Well a year isn’t complete without another road trip to my favorite acoustic venue for live music in Ohio – The Listening Room. This time was different though because for the first time I saw two artists in one night at this venue. I had heard good things about both of them prior to the show and I am happy to confirm they were both thoroughly entertaining and I would make a return trip to see them again. Get to know Keith Anderson and David Adam Byrnes just a little bit better from this chat I had with them before their sound check that night.
Let’s start with an ice breaker….How would you describe your music?
Keith: It’s definitely a country lyric, even if it doesn’t have that traditional country sound. I never try to fake an accent, I just have a raspy voice. You always kind of emulate who you look up to but you want to be yourself at the same time. I’ve always tried to combine country words with the rock edge I grew up with.
David: Well I’m pretty much straight up traditional country. I grew up listening to George Strait, Mark Chestnutt, Tracy Lawrence and those kinds of people. I also found a liking for the Texas style country and what they call ‘Red Dirt.’ I didn’t realize I would fit into that ‘type’ until recently but my music definitely tends to lean in that direction.
Have you played the Listening Room here before? Any first impressions you want to share?
Keith: Well I played here earlier this year, I think in February, and that show went so well, I’m so thankful and glad they booked me for back to back shows this time around. There’s just nothing like an atmosphere like this where you can tell stories and interact this close with the fans. For some reason when I’m here, I just start pouring my heart out telling stories about songs I never thought I’d share so there’s definitely a special kind of thing they’ve got going here.
David: Yeah this weekend, last night, was my first time here and Keith kept telling me before the show, just wait…you’re not going to believe the experience here. You know you’ve got kinda songwriter places like The Bluebird or The Listening Room in Nashville and people know what to expect when they get there. It doesn’t seem like there’s many places like that up here so people are really hungry for that and they just lock in on you on that stage and I love that. You really get to know who an artist is when it’s just them, their guitar, and they’re just sitting up there playing for you so I love this place for providing us that opportunity.
What do you remember most about interacting with fans at your shows?
Keith: I think there’s a lot of amazing experiences I’ve had just because people really responded well to my song ‘I Still Miss You.’ It was originally written about a heartbreak but then as you go through life, those lyrics could hold a completely different meaning a year later as your life changes. Night to night I still have a hard time with that song because it’s very personal to me and I feel those connections when fans come up and say what it means to them.
David: I think for me, there’s two sides to it. I’m still pretty new as far as people knowing me when I show up to play a show. For me it’s that moment when you realize you’ve gained a new fan. You see somebody’s eyes light up during a certain line or you see somebody singing along even though they’ve just heard the song for the first time that night.
Is there a song on the radio right now that you wish you had written?
Keith: Man, I mean I’m kind of getting back into writing again and it’s mostly talk radio or just live sports games because I just want to be me and not influenced by anything out there already. But, I do have to say I really enjoy a lot of what Eric Paslay has done and also Randy Houser’s “Like A Cowboy.”
David: Ummm right now? That’s a tough one. If I could choose any song that inspires me as a songwriter though it would have to be “Where She Told Me To Go” from Eric Church’s Carolina album. There’s so many clever lines and creativity in painting a picture of an actual living hell.
Country music seems like an ever-changing genre. Is there one aspect of it that you think will always be around no matter what?
Keith: I think there will always be a connection to the lyrics. Whether it’s the artist writing the song, the artist recording the song (whether it’s the same person or a different one), or the fans listening to it through whatever outlet is available to them.
David: Man I have to agree with that. There will always be outside influences but when you get right down to it, the fans will always find something in a song that is meaningful to them and it could be completely different than what the song originally was written for. I love those unexpected moments when that connection happens.