INTERVIEW: Woody Bradshaw "Broke"


Jeff Nystrom, the producer and engineer that has directed the sound of A-list clientele including Celine Dion, found one of Nashville’s best kept secrets when he happened up on Woody Broodshaw. The current album is hard to resist listening to over and over again as you can’t wait to hear the next song.

Woody and I enjoyed some time visiting about the music, the release of this CD and his excitement about the future.


Q: Woody, it is great to see you again. The last time I talked with you , you were just getting ready to get the single “Broke” to radio. Where are you with everything you have going on?

A: We have the album complete now and titled it “Broke” after the first single. We had very good acceptance at radio, and now we are busy putting together a team to help promote it and to get me out there performing and to get radio to play it.

Q: What has been the reaction when you sing it live?

A: The reaction has been great! We wanted something very “in your face”—and “Broke” is exactly what we wanted. It is a great radio song . It is where country is going; if not already there. It has some great hook-y and quirky things. Plus the word “Broke” is kind of timely. It brings up images of what the song is about. It is unusual.

Q: Have you had any criticism or are there any people who are having a hard time with it because it is not traditional country music?

A: The only criticism was that it was very radio friendly. It is the crossover thing. It is here to stay I think. The traditional sound is going to have to get even better and smarter; but even that is changing too. We are in a digital age. This song has a lot of the eighties feel as far as the dynamic of feeling music. But then the lyric lends itself to anything that is on country too.

Q: Do you find yourself leaning toward a certain genre of music or is there anything that inspired you?

A: Yes, very much. I am a product of rock and pop music. That was influenced by my brother. Then my mom raised me on the old singer songwriters like Johnny Cash and Kris Kristoferson. Jimmy Webb is one of my favorite song writers. I loved the lyrics of the old school. But I also like Chicago and similar pop hits too. So you jumble that up and bring it together and make something fresh and new. As long as you are enjoying it; that is the whole idea.

Q: Have you been out on the road performing?

A: No, that is next. Right now we just completed the album. We want to get it out there and get some reviews and the next thing is to get it out on radio and then start touring.

Q: Are you setting up a radio promotion tour right now?

A: Well, that is kind of in the works with any label opportunity. And also there is an offer from Europe as well. I am not opposed to doing things outside of the box that way either.

Bev: There is a demand for it over there.

Woody: They have their own set of criteria. They love the great stuff.

Q: With all the different things that you have done; for instance you have done athletics, you have done acting, you have done video etc. How do all those things come together to put you where you are now?

A: Well, I think all those things are of incredible benefit. People seem to think as an artist you can do only one thing. I think my acting has helped me to write better and perform better. You can really tap into other stuff, like feeling. When I saw Jimmy Webb for the first time as an audience member, I thought “that is just awesome”--but when you actually think “I can do that”--it was really like a board on the head! The funny thing is; when I thought I could do that, I had no back ground. My brother was the musician and I was the jock. My parents always said that Donnie was their musician. And I thought, “Oh I guess I’m not.” So it took me awhile to find that gift. I loved music and I would act it out when I as younger, but then I went into acting. Music has always been a huge part of my life.

Q: You pursued the acting career and went on to college for that, right?

A: Right. And that is where I started singing. But that was kind of secondary. People told me I was really good. I got the little karaoke machine and my acting manager wanted me to sing all the time. So that is how I got interested in singing. Then I went to a class where pro singers were going to school and I got intimidated by that because they were really good. Then I started writing music. I thought, “You’re a writer now” and I could work on the singing. As I got into the writing, then the vocals became a huge part. Now, I do not even know what to call myself. When I first started writing, I thought I would write all my own songs and it would be all about me. But I have let the ego go and now I am a singer and I want to portray the song that suits who I am personally. The first album I did was all me. Now this album has only three of my own songs.

Q: When you look for songs that you want to put on an album, do you have an unwritten set of criteria that you look for? What kind of things do you try to find?

A: First of all I like the real bold stuff. I like the cowboy Elvis songs where my acting comes into use. I like to put the guitar down and act it out. And then I am a romantic and a balladeer; I think a lot of the songs that I write and look for are songs that elevate women. I also do the Homer Simpson act where I screwed up big time and want to come back. I am at a place now that I just want to write with the best and get from the best.

Q: Are you doing a lot of that now, writing with other people?

A: I did that before. Right now I am in kind of business mode. But that is the next thing. I am kind of setting all that up now. Jimmy Webb would be my ultimate choice to have him featured on an album.

Q: What is your ultimate goal? Your “someday I will know I have made it when---”

A: I used to say that. Two years ago when I played in Lancaster and played before forty-five thousand fans, I signed autographs for three and a half hours which was a record at that seventeen year old concert. Keith Urban has played there and a lot of other big artists. That was one of those things that I was really excited about. There was a moment that I looked back at my dad and he was just beaming and there was this line that went on for just forever. I thought “these people are lined up to see little old me?” It was very humbling. Things like that keep changing. I want to make great music. And I want to touch people with that gift. And not just the music. I want to do stuff that brings out the best in yourself so you can minister to the people. Then if the accolades come with that then I’d love that too.

Q: Have you played at the Opry yet?

A: No. (with a face that beams and lights up with a big smile)

Bev: So that is one of your aspirations. (he smiles and nods yes)

Q: Were you affected by the flood?

A: No, I wasn’t. I was in Green Hills at the time which is kind of up higher and it is flat. I did not even lose power. But I had some friends that got some flooding. They had water for a few days. It was devastating.

Q: Have you been out doing any volunteering?

A: Just for friends. But I would like to do something on a bigger level. It is hard to know where to start.

Q: There are a lot of charity events going on. Are you planning on getting in on any of those?

A: Well, actually there is something with my publicity group that we may be doing in the next two weeks.

Bev: You are writing and you are promoting. What else are you doing?

A: I’m dying to start performing! That is the part that I have missed. Here in the studio you are creating and you start trying to work it, but there is nothing like just performing.

Bev: Getting that live feedback.

Woody: Yes. I really do miss that. I have some Hard Rock dates coming up. It is funny, like this tragedy of the flooding and the economy, once you start doing for yourself, one thing begets another and success here is starting again.

Q: How old were you or where in your career were you when you first performed on stage as an artist?

A: It was around 1996-97. I opened for BJ Thomas.

Q: Wow! That was your very first time?

A: Yes. I didn’t even have a full band. I had one guy with a guitar. And he had a whole symphonizer, a sequence thing. Sounds like you have a full band with you. It felt like my big rock show. But it went really well.

Q: As shows have progressed and you have done more, do you get that same feeling when you walk onto the stage, butterflies and all that?

A: That was more fear back then. Actually you improve from that and then you get seasoned. I know a lot of artists depend on a band to make them feel whole. But to me it is just like I have to do my job and you can either join me or not.

I had a great acoustic player and when I did that concert people said “It is too bad you can‘t use your full band“. And I said, “You know what? There is forty-five thousand people at this event and four other acts after me with bands. But I am going to have the best show.” I said “I am going to show them that with the just the two of us, we can do it” and sure enough---. I said “We are going to steal it”. I know it sounds cocky, but it was one of those things I really put out there you know? And sure enough we set some kind of record.

Bev: And that is what the audience likes, the personal interaction.

Woody: Well basically it is what a country audience wants---they want you. And you have to give them one-hundred-ten percent.

Bev: Did you always know you wanted to be a country performer?

Woody: Well, I just figured where music was at, the pop world was not really the pop that I liked anymore, it had become a different thing. So it was just a natural fit. This is a songwriter’s community. And I love that. I knew I would get better here.

Bev: In your mind have you already calculated how you would like to do some videos for the songs?

Woody: I did a video two years ago at the Grand Canyon. It was gorgeous. It was not your typical video. It was very abstract. It told the song in a way that was broad and visual. Basically it introduced me. I think “Broke” would be a lot of fun to do. You can do all kinds of stuff. I will pursue doing a video of “Broke” the same way.

Bev: Are you releasing anything on I-tunes yet?

Woody: We are about to start doing that. There are a few things in the works. I am excited. I think we have the right material and it is all lined up. I want to do it right.

Bev: Woody, as always, I love talking to you and enjoyed catching up again, was there anything else you wanted to share?

Woody: Thanks Bev, I always enjoy talking with you too. Really, I just want to say that this is very creative music. It pushes the envelope.

For more information on Woody Bradshaw visit www.myspace.com/woodybradshaw.

Transcribed by Darlene McPherson

INTERVIEW: Jadi Norris “Hail the American Soldier”

This Arizona entertainer comes from a long line of veterans and dedicates “Hail the American Soldier” to their legacy for risking their lives for our safety. He’s cheated death twice, re-learned how to play a smokin’ guitar and manages to balance being a good dad with living his dream.

His high school years were spent in a band singing Marshall Tucker, Skynard, and dabbling with songwriting. By 17, he was approached by an agent and was on the road 50 weeks a year honing his craft and marrying his hillbilly, Appalachian roots with country rock and gospel. His influences are as far flung as Willie Nelson and Haggard to Jackie Wilson, his dad’s favorite artist. His music pursuits would land him a performing slot at Disney’s Pleasure Island resorts fronting a top 40 band. Jadi has taken stages throughout the US, Canada, and even into Alaska opening for Trace Adkins, Clay Walker, Toby Keith, and Collin Raye. More seasoned musicians cynically warned him, “it isn’t as easy as it looks” but, Jadi remained undaunted playing clubs and fairs working the rough joints and “chicken wire” circuit.

Jadi and I spent some time visiting recently about his new single and his music career.

Bev: Jadi thank you for taking time to visit with me today. You have a new single out titled “Hail the American Soldier” that you are doing for the soldiers. Can you tell me a little about choosing the song?

Jadi: A friend of mine brought the song to me and when I heard this song I was moved and it simply had that “WOW” factor you want to feel when you record a song; for me it is a personal song that hit home with me as my served in the Army and was on Omaha Beach in 1944. He was a 17 year old kid and by the time he was eighteen he had experienced tragedy and triumphs. By the time he came home ate age nineteen, he had two purple hearts, 3 silver stars, a bronze star and a distinguished service medal. He was a good model in life and a patriot; true sense to the word and also an influence on me as far as appreciating what soldiers and their families do and how much the country meant to them.

Bev: Do you have any other friends or family members in the armed services?

Jadi: I do have a lot of family currently serving the Army, Air Force, Marine and Navy. My younger brother went for his 15th trip to Afghanistan and just landed over their last week for his 16th trip. It's amazing, because he could get out any time but he is committed to the principle. I admire that so much. I see these 45 year old men and women that have been in it for most of their lives. I have another friend that is in her early 50's and she has served thirteen years in the Air Force and two years ago she reenlisted. Those are the kind of people I am singing this song for.

Bev: Have you ever thought of enlisting yourself?

Jadi: I am unable to serve due to a bad car wreck that messed up my spine and shoulder. I actually tried to sign up and they just laughed.*Laughing*

Bev: When you perform the song in front of a live audience, have you had any memorable moments from those who come up after during the meet and greet?

