Today’s Feature, December 3rd-4th: DeWayne Spaw

December 4, 2007 at 10:12 pm (Today's Feature)

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A rewarding career in the entertainment industry doesn’t happen by chance – you gotta work hard, play hard and maybe most importantly, take chances. With that said, it’s clear that the country singer/songwriter out of Southern Indiana, DeWayne Spaw is on his way to well-deserved success.

Spaw took one of his biggest chances in 1990 when he chose to advance his musical career with a move to Nashville. There, he recorded his first project that landed his first independent record deal as well as airplay on both TNN and CMT. Spaw would continue to press forward in 1998 at a local rodeo, asking the stock contractor for the event if he could grace the audience with some musical styling’s prior to the riders taking the stage. After sampling DeWayne’s sound, the contractor and Spaw agreed to a deal, thus beginning a nine year run of performances.

In 2006, Spaw would take his most rewarding chance, contacting renowned songwriter, producer and front man of the Gibson/Miller Band, Dave Gibson for a chance to record his next album in Gibson’s studio. Again, after a bit of sampling, Gibson met with Spaw and finally agreed to produce Spaw’s most recent release, “Money, Gun & the Bible.”

“This is the best material I could have ever gotten my hands on, and is exactly my style, with a little bit of that rockin’ edge,” says DeWayne of the new record. He continues, “I even had the opportunity to record one of my favorite GMB songs, Texas Tattoo, as a duet with him.” For more on the album, visit DeWayne’s web site… or go ahead and make the purchase! Now, check out his XXQ’s.

XXQs: DeWayne Spaw

Pen’s Eye View: How and when did you first get involved with music?

Dewayne Spaw: I think music has always been in my blood. My Grandpa was a farmer and he loved to sing and tell poetry, so I was always learning new poems and songs from him because I was with him nearly every waking hour. My Mom is an excellent piano player as well so music was something that was a big part of my life and I always wanted to do.

PEV: Growing up in Southern Indiana, what kind of music where you listening to?

DS: Well, Grandpa was teaching me everything from the old show tunes like Old Man River and Oklahoma, to late eighteen hundreds tunes that he first learned as poems. Now my Dad was the country music guy. He had an old jeep CJ-5 and you could be guaranteed, when you turned the keys on that old jeep, the radio would be tuned to the local country station, playing Merle Haggard, Mel Tillis, Charley Pride, The Statler Brothers, etc. I can still remember singing “I Got The Horse and She’s Got the Saddle” in Dad’s jeep. Of course at that time I was clueless of the true meaning.

PEV: When and where was your first live performance? Did you ever think then you’d be where you are now?

DS: My first big public performance, other than singing in church was at my schools kindergarten music program. The gym was packed full of people, maybe 10,000 people, or at least it seemed at the time. (there may have been 150 or so) I was the very first one out in the program and the first to sing, and I can still remember it! I was not scared in the least, in fact, they almost had to drag me off the stage. I knew right then what I wanted to do, no question about it. From that time on I was running around the house, playing my cardboard guitar that I had cut out of a big box, being a country or rock star!

PEV: Tell us about ” Money, Gun & the Bible “. What can fans expect from it?

DS: This is no doubt the best project I have recorded. Last summer while on tour in Dover, OH I was on-line looking for songs for a new CD and I happened across Dave Gibsons web site. On a long shot I sent him an e-mail and inquired about recording at his studio. After he listened to my music and met me in person, he agreed to produce my project as well. In addition to that, he opened his entire song catalog up to me for recording. Dave has written so many number 1 hits and is such a well respected writer that for a country artist, it was a lifetime opportunity for me. Normally only major label artists have the chance to cut those songs. Even though I did not write the songs on this project, the music still very much reflects who I am. It feels as though every one of these songs were written just for me. PEV: How is ” Money, Gun & the Bible ” different from other albums out today?

DS: It has a true country sound. The writing is in the classic Dave Gibson style and is a far cry from the pop country or what I call the “country boy band” sound that is out there so much today. I wouldn’t really call it traditional country, but just a great modern country sound.

PEV: When you sit down to write an album like ” Money, Gun & the Bible”, what kind of environment do your surround yourself in?

DS: Although I did not write the songs on this project, when I write, I may be in any kind of environment. When I am on a roll, I’m on a roll and when I’m not, I’m not.

PEV: What is your take on the current music scene today?

DS: I think the Internet is changing everything. The major labels can not run with a business as usual attitude anymore. There are many more independent artists who are truly being heard. I don’t think any of them are building careers like the major artists are yet, but I think that will eventually change as well. I think the music scene will be much more rounded as the artists themselves have more say so in their careers, and the labels will have less say so. The only thing that is very disturbing to me is the fact that there still seems to be an age barrier in the minds of the labels and they are still signing so many kids who have very little original style, and who put very little feeling into their music. That is something that is achieved over time, something most young artists do not have.

