Blackjack Billy feat. Madeline Merlo - How to Get the Girl
It seems self-professed "redneck rockers" Blackjack Billy got a taste for Australia when they were here in March for CMC Rocks The Hunter; the Nashville four-piece will again hit our shores later this month, this time in support of their forthcoming debut record Rebel Child, out September 19.
Jeremy Dylan caught up with guitarist Jeff Coplan an hour outside of Nashville, ahead of his band's shows later this year at CMC Rocks North Queensland and the Deni Ute Muster.
Where are you speaking to me from?
Jeff: We are on the bus, about an hour outside of Nashville, trying to get home.
We were just in Panama City, Florida, playing a festival called the Gulf Coast Jam.
When you come back to Australia later this month you'll be playing two great article source />How do you find festivals compared to www blackjack billy tour own headlining shows?
Jeff: Festivals are great because we get to play in front of a whole bunch of people who have never seen us before and we get to hear some great other artists play.
We love to hang around after the shows and see the other acts, take in some good music and be fans ourselves.
We definitely like festivals.
How was your experience at CMC Rocks the Hunter?
Jeff: We were honesty completely surprised and humbled and blown away.
We didn't know what to expect.
We were just excited to go somewhere new and see Australia, because none of us had ever been.
Then we got there and realised how many passionate country music fans there were, just to begin with, and how well they welcomed us and their energy.
You mentioned you like hanging with and watching other artists when you play festivals.
Were then any Aussie acts you remember enjoying at CMC Rocks?
Jeff: Yeah man, we got to watch Morgan Evans, who was great.
We really enjoyed his set.
Lee Kernaghan was really cool — it was great to see one of the more iconic Australian artists.
Those were the only two sets we caught all of, but we did go to the CMC Awards and saw The McClymonts do one song.
They were fantastic — I was super impressed by them.
I hear you and Morgan have been hanging out together in Nashville recently, and you wrote a song together.
It www blackjack billy tour great to write with him, after seeing him playing in Australia and he did the interviews with us for CMC.
He was in Nashville and we got together just two days ago and wrote a really fun song together.
So what are you looking forward to doing and seeing down under when you head back later this month that you didn't get to the first time around?
Jeff: To explore new country in somewhere as far away and as cool as Australia is going to be one of the best parts of the trip.
Just to be able to see more than just the Hunter Valley, which was beautiful.
We got to see Sydney a bit last time, but to be able to travel through the countryside, meet some locals and play some different parts like Melbourne and Brisbane and Townsville, that will be great.
You're playing the Deni Ute Muster on progressive video blackjack trip.
Have you heard anything about that festival?
Jeff: I hear it's one big tailgate party!
That's gonna be awesome.
Everybody keeps talking about that — saying you got to go to the Ute Muster.
You're going to be sharing the bill there, and also touring with, both Gary Allan and The Mavericks.
Have you played with either of them before?
Jeff: No, but it's going to be heaps of fun!
I got to meet a couple of the guys from The Mavericks last week and they are a hoot.
So they're going to be fun to travel with.
And we've been Gary Allan fans for a long while — and we hear he likes to party and have a good time.
So it's going to be a fun, high energy tour all around.
You guys are very fun and very high energy live.
How do you translate and capture that when you go into the studio to record?
Jeff: It's actually been tough while traveling and doing so many shows, to find the time to record and finish the album.
But we just get together and record live as much as we can, like we do on stage.
The music is so fun to play, so we just have a great time in the studio and myself being the producer, it's really easy for me to capture it because I get to do it every night with the band on stage.
So we don't lose a lot in translation www blackjack billy tour we just do our thing and hit record.
What can we expect from the songs on the new album?
Jeff: We're definitely stretching out.
Our first success coming from the song 'The Booze Cruise' is definitely more of the fun, high energy party side — for sure, there's some more of that.
But we also explored some more deeper stuff, so there's a couple of different sides of us on the record that we get to show — some more of our other influences coming through, and more diversity on the songwriting side.
