We had the pleasure of interviewing Dustin Collins over Zoom video!
Momentum continues to build for Billboard No. 1 singer-songwriter and Georgia-born Dustin Collins, who recently announced his forthcoming Working Man album, as he signs with New...
We had the pleasure of interviewing Dustin Collins over Zoom video!
Momentum continues to build for Billboard No. 1 singer-songwriter and Georgia-born Dustin Collins, who recently announced his forthcoming Working Man album, as he signs with New Vision Artist Management’s Mike Kraski and New Revolution Entertainment’s Jeff Solima.
Kraski began his career in sales and distribution at CBS Records and eventually made his way to Sony Music Nashville, where he worked with Dolly Parton, Johnny Cash, Montgomery Gentry among many others, and was eventually elevated to executive VP and general manager for the Nashville division. In 2003, Kraski left Sony and launched an artist friendly label that was aptly named Equity Records. As President and CEO, he launched the career of Little Big Town. Since 2007, Kraski has worked in artist management, consulting and music publishing at Tenacity Management and at M-Pact Music Group and recently partnered with legendary artist manager John Dorris to launch New Vision Artist Management.
Solima, whose career started at Music Matters, who managed Tracy Lawrence (16 of 17 singles were all No. 1) and Clay Walker (debut single No. 1), opened the multi-award-winning Hitsquad Promotions in 1993. In 2006, he co-founded New Revolution with partner Rob Dalton, and in 2008, he co-founded Bigger Picture Promotions with partner Michael Powers. Bigger Picture became the No. 5 record label in 18 months, setting the No. 1 record at the time of 9 consecutive No. 1 singles, and launched Craig Campbell, Chris Janson, and relaunched Chris Cagle, Uncle Kracker’s “Smile,” and Kid Rock. New Revolution clients have included Tim McGraw, Brantley Gilbert, Martina McBride, Lee Brice, Gloriana, Uncle Kracker, Jesse James Decker, among others, while delivering Emerson Drive’s only No. 1 with “Moments” and relaunching Big & Rich with four consecutive Top 15 singles.
Produced by industry veterans Buddy Cannon (Kenny Chesney, Willie Nelson, Reba McEntire) and Bill McDermott (Tim McGraw, Martina McBride, Brad Paisley), Working Man is slated for release this summer from DCDL Entertainment. A portion of proceeds from the lead single and album will benefit GUMI (Glad You Made It) Camp USA. GUMI focuses on providing U.S. veterans with the tools they need to help them heal after deployment overseas and enable them to re-enter society.
Working Man follows Collins’ latest album, It’s Been Awhile, which debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard Heatseekers South Central Albums chart. His independent single “Cold Dead Hands” ascended to No. 1 on the Billboard Singles Sales chart. Collins also earned a slot on Aaron Watson’s Vaquero Tour and has opened for Tanya Tucker, Shenandoah, Clay Walker, Chris Janson, Kane Brown and many more.
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4 (1m 27s): Hello. It is Adam. Welcome back to bring in a backwards, a podcast we're both legendary and rising artists tell their own personal stories of how they achieved stardom. We had a chance to hang out with Dustin Collins over zoom video. On this episode, Dustin was born and raised in Georgia, or he lived there until about 10. Then he moved to Kentucky. His dad and mom are both musicians. His dad was a studio bass player and touring musician. And that's how he really got into music. Started playing guitar around 11 years old, played in some bands through high school, ended up joining the military at 17. When he got back is when he really started to focus on his songwriting. He ended up getting a couple of songs on the radio in Kentucky, which led him to move to Nashville to really pursue a career in songwriting. 4 (2m 13s): He talked about getting a job, working for Tootsies and doing covers a bunch of nights a week. He had a manager at the time that basically told them to give up was like, oh, you know this isn't for you. So you should move home and figure it out. So he ended up moving back to Kentucky, starting a band there, and they really started to gain a huge fan base. He talked about the huge success of the song, cold, dead hands in a hilarious story about billboard, calling them up and telling them about how was number one. He also talks about his record. It's been a while and all about the new album he has coming out called the working man and the incredible charity that he's donating some of the money to as well. 4 (2m 53s): You can watch the interview with Dustin on our Facebook page and YouTube channel and bring in a backwards. It'd be awesome. You subscribe to our channel like us on Facebook. Follow us on Instagram, Twitter, and Tik TOK at bringing back pod. And if you're listening to this on either Spotify or apple music, it would mean so much. If you follow us there and hook us up with a five-star review as well, 5 (3m 16s): We'd appreciate your support. If you follow and subscribe to our podcasts, wherever you listen to podcasts, 4 (3m 22s): We're bringing it backwards with Dustin Collins. Cool. Well, my name's Adam, and this is about you and your journey in music. And we'll talk about the new record as well. 6 (3m 33s): Awesome. 4 (3m 34s): Sweet. 6 (3m 37s): Oh 4 (3m 37s): Yeah, of course. I did see, are you, are you in Nashville? Are you from Nashville? 6 (3m 42s): No, I I'm in Kentucky, but I'm in Nashville frequently. 4 (3m 47s): Okay. So I'm all confused. 6 (3m 50s): I'm like, I live like an hour and a half away from Nashville. 4 (3m 53s): Okay. I I'm south of Nashville. So that's why I was curious 6 (3m 57s): About an hour and a half north 4 (3m 59s): Right on. So talk. Well, did you grow up in Kentucky then? 6 (4m 3s): Yeah, I I've grown up Kentucky my whole life. So since I was probably about 10. 