Alaskan native country music artist, Doug Briney, embodies all things country. This God-fearing family man, with the warm baritone voice and love for all things southern, has released his album titled Super Country Cowboy, a brilliant and heartfelt collection of compositions from some of today’s best country songwriters. From the Charlie Daniels-meets-Big & Rich-influenced title cut to the inspiring, “I Get To” and the patriotic anthem, “Unknown Soldier,” Doug delivers nine emotion-filled, hook-laden tracks that are purely heart-felt, passionate and proud to invoke all the best that is American: love of God, family and the US of A.
With the release of his debut album, It’s All Country, in early 2012, Doug showcased his signature sound, which he cultivated from years of touring camps, churches and conferences across the US. Blending traditional influences from country music’s past, like the Gatlin Brothers and Kenny Rogers, with modern contemporaries like Toby Keith and Trace Adkins, Doug created an original, honest and authentic sound all his own.
A 2013 move to Nashville, Tennessee has brought Doug to the epicenter of the country music industry. Grateful for being able to live his dream of performing and recording music, he has gladly given back to his community in a big way. Surrounded by a history of veterans and military service in his family, (his son currently serves in the Air Force) Doug works with Bright Star International and Heart Songs For Veterans. He donates 100 percent of his proceeds from the sale of the single, “Unknown Soldier” to Operation Troop Aid. Doug partners with Musicians On Call, delivering the healing gift of music to hospital patients in Nashville. Doug has also recorded a new song, “Parkinson’s” to raise awareness of the disease.
An ordained pastor, Doug served at the Cowboy Church of Anchorage, Alaska, prior to his family’s relocation to Music City, USA. He is currently serving as a pastor with North Pointe Community Church in Old Hickory, Tenn. In fact, it’s his unwavering faith and love of country music that has led Doug on his journey. “I have come to know and love the cowboy lifestyle through country music…it is who I am now, who I have been and who I will always be,” Doug said.
Q. Take me back to the beginning of your career, can you tell me how you found your love and talent for music and how you decided to make it a career aspiration?
A. “I sang my first song when I was two years old in church. I grew up doing music and my genre of choice was country. I grew up singing in church in youth choir and started playing in band when I was in elementary school. I did that through college where I majored in vocal performance. When I graduated from college I started leading music in churches for 26 years. Nine years ago I entered a country competition in Alaska at a local radio station and had a lot of fun with it. That led me to pursue music outside of the church.”
Q. Who played an important role in developing your career goals and making the decision to take fate into your own hands, move to Nashville, to pursue a career in country music and make dreams into a reality?
A. “The biggest influence has been my wife, she has been supportive. It’s not easy to pack up the family and move from Alaska where we lived for 21 years. My manager, Michael Stover, was very instrumental as well. It was not easy to make the decision to move, but I am glad we did and it is going well.”
Q. I share spiritual inspiration on my site and I read you are a pastor. Can you tell me more about how your faith plays a role in your journey to music?
A. “I have led music in church for 26 years and pastored for the past ten years. I started the Cowboy Church in Anchorage, Alaska. Now in Old Hickory, Tennessee I am serving as the interim pastor at the church we attend. The decision to move here was a matter of prayer to leave the friends and community we knew. I told everyone in the church in Alaska I was praying about the decision to move and they said this would be great for you and is what you need to do. They saw this was an area where God is working in my life. The support of my church and family played an essential part in making that choice.”
Q. How do you deal with obstacles and setbacks in life and how does your music play a role?
A. “It (setbacks and obstacles) influences how I’m singing and feel at the time. It can affect my performance, though I try giving 100 percent in every performance to make it better than the last. I am probably my own worst critic, and really evaluate my performance. My faith, my family and my music all come together when I face adversity and challenges come up. We talk about it as a family and pray for those problems. When I perform I try to rise above those things and most people have no idea what my family or I are going through. I can’t be my best performing when I am worried about something my family is going through. It (managing his music career with family) comes down to a matter of priorities. Faith comes first, my family second and my music third. So when I’m facing adversity the first place I go is in that list of priorities. I write music about it too. Great country songs come out of adversity.”
A. “My genre of choice has always been country music. Super Country Cowboy is sort of autobiographical. It talks about faith and family. It talks about choices and the things I’ve done wrong in my lifetime. It’s simply called ‘The Choices You Make’. I talk about being a protective dad. I have three boys and one daughter. There is a song about a dad who takes the protectiveness of his daughter a little too far, so it helps keep me in check. Every song on the album has personal meaning to me.”
Q. What advice would you give to someone who may have a dream or desire, but is struggling with taking the steps to make them a reality?
A. “Hewn your craft. Become the very best you can be. If you want to be a singer, don’t just sing in the shower. Go get voice lessons, learn how to control your breathing and pitch. Learn all you can about your voice. If you’re a guitarist go take lessons and become the best you can be. While you’re dong that, be honest with yourself with criticism and praise for things done right. I will listen to my rehearsals and may say it stunk and may say everything went right. Be honest in your evaluation and get it from other people as well, not just family and friends, but people you trust to be honest. Then work your butt off. Work, work, work. This is not an easy industry; it is competitive and hard, so stay with it. You may hear ‘no’ a hundred times before you hear a ‘yes’. Don’t take it personally, they don’t know you and it is a business decision for them. Just keep hammering down those doors and soon those no’s will turn to yes’s. Stay with it and if you really believe it, go after it, life is too short.”
Q. Can you tell me about some of your best experiences so far in your career, some memories playing and how they have impacted you?
A. “One of the best ones was also one of the most disheartening ones. I traveled down to Buffalo, Texas (for a show), it was supposed to be a packed out place. Everything was set and everything had been done for publicity and promotions. Several hundred people said they would be there and it was going to be great. I got there and it was the worst ice storm Texas had seen in ages. Everything was shut down. There were three people at the concert and it was really disheartening, but I went ahead and singed my guts out. I had a very intimate concert with those three people that were there. I started singing a Brooks and Dunn cover of ‘Bleed’ and one of the ladies bursts out in tears crying. After the song we started talking and I found out she had lost her husband two weeks prior. The song touched her and meant a lot to her. For me it was a high point because I felt like I was supposed to be there to encourage her and pray over her. If there had been a large group there, I may not have had that opportunity. Even though it was a low point having traveled and cost me money, it was still a high point knowing how my music touches people.”
Q. At the beginning of a year, many people make resolutions or goals. Can you tell me some of your exciting plans for 2015 and some goals you have for your career over the next year or on into the future?
A. “One of my loftiest goals as an independent artist is to sing on the Grand Ole Opry stage by the end of this year. I had it set as a goal for last year, didn’t make it, but am still pursuing it. I am a firm believer that those who aim at nothing in life are rarely disappointed, so I aim high and shoot for that. I did 114 performances last year, only three of those performances were with my full band. My other goal is to do 50 performances with the full band by the end of the year. I really want to get out with my band on some bigger stages and have a lot of fun.”
Doug has been named among the top artists on the Roots Music Report’s Best of 2014 year-end charts with two singles on the True Country Songs year-end chart, “Super Country Cowboy” and “Unknown Soldier”.
Doug is nominated for Male Vocalist of the Year at the inaugural New Country Music Association Awards. He is also nominated for the 2015 Nashville Universe Awards for Entertainer of The Year, Male Vocalist, Song of The Year – Unknown Soldier, Video of The Year – Unknown Soldier, Shooting Star award and Musician of the Year. Vote for Doug by February 1st at http://thenashvilleuniverse.com/page/nashvilleuniverse-awards .
To learn more about Doug Briney and get information on his music and tour dates visit www.dougbriney.com.