Sunshine likes to make artists shine! Hence, her interview series was born. Contact her for your moment in Sunshine's Spotlight.
Introducing Dustin Herring
What happens in Nashville, stays in Nashville. Kinda. If you have never had the opportunity to visit Music City and experience the ambiance along Broadway, whether upper or lower or everything in between, I highly suggest it.
I visited Nashville for one reason — music. Actually country music, but I was pleasantly surprised with an amazing mixture of most genres. Yes, I even heard rap, soul and they were singing the blues. I was impressed with their drive and desire to fuel their passion — music.
Walking along Broadway the sounds of music pours out into the streets while the alcohol is poured into the chilled glasses inside the bars. Then comes the laughter, the dancing, the new friendships made. What a fine combination — music, dancing, laughter, friends, and booze.
So what are y'all waiting for? Nashville musicians are waiting on you to visit so they could entertain you. They welcome song requests and please tip them well, these amazing artists work hard for their money.
Dustin Herring is one of those musicians. Dustin hails from Hartford, Alabama but he now calls Nashville home. Read my interview with him below!
Dustin recently released a song, Bullet or a Beer, to raise awareness for suicide prevention. Hopefully, this song will reach many and the words will help save many lives.
For your entertainment, I present Dustin Herring.
Q: Do You Have A Ritual Before Performing?
I always soundcheck and then start my shows with "Small Town Saturday Night" by Hal Ketchum.
Q: Musician That Inspired You?
I have a lot of musicians that inspired me and I took a little from each artist.
- Alan Jackson
- Tracy Lawrence
- Mark Chesnutt
- Jamey Johnson
- Kenny Chesney
- Merle Haggard
- Waylon Jennings
Q: Who Inspired Your Love Of Country Music?
Every Sunday I used to listen to Bob Kingsley country countdown and I have always just been a huge fan of country music. Not only the music but I've always looked deep into the songs.
Q: Do You Want A Record Deal?
Yeah, I think so. Sometimes I believe that's what my ultimate goal is then other times I think I mostly just want to create music and make records. If I can afford to do it as an independent I'll keep doing what I'm doing. If someone wanted to invest in my music and help push an album that affords me the opportunity to play, I'm pretty sure I would sign.
Read More From Spinditty
Q: Have You Had Professional Vocal Training?
I'm self-taught. Starting out, I had to learn how to work systems, run sound, mix vocals and play enough shitty bars with terrible sound that I think I somehow improved my voice. Nowadays with great equipment and all the long nights of that kinda singing shows behind me, things sound a lot better.
Q: Do You Play Any Other Instruments Besides The Guitar?
I can sorta play the drums. I was a drummer in the marching band in Jr. High then it just seemed cooler to be the quarterback of the football team instead. If I only would have known how cool a guitar-playing quarterback would have been. Ha!
Q: Do You Write Your Own Songs?
Yes! I consider myself a songwriter first and foremost. I think sometimes people say the whole, I'm an artist or I'm a songwriter thing, I just kinda don't see how I can be a writer and not an artist too...I mean, we are creating art!
Q: Have You Written Songs For Other Musicians?
I never really set out to specifically write for other artists, but I have written songs that we pitch to Top 40 artists and I have had my songs cut by independant artists. I write songs I would wanna cut or play out, but I'm always open to the right artist cutting one of my songs.
Q: How Long Have You Been In The Entertainment Industry?
About 7 years. I was writing and playing shows since 2010 but moved to Nashville in 2014.
Q: Where Do You See Yourself In 5 Years?
I truly believe I will have a few cuts by Top 40 artists and I feel like I'll still be writing and making records.
Q: Favorite Song?
"Anything But Mine" - Kenny Chesney
Every time I hear this song I'm right back in my first truck, on a certain road, with a certain someone. It takes me back to that special time in my life and that song is probably one of the reasons I wanted to learn to play in the first place.
Q: What/Who Is Your Muse?
I think my past is a big factor in my songwriting. Mistakes I've made, regrets I have, people and things I take for granted, and the idea of how my life was supposed to be, or used to be, seem to find their way into my writing. Happy, sad, serious or funny songs, all seem to come back to all of that.
It ain't the size of the dog in the fight, it's the size of the fight in the dog.
Q: Most Famous Musician That You Met?
I've met so many in passing, but I think having a cold beer conversation with Randy Houser or Lee Brice while playing my guitar rank up there at the top.
Q: Which Artist Would You Want to Collaborate With?
I would have loved to sing with Merle Haggard. He could deliver a song like no one else. I think a living country artist would be Jamey Johnson. He's a great writer and also from Alabama, writing with him would be awesome!
Q: Favorite Musician?
That's tough because I was influenced by so many. I love 'em all.
- Gary Allan
- Alan Jackson
- Jamey Johnson
- Eric Church
- Kenny Chesney
- Tracy Lawrence
- Hank Williams Jr
- Merle Haggard
- George Strait
Q: Favorite Bar On Broadway To Perform?
The Stage Acoustic Lounge
Q: A Random Fun Fact?
I am totally addicted to ketchup and would love a Keystone Light endorsement.
Q: Most Memorable Moment So Far In Your Career?
Winning the 2012 Texaco Country Showdown Songwriting Competition
Q: Advice For An Artist Just Getting Started In The Business?
