Small Town Pistols Interview!
I sat down with Small Town Pistols and you don't want to miss what they've told me!
We talk about Reba McEntire, Trisha Yearwood, Patti Labelle, Brett Kissel and MORE!
They also give me details on the brand new album, new single AND they tell me about the NEW Headliner tour they are about to go on! All here at JesseHazen.com
Congrats are in order for Small Town Pistols, they won 3 out of the 4 CMAO awards they were nominated for. They tell me they did not expect the wins and here is why!
Q: I see you guys were not expecting to win this year, why is that?
Amanda: You know the landscape of country music is very different right now. I mean going into this, as I said earlier on stage, after so many years of playing together, it's like if you’re chasing what is happening right now, you’re always behind. So for us it was just about writing songs that we felt that we connected to and just really sort of cutting our teeth and writing the best songs that we can.
Tyler: I think that “I only smoke when I drink” if you listen to that song and you listen to the current state of country music (and this is not being negative at all about it) it’s not traditional. For someone to release a traditional country song like we did and have people stand up and take note of this, it's not exactly what is "fitting in" right now, so that’s kind of what took by surprise. We are unapologetic about the music that we love and make but when it’s kind of so different than what is playing out there and it resonates with people, it is really cool.
Amanda: It’s blood sweat and tears; it was a very beautiful surprise for us!
Q: Out of all the awards that you have won, which one is your favourite and why?
Tyler: For me personally, I would probably say winning the CMAO for songwriter of the year. I mean that’s what I really try to pride myself in; trying to be the best songwriter that I can. For someone to say that "I Only Smoke When I Drink", that we were the best songwriters of the year in Ontario, that’s pretty damn cool!
Amanda: I think Fans choice for CCMA was another one that was a really really big deal. You know, sometimes these award shows, there is a healthy dose of politics that get thrown into the mix. That’s why you can't go into them thinking “I’ve got this”. If you start doing that, you’re setting yourself up for big failure. Fan choice, that was like no politics involved, it's all about the fans. I think that one was really “rad”. You feel like “ok we are doing something right, they’re speaking back to us”.
Q: New album “Pistology” what song would you say is your favourite?
Amanda: Man, I mean, I ride a fine line between “Ghost” or “Jester In a Crown”
Jesse Hazen: “Jester In a Crown” is my Favourite!
Amanda: Yea! I mean, it’s one of those songs where everyone can relate to it. Everyone knows at least one person who’s a bit of a “Pea cocker”. You wanted so bad to be like dude, you’re not as cool as you think you are, you know.
Tyler: I would say “Ghost”. I love the art of writing songs and I also like the art of writing songs about what people wouldn’t really talk about. Songs usually talk about happiness, love, sadness, and then there’s story songs like the “guilty songs”. You know like: “She’s In Love With The Boy”. We grew up listening to country music in the 90’s where it was dark country songs. “The Night the Lights Went Out in Georgia”, "Independence Day", "Thunder Rolls". Those really aren’t happy songs. A song like “Lights Went Out”, you’re like OMG she killed him. We said "let's write a song that kind of gives you that feeling of like: wouldn’t it be great if you got killed by someone and you could just haunt them for the rest of your life and make their life miserable”. That’s kind of the whole premise of us writing that song and kind of going outside of the rounds of a song like “Can’t Wait To Meet You” that song comes more naturally to us.
Q: You guys are recently new parents, would you say this has changed your career in some way or has it stayed the same?
Tyler: I think the career has stayed the same. It’s just figuring out how to juggle it all, ultimately - That’s what has changed. What has changed would be that before we would be like “you know what. we have a couple of days off in between shows, let's just hang out in a random city”. Now a days we go "we got a couple days off, lets go home and spend those 12 hours with our kids".
Amanda: Yea, I mean it puts everything into perspective. Doing music at this level too I think that there’s a new found appreciation for it, for me. I look at it and I go “I hope this is something that when my kid gets to a certain age he’s sort of proud of what we are doing.
Tyler: Absolutely! My sense of making music shifted, its beyond myself anymore. Everything I do, I do it for my family. Not saying the content of the music is for my family, I’m just saying if I’m going to drive hard, I’m going to drive hard for them.
Q: You guys have been in the business for quite some time now, you started so young. If you think back through all the years, what would your favourite moment be?
Amanda / Tyler: We ended up doing an event to celebrate Michael MacDonald being with Yamaha for 25 years. There was John Mayer when he first came out, Patti LaBelle, Edwin McCain, Steve Winwood. We were all on stage together and Patti LaBelle was holding our hand and singing “Taking It To The Sreets”. It was just one of those moments where a lot of the “who’s who” of music that we were raised on and also that we loved so much, it was just… It felt like a real real moment.
Q: Tell me about the moment when you felt like “wow we’ve made it”
Tyler: for me that moment that was like “Omg we really are doing something” was when we performed at this festival 6 months after the single "26 cents" launched. We were in a field performing for 60000 people. After we knew the single was becoming a hit, Amanda started holding out her mic for the crowd. When we held out the mic that night, we listened to 60000people just singing back to us. That was the moment where I was like “omg we’re actually doing something here”.
Amanda: I would have to agree! A moment when all the hair on your body just stood up. We started out as little kids just wanting to sing with our dad you know. If we weren’t doing it at this level, we would still be doing it and that is not a lie. Any moment we get, we are back at the lake around a bonfire and we are just singing away.
Amanda/Tyler: We try to play "26 Cents" at every show because it’s the song that brought us to the dance you know, it’s the reason why we are here today.
Q: Favourite song to perform live?
Tyler: Living on the outside
Tyler: That song has so much energy.
Amanda: The whole band, you can feel it, it's like magnetic
Tyler: Either that or “Jester” - I like playing on the drum kit, it's really fun.
Amanda: "I Only Smoke When I Drink" because the song is so cheeky. When you get to the part when I sing “I only flirt when I’m drunk” and you can see all the peoples faces in the audience light up, you see that moment right, and I love that, I love it.
Q: What’s next for Small Town Pistols
Tyler: New album is out, several tour dates, Boots And Hearts, fairs and festivals. We are currently in negotiations to be touring with another Canadian act to be co-headlining
Jesse Hazen: Brett Kissel by any chance?
Amanda: It would be really nice but we will see! There are a couple options we are talking about, I’ll be able to tell you very soon!
Jesse Hazen: We CAN'T wait to hear the news!
Q: What would you tell your "younger self" if you could go back to when you first started in the industry?
Amanda: I would say, hold on to every single moment. I think even though we have modern technology now we are able to capture all these incredible moments. We didn’t have that back then. I remember Reba McEntire, the advice she gave me was to keep a journal, and I did! But I think because we were so young and life goes by so fast, I would say take time to breathe and process what is happening.
Tyler: I think I would tell myself to slow down. My problem was that I was a 14-year-old kid. I took every moment in but very fast paced. You don’t always pay attention to details when you’re 14… Pay attention to the career meetings, be a better business person, but just slow down and take it all in.
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