Hope y'all had a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year and didn't get too drunk and then wake up in your friends' bushes. Well, I hope you made some memories this holiday season that you will sit around the campfire in 10 years and talk about with friends. Ones where the nostalgia will just hit you later and bring you back to that special time. Man, there ain't nothing like nostalgia; within a second you can go back and feel and picture some of your best moments, worst moments and anywhere in between. It hits you with a feeling like you are living it in the present day. Well, if nostalgia hits you good, Palmer Anthony's new song is for you. I sat down with Palmer and talked about his single "Letterman", comparing the Nashville and Texas scenes and some of the favorite shows he's played so far.
Get To Know Palmer
"I'm kind of a mut is what I tell people. I was born in a small town 3 hours north of San Francisco, California. And it's not the California you think of. I always say it's the Jon Pardi kind of California, he's from my neck of the woods. I started up there and was the "campfire guy", but didn't really play a ton of music in high school, just knew a couple of chords. I went to college and played baseball in Southern California and realized I didn't like Southern California. I knew it was pretty, but it wasn't my vibe. At 19 years old I was trying to figure out what I wanted to do. 2 years in I quit baseball and finished school about a year and a half early. At 20 I moved to Lubbock, Texas for about 6 months and really liked the Red Dirt scene. A few of the artists in Lubbock said they knew I was "green", but liked my stuff enough to try and help me out. They told me to move to Nashville. I was in Nashville for 4 years and learned a lot, became a much better musician, better songwriter. The first two years in Nashville I got eaten by everyone. I felt like I was behind, most people move to Nashville with some kind of fan base and have played a bunch of shows. I moved so cold turkey it took about 2 years for me to get a grip on things. I did a bunch of odd jobs around Nashville - at a golf course, bartending. At 22, I felt like I was coming into my own as an artist, a songwriter and as a musician, I got really lucky by working at a golf course. I met a guy named Jacquire King who has produced Sex on Fire, Kings of Leon, Chase Rice, Ryan Hurd, has 3 grammy awards and done it all. I got to work in his studio as a writer and he was a big supporter. I feel like by early 23, I started to find my stride as an artist - playing bar gigs and a bunch of shows lined up at fraternities and stuff like that in the south and Texas. Then Covid hit. That threw a wrench in my touring plays, but I spent the time during quarantine writing songs. In November of 2020 I put out a song called "Remember Us" and felt like I started my career in Texas. It seemed like I was writing songs aimed toward the Red Dirt scene and after that song I moved back down to Texas. I was sleeping on a couch for a minute at my buddy’s and playing wherever I could. "Remember Us" made it onto the Texas Pickers Chart. That chart gives a good idea for who's streaming well in Texas and it has a ton of good music on it. A guy down there named Chris Fox saw the song and put it on the chart. There's a manager, Davis Danziger, with Floating Leaf Entertainment. They manage Koe Wetzel, Kolby Cooper and Pecos & The Rooftops. He came and watched us play at a shitty bar in Austin, playing half covers and half originals. That was in February of 2021 and got us on some dates opening for Kolby Cooper, Pecos & The Rooftops and guys like Corey Kent and Cody Hibbard. I'm a big fan of all four of those guys. Since then we've toured with Josh Ward and guys who would be willing to let us play."
A Modern Day Shakespeare
I just call it how I see it and Palmer Anthony is a modern day Shakespeare. Yes, that may seem like high praise, but the dude's songwriting is so poetic and he does it in his own way. The majority of songwriting in Country Music, of course, tells a story but (most of the time) is structured the same way - throwing in some verses, pre-chorus, chorus and a bridge. It may be rearranged a few different ways, but all in all, gives the same feel and sounds just like that. A select group of artists are able to tell a story from start to finish and portray it in their own unique style and paint a picture. You have Cody Johnson, Tyler Childers, Zach Bryan and now make some room for Palmer Anthony, as guys who can make a song sound poetic and are able to make a song breathe. Take Palmer's elite songwriting and "cool as the other side of the pillow" vocals and you have the recipe for a superstar in Texas, Nashville or anywhere else he wants to make an appearance. "Letterman" brings the nostalgia which brings you back to those fall nights during high school football games and that love of your life who you thought you were going to spend forever with. Then it turns from a letter...man, that she reads and always has a part of you to seeing her a few years down the road. She's happy, has moved on and you have to let her, man. A true love story and heartbreak all spun into one song. The dude is an absolute wizard with the pen. Well done.