Don't do it! Haha! In all seriousness, it's a very tough thing to do. I got into songwriting because I HAVE to write songs. It's what I do. When our family farm was sold I had nothing left to lose and didn't feel like I had a home in Alabama anymore. I quit my job in Mississippi and moved to Nashville. I'm too far into this now to quit and I don't know what I'd do if I couldn't write or play. Either way, I could assure you that you will give more than you ever get back. Don't do it because you want to, do it because you HAVE to.
Q: Which Song That You Have Written Is Most Special To You?
I wrote a song when I was first learning to write called "Down The Dirt Road" It was a tribute to two of my friends that were killed in separate accidents. I can't believe I got something like that out and down on paper at such an early stage in my songwriting. I think I had some helps from some folks, if you know what I mean.
Q: What Are Your Thoughts On The Evolution Of Country Music?
I think country music is alive and well, they just call it Americana, or Red Dirt, etc. The music is there it's just labeled something else and not found on the radio.
Q: Which Musician Would You Want To Portray You In A Movie Of Your Life?
Haha, I don't know if there's anyone in country music that has hair as curly as mine. Haha! I couldn't tell you!
(Dierks Bentley, is a possible contender!)
- Bullet or a Beer - Single by Dustin Herring on Apple Music
Listen to songs from the album Bullet or a Beer - Single, including "Bullet or a Beer." Buy the album for $0.99. Songs start at $0.99. Free with Apple Music subscription.
Q: What Is The Story Behind Your Song, Bullet or a Beer?
Well, I was going through a rough time. I was completely broke, the lease was up on my apartment, I was very depressed that my music wasn't taking off like I had planned and I was kinda feeling sorry for myself. I had just got through a job interview for a job that I didn't even want to begin with and I figured that I would write about all the poor pitiful me stuff.
While I was just sorta venting on paper somehow I started feeling better kinda like, "You know Dustin, it's gonna be ok, things aren't that bad. You could be like this guy..." and I just started writing a story about some dude who was on the edge and down to two choices: a bullet or a beer.
I took some real life feelings and emotions from the experiences that I've had personally involving suicide so this was really important for me to get the song right. I've had friends lose loved ones that took their lives so that was on my mind. I was in a past relationship with someone I cared for deeply and she had lost her brother to the same sorta thing. I know what that did to her and her parents, their whole family and all of his friends. I remember always feeling helpless because they were hurting and there didn't seem to be anything I could do to make it better. There's just so many unanswered questions and all sorts of emotions that suicide invokes. I think it helped me process some of what they were going through and shed some light on something I had just tried to push out of my mind for a long time.
I'm really proud of the song and I hope it reaches people and helps in some way.
Favorite Song Lyric
I done a whole lot of searching, a whole lot of hurtin'
Before I finally found my road in life
You got to say things you want to say
Go on and do things your own way
You can climb any old mountain
Once you make up your mind
— Hank Williams Jr
Sidenote from Linda Bilyeu
In my opinion, which is based on my research and communications with the Nashville Musicians...it's not about "making it big." They are passionate for their craft and being able to share their gift of music is the fuel that keeps their passion alive.
With each song they perform these artists are sharing a part of themselves and that takes guts and bravery. They "made it big" once they performed their first song in front of a live audience. As writers we are well aware of exposing our emotions and inner being through words and in this case, through song.
Kudos to each and every brave and determined artist who puts themselves out there to live their dream.
© 2016 Linda Bilyeu
Shauna L Bowling from Central Florida on October 18, 2016:
What a cutie petutie! I love "Down the Dirt Road". Very sad, but beautiful.
Suzie from Carson City on October 16, 2016:
OMG, GF...look at those curls & piercing blue eyes! This baby face is precious and I liked both "Burn" and "Down the Dirt Road." You have made me a C&W huge fan. Well I liked it before, but now I'm really getting into it.....like I said in my last comment, the C&W artists are all just too damned cute & sexy!!'
Must be the growing up in the pastures & corn fields of the South?? LOLOLOLO Thanks. Another good read, Linda Sue! Hugs, Effer.
Maria Jordan from Jeffersonville PA on October 16, 2016:
Oh those blue eyes have me hooked, dear Sunshine...
... love that Dustin is raising awareness of suicide prevention with his music.
Nithya Venkat from Dubai on October 07, 2016:
A great introduction to Dustin Herring. Never heard his songs, makes me want to listen after reading your article.
mckbirdbks from Emerald Wells, Just off the crossroads,Texas on October 07, 2016:
Hello Linda -You got the Nashville bug. The music seems to have grabbed you and carried you away. Bravo. I enjoyed this. Listening to the music now.
But wait, writers are suppose to pour their emotions into their work? I wished someone would have told me.
Suzette Walker from Taos, NM on October 07, 2016:
I love this series you are doing Linda. It is nice for once to hear about the up and coming country singers and their music. I have been to Nashville but many years ago. I don't remember Broadway there. You have inspired me to visit there again. I would love to hear some of these musicians play in person. Sounds like you had a blast when you were there. Love your interviews.
FlourishAnyway from USA on October 06, 2016:
That's a powerful image he portrays there with "A Bullet or A Beer." This is a great series.