If you were to write an intro for “When The Devil Took Me” before it played on the radio, what would you want listeners to know about the song?
I wrote this song about the night I met my wife. We met on the beach and I knew at first sight that she was “the one.” (We have an amazing relationship.) The storyline has a bit of a spin and describes a woman who has just the right amount of wrong—and is the perfect match for me.
My intro would be: “When The Devil Took Me” is a swampy country tune about the perfect match ignited by a woman who’s got a little bit of angel and a little bit of devil as the ultimate combination to steal a man’s heart.
6 Things You Don’t Know About Me:
You grew up in Mississippi, ‘at the end of a pig trail road located on the banks of the Tenn-Tom waterway. Worked alongside your dad and grandad in the fields to harvest your next meal and drawing water from a nearby well. Can you share a special memory of working in the fields with your family?
It was my job to be sure the 1500 tomato plants were watered every week. We hauled water from the pump in the creek. I had to be sure the berms were in place in each row so the water didn’t run out. With a shovel in hand, I walked each and every row building up the berms where needed.
My granddaddy, who was a council member in the community, would often come to check on me before going to council meetings and I could hear my grandmother shout, “Don’t go to the field with your good shoes on!”
One day, when I was 10, a mischievous plan entered my mind. I dug small holes in the rows between the tomato plants, filled them with water and put just enough dirt over them to camouflage my deed. My plan worked just as I had designed!
Wearing his good shoes, my granddaddy came to check on me and he stepped directly into one of my booby traps; just a few steps later he stepped into another. I became terrified coming to the realization that I could be in serious trouble. He calmly walked over to the next row, came to me and said, “You’re doing a good job, buddy.” He turned and walked back to the house where he received a finger-pointing “I told you so” from my grandmother. That taught me a great lesson in humility and respect. My granddaddy could have given me a whipping, and should have, but his reaction, or non-reaction, showed me that he was more proud of my work than his pride to scold me for having a little fun at his expense–especially when he knew that my grandmother was right! I loved that man!
Louisiana resident. Rounding up cattle with your dog, Maple. Keeping your priorities in order … God, Family, Country, and Fun. What do you like to do for fun?
I enjoy hunting whitetail deer–especially bow hunting. I love teaching my two sons country living, hunting, and teaching them to respect the land and animals that God has entrusted in our care. I also like to cut and split firewood with my wife, sons and dogs. It’s family time. We work together and reap the benefits together to enjoy a nice warm fire in the winter. I enjoy playing football and baseball with my sons. (I love it because they try to impress me with their skills.). And of course, I like to pick up the guitar and just play and write.
Debut single, “Beer And The Bible,” a song with a storyline based on how growing up in a small town has affected you. You put together a playlist based on your song. Would you say these other songs have similar themes?
The songs don’t necessarily have similar themes or storylines—but they’ve got “beer” in common! I would say that similar to those recording artists, I share a common goal; and that is to put my music out there in hopes that it reaches people that are like-minded and can relate to our music. My goal as an artist is to touch people and get them involved in the music and lyrics so that no matter the emotions they’re feeling, they can either appreciate that I have felt the same way, or that my music makes them at least forget about their troubles or heartaches even if just for a few minutes.
Learning important life values. Complexities of a Southern upbringing where the sacred and the spirited intertwine time and time again. What is the best advice your family has shared with you?
I truly don’t see any complexities of my Southern upbringing. I know that some people may have that assumption, but I was raised in the South and that environment is all I know. It’s taught me that there is no replacement for love for God, family, country, hard work, and fun. There is a balance and order for setting goals and attaining them. I haven’t always had a perfect balance and order, and I was not successful. I believe God has guided me to this road that I am on and surrounded me with amazing people, beginning first and foremost with my wife. Numerous others have nurtured me along the way–my family and my team in Nashville. My family has always supported me and I would say the best advice that they’ve offered is to “just be YOU!”
Father, a talented musician and performer, is your biggest influence in life and music. Next influencer is Merle Haggard. How has Haggard’s music impacted yours?
Haggard’s music showed me that there really are no rules in making music. Just make good music and put a good story to it or vice-versa. Merle was one of the best in the business, and through his successes, he always remained humble. I never spoke directly to him, but I felt as though he was speaking directly to me in some of his songs. That’s how I would like listeners to feel when they hear my music.
Six-song CD releasing early next year. What can fans expect on the upcoming EP?
Listeners can expect to hear traditional country music mixed with gritty electric guitar, and heartfelt lyrics and storylines with a twist. The tracks on the CD include my signature song, “Beer And The Bible” and “Jesus Made An Outlaw” which is a little more “outlaw” than all the other songs on the album. It will definitely get folks revved up and I am more excited about the release of this song more so than any other that I have written and recorded.
Can you share 12 songs that have influenced your life and career?
“Workin’ Man Blues”
Merle’s hit reiterates the balance between family and fun.
“He Stopped Loving Her Today”
The Possum (George Jones) sings the greatest love story ever written.
“Folsom Prison Blues”
Cash’s take on a man’s wrong doing and making the best out of it.
This song is the song where I feel like Merle was talking directly to me.
“Between An Old Memory And Me”
Keith Whitley’s portrayal of losing the woman of his dreams.
“Country Boy Can Survive”
A true story, told by Hank Jr., that has never been told better.
“Old Enough To Know Better”
Reflects some of the things we do that we all know we shouldn’t, but just can’t help ourselves. (Wade Hayes)
“Think I’ll Just Stay Here And Drink”
Merle hit the nail on the head with this one! Sometimes, a man just needs a drink and nothing else matters.
“Daddy Never Was The Cadillac Kind”
This song describes my daddy. The only “finer things” in life that my daddy cared about were making sure that his family knew he loved them and teaching his kids to be successful and humble in exaltation.
This is just how I feel sometimes.
This song hits home because it truly describes the struggles I feel sometimes when I perform at venues further away from home. I am very fortunate that my family joins on most occasions, but I miss them when they cannot.
Another tune that describes me. I am a Southern country boy who fears God, loves his family, stands up for our country, and loves to have fun. It’s evident that most of these values don’t exist in a lot of places in our world right now, but it’s my desire to reinstate these values so that our world is a better place for our kids and grandkids. God Bless America!