20 Questions with Texas Country Star, Rob Baird
I had the chance to catch up with Texas country artist, Rob Baird, after the sound check for his performance at Wild West on Saturday, July 9th. Rob talked everything from life on the road, the new album, the genre and more. Here is the full interview with Rob Baird.
99.5 The Bear: You’re originally from Memphis, TN, but now call Texas home. Musically, what are the biggest differences you’ve noticed in the transition and move?
Rob Baird: I feel like you can be more of a band that can tour and get out there as opposed to Tennessee where you have to get a deal or a break. Here you can do your own thing. There’s really not that much of a community there as opposed to here.
99.5 The Bear: Is that the biggest thing you like about the Texas genre?
Rob Baird: Yeah man. I don’t like people telling me what to do so here we are kind of doing our own thing and writing our own songs and figuring it out. It’s nice to get your own experience going here and just be on the road and other stuff it takes to be a musician.
99.5 The Bear: You write your own songs. They’re gritty but not gritty and sad but upbeat. Is that how you see it?
Rob Baird: It’s just songs I like to listen to and the new album is kind of panning out that way. I’m kind of into the gritty thing. I’m not exactly the big happy guy but I try to make it upbeat at least. I don’t want to have 20 songs that have people saying man that concert was really sad.
99.5 The Bear: Where do you get your songs from? Do they come from personal experience or just out of thin air?
Rob Baird: I’m not really the most literal writer, I tend to be more figurative and try to craft a story of some sort or what I’m thinking about or just coming up with something out of thin air, which is fun. It just depends on if I’m writing on my own or with somebody. It’s just a lot of trial and error.
99.5 The Bear: During the sound check you played “Fade Away.” How did you go about writing that one?
Rob Baird: That’s a really cool song. It’s been something that has got around the state and we never thought that would be a single. I wrote that in my boxers at home while I was in college. I had a lot of lines to it and we whittled it down and cut it the next day. I’m realizing songs like that don’t happen too often.
99.5 The Bear: You’ve been on the road pretty much all summer. What do you like about the road?
Rob Baird: I like playing the shows, don’t know if the traveling is that fun. You have your good weeks and your bad weeks. I like going out and seeing the fans and the point is to play music live and I love doing that.
99.5 The Bear: You’re touring but at the same time you are recording a new album. Is it easy to make an album while on the road?
Rob Baird: It takes a lot longer when you’re on the road to make an album. We’re two days away from finishing the actual recording process and then we’ll go in and mix it in august. I’ve been working with Hayes Carll guys like I did on the last one. It’s really cool and they’re great to work with. We’re so ready to finish it because we’ve been on the road and they’ve been on the road. I’m really excited, I think it’s strong and I think it’s better than the last album and ready to get it out to the people.
99.5 The Bear: What’s it about recording the album now as opposed to the past album. Is it easier now or tougher now since it’s tough getting everyone together?
Rob Baird: Yeah that’s hard and I’m more of a critic of myself now than I have been in the past. Also it’s nice to be in a better recording studio and have better people playing on the record. I think it’s going well.
99.5 The Bear: Do you prefer the road or doing the songwriting process and studio work?
Rob Baird: I think I prefer the road. I like the songwriting process but I enjoy getting it over with. I just can’t wait to finish the project and say “ok, let’s start the next chapter.” But there is always something, doing dates or finishing the record. It’s a revolving door.
99.5 The Bear: Lubbock is pretty much out in the middle of nowhere in musician’s minds. What’s it about playing Lubbock and West Texas that you enjoy coming here so much?
Rob Baird: Lubbock is a good music city and it seems that people want to hear live music. That makes me happy and they want to come out to shows. People are starting to come out to shows and know the words to the songs. It seems like it’s growing with more people coming out every time we come out. Those are the kinds of shows you want to perform, and it lets you know things are going in the right direction.
99.5 The Bear: Who would you like to work with either behind the scenes or on a track that you haven’t?
Rob Baird: I want to work more with Frank Liddell, the guy I write my songs for. He works with Miranda [Lambert], Eli Young and Chris Knight. It’s just about finding the time to do so and we will down the road. I’m not a huge collaboration guy because I’m still trying to find out what I’m trying to do. I always want to play shows with new people though.
99.5 The Bear: What has Frank taught you along the way?
Rob Baird: He’s a pretty interesting guy and he found me right out of college. He kind of lets me do my own thing but directs me along the way. It’s been really cool to get to know him and have a guy like him in your corner. He’s pointed me in the right direction.
99.5 The Bear: What’s the future of Texas Country?
Rob Baird: It’s time to go and spread the word. It’s good here, but I also think that it’s oversaturated. There are a lot of bands and venues to play. Everyone is looking to make it big though and that’s one of those things you can do over time. Being from Tennessee I think people are starting to gain interest over there. I think the worlds are kind of colliding between Texas and Tennessee.
99.5 The Bear: Other than Frank, who are some of your musical role models or inspirations?
Rob Baird: Petty has always been a big one and I’m not afraid to say that. The classics like Neil Young and Springsteen. Will Hoge is really cool. I’m not a huge country listener anymore. I’m just getting out of the box. I can’t really write country songs. I just write soft rock songs that turn out to be alt. country.
99.5 The Bear: What Texas Country musicians do you like?
Rob Baird: I think Adam hood is really cool and [Josh] Abbott and I are buddies. Ryan beaver and I are good friends and he’s at my house all the time. Ben Danaher is still kicking it. John David Kent is really cool too, he’s a new up and comer. Everyone is real cool and trying to do their own things but help everyone one else out at the same time.
99.5 The Bear: What’s on your iPod right now that people wouldn’t expect?
Rob Baird: I just got the new Matt Nathanson cd which is a little pop, but it’s pretty good. I’ve kind of cleared the iPod off. There is one 50 Cent cd, I think it’s a G-Unit cd actually, that I used to listen to when I was in Memphis with my friend Sam.
99.5 The Bear: How big is social media for you?
Rob Baird: It’s pretty big. Sometimes I go off the radar. I’m going on a three week vacation so I’m sure I’ll be off the radar even more. It’s the way to connect with fans and a way to continue spreading the world. It’s kind of the necessary evil.
99.5 The Bear: Who has the better bbq, Memphis or Texas?
Rob Baird: I used to say Memphis all the time. It’s two different bbqs. We recorded our first cd in Lockhart and there’s a lot of bbq there. I eat bbq at least once a week. I guess I’ll take either one really.
99.5 The Bear: Inside of Texas, where would you say your favorite spot is?
Rob Baird: I’d say Black’s down in Lockhart. We did a photo shoot there in Lockhart and I got to meet Edgar Black while doing it. He sold me on it.
99.5 The Bear: What’s left for 2011 for you and the guys?
Rob Baird: I think I’m going to take a break when the album is finished and then we’ll hit the road hard. Then we’ll get the album out the first of next year and then it’s the road again. I like to tour like that. You tour hard and then settle in for a little bit.
Rob expects the album out in early 2012. He said he did have a title for the album in mind but nothing was set in stone. He wouldn’t leak that bit of info to us.
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