Bryant kept with the nostalgic theme by taking CMT Hot 20 Countdown on a trip to his favorite vintage guitar shop. The trip provided a much-needed break from the whirlwind he’s been living since the song’s release.
“I don’t know if you can prepare yourself for it,” he said. “I think it’s something that you just kinda ride that wave. And I think for me, it’s been really cool to go out every night and get to play in front of a different size crowd than what I was used to. I was used to playing to four walls in my bedroom, you know, and now I’m playing to four walls of maybe 15,000 people.”
“Take It on Back” cracked the Top 10 on Billboard’s Country Airplay chart this week, and now Bryant is looking forward to unveiling more new music with the launch of his first album.
“We cut 23 songs and now we kinda sit down with management and everybody else and get a good vibe of what’s working live, what fans are listening to and responding to live and what I’m feeling comfortable with,” Bryant says. “They’re all my babies, so at the end of the day, whatever they pick I’m good with.”
The singer, who co-produced and played all the guitars on the new project, says his path came naturally as a member of a very musical family:
“My grandfather’s name is Jimmy Bryant and he was from the Lubbock, Texas, area,” said Bryant. “When he was in high school he was playing with a guy named Roy Orbison and the Teen Kings, and Roy Orbison showed up at his doorstep one day and asked him if he’d go and make a record with Sam Philips from Sun Records. He said ‘Let me ask my mom,’ and his mom was a little Southern Baptist schoolteacher who never drove a day in her life, a sweetheart of a lady — Ruby Fay was her name — and she told him, ‘Jimmy, you can go but if you go you’re not coming back, ‘cause I don’t allow rock ‘n’ roll music in my household.’
“So he quit the band, moved to college, met Waylon Jennings and started playing with Waylon when Waylon was a disc jockey up there. Waylon was touring with this up-and-coming rock guy who was his best friend named Buddy Holly, so my grandfather sat with Buddy at home rehearsing to join Buddy’s band. … (He) did the Louisiana Hayride tour and played Glen Campbell’s TV show a couple of times, and then had my mom.
“Her two brothers started a band called Ricochet in 1996 and had a hit called ‘Daddy’s Money’ on country radio. So it’s a whirlwind, but it’s nothing different to me. It’s just my family and I grew up around it.”
For more from CMT Hot 20 Countdown’s new artist spotlight, don’t miss an all new episode Saturday and Sunday (Feb. 7-8) at 9 a.m. ET/PT.