Levi Lowrey reminds me a lot of two of my favorite songwriters, Darrell Scott and Shawn Camp. You might not know their names, but I can just about guarantee you know their songs.
If you are a fan of the Zac Brown Band, you have heard Levi Lowrey’s songcraft. Unwittingly, you have probably sung along with his words. Levi earned a CMA Song of the Year nomination for his co-write on “Colder Weather,” from the 2010 Zac Brown Band release You Get What You Give, and he co-wrote “The Wind,” which was on Uncaged, Zac Brown Band’s chart topping and Grammy winning 2012 record.
I first heard of Levi Lowrey when he was tabbed to replace Bryan Simpson following his departure from Cadillac Sky. That collaboration didn’t stick, but I have been following Levi ever since. I Confess I Was A Fool, his 2011 release on Zac Brown’s Southern Ground label, is a Southern Americana masterpiece. For proof, listen to “Whiskey and Wine” or “Freight Hopper,” two of my favorite tracks from a record that has rarely been far from my stereo these last few years.
Levi’s eponymous sophomore effort, which releases February 25th, met my expectations easily. Tracks like “Picket Fences,” which is featured on this month’s Trail Mix, “December Thirty-One,” and “Before The Hymnal Died” confirm to me that Levi Lowrey stands shoulder to shoulder with Jason Isbell, Chris Stapleton, and Will Hoge as the best in what Southern songwriting has to offer.
Trail Mix recently caught up with Levi to chat about working with Zac Brown, heavy metal music, and the new record.
BRO – As an emerging Americana artist, what does it mean to be associated with Southern Ground?
LL – I think that Southern Ground is the perfect place for ANY Americana artist. Zac really knows allows artists to be themselves. I’m making music the same way that I always have, without being pressured to cut my hair, shave my bear, and wear a baseball cap (the new cowboy hat). Zac throws his full weight behind it, because he believes in his artists. He doesn’t try to manufacture pop stars.
BRO – The world knows Zac Brown as a performer. How was it working with him as a producer?
LL – Zac has a really good grasp on track listings. He’s always amazed me with his ability to pick songs for records, put them in order, and then pick singles. It’s the kind of skill that only a music lover and seasoned reader of liner notes can possess. I have to also stress that Matt Mangano and Clay Cook did an incredible job producing this record. They took the aforementioned hand picked songs and elevated them to a new level.
BRO – We are featuring “Picket Fences” on Trail Mix this month. What’s the story behind the song?
LL – First, thank you for this honor. There are several viewpoints that are represented in this song. There is a kind of U2 element to this one. The cheater is me. The wife is God, and the lover is the world. There is another story that’s far more straight forward. It’s that story that most people will latch onto and pick up on the first listen. Both stories are true.
BRO – Is there a song on the record that you just fell into, something that happened unusually quickly?
LL – “Trying Not To Die” came rather quickly. I was at a family Thanksgiving gathering, watching my kids play with their cousins out in the yard. They were trying to kill themselves on a Cozy Coupe and various other playground items. It reminded me of my childhood, when I’d spend all of my time outside playing with my cousins. It made me sad to realize that, somewhere along the way, I lost that daredevil mentality. Now I am an overly nervous father, trying not to die.
BRO – Why aren’t more Americana artists covering Black Sabbath tunes?
LL – Why isn’t Black Sabbath covering more Americana artists?
Levi Lowrey is out on the road in support of the Zac Brown Band for much of the month of February. For more information on Levi, the new record, or when you might be able to catch him live, point your browser to www.levilowrey.com.
And, if you want to grab a signed copy of Levi’s record early, take a shot at our trivia question in the form down below – just fill it out and submit!. We’ll pick a winner from all of the correct responses received by noon (EST) tomorrow – Thursday, February 6th.