Nashville by way of Florida singer-songwriter Parker Willingham pens songs that are experience driven, focusing on down to earth themes like relationships and small-town life. Songs of those nature can be found on his latest release, You Get Me Every Time. The twelve-track recording, produced by Kate Hart, is filled with originals and co-writes and features “One Kiss At A Time,” “Flipside,” and the title track. Recently, Willingham kindly took the time to chat via email about his roots, the album, and more.
You were planning on a baseball career; what happened to turn your attention to music? And was music something that was there the whole time you were playing sports or something new?
I’d always enjoyed singing. When I was in high school, though, sports (baseball primarily) were my concentration. I never really thought about making music a career. I used to sing in the locker room and on the school bus to and from games; all of my friends used to tell me, ‘STOP SINGING!’ It really wasn’t until my sister signed me up for a singing competition at a local festival that I put baseball aside and picked up the guitar with any kind of seriousness (well, as serious as I can be). I sang in a few competitions and out in public, and that experience turned a new leaf for me—which led to new gigs and opportunities. I get a rush outta playing on stage.
You enjoy a variety of music from Styx to Skynyrd and Brooks and the Eagles. What eventually made you gravitate toward Country and who do you consider your influences artistically?
I’m a country music ‘fan;’ but creatively, I’ve always gravitated more toward blues and rock music. (I dig the rhythm.) I think all three genres tend to go hand in hand. My musical influences range in styles from Stevie Ray Vaughn, Bob Dylan, Johnny Cash, along with George Strait and Garth Brooks.
Did you write all the songs on the album? If so, where do you draw from and if not, what drew you to record the songs?
I wrote more than half of the tunes on the new album (YOU GET ME EVERY TIME). The song ideas came from real life experiences, feelings and the place where I grew up. There are a few cuts on the project that I did not write; I was drawn to those tracks because I really liked the lyrics. I resonated with the storylines and the people who wrote them.
Why did you choose to title the album You Get Me Every Time, which is also a track on the album?
I chose to title the album YOU GET ME EVERY TIME because I liked the double meaning. For instance, in the lyrics of “You Get Me Every Time,” on one hand, mean “you understand me when other people do not.” While on the other hand, it also means: “you leave me at a loss for words” (because “you” never cease to amaze me). …Just when you think it couldn’t happen again, “BOOM!” there it is again.
“We Got It Alright” is one of my personal favorites. Can you tell the story behind the song and why you chose to close the record out with that one?
I wanted to close the record with a strong song that left the listener wanting more. “We Got It Alright” is about an unplanned and unexpected love, and how quickly and easily someone who swears they’ll never be in a relationship again, can be. It just goes to show how easily life can change unexpectedly and it turns out ALL right!
Where can people catch you playing live?
Folks traveling the streets of Downtown Broadway can probably catch me just about any night of the week playing at a Honkytonk or at writer’s rounds all throughout Nashville. I visit Switzerland frequently and headline at various venues in cities there. When I am able, I try to get back home to play gigs throughout my home state of Florida and a few states along the way.
Do you have any goals or aspirations you can share? Such as a dream touring partner, someone you would like to write with, or a venue you want to play?
I would love to write with Jeffrey Steele; I think Jeffrey is an incredibly talented writer and a writing session with him would open the door for me to become a better writer--pushing me to think outside the box. As far as a dream venue to play…I would say Bridgestone Arena (Nashville) or to perform before a sell-out crowd at a large major league baseball field would be a “dream.”
Finally, I always like to know if there is one recent release that you cannot stop listening to (any genre) and recommend people check out?
I would highly recommend Morgan Wallen’s new single “The Way I Talk.” Having grown up in the South, that tune hits home with me, and the relationship I share with my mom and dad.
For more information visit his official website
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