Fans of Kurt Thomas know they are “in” on something special. Regarded by Southern Ground fans as a friend and comrade of Zac Brown, Kurt is not signed to a major label. However, this independent act is making waves in the Atlanta music scene. Kurt Thomas works hard to bring his music to the masses. Raised in the small Georgia gold-mining town of Dahlonega, Kurt Thomas has opened for some of the biggest names in country music (Sugarland, Zac Brown Band, Kenny Chesney, Brooks & Dunn). Kurt was the winner of CMT’s Music City Madness as well as Kenny Chesney’s Next Big Star contest….something tells me Kurt has more than luck on his side. This aspiring country music star has drive and talent that seems on the cusp of something great.
Country Music Pride spoke with Kurt about his inspirations, current CD and the unyielding support and enthusiasm from his biggest fan, his wife.
CMP-Who were you influenced by musically?
KT– Every small town has a local music hero. I am from a small town (Dahlonega, Georgia) and ours was a guy named Jay Drummonds. I watched him play local shows but found my calling on the day he played at my high school graduation. Jay played the song “Small Town” by John Cougar Mellencamp. I knew at that moment when I watched him from the audience, “that is what I want to do. I named my band after him that night, Kurt Thomas and the Small Town Band.
I’ve been influenced by so many artists: Billy Joel, James Taylor, Van Morrison, Jim Croce…
CMP-How did you become involved with the CMT Music City Madness contest?
KT-One of my buddies spotted it and called me. I had just finished up Kenny Chesney’s Next Big Star contest and thought, why not? I sent in a video of a song called “Follow My Lead” that I wrote for my wife and little boy. I was really blessed and won the contest. I got to have a mentoring session with Randy Travis and play an Unplugged on CMT. It was just so cool. But the coolest thing about it was that I won by fan voting….I was overwhelmed by the support.
CMP-Winning these fan-voted contests, you must have a loyal fan base.
KT-Absolutely. I have the great town of Dahlonega behind me. Since we moved to Atlanta, we have been trying to build something. I think we are doing really well, I am proud of what we are developing.
CMP-Do you have a song from your new CD Six Strings and a Prayer you are very attached to?
KT-Every one of them (laughter)! “Kick Back” really gets the crowd going live. One of my personal favorites is a song called “The Chance.”I know some folks may not agree with the story that plays out in that song but I felt it was a song I had to write.
CMP-You’re building your fanbase, you have won some phenomenal contests, you are playing live around the southeast….do you see yourself continuing music as your career?
KT-Oh yeah….I always tell people I would do something else but I don’t know how. The only thing I am good at in this world is making music and I love it.
CMP-I am sure that is what your fans connect to-your passion for your craft.
KT-Exactly—people like to see someone chase after their dream. I hope seeing me at my age going after my dreams inspires others. It can be done.
CMP-You have opened up for some amazing country music acts. Do you have any favorite memory you would like to share with CMP readers?
KT-As far as my favorite music memories, hanging out with Randy Travis was unbelievable.
Here recently, I got to get on stage with Zac Brown at the Verizon Wireless Amphitheatre and he introduced me to one of my all time heroes, Levon Helm (from The Band). Levon was the sweetest man. He kissed my wife on the cheek. My wife looked at me and said, “Whenever you make it big, that is what you should be like. Be like him”
CMP-Speaking of your wife, what role does her support play in your career?
KT-Oh man….when we first moved to Atlanta, I was ready to get an 8-5 job and she said no. She said “you are going to do this. You are going to play music for a living.”
**At the close of our interview, Kurt made a point to thank one of his biggest supporters, Kennesaw State University’s Music and Entertainment Business Program, particularly Bruce Burch, Keith Perissi and Hannah Gordon. Kurt is truly a class act. Catch Kurt playing near you. For booking information please contact Kurt@kurtthomasmusic.com