"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 ly...@wvgazette.com or 304-348-5195.