Can't wait for you guys to hear it.
Got A Feeling' is out at the moment.
We've been watching the video down here and it's a really fun clip, with lots of great cameos.
How did you guys put that together?
Jeff: We travel around on the bus so much and we wanted to do something that captured the fun that we were having — getting to hang out with other artist as we play a lot of festivals this summer.
We've become friendly with a lot of them, so when we were making the video, we wanted to find a fun way to show the lyrics, so we got them all involved and had them hold up some signs — and mixed that with some good live footage from some of the better festivals we were playing.
We just filmed it all on our iPhones, just as a way to capture what was going on and edited it ourselves.
We had a great time making it.
Speaking of being friends with other artists, I heard that you and your band mate Rob were in a softball team with Stephen and Eric from Love and Theft and Tyler from Florida Georgia Line.
Jeff: Yeah man, you did your research!
That's what's great about Nashville: everyone comes here to chase their dreams musically and it's read more collaborative town.
We were all just buddies in the same neighborhood.
I was working with Love and Theft early on, and Rob was friends with them and we all got involved with writing with them really early.
We all just loved baseball, so we just started a team together.
Tyler was from that whole clan of friends, as was Canaan Smith, who is another new artist out.
Everyone was just writing with each other, making music, having fun on the side playing softball and it's just great to see what happens to anybody.
I think Tyler and Rob were both valet parking attendants at the time.
You never know whose parking your car one day and who you're going to be paying money to go see play at an arena another day.
You've written and produced songs for other artists, like Love and Theft and Tim Hicks.
Is it different when you're writing for another artist vs.
Being a songwriter and producer, with anybody you work with you just try to bring out their vision.
With Love and Theft or Tim Hicks or whoever, that's what I try to do.
But writing with Noll and Rob for the band, we just got together and started to write and loved what we were doing so much that it just became our thing.
It's different when I write with Blackjack Billy than with another artist for sure — because it's for us.
You're originally from Montreal, and then you lived in New York for a bit before settling in Nashville.
How would you compare New York and Nashville?
Jeff: My main reason for moving to Nashville was just because it's such a collaborative town.
New York is so isolating — when you're working on music it's very cliquey.
Everybody is very dog eat dog.
If you get a project, you kind of protect it and hide it and try to do it all yourself, because it's just so hard to survive there financially.
In Nashville, it's a much more laidback quality of life, and everybody kind of helps each other and gets together and it's much freer.
The whole blackjack strategy practice apprentice is built on songwriting and all the songwriting is based on co-writing.
You get there and you're writing with all these different people right away and everybody wants to write with everybody else.
You guys www blackjack billy tour your initial success over in the US with 'The Booze Cruise', which got on the charts I understand, without a lot of mainstream radio airplay.
Where'd you come from?
Who wrote the song?
The sales were just so good last summer that we made it into the charts.
We were just completely blown away — it's great.
You've started to have a lot of international success — down here, especially after playing CMC Rocks in March, you started to really blow up, and I hear you're taking off in Canada as well.
Are you surprised at how well your music has translated overseas?
Jeff: Very much so, especially Canada — and that's extra special for me, being born there.
I guess the reach of satellite radio in Canada is pretty strong, because that's really the only place to discover new American music — because the Canadians artists have to be played on the radio a certain click the following article by law.
So most of the American acts that get played are the www blackjack billy tour already in the top 30.
So people turn to satellite radio to hear new music and they discovered us.
We had a Gold record with 'Booze Cruise' before we even stepped foot in the country and played our first show.
We went up there and did a quick tour with Tim Hicks and it was amazing.
We've been there several times now and played some festivals.
We were really blessed that way — and Australia too.
To be embraced anywhere is great, but it's really exotic and fun in a place like Australia for us.
To be able to take these trips and go literally around the world is amazing.
Blackjack Billy's debut album Rebel Child will be released on September 19.
Blackjack Billy - Live at The Basement East
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