Exclusive Interview: Bart Crow on Parade

bart-crow-the-parade-interview

Texas country chart-topper, Bart Crow, is known for his cheery disposition and infectious smile. Perhaps it has been his good natured demeanor and kind heart (as well as unquestionable talent) that have spearheaded his run to the top of the Texas charts so far, having landed six Number 1 singles. However, Bart is ready to broaden his horizons and conquer the industry as a whole, using every tool in his box to ensure ongoing success.

One of those tools is Bart’s personal experience in the United States Army; the place he first picked up a guitar and recognized his God-given abilities. During his years of service (1995-1998), he also kept a journal, never imagining the therapeutic hobbies would lead to his future.

When Bart left the Army and went to college (for the second time), he opened up his old journals, began strumming some chords, and turned his memories into music. He then began to hear some buzz about a sub-genre of music known as “Texas Country”. Bart began visiting the clubs and became friends with Jason Bowen; an artist he looked to for advice about considering a career of his own in the industry.

We kinda started swapping stories and songs and he was just like “dude, you oughta give it a shot.” I talked to him and I was like “man, what do you think about me picking up a gig?” His philosophical terms to me were “we have the rest of our lives to be old and boring, may as well give it a shot.”

Bart decided to start his life of being not old and boring in a local club, which he was able to pack with friends from college. Getting a taste of the high life on the stage, Bart immediately realized he could get used to that feeling and he was officially bitten by “the bug.”

I never experienced anything like that, and it was a lot of fun. I kinda started writing, and in the beginning when it was exciting and I was tapping into this portion of my head that was created, I was writing a bunch of songs and I just started playing and booking shows. Next thing you know, you look up and thirteen years later I haven’t given up yet.

Even though all of the friends that started showing up from the beginning tapered off from Bart’s audiences eventually, his love for the industry and making music grew. Using his experiences in the Army, times when Bart had never felt so “lonely and homesick,” he developed a niche for creating songs with which his fans could sympathize and empathize. In regard to his Army journal, Bart explained:

It was a pretty loose journal. When I began to write songs and I started kind of tapping into that emotional state I was in of not knowing what the hell was going on and life was upside down. You know, I grew up in a very small farm town in Central Texas of 400 people, and my graduating class, I went to Kindergarten with everyone . . . Next thing you know, you look up and I’m in the Army where you’re an adult overnight and you do what you’re told, and then I’m living four states away. You know, that was pretty tough and so I think that really allowed me, once I began writing, to go back to that emotional state and remember those sad times and lonely times. And the good times! ‘Cause you make like 1,000 friends. It’s not like I was just moping around for three years. But, still, you’re homesick and miss all your real friends and everything and everyone you’ve known your whole life.

On the subject of deviating from the norm, Bart has also stepped outside the box with his musical career, making moves toward notoriety in Nashville in light of his resounding Texas successes. Though the sounds may vary from Texas to Tennessee, Bart’s view of music, in general, is that it isn’t all that different.

There is beauty in well-written songs that speak a truth and are relatable and tug on your heart strings and on your party strings. Then you look at another area of Nashville country and it’s kind of something I don’t get. Almost a fictitious nobody has emotions or feelings. Everybody’s too busy partying in a field or humping on a truck or something. I guess it just depends. . . . And I am definitely not one of the people, and there are many, who make the “Nashville sucks” assumption and Texas versus Nashville, I’m totally not that. I’ve got a billion friends who live in Nashville and I love that city so much. . . .

Part of what Bart loves about Nashville is the legendary Grand Ole Opry, a stage on which he made his debut last month. A moment he described as one that was everything he expected and nothing he expected, all at once. Luckily, Bart spent almost a week in Nashville leading up to his time in the iconic circle, so when the big moment arrived, his jitters were gone and he was able to soak in and remember his entire experience.

I was so scared that wasn’t going to happen and I was going to blink and it was going to be over.

While on the Opry stage, Bart was able to introduce new country fans to his old music and bring new music to old country fans. That new music can be found on Bart’s album The Parade, which will be released this Friday. In describing the new eleven-track project, Bart simply stated, “it’s awesome!” He then explained in further detail:

You know, this record makes me really happy. I’m still searching for who I am. I’ve been like that my whole life. I laughingly go through childhood photos and I’m like “okay, well here’s where I was in my rodeo phase” and I’m headed to a rodeo. And “oh hey, look! There’s my phase when I’m wearing Doc Martens and I’m into dirt bike racing.” “Oh, here’s the phase back into a cowboy hat.” “Oh look! I bought a skateboard!” So, you know, I’ve always been searching for who I am and discovering the artist in me and getting to be a musician is probably the greatest thing that’s happened to me so I can just be me, whoever that is at the time. I think this record definitely portrays that. It portrays my style, my music I’m into, which is everything. This record is extremely eclectic and it shows so many different sides of me, and man, the production is through the roof. The musicians are through the roof and we picked the right songs and, you know, I feel like I made good choices in a couple of my buddy’s songs. . . . I think, in the end, I’ve made the best thing I have made artistically. I think the grooves are there. The stories are there. The musicianship is definitely there. And I just think we made a really, really, really good record.

Bart’s wish for The Parade is that it will touch fans the way records touch him, giving them the opportunities to fall in love with the entire collection, listen to it straight through, and feel moved by each word. Likewise, he is hopeful that those who are not yet familiar with his music will feel like they have been “punched [] multiple times” by the songs.

That would be my hope. That something will grab somebody and just won’t let them go.

One song he is hopeful will create that effect is “Dear Music,” a song with “a cool, cool groove” and a “really gnarly” melody that is a love letter to Bart’s first true love — music. The song was written by Bart, which makes him “not mad,” and also contains a stomp/clap beat of which he is quite proud.

Now that the new music is made and The Parade is days away from its release, Bart has lofty aspirations for what’s next.

I’m probably going to get back into street break dancing. How did I ever get out of it?! What’s next for me is keeping my fingers crossed and continuing my chanting dance and hoping this record will move people, and, with that, we are a touring band. We do 130-140 shows a year. . . . We are road warriors. I hope this record creates massive growth in our fan base so that we can go to new markets, new cities, new territories, and just keeping growing and make this thing we’re doing bigger.

Congratulations to Bart Crow on his Opry debut, and thank you so much for taking time away from street break dancing to speak with us! We wish Bart the best of luck with the release of The Parade and can’t wait to hear what you all think of this hilarious, kind, and talented artist from Texas who is ready to make his way through the streets of Nashville by way of a musical parade.

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