Jeremy McComb doesn’t try to fit into a genre, just connects
By CARL HOOVER firstname.lastname@example.org | Posted: Thursday, February 2, 2017 12:01 am
Country singer-songwriter Jeremy McComb, who performs this weekend in Waco, prefers music and storytelling that connects with an audience.
Country singer-songwriter Jeremy McComb pauses when, after talking about his love for Texas honed during his time in Austin, he’s asked if he considers his music in the vein of the rock-flavored Texas-Oklahoma Red Dirt movement.
“That’s a strange question to me,” he said in a recent phone interview from Nashville, where he and his actress wife, Kourtney Hansen (“Nashville”), live. “I don’t really fit into a club. Tennessee, Texas, Idaho it doesn’t Matter, I try to connect with everyone sitting in front of me. . . . I think (my music) is about connecting. A lot of storytelling and talking.”
McComb comes to Waco this weekend for acoustic shows at Spring Valley Tavern Sports Grill on Friday and Tradinghouse Bar and Grill on Saturday. He has performed private shows in Waco over the years, but these are his first public shows and part of his spring “Troublemaker” tour. That name comes from the title of the live album he plans to record at shows in March and April, but it’s also how some of his high school teachers perceived him.
“I have a hard time keeping my mouth shut,” he said. As an aside, he joked that his last album, “FM,” which has enjoyed 1 million streams since its release, also could be interpreted as an expletive, “F ’em.”
“FM’s” success without the typical Nashville rollout or marketing pleases McComb. “Those are real people, a real fan base,” he noted. He’s trusting that same real fan base will inhabit the live album that results from “Troublemaker.”
His background suggests that McComb knows what makes an audience tick. His father played for years in a local country band, and McComb himself played in a band before taking a job in his 20s as a radio station disc jockey and music director in Spokane, Washington. After playing music live before a crowd, radio showed him another side of the music industry and what gets music on the air. “Radio gave me a side of the business that I didn’t know,” he said.
Next came a stint as tour manager for the hugely popular Blue Collar Comedy Tour, which not only led to McComb’s work on their movie spinoff soundtracks, but gave him a nightly lesson in interacting with an audience with experts like Larry the Cable Guy, Jeff Foxworthy, Bill Engvall and Ron White. “I was watching a master class in people working a crowd,” he recalled.
Music in Texas came next as McComb relocated to Austin. Texas gave him plenty of exposure to the music and shows of personal favorites such as Radney Foster, Todd Snider, Jack Ingram, Willie Nelson, Kevin Fowler and Aaron Watson.
He married actress Kourtney Hansen in 2013, and her success with the television show “Nashville,” filmed in Nashville, eventually led to a move to Music City. “I was travelling so much we had to make the move,” he said.
After 20 years as a performer and 13 years heavily touring the country, a following for such songs as “This Town Needs a Bar,” “Cold,” “Easy as Breathin’ ” and “Love Song,” McComb expects the year ahead will see him perform some 150 shows, an uptick from the 110 to 120-date average of past years.
“I’ve spent the last 10 years traveling on my own, and every year it gets a little bigger,” the singer-songwriter said. “You start out (a performance) with everyone looking in the same direction,Thats all they have in common and at the end of the night, everyone is together. You don’t see that with the big music machines. No One owns me and I like that”