Marty Brown Interview by Christian Lamitschka for Country Music News International Magazine & Radio Show
Lamitschka: Music has many new fans throughout
Europe who may be hearing about you for the first time. How would you describe
yourself and the music you play to someone who has never seen or heard you?
Answer: Imagine a cross between Hank Williams and
Bob Dylan, and what you get is me, Marty Brown. I sing like Hank Williams, but my writing is more like Bob Dylan, I
guess. I don’t know. There’s really
nobody like me, you will just have to give my music a listen and make up your
own mind. If you like music that’s cool
and from the heart, then you will like my music.
Lamitschka: How was the last year for you? What were
Answer: I spent most of last year, 2018 that is, doing
what I do best which is songwriting. I
wrote myself right into a record deal with Plowboy Records. I am really excited about that. I have also been nominated this Spring for
the Kentucky Music Hall of Fame. It
would be an honor to me and to my parents for me to get that award. And, my song, I’m From The Country, is up for the 5 million air award, meaning
it’s had 5 million air spins. I get that in May at BMI when my album, American
Highway, is released off of Plowboy Records (MAY 17).
Lamitschka: What is your latest CD and how’s it
Answer: My latest CD comes out this May 17th, and it’s
called, AMERICAN HIGHWAY. So far, the
reviews are great! I’m really proud of
this album. I think it is my best album
yet. It’s my first studio album in over
20 years. I cowrote all the songs with
Jon Tiven, a Producer/friend of mine from New York. And, one of the songs on the album I cowrote
with Jon and my son, Marty Brown, Jr. So, that is really special to me to have a song with my son on one of my
albums. That’s a first.
Lamitschka: How did you choose the title for the
CD? Is there a story behind the name?
Answer: The title for the CD, American Highway, is
actually the name of one of the first songs I wrote for the album. I just thought that title seemed to fit where
I am at in my life and in my music career. I am a country music singer/songwriter. I have had three albums on MCA Records in the 90s and one album on High
Tone Records. Rolling Stone Magazine called
me, Too country for country music. So, after my wife tricked me into being on
America’s Got Talent and I had what I called a moment with the Bob Dylan song,
Make You Feel My Love, and we made all those trips to San Antonio and New York
City, I just thought to myself, and this is the chorus to the song/cd title:
Highway I’m on
If you’re going
my way come on
I got a
windshield view of it all
up and down this old asphalt
I’ve seen it all man, I’ve been to New York City,
Alaska, Texas, California, since the TV show, and I have really travelled, and
we have met so many people, good people, and I just think the title, sums up my
journey and where I am at in my life. If
you want to take this journey with me, then COME ON board!
Lamitschka: Do you write the songs yourself? If not,
how do you go about finding the songs for your CD?
Answer: Yes. I write all the songs for my albums
myself. I have a co-writer, Jon Tiven,
but these songs are my ideas come to life through music. Being a writer you have to be very
prolific. You have to be able to capture
lightening in a bottle, so to speak. Songs are like God’s little gifts to you, and if you don’t write them
down that moment is gone.
Lamitschka: Please tell us about the songs on your
album (influences, etc).
Answer: The first single that Plowboy Records
released from the album is called, Umbrella Lovers. I wrote part of this song when my wife and I
were in New York for AGT. I was thinking
about how out of place we were since we are from Kentucky, but we were so in
love, we didn’t care what anyone else thought. So, I thought about two people on the streets of New York, getting caught
in a rainstorm and huddling together under an umbrella, because that happened
to me and my wife, Shellie, and they are so enamored of each other they don’t even
care if they are getting wet. We were
Lamitschka: What is the difference between your last
CD and your current one?
Answer: My last CD, Here’s To The Honkytonks on High
Tone Records, was 20 years ago. There’s really
no comparison because I’m a much better writer then I was back then. Also, I was labeled as a throw-back artist,
so the music I am writing and recording now has a country feel, a blues feel,
and probably fits under the umbrella of Americana as much as it does Country.
Lamitschka: Your current single is being played by
radio. What do you feel is special about this song that makes people want to
Answer: It just makes you happy. It makes me want to dance. It’s got that wind-shield wiper groove to
it. You can set your windshield wipers
to the beat of the song. It makes you
want to fall in love, if you’re not already.
Lamitschka: What will your next single be?
Answer: I honestly have no idea. That’s up to the label, Plowboy Records. There’s a couple of good ones that I might
want to hear on radio like, I’m on a Roll (Better Than It’s Ever Been). But, a second release hasn’t been discussed
at this time. We just put the first single,
Umbrella Lovers, out in February 2019.
