Speaking of the songs as stories, can you tell us a little about the stories you’ll have on your new album?
“Yeah, there’s one I’m really excited about coming out, and it’s called “Burn These Matches”. The opening line is:
"Call me sometime 595-1768
that’s all she wrote, right below what looks like Kate
“And it’s a number on a book of matches that a guy with a girl at home is given, you know, in the bar, and he’s going back over all these things, it’s like:
"I should have left ‘em right there
next to that beer I bought for her
“So it lets you know along the way that he kinda led her on in a way — and even gets out on the dance floor and dances with her, but he’s telling himself over again — the hook of the song is:
"I better burn these matches in my pocket
before they burn the hell outta me."
Adele’s ex-boyfriend sued her for royalties — how many of your stories are autobiographical?
“I don’t think I’ll have any ex-girlfriends suing me over these songs…those types of things always play a huge part in any of those songs that are love lost…obviously sometimes the story of a breakup isn’t all that exciting — when you’re writing the songs it’s getting back to that feeling.
Are you still writing for Sony Music Publishing?
“Yes, I’m still writing for Sony. A lot of artist’s record deals start that way, these days, in that you sign a publishing deal and you write songs for a while and they hook you up with different writers…you’re singing all your own demos, so you’re in the studio — you’re in the same studio where they cut the big records…and that’s where I got my start, as far as getting a record deal, was Clay Bradley — he was at Sony BMG at the time — heard a demo that I sang, and was just like, ‘Hey, who’s singing that demo?’”
Which comes first for you, usually, the lyrics or the music?
“If I had to pick one, it would be the lyrics. Everybody’s got a different style when it comes to writing, and that’s what’s cool about co-writing is that you sit down with somebody that may be more melody-oriented than you.”
If you weren’t a country singer/songwriter, what would you being doing?
“Gosh, you know, I got out of college — I dropped out of college and started working, and trying to write as much as I could and also play in a band…treating writing like it was a job, but it was all to get a publishing deal and to develop a catalog.
“I made a decision, it was like, okay, if this doesn’t work in the next…I gave myself a year, then I was gonna go to fireman’s school and become a fireman.
“ I’d worked a lot of odd jobs before then, like I’d roofed houses and waited tables; I’d worked at Bass Pro Shops for awhile…I’d assembled grills at Lowe’s; I’d refereed soccer games…my job description was all over the map…I knew that firemen had the 24 on 48 off schedule, and I figured that I could still write on my days off and still try to make it happen.
“I wanted to sing George Strait, The Fireman all day long and have it just apply to me.”
Well sounds like you’re going to make a go of this music thing.
“We’re gonna keep at it, I will say that.”