How would you classify your music?
Americana Rock. Lots of Blues influence. The most recent release “Nightly Suicide” is an Americana Rock EP. I don’t play banjo on this record. The last one, “Hell Hole Swamp”, was Americana Swamp. I played banjo on every track of that record and, again, it was strongly Blues influenced.
Who are some of your top 5 musical influences?
My influences break down into two categories: Classic and Contemporary.
Merle Haggard – both as a songwriter and a performer, Merle is a bad-ass with a heart, who confesses the truth about himself but is never vulgar or grandiose about it. He also has convictions, though I don’t share his penchant for doing “political” songs, I respect that — like all outlaws — the man has a code.
Joe Cocker – as white bluesy singers go, there are plenty of bigger better voices but Joe is the one who gets at my heart. I got a much prettier voice than him, but he reminds me that singing pretty (or pretty loud) isn’t always what the song or the story needs.
Jim Croce – Jim was the first singer songwriter to touch my heart… and he still does. Jim showed me you can be tough, streetwise, sly, and still tender so long as you’re being truthful and artful about it all.
Richard Thompson – Contemporary?! And old guy like Thompson?! Look, the guy is only 14 years older than me, so from my perspective, he’s a contemporary. And given the veritable dearth of inspiration among younger artists playing mini-martins and all trying to sound like Ed Shearan, yagotta work with me on this one. Richard’s musicianship and ability to do many things with his voice to serve a song really inspires me.
Chris Stapleton – Yeah, I was surprised as anyone to find a guy on the contemporary country charts that inspires me, but Chris is the real deal—more southern blues artist than a country artist. There’s a reason why Chris Stapleton was joined by Bonnie Raitt and Gary Clark Jr. for a Grammy Awards tribute to B.B. King this year.