Jadi: A gentleman came up to me and I thought he was kind of mad at me when he first approached me. He said, “Yeah I just got back from over there and I want you to know that I really appreciate you singing that song.” I was still a little intimidated due to his size and appearance so I simply said, “Thank you sir very much.” He took my arm and slapped a bracelet on it, a metal band bracelet. I looked down at my arm and then looked up at the gentleman and he has a giant tear rolling down his cheek, this rough tough individual said, "This is from my staff sergeant, his name was Charles Brownie, he died in my arms and this was his identification bracelet. I have had it for two years.”, and then he said “It is yours now, you take care of it.” My knees got weak. I get emotional thinking about it right now, but that is one that really stands out.

Bev: I know you are promoting the single now, when is the CD project slated for release?

Jadi: The album is to come out in stores in July. This CD is really special and I hope the fans and listeners appreciate the songs chosen for it as much as I do.

Bev: Are there any other patriotic songs on the album?

Jadi: Their might be one other song on there that I wrote my brothers point of view, I tried to put myself in his shoes based on the times he has been over there. But I did not want to make all the songs patriotic. This particular song is meant the world to me; it is a great opportunity to make these people hear this story and send a Thank you card to let them know that inside of what they see on some of the news channels, there are a lot of people that appreciate them and love them.

Bev: As an artist you travel quite a bit, and I know you also have a family with young children, what is your secret to finding the balance?

Jadi: I have a great family who is very understanding of what I do and the kids have grown up around it. They have always known that daddy is going to go out of town and be gone for days. My wife is a tremendous woman that truly is understanding, not that we don't disagree about certain things and not saying it is not hard on her at times, she has been with me thru the good times and bad times for 15 years. She knew what she was getting into and she accepted it and without her help and without her being fully involved, I couldn't do it. She makes tremendous sacrifices to keep everything together.

Bev: Do the kids come out with you on the road?

Jadi: They come out occasionally and have the opportunity to see what daddy does and mom gets a little vacation so that helps. My family is very understanding and are my biggest fans because they support me whole heartedly.

Bev: Do you see them following your footsteps at all?

Jadi: I don't encourage it but I do encourage music and singing. I grew up singing in bars; starting when I was just thirteen and having been thru the circuit, I don't want my daughters to do that. My oldest daughter plays piano and saxophone right now and is really good. My middle daughter is a piano player and a great little singer. I am trying to push them into the right direction; not to do it like daddy did, but to get an education first.


Bev: How do you feel about the other artists that start out young? You said you paid your dues and some of them today are not because they are getting thrown into the spotlight right out of some of the reality shows and contests.

Jadi: I think it is fantastic; the only thing that concerns me is that I hope that their parents, management and care takers have their best interest at heart and really watch out for them. For example you have a special young person like Taylor Swift who is so incredibly talented; I just hope the people around her are nurturing her in every aspect and letting her be a young, letting her hair down and being a kid and keeping and eye on her. I hope they are protecting her from the ugliness that can come with the territory. If you hang around in tough places, there will be people that are going to try influence them one way or the other. Like I said, I encourage it as long as their caretakers are looking after their best interest.

Bev: You have opened shows and played with some big hit makers and artists during your career, has there been one show that really blew you away or that you walked away and just said I can't believe I did that.

Jadi: I had the opportunity to play with Toby Keith when he was relatively successful, but he wasn't a huge name like he is now. I remember saying this guy is going to be as big as Elvis, this man is hitting all the right nerves, and he knows that he blows the audience away. I also got the opportunity to do a small club show with about 300 people with Keith Urban right when his first album was coming out; those two guys were like “WOW”.

Bev: Do you do duets at all?

Jadi: I really have not had the opportunity to do any duets yet, but I am very open to the idea if it presents itself.

Bev: If you could choose someone to do one with who would you choose?

Jadi: Carrie Underwood in a heartbeat.

Bev: Do you already have a song picked out?

Jadi: Yeah, one that I wrote. It's on the new album and I think I could die a happy man if Carrie Underwood were to sing this song. I think she is the best vocalist alive. There is nobody that can touch her as far as putting music on a radio. She is a classic.

Bev: As far as touring and promoting the new album, do you have anything coming up with special sponsorships or anything original and out of the box to get the word out?

Jadi: We are working on that right now. My focus has been to get this record out and I have spent so much time in the studio this last month, that has really all I have been doing. We just finished the recording last week.

Bev: Do you have a favorite on the album, anything that is personal or anything that is close to your heart?

Jadi: There are a couple of them; one of the songs is called “Not in Love by Morning” a ballad. I do not want to say too much about it because I want people to make their own judgments on it, but I really like it. It is one of my best lyrically and I love the story. Of course “American Soldier” is another one of my favorites. I can't take credit for writing that one, but it is such a tremendous song. We have a fun song called “Working Men Saturday Night” that I hope people like too; it’s a really fun song.

Bev: Are you using all the social media sights, such as Facebook and twitter?

Jadi: Yes, I am. I enjoy the interaction and feedback from friends and fans.

Bev: Will you be doing a CD release party or showcase in Nashville soon?

Jadi: I am talking about doing a showcase in July in Nashville. We are negotiating things right now and more likely will be in Nashville during CMA Festival as well.

Bev: We mentioned the live shows, but what has been the reaction at radio to your current song?

Jadi: I really appreciate what radio has done for this new song and especially with me being an unknown artist. The radio response that we have had and for the short time it has been out there already has been amazing. The support that we have had from the fans and the military folks that have accepted this song and made it their own, I can't say Thank You enough and God Bless them.

Bev: Have you done anything like USO tours or similar events like?

Jadi: I am working on that right now, actually. I am scheduled to do some performances at different military bases around the country, nothing as far as USO tours yet, but the military bases throughout the US this summer and fall of 2010.

Bev: Jadi, I look forward to visiting with you again soon and wish you much success with this and the CD.

Jadi: Thank you too and I appreciate you taking time to visit with me as well.

For more information on Jadi Norris visit www.myspace.com/jadinorris

Transcribed by Corinne Gall-Yockey

INTERVIEW: LoCash Cowboys "Here Comes Summer"

LoCash Cowboys, Chris Lucas and Preston Brust, have criss-crossing the country, honed their craft on stages large and small, developed one of the most dynamic live shows in any genre of music. Along the way, earned endorsements from the likes of Budweiser, shared bills with artists including Charlie Daniels and ZZ Top, performed at halftime of NBA and U.S. Olympic team basketball games, and secured television appearances ranging from Tanya Tucker's reality show "Tuckerville" to "Pageant School: Becoming Miss America," writing the theme songs for both.

The dues have been paid and it is time for LoCash to reap the rewards as they embark on the next step of their journey, releasing their upcoming single “Here Comes Summer” and CD to follow. I recently sat down with them to talk about the journey, the memories, the future and a little bit of everything in between.


BM: The single’s out! So, how does it feel?

Chris: The feeling is fantastic yet still stressful. You’ve got to learn the patience thing, which we’ve learned in this business anyway – the “hurry up and wait” business. But finally, the single is out, and I think the coolest thing is we’re counting on our friends and our fans that we’ve built for six or seven years on the road. It’s cool watching them do their work – being our friends and helping us succeed and watching it happens is pretty cool.

BM: What has been the best or the thing that’s surprised you the most, fan-wise?

Preston: It’s been amazing because everybody’s gotten on the phones, called every radio station in the country and started requesting it like nuts. Then, they’ve been online at CMT.com and GACtv.com and all these different sites. And, all of a sudden, our video started to pop up on the front page of things. Where as before, a few weeks ago, you had to dig around to find it. Now, all of a sudden, it’s like one click away and we’re right there. So, I think the voice of the fans is really resonating throughout the industry now. Like Chris said, it’s just come down to that, we’re #57 on Billboard right now – 56 steps from the ultimate goal. It feels good to know the end goal is perfectly in sight, and we can start working toward that.

BM: Way back when we first met when we all were relatively new to Nashville, we used to sit and talk about “some day”. Is it what you thought it was going to be?

Chris: Honestly, yeah, everything that we’ve dreamed about. You work hard. I mean, if you ask, you shall receive. But, if you work hard enough, you’re going to get it. Has it taken longer than we wished? Absolutely! But you never know. It’s like Jeff(rey Steele) says, “If you want to make God laugh, tell him your plan.” It really is great now. Of course, we are always still saying, “What if someday we do this?” I don’t think that’s really going to go away for me and Preston – or any artist, for that matter – we always want more. We’re always content and blessed with what we have, but we still strive for the best.

Preston: Hard work is nothing new to us. This act is built to climb; it’s built to work hard. We’re the two hardest working dudes I’ve ever met – and we’ve met a lot of people! So, I feel like the goal is attainable; it’s right in front of us and it is sweet right now just to be on Billboard and see your name on there. You kind of have to stop and savor that moment, because that in itself, is a huge thing to accomplish. There are thousands and thousands of people who would give anything to be #57 on Billboard right now. So, you do have to stop and appreciate what we have accomplished. But also, don’t get stale standing there and enjoying it too long, because we’ve got a lot of work to do.

BM: Of all the songs on the album, how many did you write?

Chris: I think we have eight out of the eleven. We’re not saying that we have to write all of the songs on there. We have, of course, a great producer who is writing with us. I mean, Jeffrey Steele, who writes hits after hits. But there are some other songwriters on there that we picked up, whose songs we fell in love with.

Preston: We wrote forty or fifty songs with Jeffrey, so we could have easily picked eleven songs that the three of us wrote together. But, one thing he really taught us from day one was never overlook a sure-fire, big hit song. We wanted our album to be all killer and no filler. Every song has got to be a single. So, when those obvious songs hit the table, like “Keep in Mind” that he and Shane Minor wrote together, it was unavoidable. It was one of those songs that screamed, “This is hit! This is chance!” So, we went after it. Like Chris said, we’ve probably got three or four on the album that aren’t songs we wrote, but they’re big hits.

BM: Do you have any criteria when you’re going through and picking songs?

Chris: It has to kind of match what Preston and I want out of life, kind of the vibe we like. We actually feel these songs. Miranda Lambert’s song, “The House That Built Me,” was actually pitched to us five or six years ago, but we didn’t have a label at the time, so we had no clout. She said it hit her and she couldn’t help but cry. It’s kind of the same thing with other songs, if they hit them the right way, you’ve got to have it, because you can sing it better that way.

Preston: And, the cool thing about when we were going through the song choice, it was as simple as the three of us would sit in a room – Chris, me, and Jeff – and we would take votes on the songs. We were like the king of lists, so first, it was take votes and make lists of songs we were going to take the studio. Then, we cut 25 songs. On each list, we had to be unanimous, so each individual song got voted on. If it wasn’t unanimous, then the jury was still out on that song. We couldn’t put it on the list to go cut it or dwindle down to the eleven that make it to the album. And, there are still a couple songs in limbo right now. There’s a new song called “Friend” that we cut, and it’s getting a great reaction on the road! We took it to the studio and we got an amazing recording on it. So, all of a sudden, this “Friend” gets stuck in the mix. Now, all of a sudden, which song is going to go? So, until that album is in stores…

Chris: We could hear another one. I mean, there are a couple other songs Preston and I have heard and it’ll be like “Crap! Do we go back to record and put this one on?” So, you never know.

