Walker McGuire is made up of two distinct members; Jordan, the Texas-born country guy, and Johnny, rootsy-rock cultured Kansan. Together, they’re a force to be reckoned with. The duo is newly signed to BBR Music Group’s Wheelhouse Records and will have their first full-length record out this upcoming fall. Meet the latest power duo that is…Walker McGuire.
The beginning of the pursuit of a dream is connected to the inspiration and the driving force behind that specific dream. Take us back to your roots.
What made each of you decide to start playing country music?
Jordan: “I grew up in Texas. Every day on the way to school my mom-mom would listen to Keith Whitley, Alan Jackson, George Strait, etc. I learned every word and realized I loved it. When I went to college, I realized I really loved it, and fell in love with the simplistic lyrics. It felt like it was my story, and I related to everything they were singing about.”
Johnny: “I grew up more on folk music and Bob Dylan, stuff like that. What drew me to Nashville and country music was that I had always heard that it put the songs on pedestals, so to say. I wanted to go to a place where the song was champion, and to me, that seemed to be country music in Nashville.”
Looking and listening to Walker McGuire, there’s a variant in both sound and appearance and it’s intriguing to see how well you two mesh together.
Despite your differences, the two of you seem to work flawlessly together. What contributes to that?
Johnny: “Our differences. He (Jordan) comes from a more traditional country, I come from rock ‘n roll. Where my strengths lack, his don’t, and vice versa. We have our strengths and weaknesses covered because there are two of us and we kind of play on that. Our differences make us a good team.”
Jordan: “Plus, it makes it a lot easier to go into debt starting a band when there’s someone else to share it with!” (laughs)
Let’s dive more into that. How exactly do you two balance each other out as a band?
Jordan: “The thing I bring to the table as far as writing is a big melodic presence. I think growing up on country, I can really hear something that sounds cool. Johnny is the power of simple words. You don’t have to say anything groundbreaking to make somebody feel something. Sometimes I overthink, and he’s like, ‘dude, let’s just say the same thing in 10 less words’ and then I’ll put it into a melody. Our differences really shine when we’re in a room together. A good example is when we were writing with our buddy Josh Thompson and he goes, ‘it seems to fall out so organically with you two writing together.’”
Johnny: “I would agree. On days when I’m feeling ‘off’,’ it really helps to have another writing partner that is ‘on’ and he can help me get back into it, or I can help him when he’s ‘off.’ When you have a team that can help push each other like that, at the very least, even on a bad day, you can usually create a decent song. That’s most important when you’re trying to put together a second or third album and you have more songs to choose from that might fit. It’s because of our differences and how we push each other with our writing styles.”
One of the qualities that make you such a powerful duo is that you write much of your own music – and most of it is written together.
What is your favorite song you’ve written – whether collectively or separately?
Jordan: “We’ve been writing together for five years, but one of my favorites I’ve ever written that stands out is a song that I wrote with Johnny and some songwriter friends, called, ‘Mysteries of the World‘ and it will be on our album. It was inspired by a book I read and we turned it into a love song. That’s the amazing part about songwriting is you never know where you’ll find your inspiration from.”
Johnny: “That’s definitely one of mine as well. Another is ‘They call me Doc’ which has had a big impact on not only us as writers but on the armed forces. We both have family military ties and this song has been special to us in that way. It’s interesting because we both will write songs and that song will be our favorite for a month or two and then we’ll write the next one and so forth – but these two songs have been really special for us throughout the years.”
It sounds like you both keep each other focused.
What else motivates you?
Johnny: “We have different motivations, but I think we can both say our family and friends because we have supportive families”
Jordan: “It’s all about my family. We run ourselves pretty ragged out here, but if I can do this so that my family can have a better life, that’s what it’s all about. I’m the oldest of five boys from a Podunk town in north Texas, but I knew if I wanted to do this, I had to broaden my horizons, so I left in 2012. The competition of it, too, because if you take one day off, the guy in the building next to you could be writing the next big thing. It’s like an adrenaline rush, and you want to stay on top of it.”
The spectrum of what fits into the country music genre is ever-changing, but the genre itself is gracefully withstanding the test of time.
What is your favorite thing about country music?
Jordan: “The lyrics. 110%. We have friends from all over – Pittsburgh, Chicago, Miami, etc. – and they’ll ask us, ‘do you really just ride around on a Friday night, don’t have much to do?’ and I’m like, ‘yeah’ you know, the theater in my hometown shut down when I was 12 years old, so there wasn’t much to do. Being able to relate to those people who go say, let’s go back-roading, let’s start a bonfire, drink underage because that’s the only thing there is to do in this town. So those lyrics just draw me.”
Johnny: “No doubt. I agree, and I think the history of it, too. The Grand Ole Opry, Ryman Auditorium, stuff that was a staple 60-70 years ago in this country. To think that we are a part of those same things now, and to think that maybe one day we’ll be able to play at the Grand Ole Opry – it’s a humbling experience. As Jordan said, what built that, lyrics, the songs, and the history, and that just goes hand in hand.”
As the guys of Walker McGuire say, “you only get one first single” and you better believe they’re ready for it to rock! “Til Tomorrow” is available for request at your local radio stations, so if you want to hear it, make sure to let those stations know. You can keep up with the power duo that is Walker McGuire on their website, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram.