By Walter Price I always want to kick myself when I discover an artist I should have known all along. Not too long ago I was told about a guy from Odessa, TX that was doing it right in the Texas Music scene and was on the verge of being a national country star. I was intrigued and thanked my dear Aunt Nora and went about my search for Brian Milson. What a great recommendation it turned out to be. I first discovered that Milson’s (& The Short Road Band) music is on the same level as what Blake Shelton, Aaron Watson and/or Tim McGraw are producing. I also found out that this man grew up in the West Texas town of Odessa, like I had done and he has been a Willie Nelson fan since he was a very young man, again, just like I had been. So, it is becoming clear that I should have known about this artist much sooner than I had. There is also added fact that Milson hasn’t been afraid to tackle social subjects in his honest and straight forward style of country music. Which is endearing at a time when a good majority of songs in the top of the country charts focus on one party after the next (and there is nothing wrong with a good ole party!), Brian has just released “Nothing Grows In Shadows’. (VIDEO) This track shines the light directly on the subject of bullying and is garnering much deserved national attention. I say fantastic, now it needs international recognition as well. I thought I would reach out to Brian and find out who this man of great music, faith and social consciousness is.
First things first, You’re a born and raised Odessa, TX guy. Odessa is a place you either love or hate. How was it for you growing up in an oil town/city? (I can tell you, I was happy when my family moved away after my 7th grade year at Crockett Jr. High in the 80’s…)
Odessa was a great town to grow up in because, like any smaller towns, you had to make your own fun. There wasn’t a whole lot to do so my friends and me would play hide and seek, or capture the flag. Oil wasn’t always as prominent as it has become now because of a couple of bust periods, so that made it a really relaxed town to be in. There wasn’t an influx of out of town people, so you could go to any restaurant and see multiple people you know whereas now, you’re lucky to see one. All in all, I wouldn’t change a thing about where I was raised.
What many Europeans don’t know is how sports in Texas are like a second religion for a good portion of Texans. You played a bit, what was your sport of choice?
Yes the second religion is football in Texas. As a kid you lived for Friday night football games. I did play a little bit growing up and also played a lot of baseball, but I would have to say that my sport of choice is golf. I started playing it when I was seven and really developed a love for it. I still try to play as much as I can.
You’ve been a Willie Nelson fan since you were a young boy, sang in the school choir… did you know in school you’d like to pursue music as a living or did this career path thought come later in life?
I have always loved music, but it really turned into a passion for me my Junior year of high school. I taught myself how to play guitar with a chord book and eventually a couple of lessons. My desire to pursue it came after I had my first public gig for the Cinco de mayo festival that my high school had every year. I sang one song and got a tremendous response and I was hooked. I knew then that there was not another career choice for me.
I know it was tough at the time but how did you get started in songwriting?
Haha, this is always a fun story to tell. I wrote my first song about a breakup that I had (cliché, I know) but I never really meant for it to turn into a song I just wrote down some thoughts about it and it turned out that a couple of lines had rhymed. So then I got out my guitar and started tinkering with it and out came my first song. It was titled, “Ole What’s His Name,” because I never knew the name of the guy that she broke up with me for.
What were your thoughts when the first two songs you recorded in Nashville hit the Texas Music Chart?
The feeling that I had when I saw my name next to a number on a music chart was pure joy and fulfillment. It really made me think that there was a future for me in the music business and the fact that I had two in a row just really did wonders for my confidence as a musician and as a person.
If that wasn’t grand enough you’ve found yourself opening for some heavys and legends in the business. Would you be kind enough to tell us who and what those experiences meant to you?
I can honestly say that I am a truly blessed guy because I have gotten to share the stage with so many great acts. Each experience is unique because not every act is a “show act,” but I try to learn as much as I possibly can by watching their sets and try to incorporate what I have learned into my own show.
Now you’re out with “Nothing Grows In Shadows”, can you walk us through the process of writing and recording this track with such a strong and important message?
Well, “Nothing Grows In Shadows,” is a song written by Dallas Davidson, Rhett Akins and Doug Johnson, who are three heavyweight songwriters in Nashville. How I was able to get the song was my producer, James Stroud, called me out of the blue and said the he had found us a song so he let me listen to it over the phone and I was blown away. The song really hit home for me because I was bullied as a kid and regretfully, I did some bullying of my own which I still fell horrible about. But it truly is an honor to have my debut single be a part of something greater than my career or greater than myself and I will do my best to make as much of a positive difference on such a tragic issue.
What’s next for you?
I have a lot of things coming up later in the year. I will be on the Fox News Channel’s Huckabee on Oct 26th to talk about my single and the campaign behind it. There will be many other appearances to go along with that but are still in the works.
Thanks for talking with us today.
It has been my pleasure I really enjoyed talking to y’all. Thank you for your time.