PEV: How has your musical styling changed since your first recording or over the years?

DS: It has changed SO MUCH. Over time, I have found my own sound and my own style. I can truly say and believe that I don’t really sound like any other artist. I may sound similar in some way or another, but I don’t try to copy other artists. I think that is a biggest mistake of many of today’s younger artists, they try to sound like their influences instead of developing their own style. But of course, that comes with time and experience.

PEV: Tell us about the first time you stepped into a recording studio. What was going through your head?

DS: It was a small studio in the back of a music store in Murfreesboro, TN. I was 19 years old and I was simply blown away. I think the hardest part for me was getting used to the headphones and hearing myself sing through them. To this day, a lot of times I pull one headphone off my ear so I can hear myself live. It just depends on the situation.

PEV: What is “road life” like for you? What are the best and worst parts?

DS: I love being on the road and I have that opportunity every summer for about 4 to 5 months. In fact, I usually stay gone the entire summer and don’t normally come home until late September or early October. I absolutely love performing for the audience and then meeting them and talking to them afterwards. I am very much a people person so that is one of the best parts for me. The part that is the hardest, is being away from my family. My boys are with me for almost two months of that time, but the rest of the time gets lonely away from them and my wife.

PEV: In all your travels, which city (International or US) do you think offers the best music scene?

DS: Well that is hard for me to say, because my music scene is not the traditional one. Because I perform at so many professional rodeos, and fair and festival events, there are few places that are not good venues. I am accustomed to performing in front of a grandstand at those events and I almost always have a good number of people watching because I play an opening concert for these events. That means I have a built in crowd of usually at least 1,000 or more. In the past few years, I guess an average audience size for my performances would be 2000 – 3000. That is why I feel God has blessed me to have been able to perform in the venues I have and the way I have for the past 9 years. I have made a lot of fans and friends along the way and I am very thankful for them all.

PEV: What or who is currently in your CD player right now?

DS: I don’t listen to the radio much, and I do have a pretty diverse taste in music. Let’s see, for rock I have, Kiss, Motley Crue, Def Leppard, Cinderella, Foreigner, Rob Zombie, Kansas, and Styx just to name a very few. For country I have Alan Jackson (the gospel album), Thom Shepherd, Adam Tucker, the Gibson/Miller Band, Confederate Railroad, Merle Haggard, Buck Owens, and Charley Pride plus a bunch more. In Bluegrass, Marty Raybon, Randy Kohrs, and Hayseed Dixie.

PEV: Is there an up and coming artist or band that you think we should all be listening?

DS: Yes, Laurie Killian Starr. Search her on Google and you will see for yourself, she is very talented.

PEV: Who would you wish to collaborate with that you have not had a chance to yet?

DS: I would love to work with Marty Stewart, Tony Brown or Tim Dubois on a project. I would also love to sing a duet with Laurie Killian Starr.

PEV: What do your friends and family think about all your success?

DS: My family is behind me 100% and supports me in every way. To me, that is what makes me successful, a loving and supportive wife and boys. And I do have to say, I have the most loyal fans a guy could have. They have been voting for me for hours at a time in the Music City Madness 2 and FameCast contests on-line. And most of my fans are also my friends if we have had the opportunity to meet in person. In fact, when my fans come to Nashville to visit, I like to hook up and take them to downtown Nashville and show them around. We have done that numerous times with different fans and friends from all over and we always have a great time!

PEV: What has been the most memorable part of your career so far? Why?

DS: I guess when I played Rockford, IL with Keith Urban was a highlight, because I love his music and his style. What a talented guy! A few other places that stick out in my mind are Benton, PA, Charlotte, MI, Escanaba, MI and Dover, OH. The crowds in those towns were awesome!

PEV: What is one thing we’d be surprised to hear about DeWayne Spaw?

DS: I love to create my own promotional materials, packages etc. I don’t always get to do it myself, but when I can, I do. I am also very interested in video production and actually took part in the editing process of all three of my new videos. I am a hands on kind of guy I guess you could say.

PEV: Where do you think you’ll be in 20 years?

DS: I hope I will still be performing, but if not, I imagine I will be producing other artists or possibly shooting music videos for them. (video is a hobby of mine)

PEV: What one word best describes DeWayne Spaw?

DS: “VERY HAPPY” Oh wait, that’s two words, OK… “HAPPY.”

PEV: So, what is next for DeWayne Spaw?

DS: I am very excited to see where we can take this new project, the venues I will be playing next and the talented people I will get to work with in the future. I am also looking forward to working with my new band and playing more winter dates in Casinos and indoor events next year.
For more information on DeWayne Spaw, check out www.DeWayneSpaw.com/

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