Having a chance to chat with two young veterans (weird combo I know) of the Canadian Country music world I have to admit was a bit intimidating. Tyler & Amanda Wilkinson have been chatting on the phone about music for the last 20 years and I am sure it can sometimes get a tad boring. But let me tell you they brought it to this one and can’t thank them enough for the time spent with us. New babies, new album, new shows! We talk it all.
Corey: We want to first off congratulate you both on adding new additions to your families. Being a parent myself with 2 little ones it can sometimes be challenging getting back into career mode after having some time with them.
Amanda: Absolutely, it’s one of those things where your priorities on certain things change and shifts. But for us we were sort of raised in this circus. I am hoping we have a little bit more of a handle on how to potentially raise a family in this environment. This is actually my first trip away from my little boy I am back a couple days, but I can already feel it where I gotta have him here.
Tyler: Oh, ya you gotta have the constant updates. That’s one thing that both our partners in crime are both tech savvy so they get the phone out and take pictures and stuff like that and updates on how the Fam is doing. Even though coming out here (BC) we get to sleep in one day you still miss them so it can be hard sometimes.
Corey: Let’s talk about the new single Can’t Wait to Meet You there is a line in this song as a parent really resonates with me and that’s “give you wings to see who you become” can you maybe tell us how this song came together?
Tyler: Ya, to hit on that line specifically that’s your job as a parent. Some people believe that your job is to discipline them, as it is of course. But your main end goal is to give them every opportunity to be everything that they can be. That’s the fun of it. You never know when you have a child what they will be who they will be. How they will be. The best part you get to be there from minute one until they are a grown adult. You get to see all your work and the progression. I have a 5yr old and you can already see the progression and the joy of being a parent.
Corey: I could not agree it is very rewarding. It’s a great song guys well done.
Amanda: Thanks, well this one came while we were sitting in Nashville and I was pregnant at the time. We were sitting with our good friend Tiffan who is someone we write with regularly. It was one of those things where she asked “How are you feeling? What are some of the emotions you are feeling right now?” And I said to her almost verbatim the line in the song where it’s have that mixture of being so excited and terrified at the same time. You have no point of reference of what’s going to happen. All you know is all this build up is to meet this little human. And all the emotions that come with that. So we just decided to write that song. I said if we are feeling this even though Tyler being father he still has those feelings. So people are going to relate to this, and I think for us to it was a way for us to process the feelings that we were feeling at the time. Which now looking at it, it’s so unbelievably cool to hear the song laid down and seeing the video come together with our spouses and babies in it. It’s showing a bit of a day in the life of our chaos as musicians having families. It’s a memory that we can hold on to. The coolest thing is to see how it takes on a life of its own when other people can relate to it as well.
Corey: So, the new album Pistology was released May 26th maybe tell us if you expanded on the family theme further than just Can’t Wait To Meet You?
Tyler: Can’t wait to meet you is the only song that is deals with us personally and what is going on with us right now. I think as writers we feel we can’t be one dimensional. We gotta give people a wide variety of everything we are as song writers and artists. And we really did try and stretch as much as we can. Artistically as writers I only smoke when I drink I think was one of those moments for us. We just wanted to write a traditional country song that is a sound that we grew up with.
Corey: So you said you have tried to diversify as much as you can on this album.
Amanda: Absolutely, country music has always had this kinda dark elements to its genera. When you listen to songs like Fancy or The Night The Lights Went Out In Georgia by Reba or even Johnny Cash’s, “I shot a man in Reno just to watch him die”. We wanted to write a song that was a ghost song basically from the perspective that has been killed by their husband and their lover. It was so cool to stretch and play with a story like that and those visuals. Making this music together from day one. We basically squared with one another and there are no rules let’s just try and write the best songs we possibly can. So there are a lot of really cool colors on this record and we are super stoked for people to hear it.