BM: Have you fan-tested a lot of songs?

Chris: Yes, I think so. During our live performances when we sing all the songs, the vibe we get from the crowd always means a lot. “Keep in Mind” is one of our slow songs and the crowd likes that one a lot. Obviously, our single “Here Comes Summer” is a perfect song right now. With all the flooding, I know Nashville is ready for it and I’m sure everybody else in the United States is ready for summertime.

BM: I think you’re right. Time to move on past all of this. Speaking of the flood, were you affected by it personally? Did you lose anything?

Preston: We’re all affected by it, because I think each one of us has friends or acquaintances that have been truly affected by it. In particular, our fiddle player lost, basically, his whole house. The Harpeth River rose and cracked one of his windows and poured into his house. He had seven feet of water in his entire home. He has a pretty nice house, so when you look at the pictures and you go out and visit, you can really feel what happened to him. So, we started a little thing called Fiddler on the Roof. If you want to help somebody out, go to www.ryanjones.net and email him personally. If he needs a Subway sandwich, he’ll tell you! Whatever it is to get him through each day, it’s one of those kinds of things. But, the community has really been amazing! People have been coming by his house every fifteen minutes, knocking on his door, and saying, “What can we do?” And with the big concert with Taylor Swift and Tim McGraw, these guys are pulling together. I think Nashville will be back on its feet really soon.

BM: Are you guys a part of any of the benefits yet?

Chris: Unfortunately, we’ve been out of town like crazy. There are some things we’ve got in the works that we’re trying to put together to raise a little bit of money. There are a lot of people who do not have flood insurance; because they’re not in the flood zone, they’re not allowed to have it. But, Vince Gill raised almost a million dollars, I think it was (in his telethon). Nashville musicians are all coming together for the community. And, we love this community. We wouldn’t be here if we didn’t.

BM: What do you all have planned for CMA Music Festival?

Preston: Everything! Streaking! We’re the guys who sign up for everything! We just love to have fun! I think last year we did the dog training event, where they jumped in the pool. We threw Frisbees to them.

Chris: I had fleas the whole week; it was horrible!

Preston: I couldn’t believe it. I didn’t have one flea! You got the mange, too, didn’t you?

Chris: I did, for a while. (laughing)


BM: So what pranks are you going to do?

Chris: We are pranksters! We’ll try foaming at the mouth and see if that works..

Preston: Well, we already know that one doesn’t work, so we’re not doing that. But, we’re always pulling pranks on each other. I mean, we’re ten guys on the road by the time you add in the band, the road manager, the merch guy, the bus driver, and a couple friends who are out on the road with us. It gets crazy.

BM: What’s been the best one?

Preston: Oh man!

Chris: There’s been millions and millions of them.

Preston: There’s a lot of them! One of my favorite pranks is, we had this new merchandise guy come out on the road with us. His name was Ty, and he was a funny dude. He was a little nervous to be out there and wanted to get everything just right, especially that first week. He’s dotting every “i” and crossing every “t,” making sure every penny is accounted for with the merchandise money. So, I went to the lead guitar player and said, “Dude, maybe you should pull our nervous merchandise guy and be like, ‘Hey, I don’t know what you’ve heard, but here’s how it works out on the road. When you collect all your merchandise money, you bring it to me. I take a 20% skim right off the top. You hide the numbers and then you turn it in to Chris and Preston, ok? That’s how it works; it’s always worked that way. I want my cut every single night.’”

Chris: The poor kid is scared to death!

Preston: He doesn’t know what to do, because (the lead guitar player) was like, “I know how to lie around this, so if you tell them, you will be fired!” Chris and I are sitting back smiling, we’re just waiting. Finally, about 24 hours goes by, and this kid comes up to us, shaking, and asks us, “Can I talk to you guys?” He says, “I feel like I have to be honest. It’s like the Mafia out here, man! The lead guitar player is demanding a 20% skim on all merchandise money right off the top,”

Chris: We’re good at keeping straight faces.

Preston: We were like, “No way, he wouldn’t do that!” So, we really lured him right in. And, we didn’t let it go too far, but it was funny watching the kid shaking his boots. But, it showed his honesty. It was a good test to see if he was going to be an honest kid.

Preston: Kind of a long story, but man, it sure was funny that day. Maybe you had to be there. And now, here we are, on Billboard.

BM: Well, we’re about ready to wrap this up. But, what else do you have to tell the fans?

Chris: Gotta tell everybody about the new album, of course, coming out this year. The single, “Here’s Comes Summer,” is on iTunes and many digital outlets. It’s a great song. The video is out on GAC; please vote for us at gactv.com. Don’t forget cmt.com also. And, don’t forget, in June, BamaJam. We’re going to be at BamaJam in Alabama. Come see us! Here comes summer! Here comes BamaJam!

B.M. Guys, I love you both, proud to call you my friends and I wish you only the best! I cannot wait to join you when this song goes to the top spot!

LoCash: We love you too, and thank you for all you do. You will be the first to know when we land on number one!

For more information on LoCash Cowboys visit http://www.locashcowboys.com

Press Conf: Music City Keep on Playin’ – A Benefit for Flood Relief

The Music City Keep on Playin’ – A Benefit for Flood Relief live concert and telethon was held at the Ryman Auditorium in Nashville on Sunday May 16th with performances by Keith Urban, Brad Paisley, Lady Antebellum, Martina McBride, Dierks Bentley, Rodney Atkins, Kellie Pickler, Keb ‘Mo, CeCe Winans, Randy Montana, Jaci Valesquez and Will Hoge.

Hosted by: James Denton, Kimberly Williams Paisley joined by Food Network’s Pat & Gina Neely, Travel Channel’s Adam Richman and Samantha Brown and GAC’s
Suzanne Alexander, Nan Kelley, Storme Warren and Bill Cody.

NASCAR’s Tony Stewart and Clint Bowyer also appeared to answer phones as well as many other celebrity guests.

All funds raised will go to the Community Foundation of Middle Tennessee.

For additional photos visit www.digitalrodeo.com/DRphotos or http://momentsbymoser.zenfolio.com/musiccitykeeponplayinbenefit

Click on play arrow below for Martina McBride interview at press conference

video

Click on play arrow below for Kellie Pickler interview at press conference

video

REVIEW and INTERVIEW: Miranda Lambert Cause for Paws

Miranda Lambert's 3rd Annual Cause for the Paws Benefit Concert
Tyler, Texas - May 15, 2010

Traveling Highway 110 in Tyler, Texas to Villa de Felicita, the site for Miranda Lamberts' 3rd Annual Cause For Paws, you truly get a sense of "The House That Built Me", or in this case the hometown that built Miranda.

Highway 110 is a winding, two lane highway lined with farms and quaint homes. Villa de Felicita is a beautiful special event venue surrounded with well kept gardens that on May 15, 2010 acted as the background to the stage that would host GAC's Nan Kelly, Kacey Musgraves, The Whiskey Myers Band and finally the headline performance of Miranda Lambert.

Roughly 1,000 RAN fans emerged on the grounds of Villa de Felicita to experience the energy and excitement that surrounded Miranda's 3rd annual benefit concert benefiting The Humane Society of East Texas.

Beverly and Rick Lambert, Miranda's parents, served as Chairs for the event which included the hard work and dedication of hundreds of volunteers from The Humane Society of East Texas.

Villa de Felicita is an elegant venue surrounded by serene gardens. We wondered if the storms in the forecast will open up and result in raining cats and dogs for this charity event that has raised $233,000 in the two previous years, helping The Humane Society of East Texas become a "no-kill animal sanctuary".

Doors opened at 6 p.m. where benefit participants were welcomed with a gift bag containing a commemorative wine glass and opportunity to bid on a silent auction. Items for bid in the silent auction included pet sitting packages, custom artwork, an exquisite dining experiences as well as Miranda private label wine bottles recycled into cheese boards and accompanied by a bottle of Red 55 wine.

Nightwork Jazz took the stage during the VIP Cocktail Party mix and mingle. VIP tables were sold for $2,500 for the event and afforded these special guests a private reception attended by Miranda. During the reception Miranda mingled with VIP guests and posed for pictures. Guests also enjoyed hors d'oeuvres and an open bar.

Kacey Musgraves, a benefit veteran participant, took the stage at 7:30. Kasey is a Texas born singer song-writer who has written with Miranda in the past; her traditional country sound made her a perfect addition to this very special charity event.

At 8 p.m. the live auction began with auctioneer Mark Scirto. Items for bid in the live auction included a Brooks & Dunn Autographed guitar, an Archery Home Package, a personalized acoustic guitar signed by Miranda and ZZ Top as well as a Roadside Bar & Pink Guitars Concert Package.

At 8:30 GAC's Nan Kelly emceed the general announcements, prize drawings and a special donation by Lindale ISD that represented over $3,000 in coins collected by students.

An East Texas born "blues, rock band" known as the Whiskey Myers band followed Nan's announcement drawing the crowd toward the stage in preparation for Miranda's performance.

As the song "Let the Revolution Begin" made its way to the speakers, the excitement mounted and Miranda exploded on stage with her band opening with her hit "Kerosene". Next, off of her Revolution album she performed "Only Prettier" followed by the well received "Famous In A Small Town".

A touching and unplanned collaboration with her father, Rick, included a cover of "You're The Reason God Made Oklahoma" followed Miranda sharing her recent engagement to Blake Shelton. Miranda said the song has a new meaning to her now.

Miranda and her band circled together center stage to perform another tune from her current release, "Airstream Song". Miranda's Airstream has become the Roadside Bar and Pink Guitar tour mascot serving as the crews rolling bar.

Miranda addressed the potential for any of her ex-boyfriends who might be in the audience by performing a hit from her Kerosene project "Crazy Ex-Girlfriend".

As a tribute to the RAN Fans in the audience who promised to donate to the cause should Miranda grant their song request Miranda performed "Love Letters".

All-in-all it is abundantly clear that Miranda's real gift for song writing has blossomed into the ability to successfully package her growing list of hits into an an energy filled, entertaining show. Her true passion for country music coupled with her infectious, dimple clad smile makes Miranda must see act. Miranda's dedication to this charity event is a representation of what she stands for and her deep ties to the community that was once her home.

During the pre-show press conference Miranda answered questions from media representatives on her participation of this cause, as well as her recent album and much publicized engagement to Blake Shelton. During the press conference she held Delilah, the first dog she rescued in 2007. Nan Kelly held Delta Dawn, a dog Miranda rescued from a Sonic parking lot and Bev Lambert is holding Cher, Miranda's most recent rescue found in a dumpster in Oklahoma and was rescued when Miranda took her friend to the shelter to get a pet.

Question: How many animals do you have?

Miranda: I have two horses, and too many horses, 6 dogs, 3 cats, chickens and several cows.

Question: Why is this cause important to you?