4 (4m 9s): Oh, okay. Where were you born? 6 (4m 11s): Villa Rica, Georgia. 4 (4m 13s): Okay. And you lived there until 10 and then you moved to Kentucky 6 (4m 18s): About that time. 4 (4m 19s): What was it like living in Georgia? 6 (4m 22s): I don't really even remember, you know, so long ago, it's just like, you know, it's basically the same thing as Kentucky with more pine trees. 4 (4m 33s): Okay. When did you get into music? Were you into music prior to moving to Kentucky? 6 (4m 38s): No, I, I started playing, I think I was 11 or 12 And that's when I started playing the guitar and I didn't really start singing until I was probably 25. 4 (4m 50s): Really? 6 (4m 51s): She asked the singing was the new developments. Cause I was writing songs and nobody wanted to sing any of my songs. So I had a single myself. 4 (4m 60s): Okay. Well what drew you to guitar? 11 years old. 6 (5m 3s): My dad played my mom's like, 4 (5m 5s): Oh, that's awesome. Like just as hobbies or professionally or 6 (5m 9s): My dad played professionally, my mom more hobby. 4 (5m 13s): Really? 6 (5m 15s): That's, that's kind of how I got started in music to begin with 4 (5m 19s): Was through your parents? 6 (5m 21s): Yeah. 4 (5m 22s): Okay. And dad was a songwriter. Is he a touring musician or 6 (5m 27s): He was a touring and studio bass player. 4 (5m 30s): Really? 6 (5m 31s): Yeah. For a long time. And they didn't didn't really do anything super big or anything, but I was always into it and they, you know, they did one Nashville album and believe it or not, they never even released it. So. 4 (5m 47s): Oh, wow. 6 (5m 48s): So I, I told him that now with the modern, you know, all the DSPs and such, you can go on, you don't really need a record label to release stuff. I told him I was going to put them on a Spotify. 4 (5m 60s): You should, that'd be so awesome. Deep. See other record. Does he have like recordings of it? 6 (6m 5s): Well, we've got the CD. So it wasn't like a, it's kind of a process of burning the CD and then like converting all those files away. There's a whole lot more than I thought when I originally said I was going to do it. 4 (6m 22s): That's cool. I'm sure he would be so stoked to see that. That's awesome. 6 (6m 26s): Yeah. I thought it would be like cool for, for his birthday or something. 4 (6m 30s): You're like just send them a link for his birthday. He's like, what the hell is this? It's his record on Spotify? That'd be awesome. 6 (6m 37s): I think my mom would like it better. 4 (6m 41s): Do you remember seeing him like perform or anything like that as a kid? 6 (6m 45s): Oh yeah, man. I, I basically grew up in a recording studio. Yeah. They were always there and I mean, they couldn't really get rid of this, so he kind of snatched us in there and we brought some toys and stuff in they'd go back in the sound booth and they'd leave us in the, like the little kitchen area to hang out. 4 (7m 3s): That's funny. That's awesome. Well, I've said this a few times in this podcast, but like sometimes you'll talk to people. That's parents are musical and then they want no interest in it. Right. Or they're, they're, they're a parent and their kids want nothing to do with what they do. But the fact that your dad was into that and you actually, and you were into it as well. That's really cool. 6 (7m 23s): Well, he had, no, he didn't want me to do this. That's sure 4 (7m 28s): He wants you to have a backup plan. 6 (7m 30s): It was like, get a real job. And then after, I guess he just kind of figured I wasn't going to do that and go to Nashville and figure it out for yourself. That's that's kind of where I started was. Cause I didn't really have no interest in doing it until everybody told me not to. And everybody's like, oh, you're going to do that. That's that's dumb. I was like, no, you know what? I wasn't going to do it. But now I am. 4 (8m 1s): All right. Well, okay. Well I want to back up a little bit here. So 11 use pick up the guitar, mom and dad played guitar. Did they teach you how to play guitar? As well? 6 (8m 11s): Dad wrote, took a piece of notebook paper and he like kinda made some lines and some dots with like frets and he was like, go learn tab. Yeah. Well as more of a chord chart. 4 (8m 25s): Okay. 6 (8m 27s): So he sent me back in my room and was like, learn these. And then you learn these I'll teach you three more. 4 (8m 34s): Oh, okay. So he was, he helped you, but he wasn't like kind of forcing it on you or making you sit in front of him, like learn lessons or anything like that. 6 (8m 42s): No. And I think, you know, the way I learned how to play guitar is, is it wasn't very technical, but I've developed my own strumming pattern the way I play. And it's helped me write because nobody else plays like me. I was, I kinda taught myself as much. I learned, I learned all the, the tabs and you know, charts and all that stuff later. But growing up, I didn't know any, anything about any of that stuff. I just learned how to play. 4 (9m 12s): That's cool. I have, I'm not good at guitar. I can play chords and that's about it. But I say mouse self-taught my neighbor played. And I still to this day will hold the pick with my middle finger. And like, I didn't realize I was holding it wrong because you're, I guess you're supposed to only have your ma your you're a pointer finger and your thumb. And I was playing with my middle finger, my thumb. 6 (9m 34s): And it's weird too. So it's like, I kinda hold it like from the bottom 4 (9m 39s): Grip it. Okay. Yeah. I was doing this and it took me like, literally I just learned this, like, I dunno, three or four years ago, somebody is like, you play guitar with the wrong hand. Like your fingers are on the wrong pick. I'm like, what are you talking about? And they're like, you're supposed to play like this. Oh, whoops. Well that was 15 plus years down the drain. 