More than boots and hats- interview with a tattooed country boy

More than boots and hats- interview with a tattooed country boy


Tell us about yourself and your music

I write from my heart and my past. Though, I sometimes write about fantasies that I hope to play out in the future, as in regards to some love songs. I’ve been playing different instruments, writing and singing since I was 8. My music these days is a product of all the music I love, and music that I wish existed, but doesn’t. I see no point in redoing something that’s already been done, and I’m not talking about cover songs.

Talk to us more about your latest release

My latest single that I released is called Tattooed Country Boy, and it is a country song that kinda rebels against the norm. You go to Nashville and most all the country singers look like they just walked out of Boot Barn, but yet, Most have never even been on a horse. I have tattoos, but I’m also a country boy. I grew up hunting, fishing, fighting, drinking and everything that goes along with all of that, only my family couldn’t afford new clothes from Boot Barn, so I don’t dress like George Strait, but I definitely love and respect him, I just don’t need to try to imitate him.

What inspired you to write this release?

Basically this song is just me in a nutshell. When I play live, I wear camo shorts and I obviously have tattoos and although I know every old school country song that exists, and I love and respect that stuff, truth is, I’m not a Cowboy, and I think it’s kinda disrespectful to real genuine cowboys to dress like them when you’re not really one of them. I’m just trying to be myself, but I’m a genuine country artist. I produce, write, sing, and play all of the instruments on my recordings. On Tattooed Country Boy, the only thing I didn’t play myself was the fiddle, and for that, I used the lady that tours with Shooter Jennings, can’t remember her name off hand. I even broke out the juice harp for that particular track.

Describe the writing and recording process

I write alone, usually in the car, or in the bathtub. Something about being submerged in hot water makes the words and emotions become one. I recorded that track in A garage in North Hollywood with an engineer name Dr. Ford. We basically laid down the drums, and then I just layered and layered everything till it was perfect, then sent it off to be mastered.

Any plans to hit the road?

I recently moved back to California from Nashville because life is too expensive in Nashville. Either you’ve already made it, or you have a trust fund, or you’re living out of your car, and I’m not going to live out of my car. I’m playing ball of over Cali at the moment, residing in Fresno and just trying to save enough money to properly advertise my latest creation. It would be nice if you guys actually helped with that, but if you’re anything like 99% of music platforms these days, you’re only going to help out the artists with money and glittering gifts to shower you with. I have none of that, I just have my music.

As an indie artist, how do you brand yourself and your music to stand out from the rest of the artists out there?

Well first and foremost I don’t dress like other country artists, and I definitely don’t have that sell out Nashville sound. I don’t let anyone tell me what to do in the studio, I don’t need to be autotuned, and I don’t need to use the same players on my songs as every other band in Nashville uses at every single studio. For the most part, besides Stapleton, and a couple of others, everything sounds exactly the same. That’s weak and redundant and country music enthusiasts deserve better. Singers use songwriters to write the songs that they don’t feel when they sing it because they haven’t lived it. Then they go to a studio with a producer that records them the same way they did with their last 30 records, using the same equipment and same players, and it’s all superficial cookie cutter crap. Nobody in the industry is taking risks and letting their artists be original anymore, it’s just sad.

Who have you been listening to lately?

I listen to a lot of classical these days honestly. Max Richter is one of my favorites. I also have rediscovered the Beatles, and I’ve been also revisiting every Johnny Cash and Merle Haggard song I can find. It’s crazy, just when you think you’ve heard everything, here comes a new one from the 70s that you haven’t heard yet. I love it.

Who are your biggest influences?

Favorite band is definitely Lynyrd Skynyrd. Favorite singer is Garth Brooks, and my favorite songwriter is Aaron Lewis. Others that I really enjoy, Jason Aldean, All 3 Hanks, and Coldplay, which I don’t admit to a lot, but they’re my guilty pleasure I guess.

Tell us about your passions

I’m very passionate about leaving the world a better place than I found it. I’m passionate about making people happy or helping them wallow in my sad songs along with me so they know they’re not alone. My biggest passion is to create that which was not there before. I could never be in a cover band. We all have to play covers to an extent, but I’d rather flip burgers than be in a band that doesn’t create. The thought of it literally brings forth physical pain.

What else is happening next in your world?

I’m hoping to find sponsors and some investors. In the music game these days, nothing is going to happen without money, and I’m running quite low on that at the moment, but I do have 2 full-length amazing records that I’ve released that are doing phenomenal for not having advertising revenue behind them, and I have some new singles that are just blowing people’s minds, so hopefully, someone will come out of the woods and put some money behind me. I will win if I have the funding…all day long!



Thanks for an awesome interview, Michael D. Keeney



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