Discovering new talent in Country Music, you never know who you're going to come across. It was a regular New Music Friday and Blaine Bunting and his catchy tune "Alcohol You Up" popped up. My eyes grew wide, a diamond in the rough.... there's no better feeling than finding a new song to blast through your radio speakers. I sat down with Blaine and talked about his single "Alcohol You Up", growing up in a musical family, as well as how important the business and management side of music are in Nashville.
Get To Know Blaine
"I'm from Liberty County, Georgia, which is close to Savannah. I got started in music early; my whole family played music, so I've always been around it. My family is the source of my inspiration and responsible for the little bit of knowledge I have with music. I started playing drums when I was about 12, then started singing in front of people when I was 14 or 15. Hell, by 16 I was playing in local bars, with "x's" on my hands since I couldn't drink. I've been doing music for a while now. I'm 27, so I'd say I've been playing and singing music for about 11 years. I moved to Nashville a little over 4 years ago."
Traditional Country And Some Southern Flavor Are Always A Good Combination
"Alcohol You Up" brings a refreshing feeling to the air. Not over-produced, no watered down lyrics and true passion for Country Music coming out of the pipes of Blaine Bunting. I feel like a little too much alcohol always seems to complicate just about any situation. Nothing like the Sunday scaries - regretting getting hammered the night before and questioning your entire existence. Hey, who knows, you may have blacked out and texted an ex or bought the whole bar a round and dropped $500. Regardless, Blaine puts words to a feeling that is familiar to many of us. During the week you are busy so you never get around to thinking about an old flame or that crazy ex. But as soon as that jack and coke or cold natty light hits your bloodstream, your emotions flip and you feel those old feelings rushing back. See for me, there is no in between. Either I get drunk, want to be the life of the party and have the night of my life or I sit on a barstool thinking about a girl I talked to for like two weeks. No in between. A solid debut single for Blaine as "Alcohol You Up" is close to 10,000 streams on Spotify.
Inspiration Behind "Alcohol You Up"
Written By: Blaine Bunting & Justin Dukes, Produced By: Jeff Siptrott & John Frisch
"So originally, I had an idea for "Alcohol You Later" and brought it to my buddy Justin Dukes. I wrote it with Justin; he's an amazing songwriter. We've written together before, but had used his ideas. For once, he was happy about one of the ideas I brought to the table. We talked about it and then met up at his apartment. Before we started, he said "let's make sure this isn't a song already". Sure enough, we found that Mitchell Tenpenny has a song called "Alcohol You Later" and I was like "damn, I thought I finally had a cool idea". Going forward in the write, we changed the title to "Alcohol You Up" and went from there. We didn't listen to Tenpenny’s song and made our own. That way we weren't guided one way or another. We finished the song and decided if it's good enough we will keep it. I was very happy with how it came out and definitely knew it was something I wanted to release."
Q & A With Blaine Bunting
Q: What was that "light bulb" moment you knew you wanted to pursue Country Music?
A: "That's a tough one man. I think on and off since I was younger, especially being around my family playing music all the time. Seeing my grandfather, my dad and my uncles perform and everyone loved them for it. Seeing how they could control a room by just playing music was very touching as a kid. When I got older and was performing myself, I could feel the love, support and energy. It's a really cool thing and a huge adrenaline rush. From an early age, I played at my parents' shop. They had a stage with a PA and neighbors would come over and watch me play and I saw my family and friends supporting me. From there, music was something I wanted to do for the rest of my life."
Q: Who are some artists and songwriters who influence your music?
A: "Like I said, my family played music so I listened to them play a lot of the older stuff. Artists like Gene Watson and Johnny Rodriguez and Marty Robbins. I loved their writing, how they sang and their overall great voices and personalities. Keith Whitley is another one influence, along with Merle (Haggard) and Waylon (Jennings). I would say a lot of older traditional country artists, even though "Alcohol You Up" doesn't necessarily sound like that. As far as how I think about songs and how I approach Country Music, it has to be all the people that I named. But the list is so long for who influences my music; it's hard to pick just one."
Q: What's been your favorite performance you've put on so far?
A: "I've had a few crazy shows, especially playing on Broadway. I would say, if I have to narrow it down, there are two shows that come to mind. It was years back, I was playing a 4th of July show close to my hometown in Richwood Hill. There were thousands of people and it was very hot. The other show, we got to open up for a band called The Lacs in South Carolina. It was very fun. It was packed and the energy we got back was amazing. The fans wanted us to keep playing which was really cool for being the opening act. First time I've ever been asked to do an encore. Doing one for pretty much an opening act was something special and very humbling. I also had underwear thrown on me. I don't know how that fits in."
Q: If you could go back 5 years and give your younger self advice what would it be?
A: "5 years ago I would have told myself to write more and also to take more time to understand the business and management side of music. When I was younger, we had a lady who did those things for us and I took it for granted. Didn't really take the time to learn from her. There were important things she could have shown me. I'm here in Nashville doing it on my own now. I would have told myself to be more outside the box. It's one thing to do music for fun, but when you want to do it for a career, there is so much more that goes into it. Be aware of that. Also, I would tell myself to try and be better each and every day. I would have told myself to move to town sooner too."