Curtis Grimes grew up singing along to George Strait and Alan Jackson but never imagined he would make a career of music. In fact, Grimes wanted to be a professional baseball player. In 2011, Grimes appeared on NBC’s The Voice and made it into the top ten under coach Ceelo Green. From there, Grimes hit the road and began performing his songs across the country. He was honored with the “New Male Vocalist of the Year” at The Annual Texas Regional Radio Award Show in 2014. His latest album is titled Faith Based Country Vol. 1.
SS: In the past, you wrote songs about, you know, partying and alcohol. What inspired you to make a gospel record?
CG: When I entered the Texas country music scene, I started drinking to keep up with the crowd. I am an introvert so the booze helped me relax on stage. Liquid courage. After six or seven years in the business, I wanted to come back to my roots. My family is Baptist and we went to church each Sunday. It became clear that I needed to use this platform that I am blessed with to spread God’s word. I am giving 100% of the album sales to help distribute bibles.
SS: You mentioned on social media that ‘Jesus Loves Me’ is your favorite song on this release…
CG: It is. First, let me say that all eight tracks on this album are cover songs. I wanted to make this record about the message and not about me. The lyrics in ‘Jesus Loves Me’ are comforting and meaningful. I sing it to my baby girl each night before she goes to bed. I think most folks can relate to it. Hopefully, they will sing or hum along with me when they listen to it.
SS: Should fans expect a ‘Faith Based Country Vol. 2’?
CG: Never say never. Right now, I hope ‘Faith Based Country Vol. 1’ catches on with fans. My goal isn’t to make money off this album. This adventure was more than just putting out a record, hoping it sells and getting radio play. It came from where my heart is. I mentioned before that I have a daughter. The next one might be a children’s album. I might do songs for the kids. We will see.
Bri Bagwell grew up in New Mexico and started her first band with her brothers at the age of fourteen. She has spent the last decade making a name for herself in the Texas country music scene. While drawing inspiration from artists like Miranda Lambert and Wade Bowen, Bri enjoys writing songs relevant to her personal life. We chatted with her to see what fans can expect from this latest album.
Q: How did you come up with the title for the new record, “In My Defense”?
A: I didn’t want to name the entire album after a song. That puts too much pressure on one single. I was listening to the record one night and noticed I used the word “defense” in several tracks. That became kind of the theme. This is the woman that I am and the songs will hopefully explain why. I worked with producer, Rachel Loy, and this album took us two years to complete. We didn’t want to rush it. It was recorded at Sound Emporium Studios in Nashville.
Q: In the “I Can’t Be Lonely” video, you played the part of a news anchor. Is that your favorite song on this album?
A: I wrote “I Can’t Be Lonely” while I was in the middle of a break up. I wanted to let to the world know that I was both hurt and ready to party. Stay out late, you know? If I wasn’t a musician, I would be in TV news. However, my favorite song on this album is called “Empty Chairs”. It sheds light on the struggle artists can face while on tour. The rollercoaster of show attendance, ticket counts and record sales. This song is emotional for me. It is a real and raw tune.
Q: Last year, you performed nearly two hundred live shows. Do you have a ritual before taking the stage?
A: The band members and I hold hands and say a prayer before each show. I believe in gratitude. I am so thankful that I get to stand on stage, sing my songs and make money at the same time. Not everyone gets paid to do what they love. I am superstitious. I keep a pair of red boots on stage with me during each show. A glass or two of wine helps ease my nerves as well.
Tanner Fenoglio fell in love with the guitar at an early age. The Nocona, Texas native wrote and performed songs while in college. He took a five year break from his music career to raise a family. Fenoglio is back on the road, but still calls Montague County home. We asked him how he would describe this latest album, ‘Lucky Man’. He told us it was both down-to-earth and close to his heart. It will be available on Oct. 5.
Q: Why did you choose ‘Lucky Man’ as the title track?
A: Well, the whole record took about two years to finish. Most of it was recorded at The Zone Recording Studio in Dripping Springs, Texas. It paints a good picture of the man I am today. I was blessed to have Lloyd Maines, a member of the Austin City Limits Hall of Fame, produce this record. The song ‘Lucky Man’ is a testament to my wife. It’s about the ups and downs of our eight year marriage.
