I was born and raised in Fort Smith, Arkansas, the third and youngest son of a father who worked hard to keep the family oil field service business afloat during the dark days of the oil field, and the son of a mother who, as well as being an excellent stay at home mom, painted furniture as a hobby. As a child I would always have a song in my head, and probably shaped my voice during those years, walking around the house singing, singing in the shower, singing in the car, singing everywhere. I still do the same type of singing, and still always have a song in my head.
My grandfather, Buddy Pruitt, was a roughneck in the oilfield most of his life before starting the family business that is still family run today, now in it’s third generation. He played fiddle, guitar, and wrote country songs as a hobby; country songs about life in the oilfield, country songs about rodeos, country songs about life, love, and women. Though Buddy Pruitt is my musical lineage, he passed away before I was born, and outside of my father’s record collection, I was not raised in a musical family.
My other grandfather, Bill Wilfong, was a gifted mason and general handyman, who worked well into his 80’s when his knees could no longer handle the work. He had a wit about him, an electric sort of personality that sticks in my gut to this day. He and his wife had a remarkable ability to accept people for who they were without judgement, and were always in the mood to laugh, or to make you laugh.
My first memory of musical obsession came some time in the early 90’s after the Guns N Roses album “Use Your Illusion I and II” was released. I would come home from school every day and listen to my brothers copy of the record, putting “November Rain” on repeat until someone else got tired of hearing it. I would listen to music in this obsessive and repetitive way throughout my young life, and to a large degree, still do today.
My brothers had started playing guitar a little bit in high school, and my oldest brother wrote a tablature chart to “The Mountains Win Again” by Blues Traveler when I was in my early teens so that I could learn how to play it. Outside of that, and a few phone calls when they were in college to ask them how to play new songs, I have been almost entirely self taught. This has mostly been done by surrounding myself with the most proficient and talented musicians I could find, watching them, and mimicking them. The humbling thing about playing guitar is that no matter how good you are, there are a lot of people that are a lot better.
I have been pursuing music as a job with various intensity over my life. I moved to Murfreesboro, Tennessee after high school and was trying to jump into the Ryan Adams/Lost Highway scene of the early 2000’s. I moved to Nashville a few years later and was doing a similar thing with a slightly more “old country” feel. I learned a lot during these times, but left the city in 2009 and came back to Arkansas, burnt out on music. A couple of years ago I began making trips back to Nashville to write mainstream country music. I learned some valuable fundamentals of writing during that time period, but ultimately was not passionate about the music, and disinterested in writing the types of songs that were likely to show up on country radio. Realizing that, I stopped making those trips back to Nashville for writing sessions.
Since music is something that never leaves the human heart, I kept writing, kept listening, kept playing, and kept searching for stories that I was interested in telling through song. In the late summer and fall of 2013, I wrote a group of songs that were based in that search. Of the songs written, I decided to make a recording of six of them, and will release it this spring as the first half of a record titled “Songs of Home.” There is a song about a young kid playing guitar for tips. There is a song about a ma and pa restaurant owned by Vietnamese refugees. There are plenty of songs about love, how we interpret it, how we express it, and how we can’t explain what it can do to us. On a personal level, I am passionate about these songs. As a young entrepreneur entering a highly competitive industry, I am confident in finding a place for these songs, and continuing to provide the music consumer and the music industry with a high quality recorded product, and well crafted songs that I am hopeful will find a place in the lives and homes of as many people as can be reached by an independent music artist.