Miranda: This represents everything I stand for. The money we have raised in the past has helped the Humane Society of East Texas become a no-kill shelter. But there is still more to do and more abandoned animals to help.

Question: How did your affiliation with the humane society begin?

Miranda: When I rescued Delilah from the shelter, I saw how over crowded it was and decided to do something to help. The Humane Society of East Texas and Mutt Nation represent everything I stand for.

Question: We know that Delilah is the first animal you rescued, do you have another story or special memory about another pet you've rescued?

Miranda: Cher is the tea cup Chihuahua I just rescued, I took a friend to the shelter to rescue an animal and they brought out Cher, who was found in a dumpster.


Miranda introduced GAC’s Nan Kelly and explained that Nan is a cancer survivor and also an animal lover. Miranda further explained that Nan's home had been affected by the recent flooding in Nashville. Nan described the Grand Ole Opry being under water and how amazing it was that the Opry didn't miss a beat proving that the Grand Ole Opry isn't a building, it's the people that make the show.

Question: Talking about the flooding in Nashville, do you know how animals may have been affected in the Nashville area.

Miranda: I personally contacted two shelters that were affected to see how I could help and I know that they were able to get all the animals to safety. What they needed most was money. Maybe Nan can comment further since it is her home town. Nan Kelly: The Nashville Humane Society is actively working with animals abandoned during the floods as well as pet owners who have lost their pets.

Question: Tell us about "The House That Built Me"?

Miranda: I first heard the song on a CD that was given to Blake of possible songs to put on an album. I immediately connected with the song and so Blake asked me if I wanted it. So it went from on hold for Blake Shelton to on hold for Miranda. Now Blake wants it back so I think that means the song is doing well.

Question: When should we expect a new album?

Miranda: For the immediate future I will be focusing on my Roadside Bars and Pink Guitars Tour and planning a wedding. I would say late 2011.

Question: When is the wedding?

Miranda: That is the first thing everyone asks after you get engaged, people were asking me that when we had only been engaged for six hours. We haven't decided on a date.

Question: Can you give us the details about your ring, size, cut etc?

Miranda: To be honest I don't know the answer to any of those questions. All I can say is that I am so proud of Blake for knowing me well enough to get me the perfect ring. All I really know is that is it beautiful and shiny.

Question: 2010 and has been a phenomenal year for you both personally and professionally, what will your next big thing be?

Miranda: I have had a really amazing year. I am going to keep doing what I am doing, touring and planning a wedding.

Question: Is Blake going to have a bachelor party?

Miranda: I think we will have a joint party, you know how Blake is. That way I can keep an eye on him.

Question: Can you give us the details of how Blake proposed?

Miranda: The engagement was very us, but we want to keep the details private. Since most of our lives are very public, this is one thing that we can keep private, but I will say I was wearing a sweaty camo jacket.

Question: Where will the honeymoon be?

Miranda: We really haven't gotten that far yet.

Bev Lambert: Home.

Miranda: Yes, home, that would be nice.

Question: Will either you or Blake be selling your farms?

Miranda: I don't think either one of us will sell our farms, so I guess we'll just visit each other.

Question: Is there a dream or goal that you have for yourself that you have yet to accomplish.

Miranda: I have been so blessed and realized dreams I couldn't have imagined. My goal right now is to raise $500K for the Mutt Nation Foundation.

For more information about MuttNation Foundation Charity, or to make a donation, please visit www.muttnationfoundation.com.

For more information on the Humane Society Of East Texas visit http://hsoet.org/

For more information on Miranda Lambert visit http://www.mirandalambert.com/

Additional photos of this event can be seen at www.DigitalRodeo.com/DRPhotos


Submitted by Texas Correspondent’s Kathy and Darren Wheeler

INTERVIEW: Lonestar "Party Heard Around The World"

When you do your background info on the group LONESTAR, the first two paragraphs of their website sum up the group best. “Chalk it up to their Texas-meets-Tennessee grit and tenacity, but there’s nothing Lonestar loves more than a challenge. 500 concerts in their first two years. Crossing over from country to pop and back again after no one else topped both charts at the same time since 1983. Selling 10 million albums, landing ten top 10 country hits and collecting nine top 10 pop hits. Packing audiences with guys who love their rocking shows and ladies who swoon over the romantic hunks. That’s just the kind of hard work that fuels the band.

So when it came time to record their 10th album, the first in four years, their years of hard work and creative growth naturally led them to helm it on their own for the first time in their career. True to form, Party Heard Around The World - like all of Lonestar’s hits, tours and awards - is the result of old fashioned talent and dedication paying off. By the time the band entered the studio in late 2009; original member Dean Sams had already logged in years of production work, some with Lonestar and plenty with other bands. It just felt right for Lonestar to write and produce their own album this time. Lead guitarist Michael Britt explained in a recent interview, “We feel that this album is a complete reflection of the group. It’s personal and powerful music that reflects the core values of Lonestar through lyrics, performance and production.”
I spent some time with the guys from Lonestar recently and we visited about the new songs and the album which came out late in April.

Bev: Guys it is always so fun to spend time with you, let’s talk about some of your upcoming promotional gigs; because you guys are doing really cool things. You are on a cooking show, how did that come about?
LS: We are doing Emerald in New York again; we did it once before when we were the house band. This time he was nice enough to let us come and play a few songs on the show. We don’t actually do any cooking but we do get to do some eating at the very end.
Bev: Your album came out April 27th; did you have a big kickoff party or anything special?
LS: We left for New York on the 27th for more press for the launch of the record “Party Heard Around the World”. We’re really excited about this record, more than any other album we have put out in the past. We’re proud of all the records we have put out, but this one just feels right. We were so involved with it. Not only were we the musicians and singers but we were the producers, the writers, engineers; we were really active in this record. I think the fans are going to hear the heart in this record. At the end of the day the fans are pretty wise, they know when someone is faking something and when they mean it. This record has all our heart and then some.
Bev: Is this the first time you have done some of these elements, the producing and so on or have you been involved before?
LS: This is the first album that, together as a band, we have written eight out of the ten songs on the record. It was fun. Each song, after we wrote it, we sat down and hammered it out in the studio and made it come alive. This made it more emotional for the band, as we covered every aspect of creating the album. I can’t remember any time in the past when we have been this active. One time before on the soldier song we recorded, we were involved but never as much as we have been as a band on this album. Something we are excited about, depending on where the fans buy the record, they get two additional songs that they don’t get elsewhere. One song is called “Mean As You” and the other is “Tough”. Those two extra songs they will get only at Wal-Mart. We also went back in and recorded six of our hits acoustically and the only place you can find them is on QVC’s website.
We got to do a lot of creative and fun things with this album.
Bev: Is there a favorite that you have as a band or as an individual?
Michael: I think they change daily or weekly depending on our moods at the time, but I always have three or four favorites and they stay the same, it might just be a different one every day. “You’re the Reason Why” I still love to listen to; “She Wants What She Wants” is my favorite one to listen to lately. I am a sucker for immature boy music so “Y.O.U” and “Party Heard Around The World” are my other two.
Keech: I think that ““Party Heard Around The World” is probably my favorite. It is so fun to listen to and has such a “Rockin’” beat to it. You just can’t not listen to it.
Cody: It is funny how things start off and how they progress later but “Party Heard Around The World” wasn’t exactly my favorite tune in the beginning and honestly, it is probably my favorite now. The way you work a song up and then go into the studio and you hear it come alive, everything changes.
Dean: I am kind of like the rest of the guys, it depends on the day. I love our single, “You Are The Reason Why”. I just think it is great and “Party Heard Around The World” is a blast. Two songs that stick out for me that I usually listen to and then hit replay and listen to them again are “Making Memories” and “Live, Laugh and Love”. I love the imagery of “Making Memories”, it is so visual. You can picture this couple falling in love, that first kiss on the beach; I love the imagery of that song. “Live, Laugh and Love” is an up tempo, positive song in this day and time when life can be pretty tough. People are losing their jobs daily and having issues within their homes. This song is saying that outside the pressures of life just make sure you live, laugh and love your family and your friends. Make sure you let them know how you feel about them. That is what I love about that song; it is up tempo and lets you take your mind off your problems for a few minutes.
Bev: While playing the songs out live, has there been a fan favorite yet?
LS: Lots of friends have heard the songs in shows and the girls seem to favor the song “You’re The Reason Why”. I think that is one reason we put that out as our first single.
Bev: Did you test them out before you decided which ones to put on the album?
Michael: Some of them. We have been playing “The Future”, “You’re The Reason Why” and “Let Me Love You” for over a year on the road. Those were tested. The last four songs we cut are the newest and we have not had a chance to play them on the road much. We were in rehearsals a couple of weeks ago and worked up “Party Heard Around The World” and it was so much fun to play that we would play it twice, then we would play another song or two and then go back and play “Party Heard Around The World”. We just have a great time playing it. It rocks. It is our favorite song to play in the show right now.
After doing that, we liked it so much that it became the opener for our show.
Bev: What time period were most of the songs written over?
LS: It has been over two and a half years easily. “Party Heard Around The World” is one of the latest ones we have written. It is new and fresh and we haven’t listened to it a thousand times; not to mention the other ten thousand times as we were writing it, pre-production and trying to make arrangements. The thing about the songs that were written so long ago, when you get away from them and try not to listen to them for a few months and then I go back and listen to them, they all have their own signature. They are all very fresh when you go back and listen to them after a little while. To me that is a sign of a great record when you can go back and go “oh yeah” that is why I love that song. For true music lovers, they are going to find something in every song that they will latch onto. Michael did such a great job on his guitar stuff, every solo is unique. It is not “ok, I am going to play a bunch of noodle notes”. There are some that are very melodic and some that are just straight out “ballsy rockin’”.
Keech played his heart out. He is such an awesome drummer and really got to show off his skills. What is interesting from this stand point is the flashy stuff is really not the hardest stuff to do; it’s the laying down a groove. He did an awesome job on this record.
From a vocal standpoint, Cody killed this record. He really got to show what an amazing singer he is. From his little falsetto flip things to getting down into the low range and being warm and present; something people are going to latch onto. It is a great record.
Bev: Are any one of you the primary songwriter or do all of you collaboratively have song ideas?
LS: On this record, it is pretty even. Everyone contributes in different ways. The songs we wrote together were a blast for the four of us to sit in a room and be creative together. That is really what bands are supposed to do. It is nice because you don’t have to go through that many songs. When you are at songwriters and publisher meetings where they are pitching songs, you have to listen to three hundred before you can find one you can relate to. When you are writing the songs yourself, you relate to them immediately, they are coming out of you. I think that really helped us to not have to weed through five thousand songs. I laugh so hard when I think about writing the song “Y.O.U.”. That is not a song that is going to cure cancer or something but it is just a great fun, young, up tempo song. We wish all the fans could have been at my studio while we were writing this song because we laughed so hard because we really trying to be “boys” instead of “men”. We were trying to come up with every sexual innuendo we could think of without being too raunchy, we had to do some editing. But that is what made that song so fun and so now when we hear each line; it brings up the memory of writing that song and just how much fun it was.
Bev: So when you perform it live, do you throw in some of those lines just amongst yourselves?
LS: We haven’t done that one, but you never know, we could. Once we work that one up you never know.
Bev: Who came up with the title for the album?
LS: It was actually a song that Dean, Chris Cavanaugh and I wrote. Dean came up with the title for the song. When we were looking for names for the title, that song typified what we want to be known for. We want our live shows to be known for people having a good time, rockin’ out and having a party. That is what every night is for us. We are grown men that get to play instruments for a living and we never have to fully grow up.
Here is some trivia for you. It was originally going to be called “The Future”, which is a song on the album. It was when Cody first joined the band, we started working on these songs and “The Future” was one of the first ones that came up and we thought “what a great title for the album, the future of Lonestar”. We worked on it for a long time and then when “Party Heard Around The World” came up, we shifted to that and thought that would make a better statement than “The Future”.
Bev: Cody, is this the first album you have been on as the lead singer? I feel like you have been with the group forever.
Cody: Aside from the Christmas record, yes. They should have hired me a long time ago.
LS: You were still in high school!
Bev: With the fan site, you have been doing a lot of video of behind the scene things, tell me about that.
LS: The new website, which is www.Lonestarnow.com has been pretty quiet for the past few years. There hasn’t been much activity on our part. We hired a company that was doing the website and they didn’t do a very good job, they didn’t do what they promised and quite honestly, we lost interest and the fans lost interest, it has been very inactive. We just hired a new company that is very creative, thinks outside the box. They want to give the fans as much content and access as we are willing to give. The great thing about the four of us is we are willing to give a lot. Everyone in the band has a flip camera and of course, Keech has cool, fancy cameras too. We film everything we do, send it to them and they can put up whatever they want. The site is going to change weekly and the fans will want to keep coming back. I think that will keep the fans active at our site, it will keep us on our toes always wanting to give them more and at the end of the day, what you end up with is a great partnership with us and the fans.
Bev: With CMA fest around the corner, what do you guys have planned?
LS: We don’t know yet but we will be there. I know we are on a sampler. ITunes is giving out samplers of about 20 songs from different artists that are going to be at CMA Fest. “You’re The Reason Why” is going to be the song on the sampler.
Bev: Well, I know whatever you do, it will be a “Party Heard Around The World”. (laughter). Thank you all so much for sharing some time with me, and as always it is fun to see you. I look forward to running into you in June at CMA Festival if not before.
LS: Bev, thank you. You have been a great friend and we appreciate all you do for us as well. We will see you soon!
For more information on Lonestar visit www. Lonestarnow.com

