Specifically, roughly 10 years ago to the year 2011 when the band released their second studio album Firewater (also the name of their upcoming festival).
There’s a song on that incredible record called “Guitar Picker” that’s a pretty personal solo-write from frontman Cody Cannon. It’s all about embracing the fact that he’s not trying to make a living playing music for money or fame, but rather because it’s what he loves most.
Not only does it make for a great story today since they’ve seen their fair share of success with amazing music, it’s extremely solid advice to anyone trying to make it in country music or any other genre for that matter.
Cody talked a little bit about what specifically inspired the song, and as it turns out, a friend of his stepdad’s had encouraged him not to try to make it in the music business back when he was a teenager (I know, it’s pretty laughable to hear that now):
“I wrote this song, actually I wrote this song a pretty good while ago, it’s probably the oldest song that’s on the album that I wrote.
When I was young, probably about 15 or 16, me and my stepdad were ridin’ around, went to a buddy of his house and I just started kinda playin’ around on the guitar and singin’ a little bit. And, he had been in a bunch of bands and stuff.
And he told me, he was like, ‘Oh you’re pretty good, but don’t ever do this or follow this life. ‘Cuz you’ll just end up old and broke, you know. Pourin’ all that good stuff.'”
Imagine being the one who told him he should never play music for a living…
Thankfully, he never took that advice and ended up with a pretty kickass song out of it:
“So a couple years later, I was just sittin’ around and I was just like thinkin’ about how I was actually, I wasn’t old, but I was a broke guitar player, singer, whatever, and I was sittin’ around and wrote this song.
So this is kind of a play off that.”
The very first verse beautifully describes the entire thing, and I love hearing artists tell stories like this because I think it’s encouraging to anyone following any sort of dream that it’s damn sure worth trying:
“I remember back when I was sixteen I was sittin’ around pickin’, just my pops and me When his friend walked up in a cowboy hat Said “I like what your doin’, but it ain’t worth sap
I see this road will leave you cold and alone Old and broke and just a bag of bones So you better take heed to the words I say Stay quite clear of that lost highway.”
And, check out a baby-faced Cody tell it himself, and treat fans to a knockout acoustic version of the song: