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Kendall Tucker Discusses His “Dragging Me Down” Single, Collaborations, and Touring

Country-hip-hop star Kendall Tucker discusses his new single “Dragging Me Down,” his writing process, performing live and much more.

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Kendall Tucker, Jelly Roll, and State of Mine
Kendall Tucker, Jelly Roll, and State of Mine

Stringing success together is what Kendall Tucker is doing in a very big way right now. The Country-Rap artist made some serious noise with the debut of his new single “Dragging Me Down,” which features the talents of both Jelly Roll and State of Mine. That single was the follow-up to “Stickup,” another impressive collaboration with MYXED and Project Pat, the co-founder of Three Six Mafia. “Dragging Me Down” overflows with confidence and enthusiasm, meant to give you that dose of energy and motivation when you feel like you’re struggling. As a collective, Tucker, Jelly Roll, and State of Mine want to let you know that you’re not alone, and so many others feel just as you do.

With roots in both Nashville and Florida, Tucker was very much exposed to Country growing up, so he couldn’t help but become a fan. However he has always had a strong interest in hip hop as well, which encouraged him to combine both styles when he was trying to develop his own sound. You’ll also certainly notice a Rock influence within his music. Two of the real trendsetters who paved the way for the evolution of Country and Hip Hop were Bubba Sparxxx and Uncle Kracker, who are both associates of Tucker and both of whom he has previously worked with.

Joining us today is Tucker himself for a chat about his music, his creative process, touring, performing live, and more.

How would you describe your own music?

Kendall Tucker: “It’s hard describing my music, even for myself; I get this question a lot. I grew up on all genres, so I tend to lean towards all genres when it comes to writing and recording. One day, it’s Rock, next it’s Country or rap. I’m sure I got a song that everyone can enjoy.”

How would you describe your creative process?

“When it comes to writing a new song, most of the time, I’ll listen to the instrumental/beat that the producer or band came up with, and the lyrics will come to me from there. I know everyone is different; sometimes, if I have a certain melody in my head, I’ll write the lyrics first.”

Who are your biggest influences?

“There are several artists I look up to and try to learn from. One artist whom I’ve got much respect for, and he’s shown me nothing but love since day one, is Colt Ford. Colt has done something that no one else has done and that’s getting accepted into the Country genre as a rapper. The work he’s put in and the road he paved for artists like me, you can’t help but respect him.”

Kendall Tucker “Dragging Me Down” single artwork

Kendall Tucker “Dragging Me Down” single artwork

Tell us about your most recent release; what was your experience of making it? What went on behind the scenes? Any notable moments that stand out?

“My new song ‘Dragging Me Down’ featuring Jelly Roll and State of Mine. I’m super excited about this song and getting it out to the people. Not only is it a good song, but I think it will help people who are dealing with personal demons. Let them know they’re not alone. I wrote the song with Jelly Roll in mind and shortly after got connected with Jelly Roll and State of Mine, and it was history from there.”

Who would you most like to collaborate with?

“There are so many people I’d love to work with. I think Post Malone would be really cool!”

Which act would you want to tour with?

Jason Aldean. I think our music is a little different, but the message is the same. We have the same kind of listeners/fans. Good old blue-collar workers that love this country and are proud to be an American.”

If you could change anything about the music industry, what would it be?

“It would be the business side of things; not every label is bad. There are labels that have helped change artists’ lives for the better, but the entertainment business, in general, is a dirty business. I’ve got several artist friends with #1 hits not getting the percentages they deserve as the creative mind behind everything.”

What do you like most about playing music?

“The people I get to meet on the road and at shows. I can be clear across the country and have someone tell me my song touched them or helped them at a point in their life; that feeling will never get old.”

What’s the best show you’ve ever played?

“That’s a tough question; I’ve had several fun shows. I always have a blast when I get to hit the road with Colt Ford, though. His fans are the greatest and always full of energy.”

Kendall Tucker

Kendall Tucker

What was the highlight of some of your more recent tours?

“We played a show out in Yellowstone, Montana, with Uncle Kracker. Yellowstone is one of the most beautiful places I’ve ever seen; we had a blast!”

Do you ever get stage fright? What’s your solution for it?

“I don’t really get stage fright, but I still get them butterflies before hitting the stage. It’s funny because I’ve had people ask me if I ever get scared playing in front of 6,000 people, but I get more nervous playing in front of 100 people than larger crowds.”

What are you still trying to figure out?

I’ve got a ton to still figure out. Every day I try to grow and be better than the day before. If you’ve been blessed to wake up the next morning, then take advantage of it and continue to learn.”