INTERVIEW: Laura Bell Bundy


As stated in Laura Bell Bundy’s BIO on her official website “There are two sides to every story, as the old adage goes, and there are certainly two sides to the story of singer-songwriter Laura Bell Bundy’s daring Mercury Records debut release, Achin’ and Shakin’. Laura Bell bypassed the tried-and-true Music Row approach usually taken on country albums and instead created a bold concept album that is essentially two separate albums within one project.”
I sat down with Laura and we visited about her new project as well as her venture into the country music scene.
Bev: Thank you so much for inviting me to spend some time with you Laura, please tell me what has you the most excited about the new album?
Laura: I feel it is a really good representation of who I am. I am a two-sided type person; I have that “Achin’” side and the “Shakin’” side. I have an outspoken, enthusiastic, wild and witty personality on one end which is my social character and then I go home and would rather be alone, writing, thinking and, wallow in my sorrows. The “Achin’” side of me is definitely the more intimate side of me. The other side, I am showing the audience who I am right out of the gate instead of a little bit at a time. It is like “here I am”.
Bev: Did you personally choose all the songs on the album?
Laura: I wrote every song but one and the one I didn’t write, I chose. I feel really fortunate to be at this label where I have been given enough rope to hang myself. I have been a part of every decision that has been made. They let me conceptualize the video; they let me conceptualize the album. No one has ever said “I don’t like this or that”. I have been able to cut things that people weren’t so sure about and now they are. They have trusted me a lot and I have been able to prove myself and it feels really good. There has never been anyone else choosing the songs; I always ask “do you like this song”? Which one do you like better? I want to know and I want to know more than they tell me. You expect that when you get a record deal, you have to sell out.
Bev: What was the most fun part of the single and making of the video? It is so energetic, so much action and activity.
Laura: The dancing was the most fun for me. When you see the town, we do what I call the “Jerry Reed rap section” where we were trying to combine clogging and hip hop. “Cloghop” is what Jerry House told me was the new trend that I was going to start. I got to ride a horse; I rode horses as a kid so that was really fun. I jumped through a breakaway glass window, tried to do a split on a bar but my heel got stuck, a lot of high energy and dance. I loved it!
Bev: Did you shoot it in one day?
Laura: Yes, a long 18 hour day but we rehearsed several days before. Conceptualizing the video was one of the fun parts about it.
Bev: How did you come up with the idea for it?
Laura: I am one of those types that writes a song and within days, I come up with a video for it. I think it is because I like to have a visual component to my music. I kept thinking about a musical movie and then take just a scene out of a musical movie and that would be the video. I was listening to the song soon after we wrote it and were doing background vocals on it, the Jerry Reed rap section, I was clogging to it but I was also doing some “crumping”. So we started to think, how do we do this and we came up with the idea we would do it like an old western with really good looking girls with hair flying everywhere. I thought chaps, midriff, I had the costume; everything in my head. Then I thought about what was before that. I kept thinking about the “baby where you been, it is half past 10” and I kept thinking about Dolly Parton and “Best Little Whorehouse in Texas”. She is getting Burt Reynolds, she takes them upstairs and they are all running around and I kept thinking about that but it was more like an old western saloon, like a Mae West kind of a vibe. So I thought, Mae West meets Dolly Parton in the beginning and we have John Wayne walking in so we really want something like an old western.
Bev: Where was this shot at?
Laura: It was actually shot in a western studio. All they do is westerns. They shot Wyatt Earp there and Deadwood there. It is about 20 minutes outside of Los Angeles.
Bev: What has been the fan reaction to the video?
Laura: There have been different reactions. There have been people that say “oh my gosh, I love it”. We have had all these Youtube videos come in where people are trying to do the dance break and recreating the whole video in their back yards and in the snow, their houses, guys, girls, babies, you name it. There was an all Asian dance group that came up with a line dance. There has been a really interesting response to this. Then there are people that say “was she trying to be funny?” Yes, I was trying to be funny; I wasn’t making a lot of faces for nothing. It winks at you; it is tongue and cheek in a Dolly Parton kind of way.
Bev: What is your person favorite song on the album?
Laura: My personal favorites are probably “When It All Goes South” and “Cigarette”; they are on the “Achin” side. On the “Shakin” side, “If You Want My Love”, but they change all the time. I tend to like the ones I have heard less; that I am not sick of yet. I love them all; each one is like a child.
Bev: What are you doing for promotion? Any out of the box things?
Laura: Everything has been out of the box. Releasing the video before going to radio was definitely outside the box. We did a contest of the “Giddy On Up” Video and the winners are coming to town next week and I am going to teach them the routine. We are shooting it at the fairgrounds in their old town looking area so we are recreating the video but with fans.
Bev: What are you doing with that once it is done?
Laura: It will be on CMT. It is a CMT contest thing. We are doing a lot of promotional stuff with CMT because they were the first people that took a chance on me and my music and really wanted to get the “Giddy On Up” out. They have really championed and rallied around my music. I want to thank them adequately and do some things for them. I am doing some television appearances, that is not so out of the box. I have done a dance remix of “Giddy On Up” and I have performed it at dance clubs. Also, I think I am going to do some acoustic sets—like the polar opposite, around the country for radio stuff. Things change every day. I will go home and read something and go “I’m doing what? I’m going where?”. I think they are going to have me go to Europe too.
Bev: Tell me about your past, how did you get into the business?
Laura: I have always been a precocious kid, creative. I have two older sisters but they were out of the house when I was growing up so I spent a lot of time alone which meant I talked to myself, which meant I sang to myself, which meant I created a world inside my head. I became an imaginative person. My parents saw that in me and instead of putting me in soccer or whatever, they put me in dance classes and theater. My family is a musical family, my grandfather was a DJ and singer; my aunt sang and she was Miss Kentucky and in the semi-finals in the Miss America. I was around that stuff; I use to imitate pageant girls. I did the walk and I made up my whole sponsor bit and everything.
I started imitating people as a child and I started to excel at the dancing and so I was asked to do competitions, I was winning competitions. I had an opportunity to go to New York when I was six years and my Mom had sent my picture to a modeling agency and they called and said they were interested in meeting me. They asked if we lived there and we said “no, we live in Kentucky and we are not going to move but we could be around some in the summer”. They offered me a contract so I spent part of the summer there for several years. During the summer, I also had a singing teacher from New York and I went to Broadway Dance Center which is a dance place in New York and I was probably one of the youngest people running around and dancing there. Tap is probably my best type of dancing. There was an audition for Radio City Music Christmas Spectacular. They didn’t want to see me because they wanted kids that were 13 years old or older and I was nine. My Mom was “my child can do this, just see her”. They let me in and I got the part. My Mom is like Dolly Parton meets Donald Trump, she is something else. So my Mom and I had to move to New York for several years. A guy that was doing that show was also developing a new show, that ended up being called “Ruthless”, an off-Broadway musical and Britney Spears was my understudy. She left and then Natalie Portman was my understudy. It is so funny, the life I had as a kid. After being in New York for several years, I moved back to Kentucky and I think that is one of the best things that happened. I had a normal high school, I was never a normal child but I had a normal lifestyle. I ran track and cross country, went to school with my cousins and was just “home”. I started writing music then, I started writing a lot of poetry. That was one of those things that was very personal to me—no one really knew about.
When I was 18, I was going to go to college, move back to New York and go to NYU. I started to write more music and sing more of my own music. I formed a partnership with one of my best friends and we had a band. Her name is Amber Rhodes so we were Laura and Amber. Totally unoriginal. We came up with all these names and in the end; we just decided to do Laura and Amber. We got a band and played around New York City. At the same time, I got a reoccurring part in a soap opera, so I couldn’t go to school full time so I deferred out of NYC. I was supposed to run track there.
After that, I ended up getting “Hair Spray” and from there, I got “Wicked”. That whole time, I was writing with Amber and performing in clubs in New York City that we weren’t old enough to get into. For me, it felt like I had two different baskets with eggs in them. The acting and theatrical eggs kept hatching. So I would go there because I loved that too and it was paying me. Then these music eggs were just slower to incubate.
Finally, I decided that the type of music Amber and I were doing wasn’t really what I loved. It was a little more contemporary and pop-country. You would listen to more of my “Shakin”’ side and go well that sounds like pop-country but is actually more traditional music meets old soul produced modern. It’s not like rock with fiddles. The “Achin’” side is a very throwback feel and that is what I love, that is what I am inspired by.

