Many artists say that having their sound “pigeonholed” halts any kind of growth that comes with experience. With the release of his EP Sippin’ on a Memory just a few weeks away, Brock Thompson has spread his wings and offered something for many country music listeners.
Thompson offered a first look into the EP with “Gave Me the Boot,” which features a honky tonk feel with steel guitar loaded throughout. The second glance into the EP, “I Can’t Change” was released on November first, and features a more country-rocking sound.
As Thompson continues to define who he is as an artist, read along as he describes the influences of multiple aspects of his artistry, recording his debut EP, what listeners can expect from Sippin’ on a Memory, his big plans for 2020, and more!
Pro Country: Who are some of your biggest musical influences that have shaped your sound?
Brock Thompson: Johnny Cash was my first influence. As I got older, I took inspiration from Justin Moore with his modern twang, Brad Paisley with his humorous writing, and Garth Brooks with his unmatched live performance, which is very important in my own live shows.
PC: You began singing at just six years old. What was it about music that connected with you so early in your life?
BT: My grandmother had a record player in the living room. She put a Johnny Cash record on, and I was hooked from then on. We played old records often. Other kids my age were better at sports than me. I was better at memorizing lyrics, although the singing wasn’t top notch at the time.
PC: When did you realize that you wanted to pursue music as a career?
BT: I was probably a sophomore in high school. I’d known I wanted to make something of it since middle school, but I hadn’t sold myself on the idea until I was about 16. I dropped all other considerations for a career path and focused on music. It’s where my focus remains today.
PC: What emotions were you feeling as you were preparing to release music for the first time with your single “In My Jeans”?
BT: I expected the worst and hoped for the best. I knew next to nothing about the studio. I was “green.” The most important part was that I started. Most people wait and wait until they think they’re ready. I just dove in head first, and it allowed me to learn so much, so very fast. I knew I wasn’t ready, but I knew it was the right step, because no one was going to do it for me.
PC: Why did you decide to release “In My Jeans” as the lead single from your debut, self-titled EP?
BT: I believed with my heart and soul that it was a hit. The recording itself was not, but I still have tremendous faith in the lyrics and the song itself, which is why we have every intention of recording it again in the near future. I have a crystal clear vision for how that song should sound, and the world will hear it on the next go-around.
PC: “Gave Me the Boot” tells a humorous, yet tongue-in-cheek breakup story. How true does the story in that song ring to your life?
BT: I’ve been lucky enough to stay out of trouble with the city girls. There’s plenty of good ones out there, and then there’s the kind that are in this song. I’ve seen some close friends struggle with relationships because of their “redneckin’ ways” as the song says. Some city girls get used to it, and some will just give ‘em the boot.
PC: Can you talk about the inspiration behind your newest single “I Can’t Change”?
BT: As much as I wish the first line was a lie, it comes straight from the heart. (“Sometimes I’m on a health kick, the next day I end up in the fast food line”). Just about everyone struggles with staying in shape, so if you can’t connect with this song, my hat’s off to you. We all often focus too much on bettering ourselves, which doesn’t sound like a bad thing, until we nearly make ourselves sick from constantly thinking out it. Improvement is always a good thing, but sometimes you just have to relax and put yourself on cruise control for a while. It’s good for the soul.
PC: While your debut EP featured a more acoustic vibe, “Gave Me the Boot” and “I Can’t Change” have a fuller, more rocking sound. Was that something that was intentional or something that naturally happened in the studio?
BT: My first EP was a little more subtle all the way around. We recorded in a local studio with a lower budget and less instruments. With these new songs, I had a vision, the right connections, and more money, and I believe we hit the nail on the head.
PC: What can listeners expect to hear from your upcoming EP Sippin’ on a Memory and what information can you give on it?
BT: This EP, which has 6 songs, showcases a variety of country music. I love all country (minus pop country) and wanted people to hear that. Each song has a completely different vibe than the next. The lover of country rock, (such as “I Can’t Change”), traditional country, modern country, and even Americana will find their sweet spot on this EP. We didn’t do this to reach a wider fan base. It’s just who I am as a writer and as an artist, and I think being yourself is what pays off.
PC: What did you learn from the release process of your self-titled EP that has helped you with the process of Sippin’ on a Memory?
BT: Like I mentioned earlier, I was so new to the recording process when we made my first EP. Had I never done that, I would have been a nervous, confused mess when I got to Nashville for this new project. Because of that, I was able to work alongside literally some of the world’s most hired session players, and do what I came to do without a second thought. No nerves, just business.
PC: What are your plans for the rest of 2019 and going in to 2020?
BT: We have one last hurrah for 2019. My EP will release on 11/22, and that same night, we will have a major release party in the grand ballroom at Big Sandy Superstore Arena in Huntington, WV. I’m bringing one of my favorite local bands, Creek Don’t Rise along with me. It will be a night to remember for certain. Ticket links and more information will be posted on Friday (11/1). The rest of the year will be slower, which is prime time to write new songs. 2020 is going to be huge. We will begin booking for the 2020 festival season very soon. You never know what the next year will bring, but I can promise we will bring every ounce of effort we have to make it incredible.
Images courtesy of Brock Thompson Facebook page*