Happy Tuesday, folks!
First and Foremost a HUGE congratulations to Chris Ising for winning Modern Country Male Song of the Year with “I’m From The Country” at the Josie Show Awards this weekend in Nashville! I’m so happy for you. Stay tuned to the blog because next week I will have a great interview that I had with Chris a couple of weeks ago.
There are a few other things that I am planning for the blog which I am really excited about. Once the details are worked out, I will fill you in.
How about some news…
Taylor Swift was wrapping up a 2 night stand at Bridgestone Arena in downtown Nashville on Saturday (Sept. 26). Throughout her 1989 tour, Swift has invited some of her celebrity to join her stage to perform a song or 2. She’s had Dierks Bentley, Steven Tyler, and on Saturday night, she pulled out the big guns. After the confetti fell, Swift let her fans know that she had a special surprise for them. Out of the wings he came, bounding with energy, rock god Mick Jagger. Together they sang Rolling Stones mega hit “(I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction. After the dust settled, Swift tweeted her followers about her excitement of having this experience. It appears everyone is “cray-cray for Tay-Tay” – even rock royalty.
A Day In The Life:
Country singer Kellie Pickler has a new reality series called “I Love Kellie Pickler” being aired on CMT this fall. The “soft-scripted show” will show people what is like to be a country music star. It will also feature a glimpse in to the day-to-day life she shares with songwriter husband, Kyle Jacobs. The series, which airs on November 5, is being produced by Pickler’s Pal, Ryan Seacrest. She does realize that the music industry is changing, “I think today it’s all about building your brand.” Pickler explains, “And so, I want to do everything. I just want to have fun, and be a part of people’s lives, and tell my story through the form of a song and branch out in different avenues and whatnot.”
You may have noticed that I very rarely bring bad news to the blog. That is intentional. There is so much doom and gloom in the news that I really want to talk about happy or funny stories. But this I felt deserved to be spoken about.
On Sunday (Sept. 27), after being on life support over the weekend following a severe accident, Hunter Montgomery (son of Eddie Montgomery) passed away in a Kentucky hospital. Details regarding the accident have not been released as of yet. The family made the difficult decision to remove Hunter from life support that he had been on since late last week. The country music community has rallied around the Montgomery family, offering words of comfort and support. Join me in sending prayers, love and healing thoughts to the Montgomery’s.
Recently I wrote a piece about belt buckles and featured some photos of my Dad’s collection. There is a part of said collection that really warrants having a piece written on it by itself.
You may or may not have noticed that in that case of buckles, there was a grouping of Hesston buckles. Hesston has been a leader in hay implement manufacturing since 1955. In 1974, as an advertising strategy, they issued their first belt buckles. It was very plain, with just had Hesston written on it. They handed them out to staff, customers and families of employees.
In 1975, the buckles became approved by the PRC Rodeo Association. The buckles featured the words “1975 National Finals Rodeo” for which Hesston was the exclusive sponsor. It also had a depiction of a chute dodging event.
As the years went on, so did the styling of the buckles. They became highly sought after so much so that fake Hesston Buckles began to circulate. The rodeo collection originally designed by Bill Marley, changed slightly after 1983 – which was Marley’s last design. It was for the 25th anniversary of the NFR. It is also where my Dad’s collection (all of which are authentic) starts:
The Clint Scholz Band hasn’t been together for a very long time but that has not stopped them from making a name for themselves. There is something deep and intoxicating about their sound that makes you almost ache inside. Not in a bad way, it just gives you the feeling that they know what you have been through. Clint’s voice resonates and has a rasp that stays with you. The White Lines album definitely makes me want to pack up the truck, hit the road and leave everything behind.
If you have never heard the term “Red Dirt Music”, this band is a pretty good example, although even Clint would say it is more of a cross between red dirt and rock. The term “red dirt” is a phrase coined from the color of the soil in Oklahoma, where the band originates from. Generally speaking, Red Dirt Music can be classified as Americana or alt-country with rock influences. It is safe to say that The Clint Scholz Band hits these notes.