There was a time between 14 years and 18 years old when I listened to a lot of country radio. I grew up listening to Loretta Lynn, Patsy Cline and, Dolly Parton as kid with my Mom and that is where I thought my roots were. I started writing music on my own like that and in the meantime kept getting shows and eventually, while I was doing “Legally Blonde”, I did an album called “Longing For A Place I Have Already Gone”, all very “throwback”. I called it “y’all-ternative”. It was very sparsely produced, very raw sounding. I started a little label and did it on my own as an independent. Then I did “Legally Blonde” and I decided after that was over, I was going to move to Nashville and give this music a go in the place that it happens. I was fortunate enough to get a deal before I left New York but I was going to move anyway.
Bev: How did the label thing happen? Did they come to you, was there a showcase?
Laura: My showcase was “Legally Blonde” and the other CD. I guess they heard my music, knew that I could write and had an affinity for the more traditional country and then they saw me perform and do “Legally Blonde” so they knew I could perform. I was talking to two different labels and I ended up going with Universal.
It is interesting because I really feel that if I had come from Kentucky at 18 and gone to Nashville and done this, maybe I would have been noticed but I learned so much from living in New York. I learned so much from doing theater and learning how to be a fearless person and having all these experiences that I could write about. Being able to understand an audience, I became better equipped to do what I am doing now. It’s divine timing. No one cared about my music until I was doing a Broadway show. I did country music forever but no one cared. I believe in divine timing—when it is meant to be, it happens. You get what you need all the time, you don’t always get what you want but you are not always suppose to—it’s like unanswered prayers. At 18 years old, all I wanted to do was get a record deal but I wasn’t prepared for it creatively, mentally, emotionally or spiritually. Right now, I feel like maybe I’m still not prepared but I’m better equipped than I was then.
Bev: Do you have anyone that you idolize or want to be like?
Laura: I want to be like me—I want to figure out who I am and be like me. Yes, I do idolize both Dolly Parton and Loretta Lynn.
Bev: Have you met either one of them yet?
Laura: I have met Loretta Lynn. I have not performed with her yet. I was going to perform with her sister, Crystal Gayle but she ended up getting sick. I have not had the great fortune of singing with Loretta and I have not met Dolly Parton yet but I think I am going to meet her this year. I want her to sing the opening verse to “Giddy On Up” in a show. I idolize Aretha Franklin, Otis Redding, Carole Burnett, Julie Andrews and Bette Midler. Those are my influences. I love Doris Day, too. I like all these people that were really successful either before I was born or just after I was born, or when I was young. I watched their shows and listened to their records as a kid with my Mom. I know every line to the “Sound of Music”; I impersonate Julie Andrews and Judy Garland.
Probably the most modern country music singer that I adore is Shania Twain. She is just not afraid to be a “sassy” girl. I loved her music when I was in high school. I have a lot of influences.
Bev: Are there any duets on this album?
Laura: No.
Bev: Do you have any duets? Do you have someone in mind?
Laura: It depends on the song. If it is a duet with a guy, it would be awesome to do it with either Jack White or maybe Jamie Johnson. If it was a duet with a female, I would love to do it with Loretta, Dolly or Shania. I have a great song for Shania to do.
Bev: Is your Mom still part of your Nashville team?
Laura: My Mom works at a store now and takes care of her grandbabies. She is very supportive. She tells me what she thinks I should do but she is no longer involved in it. As an adult, I have really had control over my career.
Bev: What was your favorite part of CRS?
Laura: My favorite part was doing the Blair Gardner after party at Cadillac Ranch with Digital Rodeo.
Bev: Did you do anything else at CRS?
Laura: I did a bunch of interviews where I talked about myself all day. I actually got really tired of it; but I met a lot of really great people. The other great thing is I got to sing at the Ryman Auditorium with the other artists on the Universal roster.
Bev: CMA Fest is gearing up, what do you have planned for that?
Laura: Something fun! I will have a booth and be dressed up in character when the fans come to see me. I think I am going to be performing on one of the stages this year.
It all feels like it has happened so fast. I have no frame of reference right now because I haven’t done this before. I feel like I am a novice, I’m getting on a moving train and letting it take me wherever.
Bev: Describe the concept of the album with two themes.
Laura: The “Shakin’” side of the album is interesting because it tells of losing love, getting over it and getting on to someone else. It’s the “I’m no good for you baby” to the rebound of “can I call you my boyfriend”. The album has a story line on the “Shakin’” side, the “Achin’” side doesn’t. It is more reactionary and more about regret, heartache and loss and finding yourself in the midst of all that. I put the story of the album in the liner. I suggest buying the physical copy of the album instead of just the digital so you can see what every song means, what it means to me, what it means to the album, how you should listen to it.
Bev: Are you doing all the social networks?
Laura: Oh yes. I tweet on the toilet. Sometimes I forget and then I remember I haven’t tweeted today. I sometimes call it “twotting”. I love to live in the moment and that is hard to balance with technology.
Bev: Have you had any strange or scary things people have approached you with thinking they know you better than they do?
Laura: I did with “Legally Blonde” and I was on a soap opera for awhile and they called me the character that I played. I was on a train one time and someone yelled “Oh my God, its Reba’s daughter, girl, you shouldn’t be dancing on that table like that”, giving me the “what for” on a train from New York to Philadelphia. I like interaction with the fans. I would rather sit and talk to every fan than to just get a picture.
Bev: Have you had any stories that have come back to you that have really touched you?
Laura: Absolutely. I have had people write in on Facebook about how much the song “Cigarette” meant to them, they were going through something and really connected with that song. I get a lot of emails from people that connected with “Legally Blond” where they tell that I made them feel confident, they went to law school because of me or the show made me feel like I could do anything.
We all make mistakes and do what we want but at the end of the day, I realize I have the ability to touch people and to influence people. I need to be honest and true to myself first and foremost and if they can learn from that example, then I am doing what I am supposed to do.
Bev: Laura, I have enjoyed our time together so much – thank you. I look forward to doing this again.
Laura: Same to you, we need to talk again soon!
For more information on Laura Bell Bundy visit http://www.laurabellbundy.com
Transcribed by Pam Stadel

« PREV NEXT » Introducing New Artist Chelsea Field

Photos by: Bev Moser (Moments by Moser)
Ohio native Chelsea Field was hooked into becoming a Country performer after attending a Shania Twain concert. The up and coming entertainer took the leap to move to Nashville & recently landed a spot on the brand new label Moxy Records - where she was linked with industry veteran & former Mavericks bass player, Robert Reynolds. Her first single titled 'Things I Should've Said' has garnered early praise a few weeks post Nashville's Country Radio Seminar event.  www.chelseafieldofficial.com

 
                                                                


During her CRS debut, Chelsea was seen singing a song from the 80's girl band, Heart, at the Radio Seminar's finale party. Her debut single is catchy & has an air of 'Shania' in its ability to make you sing along with the chorus & remember the melody. The brunette vocalist is planning on adding a new edge to the Country Pop style by fusion-ing Rock into the mix. You can catch more of Chelsea down below from our interview with her during the Country Radio Seminar.
 

ARTICLE: Wilson County Regional Kick Off Luncheon


May 11, 2010 IN Lebanon TN the Wilson County Regional Campaign KickOff Luncheon took place on the grounds of the Wilson County Bank. Special celebrity guests included Mike Jones a former TN Titan, country music artists Lorrie Morgan, Gretchen Wilson and Tracy Lawrence as well as Channel 2 News weather forcaster Lisa Patton; all of who reside in Wilson County. Each of the special guests spoke on behalf of their choices to reside and raise their families in Wilson County and what made it special to them.

A free meal was provided by the Wilson County Chamber of Commerce as guests were welcomed by Randall Clemons, Chairman and CEO of Wilson Bank and Trust. Master of Ceremonies for the afternoon event was Mac Griffin and an invocation was led by 101 yr old Wilson County resident, Bro. W.L. Baker.

Members of the Lebanon High School JR Reserve Officers Training Corps carried the flag and presentation of colors while the Pledge of Allegiance was led by Watertown Cub Scout Pack 150, Boy Scout Troup 127, Explorer Posts 237 and Venture Crew 226.
CoCo Jones, daughter of Mike Jones, sang the National Anthem.

Along with the celebration of the new logo of “Wilson County The Place To Be” and regional kick-off campaign for the Wilson County, two new Wilson County schools were unveiled by Dr. Mike Davis, Director of the Wilson Co. Schools and Dr. Sharon Roberts, Director of the Lebanon Special School District.

Closing Remarks by Randall Clemons encouraged the patrons and guests to help spread the word as window decals were handed out to each guest in attendance.

For more information on the campaign visit http://www.lebanonwilsonchamber.com/lifestyle/the-place-to-be

Additional photos of the day can be seen at http://momentsbymoser.zenfolio.com/wilsoncountytheplacetobe

ARTICLE: Soles4Souls For Flood Victims

(L to R Josh Carter, Tiffany Johnson, Zach Carter, Chris Hope of TN Titans and Sarah Darling)

Soles4Souls, the international shoe charity, based in Nashville, were at the TN State Fairgrounds to hand out over 85,000 pairs of new shoes to Middle TN disaster victims on Monday, May 10th and planned on returning Tuesday, May 11th. TN Titans Chris Hope along with country music artists Josh and Zach Carter (The Carter Twins) and Sarah Darling showed up to help those in need, as did Tiffany Johnson Events/Spokesperson Soles4Souls and Wayne Elsey, Soles4Souls CEO & Founder. Many volunteers from Soles4Souls and Hands on Nashville were also busy assisting with shoe selection. Each person who came was graciously given a pair of shoes of their choice, along with socks, and a pair of flip flops.

Soles4Souls is a Nashville-based charity that collects shoes from the warehouses of footwear companies and the closets of people like you. The charity distributes these shoes free of charge to people in need, regardless of race, religion, class, or any other criteria. Since 2005, Soles4Souls has given away over 7 million pairs of new and gently worn shoes (currently donating one pair every 9 seconds.) The shoes have been distributed to people in over 125 countries, including Kenya, Thailand, Nepal and the United States.

Soles4Souls has been featured in Runner's World, Ladies’ Home Journal, National Geographic’s Green Guide, and The New York Times. It has appeared on CBS, ABC, NBC, FOX, BBC, CNN and thousands of regional news outlets across North America. Soles4Souls is a 501(c)(3) recognized by the IRS and donating parties are eligible for tax advantages. Anyone can join our cause, and we need your help.

Soles4Souls facilitates the donations of shoes, which are used to aid the hurting worldwide. Shoe companies, retailers, and individuals can donate footwear (both new and used).
The idea behind gifts of shoes is nothing new to the Soles4Souls team, as they coordinated relief efforts for the Asian Tsunami and Hurricanes Katrina and Rita, netting over 1 Million pairs donated for these disasters. The team originally operated as www.katrinashoes.org with several churches partnering in the collection and distribution of footwear.