Corey: So what would you say you have taken into this album from all your years’ experience? Because this isn’t even your 2nd Rodeo with over 20 years in the industry.
Amanda: There is still stuff we learn every day. This industry is constantly changing just when you think you have it figured out something new happens. The social media stuff is way different than when we started off as The Wilkinson’s. We didn’t have any of those elements which makes it exciting and challenging at the same time. It has allowed us the opportunity to have immediate contact with people that love our music which I think is amazing. Making music together isn’t like we haven’t been on the scene for a long time we really need to do an album to be viable again. After all these years of making records together which I think it’s somewhere around 18 years or something that we have been doing this. There has to be joy in it. We have to do music because our souls are telling us that we have to do this. It’s been amazing and such a blast. Winning the CCMA Award this past year for our band was amazing. If you go into those things thinking you’re going to win your setting yourself up for a huge failure. You kind of just have to go with it. Just standing on stage and looking down at the audience and knowing those faces for so long. A lot of those artists and peers are like family to us and you could just feel the love and support from everyone. It was a super magical moment for us.
Corey: Over the years the two of you have spent a lot of time in Nashville writing is there anyone that as Canadians we may have not heard of yet?
Amanda: There are so many, it’s actually been amazing to see so many of our friends succeeding this year. We have a really tight knit group of friends and they are succeeding such as Emily West, Kacey Musgraves that is doing really well right now, and Cree Harrison who was on American Idol is one of our dear friends. But you get to Nashville these days and nobody is in town because of the success. From that group of friends I would have to say I am really into a couple brothers T.J and John (The Bros. Osbourne) they are so incredibly talented. (Tyler screams out, So Good!) I really hope we get to hear those guys up here on the airwaves. Their music has been a long time coming and we can’t wait for everyone to hear it.
Corey: Festival season is upon us and we know you’re signed on for Boots & Hearts and a few others but with so much LIVE music this summer is your team finding it hard to find the right festivals to sign with?
Tyler: As an artist the over saturation of live music is good for us. It gets our face out there more. I can’t really see a negative side to that. If we can get out and play as much as we can that’s our baby, that’s our home we love to perform.
Corey: After the festival season are there any plans for a STP Headlining or Co-Headlining tour?
Amanda: We were just actually talking to our agent and we are hoping to have something for the end of the summer and going into the fall. But as soon as we have those details we will be sure that you have them as well.
Corey: Ok, Last one… What is the best music industry advice you have ever been given and by whom gave it?
Amanda: For me, before the new country music hall of fame was unveiled they asked woman from each generation to represent country music and I was very gracious that they asked me to represent the younger generation. There was Reba, Loretta Lynn and Trisha Yearwood and Reba said to me. Be sure you keep a journal. It is one thing that she regretted she didn’t do as it allows you to keep those memories a bit more fresh and crisp in your mind. So I kept a journal and still have one even with all the nifty smart phones and stuff to help. It’s still something that has stayed with me since that day.
Tyler: Ummm, probably came from my dad. These people that come see you, you have know idea how they earn their money. They could work all week long to pay the bills, mortgage etc. And at the end of the week they may have a few dollars left to spend on something and if they spend it to come to your show give them 200% of who you are. Never ever mail it in, Put your best foot forward every time you step on stage. You owe it to them not to become lazy and go on auto pilot during the performance. They paid good money to be there show them the best you have.
Corey: Folks, thanks so much for doing this. It was an absolute pleasure chatting with you and can’t wait to catch up in August at Boots and Hearts!
The Small Town Pistols were HUGE Winners last month at the CMAO awards in Markham taking away the SINGLE OF THE YEAR, MUSIC VIDEO OF THE YEAR & SONGWRITERS OF THE YEAR with
Alyssa Bonagura, Patricia Conroy, Amanda Wilkinson, Tyler Wilkinson for I Only Smoke When I Drink,
Want more info on Small Town Pistols head over to….
Corey Kelly / @CoreyKelly76