Cody Bryan is finally catching is breath following the 2013 release of his debut country album Wreck Me, an electric, driving set that goes from zero to 180 in the blink of an eye. With each of the project's slender 10 tracks, the singer-songwriter, who admittedly lies somewhere between the smoothness of Luke Bryan and the dirty grit of the Randy Rogers Band, perfectly blends his Texas roots with a slick, polished mass-appealing journey. In many ways, the album is a statement record "This was our first album, so we wanted to set the tone for who Cody Bryan Band is," he reveals to NashvilleGab in an exclusive sit-down interview, surrounded by the bubbly chit-chat of Edgehill Cafe.
It's a blazing summer afternoon, and as I approach, Bryan leans forward in his seat, beaming from ear to ear. As one of country music's finest newcomers and musicians, he sure knows how to handle himself when dealing with the press. His demeanor is poised and confident, as he chuckles when talking abou this favorite Cafe drink. It is this delivery that is quite evident on the record; even his vocals possess an innate theatrical element. I even point out his matching arena-sized tone to Broadway and film star Adam Pascal (most known for his work in Rent). "I can’t say I’ve ever had anyone compare my style to Adam Pascal, and honestly I’m not familiar with his stuff. You’ve inspired me to go check out his stuff though!" Bryan says, inching closer (as the rustling of chairs and boisterous talk begins to cut through our conversation).
Having recorded the album, which includes standout tracks "Good At Being Bad" and "A Shot In The Dark," in his hometown of Austin, Texas, he explains how that directed his aristry. "A lot of our influence comes from [there]. There are a lot of great bands that play here with many different styles. I think we’ve pulled a lot of our influences from this and also from a lot of the other Texas Country artists that we started listening to years back, such as Randy Rogers, EYB, Creager, and Ragweed."
Admittedly, he has yet to record on the brightly dazzling Music Row, and doesn't have plans to anytime soon. "For the next record we plan to record at Orb Recording studios in the Austin area, and in fact have already cut three tracks there that we plan to put towards our next record. I’m not gonna say we will never record in Nashville though. Who knows what the future may hold," he says.
And when you take a listen to Wreck Me, you'll find yourself relating to many of the songs,as such common themes as "being in love, broken hearts, and good times" are threaded from start to finish. He says, noting that exploring his more vulnerable side isn't hard, after all, "Music is something that I feel needs to be genuine. The only way to be genuine is to really lay it out there."
When Bryan sets about creating, he doesn't let outside trends (i.e. mainstream radio) influence or sway his integrity. "I try to stay away from writing based on a certain formula," he says, rather frank. "There are certain artists that I listen to and take away a lot from, so certain radio trends just happen naturally."
Two of those ubiquitous trends you'll find in any Bryan or Florida Georgia Line or Jason Aldean tune is hip-hop and rap breakdowns. Bryan just might take his spin at it in the future, or not. "Not gonna rule it out," he says of the possibility. "One of the guys that I write with (AJ) was a rapper in the past and still dabbles. Maybe we’ll get him rapping on a track someday; who knows?!"
After laying down songs in the studio and making his way out onstage, he tries "to put myself back in the situation that the song is about" in order to bring the same energy to his live performances. He adds, "The studio is most definitely different than being on stage and singing in front of a live audience. It’s tough to get that energy when you’re singing in a vocal booth to the walls in the studio."
"When singing on stage this energy really just happens more naturally. Your blood is already pumping when you’re feeding off the crowds energy," he says.
Previously, Bryan dabbled in a bit of alternative rock, before transitionaly completely to down-home country. And he doesn't have any regrets. "I’ve always had country music in my bones. If you listen to my alternative rock stuff it has always had somewhat of a country structure to the lyrics and guitar parts. Also, country fans are some of the most loyal fans around. It’s great having that support," he says.
If fans are already itching for new Bryan music, don't fret. An EP is on the way! "We just finished tracking three songs to put towards our next album," he hints. "Be on the lookout for those. Looking to release a few of them as singles."
He adds, "[We're] hoping to release in the spring of next year! We have three tracks recorded and lots of other material in the works."
Grab a copy of Wreck Me on iTunes now!
Photos courtesy of Cody Bryan
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