From an outsider’s perspective looking in, it’s easy to see that the process of trying to become a big time star in Nashville is absolutely grueling.
From the time every bar opens, to the time every one of them closes, musicians are rotating in and out like there’s no tomorrow, and artists probably feel like a small fish in a massive pond.
And then across town, songwriters are desperately trying to get someone to hear their songs, balancing multiple jobs to pay the bills and often times writing in offices with complete strangers hoping to spark some magic.
And of course, it’s even harder for somebody who wants to play country music how they want to play it, without having to be a hand puppet of a big time label in Nashville.
You can find yourself spinning your wheels for years…
That’s the situation independent country artist Ward Davis found himself in, and one night he had finally had enough of it.
That’s when he flipped on the TV, and the moment that changed the trajectory of his career happened.
He told the story in a Facebook post:
“Eight years ago today, I plopped down on my couch after a bullshit gig, for bullshit pay, for a bunch of ungrateful despondent tourists in Nashville.
I plopped down on the couch, said ‘fuck this shit,’ and turned on my TV right about the time Conan O’Brien said ‘…his new album, ‘Metamodern Sounds in Country Music’ is out now. Ladies and gentlemen please welcome Sturgill Simpson!’
The guitar lick for ‘Living the Dream’ kicked in, and I thought, ‘Great. Some asshole trying to sound country.’ Then Sturgill started singing. I sat up on that couch like 1990 naked Elle McPherson had just walked in the room. Holy moly. I’ll never forget it.
I had everything downloaded by the end of the first chorus. That moment meant a lot to me. It was when the whole ‘I don’t need Nashville,’ thought entered my brain.
Eight years ago today. And here we are.”
And the rest is history.
So, thank God for Sturgill Simpson, because he helped inspire another fantastic independent country star in his own right.
And while your at it, be sure to check out Davis’s latest single and music video for “Another Bad Apple.”