Austin Webb Talks ‘All Country on You,’ Upcoming Album and Poetic Influences
Among Austin Webb's greatest influences as a country musician are legendary artists like Johnny Cash, Vince Gill and Hank Williams, Jr., to name a few, but there are also a couple names you might not expect to hear: classic writers Robert Frost, Dylan Thomas and O. Henry.
At just 9 years old, Webb started reading their works and trying to write his own poetry. His work was "finger painting" compared to the professionals, Webb says, but it was certainly good practice for his future career.
"I just loved writing. I loved to express what I was feeling with words," he tells The Boot. "I remember being in church and reading books [hidden] inside the Bible ... I was a big fan of it."
Webb recently released a new single, "All Country on You," and while it may not be as deep as something like Frost's "The Road Not Taken," it's a nice change of pace from the plethora of "bro-country" tunes currently dominating the airwaves.
"I'm tired of it, and everyone's tired of it, but nobody's talking about it out loud," Webb says of the musical trend. "I wanted to be able to put a song out on the radio that sort of combined Carrie Underwood's "Before He Cheats" and [Miranda Lambert's] "Gunpowder and Lead," but how does a guy pull off a song, like a girl would, talkin' about how bad the guy is, and still empower the woman at the same time?"
How Webb does it is by getting Mark Irwin, Josh Kear and Chris Tompkins -- the same trio who wrote Underwood’s hit -- to craft a song from the guy's point of view. Webb calls "All Country on You" "the sequel to "Before He Cheats" in a way," and he says he's seeing both women and men react well to it.
"The people that love the song the most are the women, and they are really attaching to it, and they're saying, 'That's true, that's me. I'm that girl' ... and the guys are like, 'Yep, yep,'" Webb says. "It's a cool perspective, and I think it's a really unique way of putting a song out, and people have been really responsive, and I've been very grateful to it."
Webb plans to release his debut album on Streamsound Records this summer. He notes that "All Country on You" is indicative of only a portion of the record's sound.
"I have all different angles of songwriting and styles ... I like the introspective, meaningful, lyrical songs ... but in the sense of a contemporary sound, and so I try to mix the two together," Webb explains. "What I'm hoping that "All Country on You" does is allow me to get into that stream a little bit more than [my 2013 single] "Slip on By" did and gain a little bit more traction and more exposure so I can eventually release those more true-to-country-music country songs."
Webb plans to spend much of 2015 on the road, playing at radio stations, in opening slots for bigger-name acts and at festivals -- "busting my a-- trying to meet more country music fans and trying to play my songs for them," he says. It's a schedule he's gotten very used to: Webb is 26 now, but he's been on the road since he was 15 years old.
"It's half my life, basically, and it's taught me so much about myself, spending that kind of time exploring the world and finding out things on your own and taking your own chances and these huge risks," he says. "What I've learned is, I was born a country singer ... If I lose my record deal and I don't have any success on radio, if I don't have anything, I've still got country music fans.
"If I lose everything, I'm still gonna be a country singer," Webb adds, "because that's who I was born to be."
Watch Austin Webb's "All Country on You" Lyric Video: