shopped the music around at labels and all of them told me the same thing - develop a fan base so big that I couldn’t be ignored. So that’s what I did, never thinking it would get this far.
Did you write all of the tracks on I Call BS On That?
I did. Half of the songs I wrote since the previous EP [Hurricane Stomp] and the other half I was sitting on. I wrote “Down In New Orleans” in 2008 and “ With Only You” is probably four to five years old. I did a rendition of that song on YouTube a long time ago and I received so many messages from women about how it was such a great wedding song. It was a little uncomfortable for me to record because I like to have attitude in my songs and this one is a bit more vulnerable, but I just knew it needed to be recorded because it meant so much to a lot of people.
Speaking of songs with attitude, let’s talk about the title track. It’s an incredibly honest take on the political and social climate in this country.
One night around the campfire, I played around ten songs for my friends, who are people I trust and can bounce songs off of, and this was one of them. That night, their reactions to all of the songs were positive, but when I played that one, they all got out of their chairs. It was a big deal to see my friends that passionate about a song to the point where they were talking about it the next morning. And I thought that if we all feel this way, then there must be other people out there who feel the same. I put an acoustic video of me singing it online and in 48hours it had a million views - which definitely proves we’re not the only ones thinking this way.
Exactly. So why did you choose to use that song’s title as the title of the EP?
I’ve always tried to stay away from a generic title, instead, I wanted one that jumped off the page; so that when you looked at it, it required you to listen to the song. And I Call BS On That does just that.
That’s the truth, you see it and you just have to listen to hear what it’s all about. So, we spoke about some of the tracks, but I was wondering if you could share the stories behind either “Junior” or “Bounty Hunter?”
“Junior” is a song I wrote about three different guys from high school who I couldn’t stand. They were from extremely politically powerful and affluent families and they treated everyone badly. Eventually, they grew up and one, in particular, had a father who turned out to be crooked. The son had a come to Jesus moment where he realized Daddy wasn’t going to pay the whole way for him anymore and freaked out. I thought it was such a cool story that I ended up writing a song about them.
I love westerns, especially True Grit, and “Bounty Hunter” has that western feel. It's probably only one of a handful of modern country songs in which you hear about bounty hunters, but I like being different; if you’re going to be independent, you have to be a specialty shop and give people something special they won't hear on mainstream radio. I work hard in my music to try to go out of bounds and take people to places where they haven’t been. My songs don’t go through committee, they start around the campfire with me and my friends. They’re raw and unfiltered, but it's proven that that’s what people want to hear.
Previously you have toured with Jon Pardi and Justin Moore; now that you have a #1 record, what are your touring plans for 2017?
Ever since this happened, things have picked up big time for me. Before, I toured regionally in the Southeast, but touring is going to be a big part of life next year and we plan to hit the ground running in January.
We’re also partnering with the Orlando Magic who are going to use “Hurricane Stomp” for big amp up moments during a game. I am honored to be involved with them; it's just mind-blowing.
Finally, I always like to know if there is one recent release that you cannot stop listening to and recommend people check out?
Justin Moore, Jon Pardi, and Eric Church’s latest albums are amazing. My cd player, though, is filled with a lot of old stuff, David Allan Coe, Charlie Daniels and guys like that.
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