Ricky Gunn Mixes Modern Country Sound With Old-School Songwriting Influences on Debut Album
The name of Ricky Gunn's full-length debut album, 'King of This Town,' could be considered partly fulfilled prophecy and partly aspirational -- a good indication of where the singer-songwriter has been and where he hopes to go.
A Columbus, Ga., native, Gunn learned to play guitar as a teenager, taught by his grandfather, a "military man" who "played for fun" and "was just always singing," according to Gunn.
"He's the one I pretty much blame for all of this," Gunn says with a laugh. "[He] taught me three chords and said, 'All right, go get 'em' ... I guess a couple weeks later, I had written my first song."
"I really just dig the vibe ... It was more of a storytelling genre back then, I think, than it is today," Gunn says. "I kinda just wanted to, on my record, go back and do what they kinda did back then ... and wanted to let each song tell a unique part of a story and part of my life."
That's where the aspirational meaning of the album's title comes in: Although his sound is polished and modern -- a little bit Jason Aldean, a little bit Eric Church -- Gunn's songwriting is where he shows his love for the old-school country greats -- the "kings of this town," if you will.
"It's modern country, but with the way that I carry my vocals ... I think that takes you back to the old days of Waylon and Cash," Gunn says of his sound. "It's modern country with an old-school throwback to it."
As for the fulfilled prophecy meaning of 'King of This Town,' Gunn's got a great reputation in his home state. He won Georgia Music Awards in 2011 and 2012, has a reputation for playing hours-long bar gigs and opened for artists like Gary Allan and Travis Tritt.
"My whole life pretty much is in that record up to now," Gunn says, "being married at a young age, having kids and doing this business and pushing forward [through] struggling times that I've had in the past, but still being dedicated to the craft."
Gunn recorded the 13-track album at Nashville's Blackbird Studio, and while he says he "just wanted to thoroughly enjoy the music we were making and not do it for the industry, but do it for us," the songs would certainly fit on country radio, from the rocking 'Out in the Country' to the slower, more poignant 'Heartbreak I'm Working On.'
"I think we covered all the bases as far as our vibe and what we dig and the style we like," Gunn says. "I think there is a variety of sounds and tastes ... Somebody can dig at least one of the songs on the record."
Listen to Ricky Gunn, 'King of This Town':