The Chad Cooke Band’s stock has seen an impressive rise since their debut single “Oil Man” was released in early 2016. That song went on to reach millions of listeners across platforms, and allowed the band to hit the ground running with their debut album Easy Way Home, released in August of 2016.
The band followed up that strong introduction with 2018’s Risk It All, which features a more polished sound and captures the band running on all cylinders. The album’s lead single became the longest charting single at Texas radio, while the album’s newest single “Four Minutes” showcases the band’s impressive harmonies and appreciation for traditional country music.
Read along as the band discusses the influences they draw on, the success of “Oil Man,” the stories behind many of the sonically diverse songs on Risk It All and what they hope listeners take away from it, their big plans for 2020 and more!
Pro Country: Who are some of the influences that you draw from as a band?
Chad Cooke Band: All four of us come from very different musical backgrounds, but when we sit down as a band to write, we most commonly find our influences coming from harmony driven artists like Alabama, The Eagles, Blackhawk and Shenandoah to name a few. We incorporated a good amount of harmony into Risk It All, but you’re gonna hear a lot more of it in our upcoming music.
PC: Your first single “Oil Man” has become one of your signature songs in your catalog so far, amassing well over 1 million streams, more than 6 million views on YouTube, and charted in the Top 50 at Texas radio. Is there a certain level of validation that comes from having that level of success with your debut single?
CCB: “Oil Man” has been incredible for us. It was definitely unexpected to have a song with that amount of success right off the bat, but it really set the bar high. We want to make sure we continue putting out songs that people relate too, just as oil industry workers have related to “Oil Man”.
PC: While your debut album Easy Way Home featured a more acoustic, rough sound, your sophomore album Risk It All featured a more polished, electric-driven sound. Can you talk about what you were aiming for sonically with the Risk It All album and making that transition?
CCB: Easy Way Home was recorded in my home studio between 2015 and 2016. I really had no idea what I was doing. There was a lot of trial and error, but a year later, I had 10 songs which became Easy Way Home. We put a lot more thought into the Risk It All album. Our guitar player, Dallas, has a friend in Nashville named Grady Saxman who is a producer and has his own studio. After we got the songs together, we were able to gain some financial backing and record the second album in Nashville at Saxman Studios. We couldn’t have been more excited to make that transition. Not just sonically, but also in the quality of the songwriting. All four of us in the band write, so it was my first time having outside influence in the songwriting. This resulted in a more dynamic album, and I couldn’t be happier with the evolution of the band’s sound.
PC: After the success of “Oil Man” and its follow up single “Come and Take It,” were you feeling any pressure to match or surpass that success when writing, recording and releasing album Risk It All?
CCB: Not really. Once I started writing with the band, the last thing I felt was pressure to write better songs. These guys are some amazing songwriters and we’ve spent so much time together on the road that we all connect and understand each other’s individual style when we sit down to write.
PC: Risk It All’s first single “Whatever It Takes” climbed to number three and set the record for the longest charting single at Texas radio. What did having that level of success with that single mean to you and tell you about the sonic direction you had taken with Risk It All?
CCB: It was very cool to gain the honor of having the longest charting single on Texas radio with “Whatever It Takes.” Even though the song didn’t make it to #1, the amount of exposure we gained from 43 weeks on the chart was beyond worth it. I feel the transition we made sonically on the Risk It All album made for more radio-friendly music. At the end of the day, you only have 3-4 minutes to capture the ear of a listener.
PC: “Risk It All” is one of our favorite songs on its album. Why did you decide to have that song lead off the album, and why did you decide to make it the title track?
CCB: We decided to lead off the album with “Risk It All” because it had this great energy! All the songs were recorded live, and I believe the take that you hear on the record was the third take as a whole for the song. There was something special in that take, the way it leads with the guitar riff and how the dobro lick settles in right after. It’s something we didn’t realize until playback, but the more we listened, it sounded like we captured what it was like to hear us live, and we wanted to give that listening experience to our fans! The decision to choose “Risk It All” as the title track was less about the content of the song as we were focused on what the title meant to us. Making this record was about pulling all the stops, making the decision to go to Nashville, literally giving everything we had at the time to make a record we believed could help elevate us in the music world. We felt like it was a risk and like the title says, we were willing to “Risk It All”. Thank you for enjoying the song! Means a lot to us!
PC: “Life Behind Bars” is another one of the standout tracks on Risk It All that was an outside cut. Can you talk about how you heard the song and why you decided to cut it?
CCB: “Life Behind Bars” is a song we loved immediately! The song was penned by our good friends Jordan Walker, Andy Albert and Kendall Marvel. We were just lucky enough to be the band that got to record that song, especially considering it had been held by Darius Rucker for some time. The inspiration to us came from playing bars night after night, being that band in those smoky rooms, hearing people yell “Free Bird” and watch on occasion bartenders be that listening ear to those that line the bar stools. We literally received the song the night before we left Houston to Nashville to record Risk It All. It was one of those songs you knew right away after hearing it that it was really special!
PC: What went into the decision to release “Four Minutes” as the newest single from Risk It All?
CCB: “Four Minutes” has a great traditional country flair that we felt we hadn’t shared with Texas radio yet. “Whatever It Takes” and “Life Behind Bars” respectively leaned more to the contemporary side of country music, and us being lovers of traditional country, wanted to share a piece of the album that some people may not have heard from us. Not to mention, “Four Minutes” is one of our most requested songs at our live shows, and when the fans speak, we listen!!!
PC: What do you hope listeners take away from the Risk It All album after listening all the way through?
CCB: We would hope that listeners would hear a country record that’s diverse unto itself. We love all types of country music and wanted to make a record that (metaphorically speaking) takes you on a roller coaster ride where no one song is just like the other. We want you to be able to feel the electricity of songs like “Risk It All” and “Whatever It Takes,” then be transported into the dancehalls and honky tonks with “Little Miss Saturday Night” and “Four Minutes,” and by the end, hear the resolve with songs like “Grow” that tie the first and second record together.
PC: You’ve had the opportunity to share the stage with several major Texas and national artists, including Aaron Watson, Aaron Lewis, Marshall Tucker Band and more. What can you take away from those experiences that can help you in your own career?
CCB: It’s always an amazing experience to share the stage with artists we’ve looked up to for years. As a band, we make a point to gain as much knowledge from those experiences as possible. We soak up everything these artists do so we can tailor our own show and music to be the best it can be, whether it be stage presence, engaging the crowd, song transitions, the flow of the set and just flat out how to be a professional.
PC: What are your plans for 2020?
CCB: 2020 is already full steam ahead. We went to Nashville in January to start work on the next album. We’ll be heading back to Nashville later this year to finish it up. So keep an eye out! We’ll be releasing new music throughout the year as we gear up for a full album release in the near future. Our tour schedule is packed as well, with shows every weekend that stretch from South Texas to Kansas to New Mexico, so y’all come hang out with us! It’s gonna be a hell of a year!
PC: Is there anything you’d like to add?
CCB: Check out our music on all streaming services (Spotify, Apple Music, etc). You can find our full tour schedule at www.chadcookeband.com We look forward to seeing you out there!
*Images courtesy of Steen Promotions and Chad Cooke Band Facebook Page*