For more photos of this event visit http://www.momentsbymoser.zenfolio.com/

INTERVIEW: Stephen Cochran


Stephen Cochran’s bio begins with “If great country music is still built on a foundation of real-life stories and soul-deep family tradition, Stephen Cochran was born to the breed. With a Music Row pedigree, a soldier's sense of purpose and a lifetime's worth of stories, this singer/songwriter exploded onto the country music scene in 2007 with a critically acclaimed, self-titled debut album that captured the hearts of fans, critics and a lot of everyday heroes.”
I visited with Stephen recently about the music and his life, the changes and all that makes up life as a musician.
Bev: Stephen, it is good to see you again. I know you are about to embark on some new and exciting things. Please tell me what you’ve got going on.
SC: We’ve got a lot going on! We’re making a transition from an independent label to a major label this year. This past year has given me some time to write a whole new EP. A lot of labels are going to EP’s now. We’ve got about nine songs that I’ve got loaded up and honestly, this has probably been the greatest thing I have been a part of when putting a CD together. I was a part of a lot of fun things that I’ve never gotten to do. My band and I wrote a song together which was very cool. My band is like my family and I incorporate them in as much as I can. Ryan (Byrne) has a fan club now. Scotty (“Sparkles”) Schultz has fans that are starting to show up with posters that say “Scotty Sparkles.” That’s what I always wanted. I wanted my band to be my brotherhood. Anybody who stands on a stage and accepts an award and says “I…I…I…” is full of it. It’s a team, and we’ve re-geared this whole team as far as our side goes. We have a new management company, a new publicist, a new label with the same band and same me.
Another thing that happened this year is the United States Veteran Affairs Research and Development Department came and asked me to be their spokesperson. This meant I had to think about getting myself right as far as being an artist. It’s one thing to be the only country music artist that has served in a conflict that is going on right now; it’s a whole other thing to be the voice of every veteran from World War II to now. I had to deal with some things I hadn’t dealt with from being in the military. I’m a second recon special operations; I’m not fooling anybody when I say I have been part of over 400 special operations over in Iraq and Afghanistan. My message is “Thank goodness we have PTSD. If you didn’t, you would have bigger problems. It’s a good thing you have that, because you are not built to do those things in combat and not have problems.” I challenge people to go back and check my records, as far as the combat missions I went on, the injuries I sustained in combat and still came back and walked, and the things I’m doing now as far as country music. I definitely have problems from killing people and watching others shooting them. You’ve got to think that by the time these people come back from serving in the military and standard missions are three trips over there now, by the time they do these heavy mass combats, some of these people have killed more people than some of our serial killers that are locked up in prison now. Those people are insane. You have got to think of yourself as a normal every day person and you’re making yourself have to do these things. Of course, you’re going to have problems and that’s what PTSD is. What I want to do with the VA is make sure is, first off, that we educate people on what exactly it is. I want to help more people build an understanding to it and help some of these combat veterans come out and say, “Hey, if he can stand up and say he’s got an issue, then I’ve got an issue too.” We have learned with any kind of illness you have to put a face to the illness before people can take it seriously. If I’ve got to be the poster boy, I don’t look at it as a bad thing. I thank God I have it because if I didn’t, I would have some deeper issues I would have to work with.
Bev: What is different about your new songs and EP than your previous CD?
SC: On the first album, I really didn’t write about what kind of things happened overseas or my injury or anything like that. They only let me cut six of the songs I wrote on the last album, out of thirteen. Once I started kind of going into therapy, I began writing, and before I knew it, I had written the whole EP. People were like, “What are you going to call it?” The first album we had come out was titled Stephen Cochran but I wish this one would be called Stephen Cochran because this has actually been my whole journey from the military on. Even while I was in the military and serving my country, I always said this is the only country where you can take a dream and turn it into a career. My dad had a family business, and that’s the reason I joined the Marine Corps. I look at things from a normal perspective, that’s the way I write. Even the songs I wrote that referenced some things that happened to me in the military, they are, I think, vague enough where people can listen to them and find their own stories. Like the song “Pieces,” which we hope is going to be the next single on the country market. I wrote that because first off, the first thing I remember hearing was they told my mother the reason he can’t feel his legs is because his back is broken into six separate pieces. So, I thought, “Wow, ‘Pieces’ would be a cool title for a song!” I always kept that in my head and then I started thinking about this last whole year, the transition and how hard things have been with the music in general, walking again, and everything, and I thought, “It’s been about six years that I’ve put into this business, coming from the Marines, the journey I had from the hospital to walking again to then finally getting a deal. It’s like we’re making a life movie. When I look back on it, it seemed like every time my keyboard player and I were in a hotel room somewhere out on the road, Walk the Line would be on. That got me thinking. Waylon Jennings and Johnny Cash and them, they didn’t know they were making history. They were just living. When I look back at our story up to now, that’s what it really was to me; it’s just living. That’s what the new EP is; it’s just life. I have a feeling that people can put the album in, listen to it and go, “Yep, that about covers it! I think he got it pretty close for this past year.” Like I said, there’s nothing really down-hearted. There are things that will make people think and “Pieces” is one of them. I think “Pieces” will speak to anybody who has had to start their life over from nothing – which is pretty much everybody, from those who graduated high school or college or got a divorce. That’s what that’s about. It’s about my journey from starting to walk again and get back into music, but I think it’s going to touch everybody as far as, “Oh I’ve been there before” – because we all have.
Bev: Can you tell us about some of the other songs you’ve written?
SC: My band and I wanted to write a drinking song – that’s the kind of band we are – but we are going to stay away from the shots and songs like “Thinking I’m Drinking” – that song about killed me! When it went out on the radio, every program director thought it meant we needed to do all the shots at the bar when we come on tour. So, I was sitting in a bar with Trevor Rosen one night when we had written another song on the album, called “The Stage.” We were down there just having a beer and there was this drunk guy sitting at the bar. We walked in, sat at the bar, and we were talking about business, music and everything and this drunk guy goes, “What are you guys drinking for?” and we said we guessed we were celebrating because we wrote a good song. He’s like “I’ll drink to that!” He just drank his beer and this other guy walked up, orders a beer and (the drunk guy) goes, “What are you two drinking for?” and the guy said, “Buddy, I just spent three hours in the rain changing a tire, I just need a drink right now.” And he goes “Well, I’ll drink to that!” I figured if that’s how his attitude is and if everybody had his attitude this past year, whether it’s good or bad, hey I’ll drink to that! So, that’s what we wrote, “I’ll Drink to That”! We think it’s a fun song – it’s “Thinking I’m Drinking” without the shots!
Then me and the band, like I said, wrote a song together. We opened for Eric Church this past year at one show. We were backstage watching Eric’s part of the show and one of the radio promo guys came up to us and said, “Man this is a good concert! You two need to take this on the road; everybody needs to see you two together.” I told him my dream concert for me would be to open for Eric and for Eric to open for Jason Aldean. I said, “Who doesn’t want to see that?” The radio guy said, “Yeah at least for only one night because the second night, everybody would be too hung over and messed up to come out and see you guys again!” I said, “I guess we are a one night only band.” My drummer was standing next me and he’s like, “Dude, we need to write that!” So, we wrote a song called one night only. My guitar player was on the bus and he just started playing a little groove. I picked up a guitar and then my drummer got in and it just happened. I wrote some words down and bam! We went and recorded it. We are going to go and bring back the old kind of Garth way as far as we are recording the standard version of “One Night Only.” But, if you come to the live shows, we have a third verse that we play. My fiancé hates the third verse. Well, it’s one night only, so you can use your imagination on that but you’ve got to come to a live show to find out what that mysterious third verse is.
Then we’ve got a song called “Dog Tags” that really is about the military; I wear a dog tag for every day almost. Everybody always thinks it’s a fashion statement or something like that. Really, the reason I started wearing them was because I got so used to always having them on that I just kept wearing them. Then, it became like, “Oh, he’s a Marine.” I have a tattoo on my left arm for a friend who’s a marine who I lost in combat over in Afghanistan. People give me dog tags, I’ve got some of my buddy’s dog tags and I wear those. To me, it’s a tribute to one of our heroes. I wanted to write a song about what my dog tags really mean to me. It was like a lifeline, I left my dog tags hanging on my rear view mirror of this Camero that I had. My girlfriend at the time slept with those dog tags on and when I came back, she gave them back to me. She said, “I never want to have those dog tags again.” I was injured but at least I was alive. We wrote that whole story pretty much of what it was probably from her point of view, and I think I wanted spouses to understand that there are people out there that have been in the military and understand what the spouse is going through. There’s a line in the song that I think that really kind of drives it home. It says, “Their last goodbye was on her mind, it was on her mind, it was her last good bye.” The way it plays in there, up until the last verse, you really don’t know if he’s dead or alive and that’s how it was for my family. It’s my story and I’ve always been a singer/songwriter that has to write what he lives. So I kept true to that fashion on this album. I did a lot of living this past year so there is a lot of material to write about. Willie Nelson says, “Even when you lose, you’re still a winner because at least you have the makings of a song.”
Bev: Did you sing and write before you were in the Marines?
SC: Yeah, I actually had a developmental deal that we had signed like three weeks right before 9/11 happened. 9/11 is why I joined the Marine Corps. I was in college. It was my last year of college. I was the lacrosse captain at Western Kentucky University. 9/11 happened and we had just finalized a deal. One night, I went drinking with my fraternity brothers. I woke up the next day and everybody was like “We are going to join the military and we’re going to go fight!” and I was like “Yep, me too!” The next morning, I was the only one that went. The following week I was enlisted in the Marine Corps. and left that February for boot camp.
Bev: Did you do any part of your developmental deal then?
SC: No. They held the contract. “Froze it” is what they said and when I got injured, the phone calls slowly stopped. It came to the point when the doctor just actually said, “We don’t think he’ll walk again.” (The label) was like, “We’re really sorry, but this is a business.” That was my first ‘this is a business, wake up kid! This is the real deal, there are no dress rehearsals!’ That’s always been the type of person that I am anyway. That just motivated me. Not to say that I wasn’t going to walk again or anything like that; I just never did believe that I wasn’t going to walk again. I have always believed we would end up with a major label. I knew that the ultimate goal was to get that label. If you want to be a headlining artist, you have to make that transition at some point. That’s what we are doing this year. There’s a lot that goes into that. It is a big deal. It’s like stepping up in the minor leagues to the majors and you have got to have yourself right for it. That’s what this year has been.
Bev: I know you do a lot of stuff with Operation Troop Aid and USO.
SC: Yeah, I actually went overseas last New Year’s Eve and spent it with the troops in Iraq and Afghanistan. We played right before some guys went into battle in Afghanistan and the next day in Iraq also.
Bev: What kind of emotions go through your head when you’re back over there again?