The band is composed of 5 members; Clint Scholz (obviously), Dean Hess, Eric Turner, Dave King and Taylor Smith. All of the band members have had a very eclectic musical background, from country and heavy metal to gospel and classical. Whatever their background, these guys have come together to create a sound that is almost mesmerizing.
I knew if I was lucky enough to have the chance to speak to Clint that I would be in for a real treat. I have been fortunate enough to have had the opportunity to travel through Oklahoma several times and I knew that in general, “Okies” are good-natured, friendly and typically have a great sense of humor about themselves and life in general. Clint did not disappoint. It is interesting to note that he and I are both from smaller communities (his being FAR smaller than mine). One thing you can always guarantee when speaking to someone from a small town is that you will get a weather report. This conversation was no different. Immediately, I felt like I was talking to a friend. It was familiar and comfortable. Clint is from a very small community called Ramona, Oklahoma which is nestled in between Tulsa and Bartlesville. “It’s a pause on a major highway.” But despite the small size, he still lives in the area. I asked him to describe Ramona to me so I could get a feel for how small we were talking about. “Well, it has a really nice small town feel to it. There’s a little sandwich shop and a convenience store.” The town, of course, has a huge hometown sports crowd, especially when it comes to football. Being that he is from Oklahoma, I asked Clint if he felt there was a higher expectation to perform well based on the high volume of country royalty that hails from there (Blake Shelton, Vince Gill, Garth Brooks, etc.) I wanted to know if he felt that pressure. “I think definitely there is,” he started, “Especially when you’re standing in the light of Garth Brooks and Vince Gill and Cross Canadian Ragweed and some of the best country rock bands that are out there.” He went on to say that although it’s great to see what these people have done and what they’ve accomplished, he has a different plan, “I kinda want to do my own thing and set off on my own path.” Vince Gill is especially near and dear to Clint’s heart. “My Mom used to listen to Vince Gill when I was growing up. She had a tape of Vince Gill she used to leave in the truck and I knew that thing forward and backward.”
Since we were already on the topic of the band’s unique sound, which I personally love, I wanted to ask about one song in particular, titled “Can’t Forget About Jack”. I love this song, but apparently Clint and I have very different opinions of it. “Well, about all that. I thought ‘Can’t Forget About Jack’ was probably, in my opinion, the worst song ever written. I was a little inebriated, well, I was whole lot inebriated and I just thought of some fun lyrics and I wrote them down. It literally went from that and I never, ever, ever, Susie, I never should have played it once because now it’s a rather requested song of mine from a lot of people and I think it’s horrible!” He went on to explain, “When it comes to my own personality as a songwriter, I tend to prefer more of the heartfelt songs.”
Based on that, obviously “Can’t Forget About Jack” isn’t typical of the type of songs that Clint was used to writing. So what exactly is his inspiration? “Lately, most everything I write comes from either my own experiences or people who are close to me, their experiences. That’s why a lot of times if I’m going through a phase in my life, you’ll definitely be able to tell in the songs that I write.” We talked about this for a little while. After listening to the White Lines album, I felt an ache. If his inspiration was from personal experiences, all I could think was “Man, I think this guy needs a hug.” I said this to him and he laughed. He assures me that this is not the case and that if you know him personally he is a pretty out-going and happy guy. “My music is pretty heartfelt and it’s pretty slow. I try really hard to grasp people’s emotions and you can really see that in my live performances.”
We chatted a little bit about performances he’s done and places he’s played. He had a great story that involved a drunken old guy in a bar that swore up and down that he had written a song called “Amy”. When Clint invited him up on stage to perform his song, the man didn’t know any of the lyrics. In fact he didn’t know one chord. As we were laughing about the situation, he was reminded of another story. Clint started off by mentioning that he doesn’t hide the fact that he is a Christian and has no problem professing that. Although he has Christian roots, he would not classify his band as a Christian one. I thought this was odd to mention, then I realized that this was a pivotal part of the story. The first project that Clint worked on outside of the church was with a band called Black Water Runs. “This kid came in and tried out for the drummer one time. After he tried out he decided he didn’t like it and he said, ‘Well, you know I got us this gig over there.’ There was this place this place in this town about 40 miles away called The Vine and I had heard of The Vine. It was like a metal venue for a long time.” Even though they were a different genre than what typically played there, they thought it would be an interesting place to play. Clint continued, “We said alright, this gig’s on Saturday or something like that. We’re gonna get all fired up for it. We got our boots on and everything. Our music back then was not so different from what it is now. So we get up there and they put us as the headlining band. There are 4 bands ahead of us. We were headlining that do! So we’re all freaking out! Yeah! That’s gonna be awesome! We finally got a headlining gig! Well, we show up before the other bands started playing because it’s common courtesy to watch the rest of the bands. Well, I’m telling you, Susie, we got up there and the first band is a girl with a piano and she sings nothing but Christian music. Like heartfelt worship music.” The story went from there. Band after band had the same sound. Clint then realized that after speaking to people, it was a worship band concert. Despite the fact that Clint is very comfortable on stage, he admits, “I froze up! I didn’t know what to say! They see us get all strapped up with our banjos and people are thinking it’s gonna be old bluegrass gospel. It’s going to be amazing. So we get up there and start singing these songs and people start leaving by the droves!” Although we were laughing about it, at the time, Clint says, it actually wasn’t funny at all.
The Clint Scholz Band is relatively new and judging from things said on the website, it appears that Clint is a bit of a planner. I know that for those types of personalities (myself being included in that group); a timeline shift can really shake you. I asked Clint how his timeline has changed based on their rapid success. “The problem that we have with our timeline is that we’ve achieved every goal at least 18 months in advance. We weren’t expecting to get as big as we thought in this short amount of time. So, that makes short-term and long-term goal setting really, really difficult. Most of the time I try to dictate to someone else to set those goals. I just get on the bus and play the music.” One of the goals the band has is to play some of the larger festivals in 2016. The band also has a new album coming out next year. He says that it is a bit nerve-wracking because their style is really right in the middle of rock and country. Releasing an album in a genre that is dominated by country-sounding music is also exciting because they want red dirt fans and country fans to develop a taste for it. “The plan is to really push this album,” Clint said. This will include a merchandising plan to go with it.
I moved over to some fun questions with Clint. There was no way I was going to pass up an opportunity like this. He is so laid back and down-to-earth, I felt like I was talking to an old school buddy on the phone. I asked him what some of his comfort foods are. He paused for a quick second, “Ok, here’s the deal and I am ashamed of this, ok. Because it’s not healthy. I am addicted to the new Lay’s dill pickle chips.” I burst out laughing, “Like you don’t understand! My band leader’s Dad works for Lay’s and I buy dill pickle chips buy the case!” (Note to self – if ever going to Oklahoma, bring assortment of dill pickle flavored snacks for Clint.) He had one more for me, “Another thing, I know it’s disgusting, and I can’t believe I am going to say this because my fans might be reading this but…I am a serious pickled garlic addict.” I admitted to him that I also have a pickled garlic problem. Before you knew it, we sounded like 2 people who needed a pickled garlic intervention.
Of course, I also asked what the last photo he took with his phone was. Clint’s response? “There is a picture of me and Gene Collier,” and he admitted to me that he was a little star struck when he saw him.
Please, please, PLEASE check this band out! In fact, I am thinking I may need to take an Oklahoma road trip just to go see them! (If anyone is interested, let me know). Their Facebook link is https://www.facebook.com/Clint-Scholz-Band and their website is http://theclintscholzband.com/
If you aren’t able to make it down south to take in this amazing band, have no fear. Here is a little sample. This is “Can’t Forget About Jack” by The Clint Scholz Band (Thanks Clint, for being a good sport about me posting this video):