Hi Noah! Thank you for chatting with Battered and Brewed. Tell me a little bit about how you got into music.
One day I realized that girls liked guitar players better than the catcher on the varsity baseball team. Just kidding! I fell in love with lyrics first. The music came after that. My great uncle used to give me poetry he would write bound up in really nice books for Christmas. Everyone in my family kind of poked fun of the process but to me those words on paper were gold. I started writing songs at a very young age and then just kept digging in learning, meeting new people, dreaming, and growing from there.
You’re based out of Cincinnati. What is the musical lifestyle like there? Do you think you will ever make the move to Nashville?
I love Cincinnati. Technically, I am about an hour outside of the city in Brown County, OH. To me that’s “home” but Cincinnati is an amazing city with a vast musical history. I love the music community and I think it’s really thriving creatively right now. There is a roster of amazing songwriters in this area and the more I can foster that community the better we all will become together. Nashville is incredible as well and for now I am just making my weekly drives down for co-writes, etc. I have been doing that since February 2017 on a steady pace. It’s a long commute but in a weeks’ time of working some joe job in the city I actually am driving about the same as everyone else. My wife and I kick around the idea of moving all the time, honestly maybe daily. However, until it really makes sense, I think we have a good thing going here. We are closer than ever before at taking that dive for sure. My family is deeply rooted here. It’s a great place for our boys to grow up and as long as I don’t get too worn out of the road I think it’s going to make sense in the long run.
Your latest record, “Long Cut,” is wonderful. What is the inspiration behind this album?
I love the art of conversation or in other words the stuff old timers talk about at the gas station in the morning or what the veteran musician complains about at the bar. A few years back, I started talking about the “long cut” that I am on musically. The topic just kept coming up and became a theme over the course of the record. I eventually wrote the song “Long Cut” about the path I have been on musically and within the relationships with my band. I co-wrote it with my band mates Michael Moeller, (mandolin) and Drew Phillips (bass). We all have our different stories of the process. For me, it feels like a lifetime already. I thought I was going to be a rockstar by 19… literally. I have been hanging flyers on car windows during study hall as long as I can remember. Over time, I realized the journey, the process is part of my story. It’s a slow steady pace. It’s a marathon race. Obviously, I am not 19 anymore, but I am still really enjoying the process. I think a huge part of this is the investment we all make in relationships. There are no shortcuts with that perspective. There’s no industry, or devices, it’s just called life.
Which song on the album means the most to you and why?
That’s one of the hardest questions I think you could have asked. I think it would be a shame not to mention the title track, “Long Cut.” It is the story. Sometimes songs seem like they are written to fit a storyline but that song is very much a true story word for word. It sincerely is the path I have been on.
Who do you draw musical inspiration from? Is there anyone you are dying to collaborate with?
Just like every self-proclaimed well-rounded musician, I listen to a lot of different music. I grew up loving punk rock right alongside Paul Simon and Alan Jackson. He might read this and make fun of me for saying it but someone I am a huge fan of is Jacob Powell. I heard his songs the first time at Revival at Tin Roof in Nashville a few years ago and he totally blew me away. I was lucky enough to write with Jacob earlier this year and I think we got a great song together. I love what Brothers Osborne is doing with their music. If I could pick one person to produce a record with me, it would be Butch Walker. Why not right? I want to work with anyone that is creatively fearless and not afraid to run the ship off course a bit to salvage some gold.
What can fans expect from you in the near future? Are you working on new music? Any shows?
I am sitting on a pile of songs that feel like the next step for me and the band. We have been writing more together and I have been co-writing a lot. As much time as we spent on the road this year I can’t help but believe in the songs that have come out of us as a team. We have some more road shows coming up this year as well. We hit 12 states the last year or so as well as Canada. Now we just can’t go away and keep showing up for the fans.
Now onto the food questions…
Cincinnati is known for their famous Skyline Chili. Are you a fan? If so, what do you get when you go there?
There is literally a skyline on the way home to my house regardless of which route you try to avoid it. They are open late so most late drives back home from shows end with two cheese coneys with onions, mustards, and light chili. Most people think the light chili is blasphemy but if you drive the van as much as I do, you would understand.
You just welcomed a new baby, making you a father of three. Congrats! Do you like to cook for your family? If so, what is your favorite dish to prepare?
I will be honest. I do not cook as much as I should. My wife Kandice is incredible and keeps us all healthy and happy in the kitchen. I do love cooking together when we get the chance. It’s one of my favorite times we have together. Anything I can put avocado in I am about it. We love Mexican food so that works out perfectly! Our boys eat like champs. Vegetables, meats, sea food, spicy foods…we really aim to try new things with them, to help open their possibilities and culture as they grow.
Is there anywhere you have wanted to travel or a restaurant you have always wanted to dine in that you have not yet?
Not to just join the cool crowd but I have never had Hattie B’s Hot Chicken and I think it’s about time to make that happen.
Must have food on the road?
Water! You have to stay hydrated. A good health tip for the road is to not eat where you get your gas! A lot of times, that’s a hard thing to do. If we have time to sit and eat a dinner before a show I love to test drive a Rueben Sandwich wherever I can find one. I feel like you can decently gauge a restaurant by how well they can make a sandwich. The guys in the band enjoy a good meal as well so we have been finding a way to take time and eat dinner more and more frequently. If we are talking late night, we forgot to order food and nowhere is open kind of food, then give me a #6 Chicken Supreme with a soft taco and Mountain Dew from Taco Bell.
Finally, if you could eat or have a drink with one person, dead or alive, who would it be and what would you have?
I think I would like to have dinner with Robin Williams. I imagine he would make a joke as he ordered, and I would laugh along, and tell the waitress I would have what he’s having. The conversation alone would be worth whatever dish we discovered. If Robin was busy I would go with the “Seattle” light Sriracha from Daddy’s Dogs, with Babe Ruth of course.
Listen to “Long Cut” on iTunes HERE
Listen to “Long Cut” on Spotify HERE