Country music is a sentimental part of my childhood. I remember my dad had an old guitar in the closet with rusty strings that I was so fascinated by. During car rides I would memorize every word to 90’s country songs. I fantasied about being like Shania, Martina or Faith with a guitar in hand. Later my dreams changed to writing the stories of country musicians. When I visited Nashville earlier this year, the deep melodies of Greg Pratt captivated my heart. He is definitely an artist I play in my car and try to memorize the the words just like I did as a kid. He has the “traditional country sound of tomorrow” that I could listen to on repeat all day. From hard core fast paced guitar pounding songs to soft melodies with deep vocals to tug at your heart strings. Greg Pratt is “sewing up the heart with Different Strings.” Read my interview with Greg to learn about winning his dad’s approval, his responsibility as a songwriter to affect someone’s life and his newly released album!
Q. Take me back to the beginning of your career, tell me how you found your love and talent for music and decided to make it a career aspiration?
A. “I started playing guitar at a young age. I opened up my Dad’s guitar (a top-of-the-line JF-30 Guild American Classic guitar) and I was not allowed to play it, so he put it right back in the case and gave me this old guitar (a weathered Ovation) that was painful to play with rusty strings. I didn’t start singing until right before I moved to Nashville so it was a pass time, it didn’t become serious until the past three years. Once you get it in your mind, you can’t get it out and it has become a career.”
Q. How did you make the decision to move to Nashville?”
A. “I quit college to come pursue this (music), I worked in a kitchen for the first year and did no music because I didn’t know how to get into everything. There would be times when I went home to visit my Dad for Christmas and I didn’t have the nerve to play the song for him. I put a song out to play on radio in 38 states… it was cool to get that phone call from him saying he heard the song and is supportive as a dad.”
“To me, country music has always been around the lyric and what you build around that lyric to send that message to change someone’s life if you can.”
Q. Who’s your biggest musical influence?
A. “I grew up listening to traditional country including Alabama, John Denver, Garth Brooks, George Straight and George Jones. To me, country music has always been around the lyric and what you build around that lyric to send that message to change someone’s life if you can. I feel that’s critical to country music and there’s several ways to do that. One person’s method of getting that point across is different from someone else’s.”
A. What was the inspiration for your latest project? What does it mean to you?
Q. “It’s an album of eight songs called Different Strings, it’s a song I played tonight about my Dad. What I try to do with my projects is have songs that are all different, there are no two songs that sound the same, and they’re not interchangeable. Each one has it’s own story, vibe and feeling that will put you on a different island so to speak when you start the track.”
Q. What do you enjoy or look forward to most about writing, recording or performing music? Tell me more about the process.
A. “Someone told me to treat a song like a kid. I’ve never had a kid, but I’ve raised several dogs. If I treat a song like my dog, it takes time, training, care and develops a lot of different facets over the course of its growth. A song is kind of the same. When you first perform it out you don’t know what’s going to happen, but I play writer’s rounds and play downtown six days a week. The circles I play in allow me to play those originals for a brand new crowd everyday.”
Q. What is a memorable experience for you in your music career and how has it impacted you?
A. “My first one was when my dad actually gave me the guitars. There was an original song of mine and this lady came up and gave me a hug, crying and told me a story about something big that happened in her life and the song touched her in a way that she hadn’t felt in a long time. She said to me to keep doing what I am, my Dad saw that and he decided to give me the guitars. Those guitars are rare and I haven’t seen another one like them.”
“You have a responsibility as a songwriter, down to the individual word, to put it in a way that affects somebody else’s life…”
“Here at The Commodore, I was performing the song ‘What a Minute Really Means’, from my last project. A woman came up and said she lost her son in a car wreck a year ago, his funeral was last winter and she was so dead inside and didn’t even cry, but she cried with me.”
“…If we all adhere to that responsibility it will make an impact.”
“You have a responsibility as a songwriter, down to the individual word, to put it in a way that affects somebody else’s life. You’re playing to speak to someone else and it’s not always about the person performing it. It can be easy to write what’s going on inside of you, but to open that up to speak to someone else and their experiences can be more important. It’s a responsibility for songwriters and performers to deliver that message in a way that someone’s emotions can be dead for months or years but when they hear a tune or set of words in a song, immediately there’s life. If we all adhere to that responsibility it will make an impact.”
Q. What advice would you give to someone who may have a dream in music, but is struggling with having the confidence?
A. “There are several confidence levels; one is actually getting here (to Nashville). My advice would be to not worry as much about what you sound like, but focus on delivering your message and making it a moment. Don’t focus so much about being on key, it’s important, but not what music is all about. It’s about getting that message out to spark emotion in people.”
Q. Can you tell me some of your exciting plans for 2018? What long-term goals do you have for your career?
A. “I’m trying to make sure quality music is made this year and get to the next level. That will take longer than a year, but it’s important not to give up. The website is up so anyone in the world can purchase music and merchandise and open up the opportunity for gigs across the country.”
“Focus on delivering your message and making it a moment… It’s about getting that message out to spark emotion in people.”
Visit www.gregprattcountry.com to support Greg’s music and find upcoming shows!
His new album Different Strings is now available!
Schedule for CMA Week:
Saturday, June 9 – Crazytown 10 a.m. floor 2 and Jason Aldean’s 2 p.m. to 6 p.m.
Sunday, June 10 – Jason Aldean’s 11 a.m.- 2 p.m.
Mellow Mushroom Broadway 2 p.m.- 6 p.m.
Photo Credit to Greg Pratt Facebook and Instagram