6 (10m 1s): Yeah. Then you'll never figure out how to do it with the other finger. Now 4 (10m 4s): I tried and it's like nearly impossible for me, but I'm not good enough. And then don't do it professionally. So it doesn't really matter. But it's just one of those things I'm like, oh, I guess that'd be something I'd learn because my son's learning guitar now. And like he's playing and he's learning all the, you know, scales and stuff. And I'm like, I don't know how to do any of that. 6 (10m 23s): I had to learn that less later. I think it was harder for my, for grown-up destined to learn how to do all that. My brain was already set. It was like, I know how to play guitar. I don't need to know how it was crap. But yeah, if you want to do this for a living, you have to know that crap. 4 (10m 41s): Right? Right. Exactly. 7 (10m 44s): Join planet fitness. Now through March 16th and get the PF black card for zero enrollment in 2299 a month. 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Are you a people person work from home as a customer service rep? Are you organized? And like driving become a delivery driver. You have the skills it takes and careerbuilder.com has the jobs to get you hired fast, visit careerbuilder.com. 4 (12m 16s): Sorry, go ahead. 6 (12m 17s): Yeah, that's just a, you know, it's hard. I think it's hard for anybody to learn anything new after they've done it a certain way for so long. 4 (12m 25s): I completely agree with you. Well, you say learn guitar. Dad's kind of helping you learn. And then are you playing in bands or anything? Or how quickly do you start trying to write music yourself? 6 (12m 36s): Well, I played in some bands in high school and I don't know if you can cop bands or not. It was, it was terrible. I think we played up the pool hall and Bardstown, Kentucky, and I think like four people showed up and the pool hall guy was like, can y'all just turn this down and stop. And we were like, oh yeah, the bed, the bands were weren't good until I was probably in my twenties. And that's what I really started writing my own music and trying and trying to pursue a songwriting career. 4 (13m 16s): And what, what was, you said people told you you couldn't do it. And that was part of the reason why you were like, I'm going to do it, but like how did that all start? Like what made you decide to like really pursue writing music yourself and making this a life? 6 (13m 33s): Well, I had, I'd moved to Nashville. 4 (13m 36s): Oh, you did? Okay. 6 (13m 37s): And I had a manager and I mean, it was, I was half in half out at this point. And we, we were looking for a publishing deal because I had wrote like three or four songs, you know, it wasn't nothing serious that I had got a couple of them on the radio up in Kentucky. And I was like, okay, well we'll take us down there. And we pitched in and talked to everybody and my manager was like, listen, get, he said, you don't sing very good. You have no fan base. And your songs are weak. 4 (14m 13s): Ouch. Well, real quick on the two songs that you had a couple songs on the radio, is that like on a local station? Like what? 6 (14m 20s): Yeah, that's just local, local radio play. 4 (14m 24s): You play it, but it was your songs and you singing and everything or you say, oh, wow. Okay. 6 (14m 29s): Yeah. I had cut some demos in my buddy's garage. Like this wasn't a serious project like that. We had no intent. It was just for fun. 4 (14m 39s): And then how did they land on the radio? Were you just sending them into the stations? 6 (14m 43s): I think I posted it on like Facebook or, or something like that. Just some video or something. And Eddie Ray, one of the local DJs here at Q1. Oh three. One was like, you gotta get your band to come down here and play for our key 131 showcase. And I was like, oh 4 (14m 57s): Wow. 6 (14m 58s): I was like, I don't have a band. So we had to throw together this band and go play this show. And it went pretty well because I mean, all the guys were actually, you know, good musicians and they showed up and learned, learned everything. And that's kinda when I was like, yeah, maybe we ought to give this a shot. And that's when I moved to Nashville and I kind of worked at till cheese for awhile. 4 (15m 23s): Oh really? As just a musician there. 6 (15m 26s): Yeah. I was doing the, the cover song circuit there in the mornings with the acoustic guitar. 4 (15m 32s): That's cool. That's my, that's a hard place I would imagine to get into. 6 (15m 36s): Yeah, they have, they used to have auditions. I don't know if they still do it was auditions on Sundays and you go in there and you play like one and a half songs. And I they'd say, all right, we'll call you in the morning. If we're going to hire you, they'd call you at six o'clock or six o'clock in the morning. And they divvy out everybody's shifts on, you know, we're where you're supposed to go play for the day. And you know, you don't do good. You get bumped and it'll be like two or three days before they'll call you to get one. I, I didn't have 4 (16m 9s): Call you like every morning. So like, it's like a substitute teacher, like at 6:00 AM. They're like, okay, we need you at, 6 (16m 16s): And you had to be awake to catch that phone call because if you didn't, you didn't get to work that day 4 (16m 22s): And well, cause they on what a bunch of bars down there book a bunch of bars down there. How does that work? 6 (16m 27s): Like honky-tonk central a repeat. I'm not sure they may own a whole bunch. Now I've spent a long time since I've been down there. 4 (16m 39s): Right. But that's interesting. So what you had to learn cause they've got like a, I'm sure a list of 200 plus songs that you're supposed to know and play 6 (16m 47s): It's personal, but I have like a whole list of other songs on there. So I just played those. And then would only like if one of the pauses were there kind of hope for the request deal and just pull it up on your phone and do it that way. 4 (17m 3s): Okay. Wow. So when, so from the radio station thing, you decided that was when you were like, okay, let's let's, you know, take a shot at this and then you moved to Nashville and then the, to try to get into the scene there that's when you decided to, let's try to audition at Tutsis. 6 (17m 21s): Yeah. 4 (17m 21s): Okay. And then obviously you get it that's huge in itself. 6 (17m 26s): That was basically like my job now. That's what I thought about as my job. And then I, I had this other guy that was held, I don't know if you'd call him a manager. He was, that's what I thought of at the time he was helping me managing what I was trying to do. And he finally told me, he was like, man, you need to go back home, learn how to sing and build a fan base. And then he said, if you can do that and then come back to Nashville. And he said, probably that would just come down here with pipe dreams and nothing. 4 (17m 56s): Wow. And you will real quick, you said you didn't start singing until you're 25. What changed? Is that when you started the band that got on the radio? Yeah. Okay. 6 (18m 6s): Yeah, that was, I had started singing and people were just like, you're not very good at it. And I, I wasn't, I wasn't back to some of my earlier recordings and stuff, like some of those demos and stuff. And I'm like, man, this is terrible stuff. And 4 (18m 24s): Oh, sure. Everyone's, you know, we have is a similar path to that. They're don't just walk out and are crazy. I mean, maybe some people, but like most, I would think just crush it right out the gate, 6 (18m 36s): Roll vocal ability. I don't understand that because I had to work extra hard to, to get where I'm at, you know, singing and, and I, I mean, I worked my tail off for it. There was times that when we got more serious into it, when I did go back home, when we put, put together a band and we started playing every single night of the week. 4 (18m 59s): Wow. And that's after your manager told you to head to head out. 6 (19m 3s): Yeah. He told me that, you know, basically give up and 4 (19m 9s): Real quick. Yeah. So you go home and then that's, when you tell me you get this news, this guy tells you that. And then you're like, okay, well let's, I guess I should just take off and then tell me what happens next. 6 (19m 22s): I went back home. I got a job working in a prison. 4 (19m 26s): Oh my gosh. 6 (19m 29s): It was terrible. 4 (19m 31s): I'd sounds terrible. 6 (19m 32s): If that was doing it, I was a corrections officer. 4 (19m 36s): Oh, you got to like walk around the jail and everything. 6 (19m 40s): Yeah. They didn't, it, it lasted for like, I think three months I stayed there and I was like, ah, I do not want to do this job. 4 (19m 47s): That's so scary. 6 (19m 49s): It was, it wasn't a scary as much, like I did not want to be a grownup babysitter. 4 (19m 55s): Oh, that's a good point. Right. 6 (19m 58s): At top 10 arguments that have them in that place was like over the microwave. I'm not dealing with this. 4 (20m 7s): People not clearing the numbers or something. 6 (20m 9s): I don't know. Just like who gets to use it at what time He had to make out a microwave schedule on who got to use the microwave. So nobody like beat anybody up or anything. 4 (20m 21s): Oh my gosh. That's, that's interesting. 6 (20m 24s): Terrible job, especially for creatives and folks that like to play music, like that's the opposite of where we want to work. 4 (20m 33s): Okay. So you're working there and then are you also trying to form a band? 6 (20m 38s): Yeah, I started playing, I started playing with a buddy of mine. I went to school with, and he w he was, you know, just messing around town and that led, you know, the search for the band and, and putting that together. And, you know, it almost took a year to get the right folks together to, to even play in the band. And after that, man, we started playing every single night and I just kinda gave up work and was living off like the $200 a week. Oh, 4 (21m 9s): Wow. Yeah. 6 (21m 10s): Yeah. From playing music because there wasn't a whole lot of, but there was always food, you know, you can always eat at the bar or whatever that we didn't starve to death. But I think three of us were living together for, for a good long while we, we all live together and split rent and utilities and just stayed after this music stuff. And eventually we, we hooked up with this promoter in Lexington, Kentucky, and he had a bunch of out-of-state gigs and that's when they started sending us out, out on the road. And it was mostly cover band stuff and not a lot of opportunity to play anything that I wrote. 6 (21m 55s): And that's when I started working on my very loud, very first record and really dive into songwriting and read a whole lot and, and try to figure out why my songs were not coming out the way I wanted them to. And ended up, we ended up with a sheet does album, Which was the very first record we ever put out. 4 (22m 20s): That was the EAP. You did like 2016, or am I before that? 6 (22m 27s): Nice. Before that this was, this was 2014. 4 (22m 32s): So 2014. 6 (22m 34s): Yeah. It, if anybody goes to check that out kid gloves, it was my, it was my first project and we released it independently. And The first time that we done anything and got out there and started playing our own music, and then some of the people, like some of the songs and kind of established us as, you know, a band like can go out and do cover, cover music and did our own stuff. So that'd be in a little bit better gig spots and a lot more Friday night and Saturday night spots. And he goes, people were actually showing up, you know, because when you're doing original music, you're playing stuff that nobody 4 (23m 15s): Even heard. Right. 6 (23m 17s): Nobody else can hear it unless they come to your show. So that's the biggest part of how I got to here was through, through all that journey of craziness. 4 (23m 29s): And then eventually, obviously you start building a fan base and then what you go back to Nashville and, and call that guy, or just never, never get reconnected. 6 (23m 38s): Ah, is that apparently I didn't know this, but years later that that guy had died. 4 (23m 45s): Well, okay. I guess you didn't need to reconnect. 6 (23m 52s): Yeah. There was no need to like, be like, Hey dude, what's up? I mean, I tried to get ahold of them and they was like, oh yeah, he's dead. Dang. 4 (24m 2s): Yeah. 6 (24m 3s): I ended up, we put, we put out a, I think he stayed on and all that stuff on that record, we got contacted by a publisher here in Nashville or in Nashville. And they said, can you, can you come in and do a co-write? And I came down and we did, I think a three or four song deal there where I did three or four songs with them. And, and that's what got me into music business. So I was like, okay, this is how it's really done. 0 (24m 32s): The sun is shining. Flowers are blooming. Birds are singing and everything seems fresh and new. It's the best time of the year. It's time for spring savings at your local public store. Pick up a spring savings coupon book from the public's information center at the store's entrance, or ask customer service for a copy. You can save over $90 on your favorite brands, including GSK Energizer, Colgate Palmolive, Kimberly Clark had more, but hurry, the sale only lasts through April 15th, happy spring savings from Publix. 7 (25m 3s): Join planet fitness. Now through March 16th and get the PF black card for zero enrollment in 2299 a month. You'll enjoy an upgraded experience with tons of perks, 8 (25m 12s): Like access to more than 2000 locations, worldwide, super soothing hydro massage chairs. Yes. Can I bring a friend every time? Can my friend to be a horse? 7 (25m 23s): Nah, sorry. 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That's when I was thinking of, 6 (26m 28s): Yeah. So, and that's when we did, we did a Texas, was you called that hands and pieces And we had did cold dead hands, which was the, the second amendment song. And I had thrown up a video of me doing it acoustically, and I think it got 700 something thousand views. 4 (26m 47s): Whoa. 6 (26m 48s): Like we got to record this song. 4 (26m 51s): Yeah. It just like, like people just, it just went viral online. 6 (26m 57s): Yeah. I just went, went through the roof. 4 (27m 0s): That's amazing. 6 (27m 2s): And yeah. And it was, it was wild. And we ended up releasing the song and I got a call from my NRA country. That's that was super weird because I'm like, how do these people know me? And I didn't really realize at the time that Facebook, when that many people see stuff, you know, I didn't understand what viral was at that point in time. I think we were early 2017, 2016 when we first had cold dead hands. So we still two years away from record deal and putting, putting that album out. And I ended up with a, another guy that was helping me in Nashville, Joe, Patrick. 6 (27m 46s): He was awesome, man. He's a great, great guy. He since passed as well as well. And a lot of older fellers that really liked my music. And we, we took it. Then I got contacted by the NRA country division and they had started in Nashville and they put me out at their national convention and also included in their publication, which I think is getting like 8 million gun owners. And of course the songs cold, dead hands is about, you know, gun ownership. And when we put it out for sale, it went ridiculous. 6 (28m 29s): And this is true. A truest story I've got, it's funny. I get this weird phone number that calls me. And I was like, who is this? And I answered it. And I was like, who is this? And they was like, this is Alex from billboard magazine. And I just hung up on in my living room. I just hung up on him. I was like, somebody screw me. When they call back. When I asked her, I was like, all right, who is frail? And he's like, this is Alison billboard magazine. And he said, does this Dustin Collins? I said, yes. He said, cold dead hands is number one on our hot singles sales chart. And I literally just said, you're shitting me. 6 (29m 13s): And he said, no, sir. And I was like, well, what's that mean? And he was like, well, you guys sold X amount of copies and this is where it's at. And there, I was like sitting in my, my double-wide trailer in Shepherdsville Kentucky. And I was like, I got a number one record right now. 4 (29m 31s): So awesome. 6 (29m 33s): And I was like, I got a show tonight at the county line up here. There's going to be about 79 people there. And we're going to rock this number one song out. That's 4 (29m 41s): So amazing though. Did you get any backlash from that or not from billboard, but from people because obviously NRA is kind of a touchy subject in certain areas. Were people hating on you at all? 6 (29m 55s): I immediately called a publicist. 4 (29m 57s): Oh, good call. 6 (29m 60s): Oh, the system was like, because I was getting some interview requests and I had already done one with like Bret bar. And I said, some silly crap made me sound like a hillbilly. I got to walk this back a little bit because I was like talking about tea and biscuits and it was ridiculous. And I got printed. So I had to call Scott and my levels system was like, look, man, you got to save me from myself. And he said, they said, well, we got you. He said, this is great song. He says, great message. He said, there was no reason to miss any of this up. And it's like, I got you from here. 6 (30m 41s): And he he's, he's been great ever since. 4 (30m 43s): That's amazing. 6 (30m 45s): He saved me from probably screwing it all up before it ever stopped because you know, it is a temperamental subject and a lot of people don't like it, but you know, that's what good music is that the challenge is, if you don't like it, you don't have to listen to it. 4 (31m 4s): Right. Exactly. I completely agree with you. And with that, like, I mean, from there, obviously you have a lot of eyes on you and then you put out your next record, it's been a while. And what was, you know, how did that album react? And like, what was your kind of takeaway from that record? 6 (31m 19s): I couldn't believe how many people like complimented that album. And then just because where I was, where I started feeling gross as a musician and as a person really, you know, just to hear all these people that before wouldn't even speak to me or about music, they'd be like, oh, okay. Yeah, yeah, whatever, you know, you just kind of get that Nashville. You'll, you'll get the, if you're not doing anything, he's kind of get washed under the rug. Nobody really wants to fool with your, or talk with you Until they do. And it's kind of a weird transition point that that just happens. 6 (32m 2s): And you don't even quite know that it happened all of a sudden you're, you're going from just playing your gigs and hanging out by yourself, you know, on a, on a Tuesday night to tell a sudden you're getting invited to riders nights and hanging out with some cool people and learning how to write songs. And it just kind of happens all of a sudden. And I don't even really remember when it happened that that was now involved in Nashville, more so than I was ever. The first time I moved there And I thought it was really cool with that album to see, let's see all that come together. 4 (32m 41s): Did you get some, I mean, I'm just looking at your, your stuff. You've, you've told us a lot of huge artists. Was that all around that same time as well? Or was that earlier due to like, I mean, clay Walker is one that she thought to me just because he lives here in town and actually he goes to my church and it's just weird to see that isn't it. It's cool to see his name on there, but it's like, it's, he's such a, he's a huge artist, right? 6 (33m 4s): Ah, yeah, man, clay was super Oz me. That was actually probably a few months ago. 4 (33m 11s): Oh wow. That's awesome. 6 (33m 13s): Yeah, that, that wasn't that long ago, but like, damn. Yeah. During that time we were doing a lot of opening, a lot of stuff versus radio stations, a lot of stuff for some of the big chain bars and that got to stand up anytime they brought in a national act in they'd have to call somebody to open. And generally in Louisville and Cincinnati and Lexington, we'd get those spots. 4 (33m 35s): That's amazing. 6 (33m 37s): Aaron Watson, they were kind enough to actually take us out on the road as well as Tanya Tucker, which those were the biggest learning experiences I've ever had as a musician was just saying, these guys are at the top of the game and this is what it's really like. And there's no room for mistakes, you know, because I mean, if people, your fans, the people that care about you and that listening to music, you know, if you can't go out and deliver to them, what they paid for, you're just not doing your job. You're not going to have fans that long because you know, you gotta respect their hard earned money that they're, you know, paying out, go see, and then you have a job. 6 (34m 22s): And if you go out there and suck, or you're not pulling your weight, you know, that's just, you're letting yourself down as well as the people that took their time out to follow you and come to your shows and watching these guys perform, there was no air in their sets. You know, they, every night they would play the same set. They would start at this time and at this time, and it was perfect, you know, 4 (34m 50s): Clockwork cause they, yeah, they just, yeah, if you're, I mean, obviously you have to be, if you're at that level, it's no, it's the reason why you have the fans. Right. And the songs is because you're disciplined 6 (35m 3s): And it showed a us as the opening band who didn't know what we were doing. We were going out there just, you know, heck yeah, rock and roll every night. I didn't know what we were doing. I had no idea how to sell. I have no touring experience other than playing in light bars. Now, now we've gone from a, you know, the local hundred, hundred seat bar over here to, you know, a place like coyote coyote. Joe's that seats 3,500. You're like, holy crap. And then, you know, even from that time, it's now I'm still continuously learning. Cause you, you know, you go from a of any like that. So where you're opening for somebody like tan. 6 (35m 45s): Yeah. You know, there's 11, 12,000 seats sold. 4 (35m 48s): Right. 6 (35m 49s): And that gets, you always want to, you know, I, I feel like we've grown each step of the way into what we're doing now and we've been given time or, or forced into taking time to develop into that next spot. You know, if you get out there and you're not ready for something, you might not get another chance to do it. 4 (36m 17s): And I love to hear that because I think, I mean, as when I was growing up as a kid, I would just assume like, oh, like, you know, these rock stars just give, you know, they get wasted backstage and it's party and party. And then they just come on and just kind of wing it. And it's always awesome. It's like, no, that's nothing like what is happening. It's like, you guys are like, you know, if you looked at an athlete, the people that are training and training and training and training and training every day to play those games and play that sort of, you know, with that many people on you and everything else, like I think it kind of gets muddy there with like, if you think about like the Motley crew's of the world, right? 