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CountryMusicRocks Interview With Steve Wariner

Photo By Joe Hardwick
Photo By Joe Hardwick

Award winning recording artist Steve Wariner recently released his new album, It Ain’t All Bad.  The album features twelve tracks all written or co-written by Wariner, and serves as the first non-instrumental album for Wariner in the last eight years.

CountryMusicRocks got the chance to chat with Steve Wariner about his new album release.  When asked how he would best describe It Ain’t All Bad he told us, “The album, for me, is definitely the most diverse project I’ve ever done. It’s all over the map style wise, and I think that is a good thing.”  Wariner continues, “I had gone a pretty good while without doing a non-instrumental album. A lot of my fans had reminded me of that when I played shows and with some of the emails that I got, and I really realized that it had been a while.  I think because of that, and looking back at all the songs I’d collected through that period, they were just all my favorites. I don’t know why, I just picked all the songs that I loved, loved, loved, and went in the studio and it turned out to be It Ain’t All Bad. Therefore, I think it is a wide variety of styles and genres of music but it is all stuff that I love. Songs that wouldn’t leave me alone.”

The album is comprised of 12 solid songs that listeners will enjoy from start to finish.  We asked Steve if it was difficult selecting the songs for this album and he shared, “Yeah, it really was. In fact I know of 3 or 4 songs right now that I wish was on this album. I loved the songs but it came down to what would fit and what would work. I actually started out with close to 50 songs and I started to narrow it down.  I think we cut 15 songs and it went on down to 12. But these are my favorite songs, the ones that we did.”

Wariner shared some of his favorite moments recording his new album.  One moment that stood out to him was having his son Ryan join him in the studio.  “My son Ryan came in [to the studio] with me, and he’s a really guitar guru and a tone guy. One of the fun things with him coming in is he played on the track “What More Do You Want,” he’s playing the slide guitar tracks on that. He also kind of hung around and helped me out. I loved the advice he was giving me. I kind of utilized him as my consultant on this project. It was really fun, he and I, working together.”

In addition to having his son join him in the studio, Steve also enjoyed writing for this album. “Another part that really sticks out is some the writing. For example Bill Anderson and I wrote “I Want To Be Like You.”  Bill had started it with a great writer Tom Shapiro. Bill came out to my place and we worked on it and finished it.  That was a really cool day. We were reminiscing about our families and that song is a real story song about really admiring and looking up to your son. He has a son who is a pilot so it was pretty interesting watching his emotions and his take on it.”

“Kent Blazy and I wrote “Spokes in the Wheel” and he had just got back from a hike at Radnor Lake. We started talking about that lake and saying ‘Gee I hope it is there 50 years from now and that the future generations will take care of it,’ and the song really came out of that. We are all just spokes in a wheel turning around together and hope we take care of this planet for our grandkid’s kids, and so forth.”

Another favorite moment for Steve throughout this recording process was that he recorded some of the songs at Garth Brooks‘ studio. “I cut [songs] down at Garth Brooks’ studio. He let me come in and use his studio down on Music Row, it’s called Allentown.  We cut almost half [the album] at Garth’s place.  It was a lot of fun. I normally don’t cut anywhere but my own studio, but I really wanted to cut down there. There was about four songs I wanted to cut at his place and he was kind enough to let me come in.  He wouldn’t let me pay him.  I told him I would be happy to pay, but he told me all I owed him was some taco bell.” (“I still owe him by the way” Steve laughs.)

Steve gave us further insight into the album titled It Ain’t All Bad“I thought about the very last song, A Thousand Winds. It talks about when I’m not here, what I leave behind and how I’m really not going to be that far away. I thought about that and I liked what that said, but I then I got thinking and thought that is too serious, too stoic. So I started thinking about what else was on this project, what other song titles might work. Although “It Ain’t All Bad” is not great grammar, I still thought what it said was pretty cool. I totally understand where I am in my career at this point in my life. I’m a realist and I know how that all works, I’ve been here a long time. The song really speaks to that and this crazy world and the prices at the pump keep going up, but I’ve got ‘her’ so it’s all good. I can handle it as long as she is with me. That is kind of where I am in my life too. It’s all good and things are nice. I’m just doing what I do and being me.”

Music is consistently evolving and we asked Steve what he thinks sets country music apart.  “I think it is about the story of the songs,” Steve shares. “Country has always set itself apart with emotion and the stories. Country Music has always been about the common guy. That is what people relate to, the common person out there.  When they say ‘wow that is my story, my life what your singing,’ you strike a chord with them.  I think that is what it is, it is an emotion that country delivers. That is what has always drawn me to it. As a young kid, my dad always loved country and I used to go through all his records and listen to all the country artists, I was just infatuated with it. Guitar players too, kind of a double whammy.  He always loved guitar music, Chet Atkins, Merle Travis and all them. I think it is about songs with country, I really do. Some of the great poets, Kris Kristofferson, Roger Miller, Wayne Cochran, Harlan Howard, some of the great writers. It is those stories and the emotions.”

It Ain’t All Bad is available now at a retail store near you, or online at iTunes by clicking HERE.

Keep up with Steve Wariner by visiting his Official Website, Like him on Facebook and Follow him on Twitter.

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