SC: It’s kind of like set back. I was only in for four years, and I was real paranoid the whole time we were there. It got to the point where I had exits for every room we were in. When I was with the troops, I felt fine; that’s what I was there for. Because there were times where we didn’t stay on bases; we stayed in hotels out in town. There are bombings and things going on and we didn’t have weapons.
Bev: I wondered if it really made you flash back.
SC: Yeah, it did.
Bev: How long were you there for?
SC: We stayed over there a month. I was only supposed to be over there for two weeks but we got stuck by Bahrain. We were planning to hit all the bases and go to Germany. We were going to go back to the United States then Africa then I think it was like Rockie Lynne or somebody and his band was coming out, and they were eaten up with mosquito bites and bed bug bites. They were like, “Man I’m glad we got those shots!” And, I was like, “What shots?!” We hadn’t gotten any pills or shots! (Rockie and his band) had been taking pills for two weeks before they went in there. At that point, I’ve got my bands safety in my hands and I’ve got this whole CMT crew. The CMT crew was like, “Man, are you going? Because we are supposed to follow you and we really don’t want malaria.” We had a whole meeting about it and everything, so we decided not to go to Africa. Then we all got sick anyway. The whole crew got this, I don’t know what it was, some funk. But luckily in Bahrain, you can go down to the local drugstore and buy anything, I mean anything! It became a joke with my security guy every time we would go in there because we would have to buy z-packs for the whole crew. We would buy like ten z-packs at a time. As soon as we would go in there, somebody would get cured and somebody else would get sick. We would go in there to buy them and my security guy would go in there and ask them like, “Could you get hydrocodon?” “Yes, sir.” “No, I don’t want it; I’m just asking if you have it.” They have EVERYTHING! It hit me like oh my gosh, I was definitely in a foreign country.
Bev: What has been a highlight so far for you in your career?
SC: Man, there’s been so many! Like Times Square, New York on New Year’s Eve is hard to beat. But, I mean like playing overseas for the troops. You know the one thing I told the band when we walked on stage is that these guys are about to go into battle. This could be the last music from home these guys will ever hear. My band knows how much that means to us. That’s hard to beat too, and that’s two different New Year’s Eves right there. The VA spokesperson job is an awesome job! There are so many things. We got the cover of R&R Magazine; R&R called us the “next Garth Brooks.” How do you plan for that?! I always like to think that the highlights are still to come. This is just a platform. With anything that you do, if you build a good base, then everything else will be sturdy. That’s Garth Brooks 101. If you’re going to talk about having a sturdy foundation, I would say we have one of the strongest ones. Anything from here on out is going to be pretty exciting.
Bev: What can we expect from Stephen Cochran in the coming months?
SC: They don’t tell me half of anything until it’s here, because I have a big mouth. They’ll say, “Stephen, don’t talk about this to anybody!” Then, a story will be published, in say, Country Weekly: “Stephen Cochran tells…” But, I know the coming months are huge for us. We are unveiling so many different things. We are playing all the fairs and festivals and getting back out there. Not only us, but we have a lot of good friends that are having a good year. My business manager also manages Chris Young. Chris is having a hell of a year! He’s looking at getting his second Top 30 and his second #1. And, I have written a lot of my songs with Trailer Choir, who are having a great year. They’re looking at releasing their next single and having their first #1. They’ve had their first Top 20. “Roaming Through the Sunshine” I think is their first #1. Who knows? Me and Vinny always said our goal is to be on tour together. If things go right we may even see a Chris Young, Trailer Choir, and Stephen Cochran tour. It’s going to be an exciting year; I think everybody is excited about it!
Bev: Is your ultimate goal to be the headline act?
SC: I have a tendency to make really big goals that people say are unachievable. But to date, there is one goal I have not completed yet. My goal is to be bigger than Garth Brooks. I think he is amazing. People say that’s pretty cocky of me to say that I want to be better than him. To be bigger than him, I must think I’m better than him. By no means am I saying that. I’m saying that we work every day to make the shows that we do possible and I have a lot of confidence in my band. I think the fans that come out to our shows get exactly what they pay for. They usually go home pretty entertained. I think that if you do that enough, you build a fan base and that’s how you get to be bigger than Garth Brooks. We have great fans, and that’s how during the CMA Music Fest in 2007 we were the second most sold CD. That’s all fans right there. So, that’s what we are doing. We are just getting the fans, grassroots.
Bev: Have you met Garth?
SC: No. I have had a couple opportunities. You know, it’s funny. I did an interview this morning, and they asked me the same question. I have had the chance to, but I have missed a couple times because of scheduling. I met somebody else that I was a big fan of and they were a big (jerk). At this point, I don’t even play their music at my shows anymore. I’ve been scared; I know Garth is like the nicest guy in the world but knowing my luck I would meet him on a bad day. But I want to. My goal is to be big enough to be respected to ask him if he would please join me on “CMT Crossroads” or something like that. That would be my ultimate goal, to stand on stage with him. I got to be in the third row at the ACM’s when he got his diamond award. I was thirteen when I watched Garth play the Detroit Hoedown. I played the Hoedown last year and will be playing it again in May.
Bev: Have you done any duets with anybody?
SC: Lindsay Cardinale, from American Idol. Right when she got off of American Idol, we did a duet. Last year, I recorded a duet with my fiancé. It’s one of those spousal military songs called “Alone on Christmas” and we had geared up to release it this last Christmas but we wanted to make sure the promotion was right on. It’s weird, my mom had called me and said, “You and Annie are going to write a duet and it’s going to have ‘heart’ in it.” I was like, “Mom you know ‘heart’ is a cliché word. I would never put that in a song.” I was thinking some horrible heart reference that I hear in songs. I put it in the back of my head. Like a month later, me and one my buddies were sitting there writing about being alone on Christmas. We didn’t have a clue we were writing a duet, got it done, and I started playing it for Annabelle. I had told her about what my mom said. I get done singing and she’s like, “Oh my God, you wrote a duet! And you put ‘heart’ in it!” I said, “There’s no ‘heart’ in this song!” She said, “The second verse it says, ‘At the heart of a simple man…’ and I was like, “Oh my gosh!” I called my mom and I’m like, “What are the lottery numbers I should pick!?” The thing is, my fiancé, Annabelle, I believe she has one of the beautiful voices in Nashville.
Bev: Is she an artist?
SC: No, she’s a model. But she came to Nashville to be a singer. Then she got raked over and taken advantage of like so many people have. She said she remembered the day she quit singing she called her grandpa and said, “It’s not like Hee Haw here. She’s from Kansas, and when you get to Nashville, you are literally not in Kansas anymore. She’s just been so scared of the business. She met me and tried to stay away from anything to do with music and it took me a month to convince her I wasn’t some playboy. She’ll sing around the house and stuff. She’s gone out on the road with me a couple times where I had lost my voice and asked her to open shows so that I could cut my show in half. When I wrote “Alone on Christmas,” Vinny was calling me with Jessica Andrews and Sarah Buxton. I was like, “You know what? I’m going to get Annabelle to sing that. Everybody was like, “She is a model from Kansas, what has she ever done?” And, I just kept saying, “You know what? You are going to be surprised! We took it slow, got her in the studio, and let her do what she does, and I think it’s amazing! She knocked it out. She made me sound bad on there.
Bev: Do you have any others you aspire to work with?
SC: Yeah, I want to work with Sarah Buxton. I think she has one of the coolest voices ever. I did that duet with Lindsey on the first album and it was actually supposed to be Sarah singing on it. That song was written by Isaac Rich. Isaac wrote that song for one person. I took it and said I wanted to do this as a duet. At the time, Sarah didn’t have a record deal. She had just done a song with Cowboy Troy called “If You Don’t Want to Love Me;” she sang the harmonies in between his raps. I heard her voice in the studio, because Troy is a friend of mine, and I’m like “Dude, who is this?” I told Isaac I want to record his song as a duet with Sarah Buxton. He introduced me to Sarah and we all sat around the bar and wrote out this whole plan of how we are going to do this album. We got back to Nashville and Sarah signed her record deal like as soon as we got back. They threw her in the studio to record her EP and we could not get our studio times in order. About that time Lindsey had gotten kicked off of American Idol. We were on the air together one time and this was the first time I met her. We were in the studio and she was like, “Can you write out the words on a piece of paper?” I was like, “Uh… yeah.” So, I wrote them out and the funny thing is she is learned this song on the air as we’re playing it. We went in the studio and, Bam! She kills it! Her voice is amazing. I would love to sing with Lindsey again. But, Sarah Buxton is definitely someone else I’d really like to work with.
Bev: Any idols, anybody else?
SC: Not country, I don’t guess. Loretta Lynn is from my hometown. I don’t know if she’s doing well enough to get her to sing on my album. I’ve got a weird voice and it’s hard to sing with.
Bev: Do you enjoy the writing aspect or the performing aspect more?
SC: I enjoy it all. It’s a two-sided process and neither one of them are anything like the other one. I am, in both aspects, someone different. In writing, I tap into my personal life and with entertaining I am doing just what that is, entertaining. It’s acting too, a little bit. You need to think about this business when you get into it. If you’re having a bad day, then stay home because you are working all the time. You have a fan base to keep up, these people are the reason you pay your bills so you need to give them respect. If they want an autograph or a picture, that’s your job; you’re at work. That’s hard to explain to other people, especially when you are trying to explain to them what public relations is. They don’t understand. I run myself like it’s a business. That’s why I don’t like negative things. If you’re out with a group of people and they are out getting smash hammered drunk and stuff like that, it turns into “the group Stephen Cochran was with is starting fights.” There are so many stories, we sometimes sit on the bus and laugh at some of these rumors that I was involved in. You would’ve thought I was the biggest alcoholic in Nashville. I’ve probably been drunk in Nashville a handful of times. Those were like bachelor parties or but there’s all kinds of stories.
Bev: What else is going on promotion wise? Anything else you can let out of the bag yet?
SC: Nothing yet. I’ve already talked about some of my new songs. As of right now, we haven’t signed a deal. We have two of the largest that we are talking with. It’ll be like going from one of the smallest record label deals to one of the biggest. Either way we go its going to be a good year!
Bev: I know you’re on Facebook because we are Facebook friends, but the whole Twitter and MySpace thing, what are your thoughts?
SC: I’m great on Facebook and I’ve got a handle on MySpace, thank the Lord. But Twitter, I have had some problems with. I thought I had it going good with an application on my phone until I was having a bonfire out at my house. I was having a good time until somebody sent me a tweet that said “What’s your address, man?” I thought I was just replying back to him. But instead, it made my reply my heading: “Bonfire is at…” We had invited like 15-20 people, and we had like 75, then 100 people, show up. My fiancé’s in the kitchen cooking and she’s like, “Who are all these people?!” People were walking through our house like it was a museum. Then, I started realizing some of these people are fans that I had seen at shows. I had to get up and be like, “Listen, please enjoy yourselves, but please don’t take anything because these are things I can’t ever get back.” It was supposed to be a relaxing night but there was probably like 100 fans there. The whole band was there and we ended up getting the guitars out and sitting around a real Friday night fireside!
Bev: On the flip side that’s every fans dream.
SC: It was no problem. I just wish we had a heads up. We would have cooked a day ahead of time. We ran out of food and I think Annabelle felt bad because not everybody got a cheeseburger or hot dog but they got a free show!
Bev: Stephen, I always enjoy visiting with you and look forward to joining you again soon to hear more about what you are doing.
SC: Bev, Thank you and same to you, let’s get together soon.
For more information on Stephen Cochran visit http://stephencochranmusic.com/