Q: Is that your favorite song on the album?
A: I was probably most vulnerable when I wrote ‘Lucky Man’. I have two other favorite songs on this record, though. One is called ‘Leaving’ and it has John Mills on the saxophone. The other is ‘Even More’. I refer to it as the “friend zone” song. You will have to listen to find out why. Haha. Jackie Darlene sang harmony.
Q: You said you call Montague County home. Do you and the band have plans to perform there soon?
A: Yes! We are having a CD release party in Saint Jo, Texas. It is on Saturday, Sept. 29 at Red River Station BBQ. Jackie Darlene and Cameron Hobbs are the special guests. I thrive off of live performances. This one is going to benefit the non-profit foundation, Veterans Xtreme Adventures. I’m not a veteran but I salute the men and women who sacrifice so much for our country. We hope folks come out, enjoy the show and support the cause.
Singer and songwriter, Cory Morrow, didn’t become a Texas legend overnight. He started playing the guitar as a teen. He dropped out of Texas Tech University in the early 90s to pursue music full time. Morrow has been playing live shows and releasing records for twenty-two years. We recently chatted with the hitmaker about his latest endeavors.
Q: What was the inspiration behind your new album, Whiskey and Pride?
A: Every record that I have ever done is basically a biography of a specific time in my life. If you listen to this album, you can get a synopsis of what has been happening with me over the last couple of years. Writing is therapeutic for me. I have five kids. I have found my way to faith and I am living my life in that direction. We still play songs about strippers and beer, haha. But now, we also incorporate songs in our shows that have a more spiritual meaning. Whisky and Pride is a reflection of that.
Q: When people listen to this record, what do you want them to take away from it?
A: I am very happy with the way Whiskey and Pride turned out. We recorded it The Zone Recording Studio in Dripping Springs, Texas. I like the way my voice sounds. The words are meaningful. The whole album moves me. I hope when people listen, they feel the same way. The songs are both similar and different from what we have done in the past. Right now, my favorite track is “Top Of My Heart”. It is about learning how to fully love someone. But, like any artist, my favorite song on a new album changes all the time. There are also a few cover songs for fans to enjoy.
Q: There are so many Cory Morrow Band fans out there. What can they expect next?
A: We are crazy busy right now. Excited to get Whiskey and Pride out there for people to hear. Before the end of this year we are going to record a live concert at the Polunsky Unit prison in Livingston, Texas. In May 2019, we are trying to get together a family friendly festival in San Marcos, which is close to where we live. Then, in June, we are hosting with Mitch Royer a Holy Land Tour in Israel. It will be a once in a lifetime, memorable experience. Fans can check out our website for more information on that.
Zac Stokes comes from a family of musicians. He began picking the guitar at the age of five. Stokes is inspired by artists like Waylon Jennings, Chris Stapleton and his father. His latest album, ‘Reckless’ was produced by Bart Rose. It was recorded at Fort Worth Sound. Stokes and his band are currently on the road, playing shows across Texas and making a name for themselves in the country music scene.
SS: Why did you choose ‘Reckless’ as the title track?
ZS: The single ‘Reckless’ is personal for me. It is about getting out of a toxic relationship. I was thinking about settling down and she was into that single lifestyle. I didn’t want to stick around and get hurt. The whole album isn’t just about my experiences with love, though. People are reckless in a lot of ways. With their choices, money, etc.
SS: Is it your favorite song on the album?
ZS: No. I would have to say ‘Diana’ is my favorite. Diana is a pseudonym. She can be anybody or anything. It is about addiction. I hope our fans can relate to that. The band members and I love to party. We don’t hold anything back. What you see is what you get, you know? It is black and white. There is no gray area.
SS: What do you want fans to take away from this record?
ZS: That ‘Reckless’ didn’t happen overnight. I took my time and put everything I have into this album. The guys and I are on tour right now. Our band is great. We hope people come out and have a badass time. Enjoy the show. For us, being on stage and performing live is a high unlike anything else.