6 (36m 58s): Yeah. And I'm sure it's a lot of things have changed since the eighties. 4 (37m 3s): Like that's kind of the mindset that I had as a kid growing up. I'm like, whoa, like these guys, they don't even like care. They're just like getting messed up and then they just get to come out and rock. 6 (37m 12s): I w I want to know if Alan Jackson partied like backstage You back there just like pounding Miller lights back in the early nineties. I don't know. I 4 (37m 22s): Don't know. Maybe, 6 (37m 24s): Maybe, maybe one day I'll get to meet him and ask him, what were you guys really doing on the chatter. 4 (37m 32s): Yeah. But it's just like, I think it's just some it's, it's awesome to hear. And I've heard, you know, that you, you, you see these people on the road and it's just, they are, I mean, it's their job. It's super serious. And that's why it's so good. 7 (37m 48s): Join planet fitness now through March 16th and get the PF black card for zero enrollment in 2299 a month. You'll enjoy an upgraded experience with tons of perks, 8 (37m 57s): Like access to more than 2000 locations worldwide. Yep. Super soothing. Hydro massage chairs. Yes. Can I bring a friend every time? Sure. Can my friend be a horse? 7 (38m 8s): Nah, sorry. Get the PF black card and feel fit. Tacular. Zero enrollment, 2299 a month. Deal. Land smart 16. See club for details. 11 (38m 18s): You come into bed, hon. 12 (38m 19s): Yep. Honey, I'll be right there. Just got to turn out the light. 11 (38m 24s): Oh. 13 (38m 29s): Some things never change. Like your kids always leaving tiny toys on the floor for, to step on and Geico saving folks. Lots of money on their car insurance, 14 (38m 40s): Sweetie. I think I left the downstairs light on, 15 (38m 44s): Please. Don't make 4 (38m 45s): Me go. 13 (38m 45s): 15 minutes could save you 15% or more. 15 (38m 49s): Please walk Sparky for me. No way. I'll throw on a caramel frappe. Ooh, make it a large deal. 16 (38m 58s): Get a sweet deal. $2. Any seismic cafe beverage on the McDonald's app 15 (39m 3s): Between you and me Sparky, I would have walked you for free 16 (39m 9s): Papa offer valid through 43, 22 or participate in McDonald's one time per day. McDonald's app download and registration required. 6 (39m 19s): Well, don't tell you, man, I can attest to this being out on the road. And like, you know, when I was younger, you know, we we'd go out to the bar after the show or whatever. And now like on show nights, I mean, this was awful, but you know, after we get done with the show and everybody's gone home and we've done ma met and hung out with the fans and stuff like that, I'm so ready to go to bed. Like, I, I don't want to hear the radio. I don't want to hear nothing when I get to get in the van or the car or whatever we're in. I just, I want silence for like at least two hours. And I don't want to go to sleep 4 (39m 57s): Just totally decompress. 6 (39m 60s): Especially the bigger shows, like the ones with clay and the bigger shows that we've done. I'm like, man, that's a lot of things to take in. Like, yeah. And then there's so many people like that that want to talk to you. You know, I'm like I have, cause I'm kind of naturally a shy dude other than the, you know, the music stuff serves myself and it's really weird to, to go out and, and people that actually want to talk to me about my music and I'm like, oh, that's cool. You want to talk about my music? But I always the point of being a fan of somebody, who's always kind of been strange to me that, that people seek out people to go talk to you. 6 (40m 43s): I don't know. I always considered myself, just some dude with a guitar that singing The whole celebrity aspect of these shows and stuff. Just the mayhem that ensues at some of these places Like play Walker was outstanding. That's one of the best shows I've ever witnessed. 4 (41m 5s): Really? 6 (41m 6s): It was killer. And just sit there in the front row. After our set, I was like, holy crap, these guys are the real deal. 4 (41m 15s): And he's one of the sweetest dudes ever too. He's so nice. Like nice. 6 (41m 20s): He was super nice to us. They greeted us and stuff. And you know, a lot of times that the closing act doesn't do that. 4 (41m 28s): You know, they usually don't. I mean, they don't have here right there. They're the reason why probably majority of the people are there and yeah. 6 (41m 36s): Yeah. I mean it's incense. Some of them, you know, you can't even get a picture with, so I'm not going to throw any names out, but there's some that don't even want to meet you. And you're like, oh, that's kind of screwed up, but oh, well I was super awesome. Taniel is super awesome. She is something else. 4 (41m 58s): That's amazing. Well, I'm gonna talk to you real quick about your, your record working man. 6 (42m 4s): Ah, smile. It's been my long haul project, man. We're working on it for about a year and a half. Almost two years. 4 (42m 13s): Start after lockdown happened. 6 (42m 16s): I started it before lockdown cause we were, you know, we were doing really well off. It's been awhile. It started somewhere like number 25 on the country music independent and by 23 on the overall chart. And we, we were on a roll, I think w we had played our first headlining arena show. It was smaller arena. It was for a major rodeo and they artists as a headliner. So we were, we were kicking tail, getting, you know, getting on it and staying on the road. And then I think we had like 74 shows already booked. 6 (42m 58s): And I remember March 15th was the last show we played and it was for the sec tournament, Nashville. And we played an event called the Kentucky takeover show. And it was a bunch of Kentucky bands that were down there playing. And I had no idea that that was going to be the last time we stepped on stage for a year and a half. 4 (43m 19s): That's crazy. 