Lamitschka: What kind of songs do you like to record
Answer: I like songs that are the truth and they
tell a story.
Lamitschka: What is your favorite song among all the
songs you have recorded and what’s the story behind it?
Answer: I love all my songs. My songs are like my children. Each one is
special. I don’t really have a favorite.
Lamitschka: How much creative control do you have
over your music?
Answer: I have complete creative control over my
Lamitschka: There’s a lot of work that goes into a
number one hit. What did it take to make it in your case?
Answer: I get my drive from my daddy. I don’t know any other way but then to get it
done. I remember when I first started
coming to Nashville, I didn’t have money for a hotel room. So, I slept in the alleys
on Music Row. I wasn’t a homeless person
or anything, but I wanted it so bad to make it in this business. I didn’t have anything give to me.
Lamitschka: Do you have any interesting stories
about how fans have been affected by your music?
Answer: I had one couple come to one of my concerts
and tell me that they were thinking about getting a divorce, but after they saw
me and my wife, Shellie, on America’s Got Talent, they decided to give their
marriage one more chance. I hope they
made it. I think that is pretty special.
Lamitschka: Who inspires you musically and how deep
do your musical roots run?
Answer: Well, I didn’t hear Johnny Cash or Loretta
Lynn records, I heard my daddy singing Johnny Cash and my momma singing Loretta
Lynn. My parents were my music
influences. I liked John Denver, and I
finally got to play a show with him in Owensboro, Kentucky after I signed my
first record deal. I will never forget
the first time I met him (John Denver). He looked over from the dressing room chair and he said, well, I guess
you’re the new boy on MCA we’ve been hearing about. I couldn’t believe it, I was sitting next to my
hero, John Denver. It was one of the great moments in my life.
Lamitschka: What do you think about today’s music
scene versus its post and where do you see it going in the future?
Answer: Well, it’s not going to return to
traditional country. I’ve had to adapt
to the times, because the days of traditional country music being played on the
radio have come and gone. That ship has
sailed. I really like this new music I
am writing and recording right now. I’m doing
it for me. I think it’s some of my best
Lamitschka: As an artist, you so many tasks such as
recording, touring, interviews. What do you like best, what’s your favorite
Answer: I like writing and recording my music the
best. I know you have to do the
interviews, and I enjoy meeting people like yourself because you help me to get
my music out to my fans and the people, but if I could just stay home and write
and record, that’s what I would like to do. I like touring, too, but my wife, Shellie, she usually comes with
me. We have played the Alaska State Fair
four times in the last few years. The
people in Alaska are really great and very appreciative of country music.
Lamitschka: Are you doing anything to take music
beyond its current borders or are you happy where it is?
Answer: I have toured in Switzerland and England in
the 90s. I think I will probably play
again overseas when the time is right.
Lamitschka: What was your big break that got you
into the music business?
Answer: I just kept knocking on doors. I saw that Trust Jesus sign on the sidewalk
on Music Row, and I just never gave up on my music. BMI was also a huge supporter of my music and
helped me make the contacts I needed to break into the music business.
Lamitschka: What moments in your career stand out in
your memory as highlights and achievements which you are proud of?
Answer: I’m getting ready to receive my 5 million
airplay award from BMI for a song I wrote called, I’m from the Country and I Like
It That Way. I guess that is my proudest
achievement so far in the music industry.
Lamitschka: Who is your biggest critic,
yourself or others?
Lamitschka: When you get time off, how do you like
Answer: I like to make bird boxes and work in my
shop. I have a man cave out behind our
home in Franklin, Kentucky. It’s a work
in progress. I’ve got a refrigerator out
there. Everything but the kitchen
sink. It’s where I work on my lawn mower
or my truck.
Lamitschka: Is there any place you haven’t played
that you would like to?
Answer: Well, I’ve played the Grand Ole Opry. I’ve played the Ryman. I’ve played Radio City
Music Hall. I’ve played just about every
place I have ever dreamed of playing.
Lamitschka: Many music fans today get their information
about artists online. Do you have your own website and what will fans find
Answer: Go to my Facebook Fan page, martybrownusa,
or my website, www.martybrownmusic.com
Lamitschka: What message would you like to
send your European fans?
Answer: You can download my new album, American
Highway, on Amazon, right now! Pre-order
date is April 19th, but they can own it on May 17th! So, go buy it!
Lamitschka: Describe what a perfect day is like for
Answer: Sitting on my back porch in Kentucky
watching my birds. I have birds
everywhere. Purple Martins that fly all
the way from South American just to nest in the gourds I have made for
them. I have blue birds in the bird
boxes I made. One of the blue bird boxes
was made by my Dad, so they love that!