Things were set up to visit with Adam Rutledge at CMA Fest, but schedules conflicted, had to change and then never got it worked out. We were disappointed since we wanted our viewers to get to know more about Adam and his career. On follow up we set up an email visit that worked out well. Thanks to Adam and his team for helping us out. Now on to the life and talent of Adam Rutledge.
CMM: Thanks for taking some time to allow us to catch up with you. You are an accomplished and polished guitarist. Was that the first choice of instruments you decided on? Was music part of your life in your household and school growing up?
Adam Rutledge: Absolutely, I heard the live version of Lynyrd Skynyrd’s “Free Bird” when I was a kid, and I knew instantly that I wanted to do that. I got a guitar the following Christmas, and here we are. My Dad’s a piano player, a great singer, and was a church organist, so I grew up in church choir. There was always music happening in my house. There are pictures of me when I was a few years old on a small drum set, my Dad’s got his keyboard out, and my brother’s singing on a microphone, so it’s been a part of my life since I was born.
CMM: There is an edge and realness to your writing style. Has that always been your direction or has it changed through the course of time?
AR: Well, thank you. I can’t say it’s even a direction. It’s just how it happens. The times that I try to think about that is when I write songs that I don’t like. When songs are working, they just kind of write themselves. I don’t think about it. I just let the song do its thing. I’m just kind of at its mercy.
CMM: My favorite single by you as of now is “July.” The song is so heartfelt & the video so beautifully done. Is that based on a real experience?
AR: Thank you. Yeah, I wrote that song in the middle of winter. I was thinking about a great summer vacation I had with my wife at the beach and how I would do anything in that particular moment to get back to that warm, sunny weather and hangout with her on the beach. She’s super beautiful. I definitely married way above my pay grade. That’s what that song is about. It’s about me missing that special time I had with her on the beach.
CMM: You have a distinct sound, to me it’s more rock but with a country edge. Who influenced you the most in your journey? And what were some of the toughest obstacles or lessons learned in your career so far?
AR: That’s a multi-faceted question. The bands I listened to growing up: Skynyrd, KISS, certainly molded my love for rock ‘n’ roll and guitar-driven music. One of my mentors and the producer on this record, Jeff Smith, is a rock ‘n’ roll guy, so he and I clicked and were pretty certain we wanted the sound to be rock ‘n’ roll. It’s not all rock ‘n; roll, but I do think the record is mixed like a rock record, which I love. It hits hard and guitars are out front. So, Lynyrd Skynyrd, KISS and of course Jeff Smith had a huge part in how this album sounds very rock n roll.
That’s a great question. To be patient, especially since things started happening here in Nashville, I find myself wanting things to move forward every day. Sometimes a day or two goes by and it feels like nothings happened, but things tend to do that. It’s a rollercoaster. We’ll have a week where it’s really, really busy, and then it will be chill for a while, so I’m getting used to that up and downs of the whole Nashville thing.
CMM: You have shared the stage with some big names such as Lee Brice, Tyler Farr, Montgomery Gentry and more. As you watch them and interact what have you gained from those experiences?
AR: So much. Every time I get the opportunity to open for somebody like that I’ll watch sound checks, I’ll watch what they’re using for production, lights, how they put their show together. I try to observe really closely on how the pros do it and try to make adjustments to my show and to my production. I take it very seriously. I’m watching and learning every time I get those opportunities. They’re very precious, and I don’t take them for granted at all.
CMM: Fellow Virginia native Phil Vassar has given you a great platform and sort of taken you under his wing so to speak. What has been his biggest and best advice?
AR: There’s not one in particular. He’s been super supportive. I remember the first night I met Phil. Jeff brought me to his house. I remember leaving, and he was like, ‘Man, you’re a great writer.’ Just to hear him say that…I remember calling my mom and dad saying, ‘He just told me I was a great writer.’ It was like, ‘what in the world?’ That gave me confidence because Phil’s a great writer. He’s had tons of hits, so just giving me the support and the confidence. There are tons of pitfalls in this business and he’s leading me around those pitfalls, he’s making calls and getting me in front of important people. He’s just been a great mentor. It’s not lost on me that he’s a busy guy and he could be doing this for anybody, but he’s taken me under his wing. I will be forever grateful to him for that.
CMM: With a busy tour schedule, a new single, “Love Kickin’ In” available now on Spotify and a new EP, ‘Runway’ that came out June 22nd what else do you have time for in 2018? And for those who don’t know where can you be found on the ever-growing social media platforms?
AR: Nothing! Well, I do have family time. Family, tour and music – that’s all I want to do. You can find me at my website and on all social media platforms. And thanks Mary Kay for the visit and the questions.