Inspiration Behind "Letterman"
Written By: Palmer Anthony
"It's funny, the last three songs I've put out have been solo writes, but my bass player, Brady, helped me with a few lines on "Drink To That". I was sitting on that couch in Austin with my buddy. Normal people go to work 9-5 Monday-Friday. For musicians, the weekend is our work week. I'm a huge 50s Country Music fan who likes Hank Williams, Gary Stewart. I love that old sound and I love how a twist in a line just works. The inspiration behind "Letterman" was nostalgia. I think Nostalgia is one of the craziest drugs out there. I was sitting there and saw my buddy had a letterman jacket in his closet. I was humming some words and I think I was listening to Mac Miller's song "Knock Knock" at the time. There's a part where he goes "let 'em in" and I was like is he saying "letterman?" I just knew I could spin that word like 5 ways. Some of the lines were very specific to me, but I feel like most people can relate to the chorus and relate it to a period in their life."
Q & A With Palmer Anthony
Q: What was that "light bulb" moment when you knew you wanted to pursue music?
A: "I would start by saying there were things I didn't like doing, if that makes sense. I didn't like my major in college. I knew there was no way, shape or form I was going pro in baseball. It was a combination of those things when I asked myself, "well, what do you want to do?". In college I majored in screenwriting. Everyone in that class... I would love it if they saw this. They were so pretentious. I'm not a big shit talker, but if your dad wasn't a high level executive in LA they wouldn't care to talk to you. My dad was a small business owner and my mom's a school teacher. I didn't fit in. I wanted to find my place and song-write. It was all those moments put together that made me realize I wanted to pursue music."
Q: Comparing the Nashville and Texas scenes, what are some things you like and don't like about each?
A: "I wish someone would have told me some things when I was 19 or 20 years old. I do think the talent level and centralized talent level in Nashville is crazy. You have all kinds of musicians, writers, any person you need is within a 20 minute drive in Nashville. In Texas, things are more spread out. Like if I want to write with a guy in person in Lubbock, I have to drive 5 hours, or 3 hours to College Station. It's not very centralized. I feel like the Texas scene really applauds and welcomes original thoughts and ideas way more, at least in my situation. I think there's a lot more variety in Texas. There's an art to Pop Country and putting out songs that the masses like and will listen to. I went into a write in Nashville once and pitched a song that I wasn't really feeling. The guy said "well, this is the song that will make money" and he was probably right. There is an art to that. For me, I've always been about storytelling and my music is going to be diving more into broken down stuff, songs that are more red dirt because that's who I am. Both places have pros and cons and most people are very biased one way or another. You have to find the one that fits you."
Q: Who are some people who have significantly impacted your music?
A: "I've had the same band and crew for four years. My brother is my tour manager and he does it all for us, managing, merch you name it. My bass player I've known since the week I moved to Nashville. He's been with me the whole time and has been my roommate for 4 years. My band has been so supportive. They aren't the most vocal, but have told me they don't want to play for anyone else. My parents, I'm blessed to have two parents who are very supportive and are calling all the time. My dad flew out to my show in Corpus-Christi and made a trip out of it. They fly from Northern California and will come watch all of our Texas shows. My mom came to Waco and was loving it. If you surround yourself with people who are just going to pat you on the back you will never grow, but all my close friends, family and band push me, challenge me and also support me."
Q: What have been your favorite shows so far?
A: "The college town scene in Texas, Arkansas and Oklahoma is so fun. There are so many fun places to play, but I'll name the top 3 that come to mind. Stephenville, Texas, that was just the rowdiest crowd I've seen, Tarleton State University is out there. We opened for Kolby Cooper there and they were just amazing. I would say, the first time I heard my song "Drink To That" sung back to me was in College Station, where Texas A&M is. A couple that may surprise you is Fayetteville, Arkansas. We had people come early to watch me and they were rowdy and kind. And I have to give a shout out to Wappapello, Missouri, in the southeastern corner of Missouri. There were 1,200 people when we opened for Pecos & The Rooftops. They were crazy, knew songs and were so fun and into the music."