Plenty of people know Charlie Crowe from his
years of touring with Brooks and Dunn. Those
who attended Guitar Player’s Guitar Superstar
2010 competition remember him from his kickass
performance that nabbed him third place honors.
Here Crowe spins a little knowledge gleaned from
his life on and off the road. —MB
What was the key to you getting the Brooks
and Dunn gig?
Being connected is key to getting a shot
at any gig. I was on their radar when they
needed a guitarist. Their manager had known
me from the club days and put in a good
word. Then, I had to pass the audition.
After being on the road for so long, what made
you decide to get off?
I was 45 and hadn’t really taken any risks
since I left Kentucky. I’d always wanted to
create something on my own but I kept putting
it off. Plus, my kids were starting school
and didn’t like me leaving every weekend.
It was just time.
What did you do to ease that transition? Did you
have work waiting for you when you got off the road?
It wasn’t easy. Leaving that comfort zone
was very awkward. I was lucky enough to
have had some songwriting success and got
to coast for a couple of years. My wife works,
too. I buckled down on writing, guitar playing,
recording, and home improvements.
How has the Nashville scene changed over the
past 15 years in your opinion?
This town was printing money when I
got here. Millions of CDs were sold and iPods
were nonexistent. These days, there’s a lot
less money being made, but I’m optimistic
about some of the new music I’m hearing.
There seem to be more new acts using their
road bands in the studio. Song lyrics that
are more daring and productions with less
polish are breaking through. Zac Brown
Band, Jason Aldean, and Jamey Johnson come
Is there a sideman gig you’d like to have right now?
Garth Brooks still hasn’t called me. I want
to tour and open for Satch and maybe play
rhythm guitar during his set.
Do you have any tips for people who want to
get into the Nashville songwriting scene?
You really need to live here. Co-writes are
the norm. There are very few examples of
people who successfully write from outside
an industry town. Before you pack, go to
nashvillesongwriters.com, join, and start
researching and networking from there. There
are also many open-mic places to try out your
material. Come to town for a few days and hang.