You know what makes my job super easy? Guys like J. Michael Harter. He came with a propensity for open and honest conversation that began as soon as he walked in the room and continued after the recording stopped. In fact, we jumped into such easy discourse so quickly that I almost forgot to turn the mic on. And by mic, I mean the recording app on my smartphone.
We talked about a kitchen recording turning into a viral video, the early realization that he was not going to be the next Michael Jordan, blue collar jobs, working with Earl“Bud”Lee, and some of the weird underlying messages in country music lately.
I hear that late 90’s early 2000’s sound prevalent in your music:
I’m still In love with that sound. I like the storytelling that went on in those days. When you listen to a song and it puts a movie in your head. It gives you goosebumps, you know?
You’ve had a lot of blue collar jobs before music:
My dad and my grandpa owned a, well, it’s a very niche thing. Most people don’t know what it is. A shoring company. Underground safety equipment…for people that are putting in pipelines. They put these things down in the ground called ‘shores’ that hold the dirt open so the guys don’t get crushed. That’s nasty work, man. Being down in a ditch working on a shore while it’s 120 degrees in Phoenix.
Did those kind of jobs influence your music:
Yeah, I think so. I also think growing up around that kept me out of trouble and made me gravitate more towards the country music that had some heart to it. I don’t know if that makes any sense but, it just makes you appreciate things.
Your vocals vacillate seamlessly between a traditional and more modern sound:
I don’t know(realize) that I do that, but I guess it’s the song. If the song caters to a storyteller tone in your vocal, like “Momma Look Out Yonder”, where as “Live To Love You”, is a love power ballad. I think it’s just whatever the song calls for is just what comes out when I sing.
What was the idea for the new single “Playing With Fire”:
Actually, that was my sister Shannon’s idea. I guess I’ve always played with fire. We were at our cabin in Arizona and I had a big bonfire going and was throwing stuff in there and spraying lighter fluid on it…as people do. She said “you need to write a song about playing with fire.” So I wrote it down in my notes and pulled that title out with Trey Stevens. We were just on my back deck here in Nashville. We wrote that in about 30 mins. Those are usually the best ones. We got to the part where the girl was already at the club with another guy who asks for her number and ends up getting beat up over it and I’m like, “where do we go from here? Oh…we gotta burn this guy’s truck!”