Landon Bullard & The Mostly Sober debuted themselves to listeners by offering them a “Patròn & Lime” in 2017, which served as quite the introduction.
That single, which has amassed more than 14,000 streams on Spotify, served as a holdover for the band’s debut, self-titled EP, released a year and a half after their debut single.
Bullard and company proved that their EP was worth the wait, adding four more standout tracks to their catalog.
As the band plans their first promoted single release, hear from Bullard about overcoming stage fright, treating live shows like a business, all about their debut EP, and more!
Pro Country: Who were your biggest musical influences growing up?
Landon Bullard: My dad was in a honky-tonk group, and he played artists like John Prine. I grew up listening to a lot of songwriters. As things go though, you kind of rebel. When I got a little older, I got away from country. I was listening to a lot of metal. I got back into country when I began to be able to identify with it more, because it’s hard to identify with that kind of stuff when you’re 10 or 11 (laughs). The more time that passed, the more I was listening to it, and it’s pretty much all I listen to nowadays.
PC: Was there a specific moment you knew you wanted to pursue music as a career?
LB: It’s always been around. My mother was a recording artist in Muscle Shoals, Alabama. She had several years in a touring band. My cousin played on a couple of projects with Ronnie Milsap, so it’s just always been around. It might have been in my sophomore year of college that I started playing with the idea of playing the songs I’d been writing in front of people.
PC: You’ve mentioned that you had stage fright in your college years. How did you overcome that fear?
LB: Beer (laughs). With anything you do, you want it to be something you can be really proud of. It’s kind of like playing a sport for the first time; you don’t know how it’s going to go. You want everything to go as well as it can. When I first started out, I was always playing house parties. I would pick up a guitar and play in the living room, and people would always say that I should put together a band and start playing. I had a fraternity brother who had a band, and he had me up between songs one night. I played a few songs, and people were asking whose songs they were, and I told them that they were mine. They said that they had to come and see me at my show if I ever had one. That’s when a light bulb one off, and I booked a show for myself, and it’s kept on rolling from there.
PC: Why did you decide to release “Patròn & Lime” as the first single from your self-titled EP?
LB: I wrote all of that stuff back in 2013, and didn’t have a pot to piss in or a window to throw it out of. The main thing was that I was so ready to get something out. I had been playing in the circles for so long, but I didn’t have anything to put in front of people to take me to the next level. The EP was such an affordable experience for me, and I pretty much recorded for free and paid it off as I could. It took me about a year-and-a-half to scrape together the funds to get those five tracks recorded. Trying to do this without a promoter has been difficult. You put together the band and play the shows, and then the next thing you need is getting played on the radio and then you’re there. That’s not necessarily how it works, so you have to go back to the drawing board and come up with another game plan.
PC: Did the success of “Patròn & Lime” provide any sort of artistic validation as you were preparing to release the EP?
LB: It just let me know that I was on to something. Whether or not it was that track in particular, it just let me know that I was on the right path. It was just enough for it to create enough buzz where people were checking me out. It got me a lot of gigs, and it gave me an opportunity to get with my first agency. It’s pretty cool to see myself on posters with people like Tracy Byrd.
PC: “Love Don’t Come Easy” is one of the standout tracks on your EP. Why did you decide to have that song lead off the EP?
LB: I felt like it was really strong instrumentally. I felt like it set the pace for the EP. It’s one of those home run swings. It’s got touches of traditional country, it has red dirt in there, and it’s got great players on there as well. It just captured a lot of the energy that went into that record, and all of the different colors that went into it as well.
PC: “Prayers From Texas” is a tribute to the Sunshine Kids Foundation. Why does that organization mean so much to you?
LB: After playing for a while when I was in school, the mayor of San Marcos, who was friends with Blue October, reached out to me and asked if I could come out to the spot called Yellow Ranch in the summer for the Sunshine Kids. It’s like a day in the country for the Sunshine Kids. The guys from Blue October played some songs, and I thought it would be cool if I wrote a song for the event. I didn’t plan on recording it or anything, I just thought it would be something that I’d play for them out there. The more and more we played it with the full-band, they was so much energy coming out from the stage with it. The lyrics behind it help people get through tough times. We all get caught up in bullshit thinking that we have problems, but those kids have an expiration date unfortunately. We’re trying to let them know that the basis for the song is to not let bad things get you down; there’s always the sun behind the clouds. Accept yourself for who you are and live your life the best you can.
PC: “The Devil is From Oklahoma” is an interesting song on the EP that features more of a southern rocking sound. Matched with tracks that feature a more red dirt and traditional country sound, was it at all important for you to show that artistic versatility on the release?
LB: At the beginning, those songs were more or less impression tunes that I thought we needed to get out. They were a staple of where I’m at and where I’m going. It’s a bit different from the stuff I’m playing now. Now, it’s a lot of pure, undeniable, traditional country. We play the song called “Prisoner in my Mind” that’s a country waltz; three chords and the truth. We also have a song called “Roller Coaster” that’s just straight honky-tonk music.
PC: “Thrive in the Weather” is one of my favorites on the EP. Can you talk about the inspiration behind that song?
LB: That one is all about the road. Originally, I wasn’t going to leave cocaine in there, but I figured if I ever wanted to open for Jackson Taylor and the Sinners, I better keep it in there (laughs).
PC: You’ve shared the stage with Cody Johnson, Reckless Kelly, and Roger Creager, among others. What can you take away from those experiences that can help you in your own career?
LB: You get to see what work looks like. A lot of people think that these guys get on a bus, show up, plug in and play, but you get backstage and see these guys talking with each other; talking about the very minor things that makes their set what it is. You see how they carry themselves backstage. They treat it like a business. They’re not backstage getting completely trashed, going out on stage, putting on a show like that. I think it’s important for people to see that attitude, and to see how to act.
PC: What do you hope listeners take away from your self-titled EP after listening all the way through?
LB: I really want people to be on the lookout and be interested enough to give us a chance. It’s an EP to knock on people’s doors and introduce ourselves.
PC: What are your plans for the rest of 2019 and beyond?
LB: For the rest of the year, we’re on the road every weekend. If we get our budget right, we’re looking forward to working with a radio promoter. “The Devil is from Oklahoma” will probably be our first promoted radio single, or we might try to push that new song “Roller Coaster” that will be on the next EP.
PC: Is there anything else you would like to add?
LB: Subscribe to my YouTube channel! We’re working at a web series that we just posted our second episode of. The series is called “Honkers.” It’s like a tour Vlog/web series. I call it “The good, the bad, and the boring” (laughs). In one episode, my lead guitar player gets into a fist fight with someone in the parking lot after a show, and Shia LaBeouf hangs out with us and comes on stage during our set. We’re trying to get some steam behind the channel.
*All images courtesy of Landon Bullard