I have had the pleasure to meet many songwriters and artists in the last few years! All in their own right have awesome music and great stories to tell. But I have also met a lot of fans, artists and critics who can’t see beyond the genre they are supporting, reviewing or playing in. I believe in country music, I like my country music to transport me back to the days of Kris, Merle, Johnny, and Willie. I feel those four right there influence my storytelling a lot, my music has them in there. But also I have influences from other areas.
Let me share with you my musical brain. At 13 I found Hip Hop! Wu-tang, Nas, Cypress Hill, Snoop Dogg and many many more followed. Then at 16, my father strolled in holding a 12-inch copy of Boston by Boston. The light bulb went bing and I found Rock N Roll! That album changed my life and my musical outlook. More than a Feeling is still a huge mainstay on any playlist I create. At 20 years old I was a comic book geek! I was a geek before geek was cool (Bazinga!). I strolled my local store and there it was! Right in front of me! 4 guys, 4 Superheroes in make-up with this powers that only Superman and a few have! And Guitars! Drums! Welcome to my world KISS!!!!
At 23 I sat in a bar in Portsmouth and heard for the first time grunge, Pearl Jam, Nirvana, Soundgarden! And from there found Creed and newer bands! All this music is in there to this day! I still remember the first time I watched Bon Scott carry Angus Young around on his shoulders! Or Eddie Vedder climbing the soundstage. When I stood no more than 10 meters away from Paul Stanley and Gene Simmions and watched to this day the best live concert I have ever been to. I rocked for many years, Status Quo, Led Zeppelin, The Doors, Guns n Roses, AC DC, the list is endless.
Then I got thrown another curveball, Like way back when I was 16 and moved from Hip Hop to Rock. I heard Bruce Springsteen, The Boss, The true Amercian Dream! I listened to the hits to start with, Glory Days, Dancing in the Dark, Born in the USA and so many others. I started to dive headfirst into his back catalog and found a little gem, a record that paints pictures in my head, a story is being told and that album was the Ghost of Tom Joad. What a record! It was a real knock to the head. No more distorted guitars, Loud Noise, and arena shows. No No, follow reader this was a calmly relaxed album that dealt with issues, told stories of the working man. This was music at its best! I watched an interview with the boss one day and he mentioned in his influences Hank Williams and Johnny Cash. So I googled!
Google Johnny cash and it’s insane how easy this man’s world draws you in. How his songs are in some way relevant to your life, but I also found out that Kris Kristofferson is an artist! Yep Whisler from the Blade movies is a freaking legend in music! The first time I listened to Beat the Devil and Darby’s Castle I actually cried, I felt home with his music. I felt safe and that I could tell my story too. Since that day at 27 years old, I have been knee deep in country music. I have been there fighting the good fight for country music in the UK.
But I still keep my roots, all of them. When I write I still think how would Paul Stanley do this? I often wonder if a certain verse with a sick beat could be a Hip Hop record. Can any song I write about love ever measure up to Bruce Springsteen’s ability to paint such wonderful words. Will the growl that’s needed here sound like John Fogerty? I could sit and give you every single thought in my head and how I process the things I do. But it would be a long blog post!
Like life we learn from time, we have moments in life that teach us lessons and that applies to music. We all have music that defines certain moments or certain people. When you hear a record on the radio and suddenly you’re transported back to a memory. That’s the power of great music and that should never be discounted when your an artist! If you think it works let it work, explore everything, enjoy everything and you will take something away from it!