Do you have anything you’d like to tell any fans reading right now?

“I could never thank them enough, honestly, I don’t even like using the word fans. These people have become friends/family, and I couldn’t push this music without them. They are the reason why I even continue to do music.”

When you write do you do so with the live setting in mind, or do you write a song just for the song’s sake?

“I’d say both; sometimes it’s just about the song. More recently, I’ve been thinking more about the live show, which is why a lot of my newer music hits a lot harder with some rock sounds in the mix.”

Politics and music. Yay, nay or what the hay?

“I don’t like when an artist fully focuses on politics in music, but what I will say is this: if you’ve been given a platform to reach the masses and, in your heart, you feel convicted about a certain subject in politics and feel like you should say something, well then this is America, and you have that right. I feel like artists have a powerful tool with music and can do very big things by speaking up.”

What are your touring plans for when the new music drops?

“I’m in the middle of booking the largest tour of my career right now. Can’t give you too many details, but definitely got some big shows coming following the drop of some new singles.”

Born in 2003, V13 was a socio-political website that, in 2005, morphed into PureGrainAudio and spent 15 years developing into one of Canada's (and the world’s) leading music sites. On the eve of the site’s 15th anniversary, a full re-launch and rebrand takes us back to our roots and opens the door to a full suite of Music, Film, TV, and Cultural content.

Country

Buckstein Premieres His Good-Time Single, “Ride with You”

Country artist Buckstein wants you to have a good time with the premiere of his fun-loving new single “Ride with You.”

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Buckstein, photo by Jason Myers
Buckstein, photo by Jason Myers

Out of all the major genres of American music, Country is the one that’s just as much a lifestyle as it is a genre; just ask our featured artist Buckstein, and he’ll tell you. Today, the singer-songwriter reveals his new single, “Ride with You.” He has been a lifelong loyalist to the Country sound and way of life, and “Ride with You” gives you a good indication of that.

It’s more than just a country tune, though, with its heavy guitar-driven approach. It’s certainly a good-time kind of tune, one that would play well at a Country bar. Imagine a live band and plenty of drinks being shared amongst friends. Buckstein refers to himself as a man of country music, and it’s that down-to-earth, free-flowing attitude that makes him so easy to like.

Discussing his new single, Buckstein tells us:

“‘Ride With You’ invokes the feeling of a buzzing, neon-soaked bar where you’re two beers too deep and still gunning for more. It’s a night out where anything can happen, and you never know where you’re going to wind up. You might lose yourself in a scene, or someone, or a song.

“After writing a few lyrics, we decided we wanted a constant ‘chant’ in the song and ‘find a little love in the haystack’ came out of the blue, but it sounded good so it stuck. I also get to play a bit of a character in this tune which was super fun for me. I’m really looking forward to bringing that to the live performance.”

Straight up, no-nonsense, and 100 percent authentic, Buckstein keeps true to the cowboy code he grew up with. He views Country as a way to communicate, a medium to speak the truth and build a strong sense of community. His ultimate goal is to bring soul to everything he does, a passion that is easy for his listeners to relate to. Buckstein’s music is structured around classical ideals like honesty, integrity, facing your fears, and love. These are universal values that help make him more appealing than just an artist.

One of the best decisions Buckstein ever made was to join a few friends at an American Idol audition. It was when the auditions made their way through his native city of Denver. He didn’t take it very seriously at the time, but he ended up getting through and made it onto the show. He made it as far as the finale of the show’s fifth season. That decision to tag along for the audition was a life-changing move. The success and confidence he derived from being on the show have led him to this point today. Buckstein has paid his dues and nicely set himself up as one of the brightest young names in Country today.

Buckstein “Ride with You” single artwork

Buckstein “Ride with You” single artwork

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Alternative/Rock

Levitate Music & Arts Festival Returns for its 11th Year!

Levitate Music & Arts Festival has announced it will be returning for its 11th year this Fourth of July weekend in Marshfield, MA.

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Levitate Music & Arts Festival 2024
Levitate Music & Arts Festival 2024

Levitate Music & Arts Festival has announced it will be returning for its 11th year this Fourth of July weekend in Marshfield, MA. The Marshfield Fairgrounds will host the likes of Sublime with original members Bud Gaugh and Eric Wilson, Lake Street Dive, Tash Sultana, Mt. Joy, the Dirty Heads, and many more.

The music festival originally started as a surf shop’s 10-year anniversary party and is now the premier boutique music and arts festival for the region. The festival features national and local acts while including the arts with vendors and installations throughout the grounds. The festival is a family-friendly event, including a kids zone with interactive activities.

