Nothing better than sitting down with a fellow Yankee and watching his career unfold in Music City. Blaine Holcomb has consistently been pumping out traditional country tunes that are good for the soul. I sat down with Blaine and we talked about growing up in Upstate New York, advice he would give his younger self and about his song "Keep Your Line In The Water".
Get To Know Blaine
"I grew up in Hamilton, New York about an hour outside of Syracuse. I started playing guitar when I was in 5th grade at the age of 11. I played throughout middle and high school as a hobby and was taking some lessons to improve. I played some gigs around town and had a high school band, but I also played sports growing up and I was more focused on that at the time. However, when I got to college and sports ended for me that's when music became my main focus. I went to St. Lawrence University, which is in the North Country part of New York. I got to be known around campus as "the guy that played guitar". During my sophomore year I entered the Texaco Country Showdown, a competition sponsored by my local radio station, Big Frog 104. I won the local level of it and as a result, I got noticed by a regional band called the Fulton Chain Gang. They were a country cover band that played around central and upstate New York and had a 20 year history. Their lead singer was about to retire and they needed a new front man. They had me audition and I played with them for 3 years during college. After college I made the decision to move down to Nashville."
Consistency Is Key
Nashville is full of talented artists, but the biggest flaw I see is a lack of consistency and releasing music that doesn't always draw people's attention. Well good thing Blaine is not one of them. He has released songs with great meaning and that showcase his phenomenal songwriting ability. Blaine's sound reminds me a lot of Brad Paisley; full of presence that draws your attention with each line. "Keep Your Line In The Water" was released on July 30th and later featured on his new EP "Over a Beer". In case you are wondering where traditional Country Music went, no worry, Blaine Holcomb has you covered.
Written By: Blaine Holcomb & R. John Montgomery, Produced By: Jay Brunswick
Inspiration Behind "Keep Your Line In The Water"
"This was actually one of the first songs I wrote when I moved down to Nashville. I wrote it with a college buddy of mine. It wasn't a traditional co-write where we were both in the same room with guitars, laptops, and whatever. We were on the phone one day and my buddy was getting into fly fishing at the time and one thing he said was "you just need to keep your line in the water”. I knew there was a song in that. When we started writing this thing, he was living in New York City and I was down in Nashville. It was a back and forth thing. I came up with the chord progression and the melody and then I would send it up to him to work on. Between the two of us we pieced this thing together, and it turned out that we’d written a pretty cool song. I wrote it about my grandfather. I was really close with both of my grandfather's, growing up about 5 minutes away from both of them. My mom's dad passed away when I was a freshman in high school. He was a big bass fisherman, had a bass boat and taught me how to bass fish. He used to take me out on the lake all the time. That's where the song "Keep Your Line In The Water" came from. A tribute to my grandfather."
Q & A With Blaine Holcomb
Q: What was the "light bulb" moment where you knew you wanted to pursue Country Music?
A: "For me, it would probably be when I started playing with the Fulton Chain Gang. Until that point, I considered music a hobby. I played for 3 years with them all around the New York area playing everything from dive bars to county fairs. We opened up for several national acts including Josh Thompson, Easton Corbin, Justin Moore and several other major artists. They were all great experiences. I was able to get some exposure and play in front of a few thousand people. I had never done that before. It was during that time when I realized what I was doing musically. A couple of my buddies told me when I graduated I should just move to Nashville and give music a shot. So when I graduated, that's what I did."
Q: What's your favorite thing about Nashville?
A: "I like the small town feel of Nashville. For me, coming from rural upstate New York, it’s a good fit. A lot of people don't understand there's a whole lot more to New York than just New York City. I grew up 6 hours north of the city in a farm town. Nashville has a similar feel to Upstate New York in a lot of ways. I live outside the city and it feels kind of like home to me. Even though it's a bigger city and there is so much to do, it still has that small town vibe."
Q: What are some of your most influential moments so far in your music career so far?
A: "I would say that one of the big things I’ve experienced, which has been very valuable to me, is meeting songwriters who are well known and respected. Songwriters who have been in the industry for 20-30 years and written a bunch of big hits. I get to hangout with some of them and pick their brains. One of the best pieces of advice I got came from Kerry Kurt Phillips, who told me that the key to being a good songwriter is to be able to look at your own songs objectively and realize when they aren't good. I thought that was kind of cool. I feel like so many of us move to town, write a few songs and think those songs are really good. The first step to becoming “Nashville Good” is being able to sit back and compare your work to others and know what to improve and make better. Another time I was writing a song with Don Sampson, who is a hit songwriter, and he told me that if you really want to do this as a career... you will do it. Sounds simple but it is so true. The people who stick around this town and keep grinding are the ones that eventually make it."
Q: If you could go back 5 years, what advice would you give your younger self?
A: "I would probably say to write more. I've written a good amount of songs since moving to Nashville but I always feel like I could be writing more. Also, this may sound funny, but I would definitely say to focus on social media more. I do a decent job at it and I try to stay on top of things. I don't love it, but it's very important for exposure, growing your fanbase and following, and establishing your brand."