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Brett Eldredge: Cornfields and small-town values

By Joe Leary

Brett Eldredge has a feature on his YouTube page called Couch Sessions where the country crooner performs acoustic versions of his own songs as well as covers. (SUBMITTED)

Brett Eldredge has a feature on his YouTube page called Couch Sessions where the country crooner performs acoustic versions of his own songs as well as covers. (SUBMITTED)

With his debut album hitting No. 2 on the U.S. country charts, largely on the strength of the hit single Don’t Ya, Illinois’ Brett Eldredge is a singer/songwriter on the rise. Joe Leary spent 24 Seconds with the emerging star on his recent Vancouver trip opening for Keith Urban.

24: How do you like visiting Canada and specifically Vancouver?

BE: I’ve been in Canada before, but this is my first time in Vancouver and I love it here.

24: Did you know much about the city before coming here?

BE: My guitar player Jessie Tucker is from here and grew up playing here, so I kind of became familiar with it through him and always wanted to come here. When we got the call to come to Vancouver and play with Keith Urban, I was like, ‘Are you kidding? Sign me up.’

24: It seems country artists tend to come from rural areas or areas heavily influenced by country music. You’re from Illinois. Was country music an integral part of your upbringing?

BE: There’s a lot of agriculture and pretty much cornfields and cow pastures and small town values where I come from. It was just as country as pretty much anything you’ll see. When I heard Brooks and Dunn for the first time I was hooked and that’s what got me into country music and I’ve never looked back. And heck, it brought me all the way up here to Vancouver.

24: Now you live in Nashville, country music’s ‘holy land.’

BE: I’ve lived in Nashville for about seven years and it’s a great city to call home, although home is the road.

24: How did Nashville mature you as a country artist?

BE: Nashville really tries to make you realize if you’ve got it in you or not. It’s a tough town so you’ve got to take a lot of punches and have people slam a door in your face and then you’ve got to open it back up and tell them why they need to listen to you. It made me learn a lot about myself as an artist, as a singer and songwriter and as a person. The fight never ends, even if you’ve got a hundred hits. It can be taken away from you any day so you just have to keep on writing and get out there on the road.

24: And you’ve played the Grand Ole Opry, that’s the pinnacle for every country artist.

BE: Oh man, every time you step in that circle or even walk through those doors it’s an amazing feeling thinking that everybody ever in country music and beyond has played that stage. It’s weird; it’s a nervous feeling standing in the same circle as Johnny Cash and Hank Williams and George Jones and all these people, heck even Elvis stood on that stage once. It’s a good kind of nervous though and you have to bring your ‘A’ game and make those people that stood in that circle before you proud and do them justice.

24: Can you be a successful country artist without wearing a hat?

BE: Absolutely! I mean I look silly in a hat. I wish I could be cool, but some people can wear ‘em and some people can’t. I’ve tried to wear one every once in awhile but it just doesn’t work for me so I leave that up to the other guys. I’ve toured with Brad Paisley and he can rock the hat. I just look like a goofball.


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