On top of bringing together the East Coast community, one percent of each ticket sold will go to the Levitate Foundation, a non-profit whose mission is to cultivate vibrant communities by creating and conserving access to music, art and the outdoors.

With the reunion of Sublime and several powerhouse appearances, this year’s Levitate is sure to be a must-attend event. The festival runs from July 5th through the 7th, 2024. Tickets are on sale now here. See you there!

Levitate Music & Arts Festival 2024 admat

Levitate Music & Arts Festival 2024 admat

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Country

Ellis Bullard Runs Down His Top 10 (Well, 13) Honky Tonk Tracks

Country artist Ellis Bullard, who released his new single “Honky Tonk Ain’t Noise Pollution,” shares with us his Top 13 honky-tonk tracks

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Ellis Bullard, photo courtesy of Ellis Bullard
Ellis Bullard, photo courtesy of Ellis Bullard

There’s no denying that Ellis Bullard is one of today’s true masters of honky-tonk. It’s such a unique music style, and Bullard’s work within the genre is illustrative of its depth and range as a form of music. Bullard released his clever new single “Honky Tonk Ain’t Noise Pollution” back in the fall. The song was a precursor to the release of his new full-length album of the same name. Bullard’s new country record is due this Friday, February 9th, via Feels So Good Records.

If you’re a classic rock fan, you’ve probably already figured that the title of the title track is a play off of the AC/DC tune “Rock n’ Roll Ain’t Noise Pollution.” The song dawned on Bullard when he had the AC/DC song playing in the background. His version is a clever adaptation, laced with humour and encapsulating the true essence of honky-tonk music.

Bullard is a true country artist at heart, holding in high regard those who paved the way for him. Drawing inspiration from artists like Merle Haggard and Jerry Reed, he records his music in the spirit of more outlaw country influences. Within that commitment is a dedication to both authenticity and humility. That no-BS attitude has carried him far, and it’s part of why Bullard has developed such a dedicated following of fans.

As a fan and aficionado of honky-tonk himself, Bullard joins us today to run down for us his Top 10 (or 13 since we made an exception) favourite honky-tonk tracks of all time.

Ellis Bullard’s Top 13 Honky Tonk Bops, Ballads, and Bangers You Didn’t Know You Needed…

(These are just listed in no particular order. Just some of the best songs that sometimes fly under the radar.)

1. Jimmy Buffett – “A Pirate Looking at 40”

“Jimmy Buffet is the man. The dude was mad talented as a writer and picker. Didn’t quite fit the Nashville rhinestone scene and dipped off to the Keys – paved his own way and set his own table. This song, in particular, features mastery level song writing with classic honky sounds like “phasers and steel guitar. “ Over the TOP COUNTRY.”

2. J.J. Cale – “Hey Baby”

“Relentless groove!”

3. ZZ Top – “She’s a Heartbreaker”

“I’ll leave it up to your interpretation of what country music is. I think Billy (Gibbons) and them for sure checked off most of my boxes.”

4. Buck Owens – “Made In Japan”

“Just a fun song! Tells a great story and features master-class musicianship by the Bakersfield sound pioneers.”

5. Dire Straits – “Setting Me Up”

“Another bop up for interpretation but here we have the Sultans of Swing nailing some country stylings with strat tones.”

6. The Country Sound Of Harmonica Sam – “If That’s The Way It’s Gotta Be”

“Those boys sure did this number justice. It’s my favourite version by far!”

7. Zephania Ohara – “Black and Blue”

“The second coming of Merle.”

8. The Reeves Brothers – “Medicine Man”

“Killer song with all the country fixins’!”

9. Alex Williams- “Little Too Stoned”

“Bop about smoking weed, what’s not to love?”

10. Jesse Daniel – “Rollin’ On”

“Hard nose Country! Tonk by the TON!”

11. Hank Williams Jr. – “Dinosaur”

“Groove and hilarious message that as you find yourself being the oldest in the room rings true as time goes on.”

12. Larry Jon Wilson – “Ohoopee River Bottomland”

“WTF! Larry Jon is flying under most folks radars but boasts a deep voice, killer lyrics, and undeniable funky honky vibes.”

13. Dale Watson – “Good Luck n’ Good Truckin’ Tonite”

“Riff driven tune! Great song for road doggin! Killer lyrics! God Bless our truckers!”

Ellis Bullard “Honky Tonk Aint Noise Pollution” single artwork

Ellis Bullard “Honky Tonk Aint Noise Pollution” single artwork

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