6 (43m 21s): And that Monday, I think the 15th was a Wednesday that Monday, my entire schedule was canceled. So I was like, damn it. 4 (43m 35s): Yeah. I mean, what a branching yeah. Thing. Not only is there a pandemic, but it's like in my whole year of shows or whatever is all gone. 6 (43m 45s): It's like, this is like now a Val I'm going to also not play shows, but have lived in poverty 4 (43m 52s): On the prison. 6 (43m 56s): No, I actually 4 (43m 57s): Am kidding. 6 (43m 58s): I'm not buddies back here. We're real cool. So do some, you know, they needed some general labor and I busted, busted my back there for a little while and good for me because I think that's being back home during that time and having to go to work and having to do these things that I haven't done because I've been wrapped up in the music, really got me in a mood to write, what's come to be this album and oh, 4 (44m 28s): Interesting. Well now the title makes sense to me. 6 (44m 31s): Yeah. That was kind of our whole thought behind. It was that. And the song working man on there, it's, you know, I wanted to do something as a tribute to these guys that get up every day and, and at five o'clock in the morning and, you know, they, they spend their whole lives, you know, trying to make other people's lives better. The farmer, the trackers, the guys that are, you know, some people don't even appreciate it. The guys that are out there on the roof after a hailstorm, you know, these guys, Your house don't leak. And that's kind of what I wrote that song. Well, not trying it is what I wrote that song about. And it kind of led into the rest of my album about kind of, I wanted to do something way more mature. 6 (45m 17s): I didn't want to make any political statements. I wanted to tell the story of my life through this record. And I think that after I finished it, I think personally that, that I accomplished what I set out to, with writing it. And all the people that wrote with me or wrote songs on this, that they got selected, you know, that we picked because those were songs that I loved that, you know, tell, telling a part of my story that I either couldn't, or never even thought about that way. So there's, you know, there's songs like Georgia that are on there that I connect with immediately. And like right now he bred elders road and you know, that's a hard heartbreak song and I've, I've done some heartbreaking and had mine pressed a few times. 6 (46m 5s): So it's kind of right in there with that whole song. So I really wanted this to be a grownup grownup album and bringing in buddy cannon to produce a couple of the tracks was pro 4 (46m 21s): Huge, right. That the wrap is he's done. Yeah. 6 (46m 26s): Other than that, 4 (46m 28s): And he brought a bill McDermott back to right? 6 (46m 31s): Oh yeah. The yeah, bill co co-produced and I, we, we just ended up with something that I'm over the moon to have, and, and I've listened to it maybe 9,000 times since I guess, dinner, they'll not tired of playing songs on it. 4 (46m 48s): That's amazing. 6 (46m 49s): I feel like if you're going to have an album, you better love all the songs as you're going to play nothing, but these songs for the next, you know, year and a half 4 (46m 58s): And it's, and you have, you're donating stuff to a great cause as well. Right? Yeah. 6 (47m 4s): Semi camp USA. I, I just want to know military when I was 17. I wasn't a combat MOS or anything. I'm a mechanic. 4 (47m 13s): I didn't realize that. So you were doing that also before you started doing the music thing. 6 (47m 17s): Yeah. That was, that was the 17 to 17 to 2020s years. And so gummy camp came about non-manager. Mike was consulting these guys and I was reading about them and I was like, who are these guys? And they tell me, he said, they are helping the worst veterans with mental illnesses and putting them up in, they, you know, they got billed billeting was the military term for it, or, or small, tiny houses, basically giving them a place to live and get off the street and also giving them the training to get, you know, their VA medical benefits or their, or whatever help they need to get back into society. 6 (48m 4s): And then you see a lot with veterans charities that, you know, a lot of the money that gets donated doesn't actually go to the veterans. And this is something that I, I could, you know, feel like I would like to be a part of because you can physically see what they're doing for these people. I think that if you can spread that all over the country, you know, that's gonna make, it's gonna make us a better place for taking care of those gaps. 4 (48m 31s): I love that. And I love that you're, you're donating part of the record and the single write the song. 6 (48m 40s): Yes. Yes. I think the thing of the single were, were the late single or what we're donating out. We're also going to be doing some charity shows for them this year, where we come out and try to raise money for them. And, and cause I think there's different states that they're wanting to open up some more camps. So we we've been talking about doing those shows and in those areas to try to raise the money, to get, get the camps at least started or the property paid for or whatever they're needing to move that project forward. 4 (49m 15s): That's amazing. That's really amazing. And I appreciate your time, Justin. This has been so great. Thank you so much for hanging out with me today 6 (49m 22s): And thank you for having me. 4 (49m 24s): Yeah. One more quick question. Before I let you go. I want to know if you have any advice for aspiring artists. 6 (49m 30s): Don't quit. 4 (49m 33s): I like that. 6 (49m 34s): Yeah. That's the only advice I could have if you love it, don't quit.