5 questions with Dave 'Corncobb' McCormick
WANT TO GO?
Dave "Corncobb" McCormick
WHEN: 7 p.m. Thursday
WHERE: Fairplain Yacht Club. 3984 Cedar Planks Road, Ripley
INFO: 304-372-8918 or www.fairplainyachtclub.comCHARLESTON, W.Va. -- Dave "Corncobb" McCormick is a fixture on the local music scene. A talented singer/songwriter who works mostly in the country vein, McCormick won the Mountain Stage NewSong Contest in 2006, then moved to Nashville not long after to take a shot at fame and fortune.
He got a publishing deal and played for and with several major recording artists, including Merle Haggard. But fame was elusive, and after a couple of years struggling on Music Row, he returned to West Virginia, where he plays solo and with a band, including a standing Thursday night gig at the Fairplain Yacht Club in Ripley.
McCormick hasn't given up writing songs. The songwriter recently released two new CDs, "Mountains on the Moon" and "Ghost Inside My Guitar," available through his website, davemccormicksongs.com.
The Gazz called McCormick to talk to him about Nashville, writing songs for a living and Merle Haggard.
Q: Your phone has a Nashville area code. Are you shuttling between there and West Virginia?
A: "I'm back in Spencer, but I still make trips back and forth. Right now, I'm making a lot of calls trying to set up shows. I'm talking to a lot of fairs and festivals, trying to get on with them for the summer."
Q: As a guy who performs pretty regularly at local clubs, what do people want? Do they want covers or original music?
A: "Well, usually, I do about half and half, but it depends. Sometimes I go into a place and they know me, and I'll end up doing mostly original material. It's funny.
"I started playing all original material in 2000 and that lasted about four years; I didn't play a single cover. I was real proud of that."
Q: You took a stab at Nashville. How was that?
A: "I made many fine friends and met folks I just wouldn't have been able to otherwise. I got me a publishing deal while I was there, which was a big honor for me: the chance to make a living writing songs.
"I played in a lot of bands on Broadway [Street, the hub of Nashville's live music scene], did roadwork with a couple of groups, but the funny thing about Nashville is you can't play gigs and make a living -- and that was hard on a guy like me. That's what I've always done.
"I was struggling to make a living. My publishing deal ended, and I didn't find another one. I just wasn't finding much work, so I came home. It's a whole lot easier to play gigs and make money here."
Q: Nashville wasn't all bad, though. You got to open for Merle Haggard at the Ryman Theater. What was that like?
A: "My feet didn't touch the ground for about two weeks. I did that June 25, 2008, right after I got my publishing deal. I got to stand where all my heroes stood. It was a religious experience."
Q: Your song "Mother Mary Moonshine" is catchy. What's the story with it? Did you set out to write a church-and-moonshine song?
A: "The story with that one was I went down to Alabama. A friend of mine took me to David Hood's home. He's one of The Swampers, part of the Muscle Shoals Rhythm Section.
"I met a woman, Shauna Peterson. She had the most incredible voice. We got together. She had the title, 'Mother Mary Moonshine,' but we sat down and over the course of a couple of days wrote this song. I get a lot of comments on that one, and I like the dichotomy of the song: the religious stuff and the moonshine imagery."
Reach Bill Lynch at firstname.lastname@example.org or 304-348-5195.