Chad Bushnell on Music and Inspiration!
Hey Chad! Thanks for speaking with me today!
Your new single is fantastic! Tell us a bit about "Thank God"?
I wrote this song in Nashville with a group of songwriters Corey Lee Barker, Mark Barnowski and Joey Boon. I had written a few songs with Corey before that were Christian Country songs. I had a great experience at both writing sessions before and was excited to hear that Corey was bringing in some more songwriters on this one. I mentioned to Corey that the two other songs I had written with him were Christian Country and I wanted this song to be a little more "middle of the road". Personally, I go to church and am a believer in Christ, but also drink a beer once in a while. He laughed when I told him that and the first lines of the song are "I go to church when I can, I have a beer now and then". We went on to make the main point of the song talking about how we can't do life on our own. We need God in our lives. We all struggle, none of us are perfect and are constantly working on ourselves. “Thank God” we have help from him. I feel that a lot of people out there can relate to this and I'm happy the song came out the way it did. I hope it helps people out there struggling come to Jesus.
How have your live shows been going?
2021 has been a great year of shows for me. It did not start out that way and I was a little worried. We did not have many bookings in January-March. Finally, my band and I started to get booked for the summer in April. I was in 7 different states this year including California, Oregon, Washington, Wyoming, Idaho, Colorado and Tennessee. I performed at many fairs, casinos and concert in the park events. I landed two state fairs, which was amazing. I got to open for two of my country music heroes Rodney Atkins and Josh Turner. As of now, I have 4 shows left for the year and will take a few weeks off to write songs for my next album. I am already starting to get booked for 2022 and can’t wait to see where my band and I will be performing next year.
When was the first time you performed in front of an audience? Did you know at that time that this was your dream career?
I grew up around my father performing in a local country band and my great grandmother performing at church. I always loved being around them when they performed and had my toy guitar with me pretending to perform with them at most all of their shows at the age of Three. When I was 5 years old, my dad helped me learn how to sing “Ordinary No” by Kenny Chesney. He played the guitar for me and I sang it at my great grandparent’s 50th wedding anniversary. Just a few months after that, I sang a couple of songs at the Little Miss Tehama Pageant at the Tehama District Fair in my hometown Red Bluff, CA. I’ve known since then that I wanted to have a music career and pursue my dream of being a famous country singer.
What can audiences expect at a live Chad Bushnell show?
If I’m performing with my full band, the audience can expect and energetic mix of my original songs and some of their favorite country covers. Ever since I started performing with a full band in college, people have requested me to sing Garth Brooks and Chris Ledoux songs more than anything. I wasn’t sure about that at first even though that is some of my favorite music. I wanted to perform mostly my originals. I had an idea one day to make a “rodeo” set for my shows consisting of Chris Ledoux songs, Garth Brooks songs and some of my original songs that were about rodeo. I have a rodeo background and use to compete as both a steer wrestler and team roper. The crowds started to really like the “rodeo” set so I kept rolling with it. I even currently offer a full Garth Brooks Tribute show at certain venues because I enjoy performing his music so much. You can see more about it on my website atwww.chabushnell.com under the Garth Brooks Tribute tab. So, now when people come to my shows, they can except to hear some Garth Brooks and Chris Ledoux along with my originals songs. I also added my three Christian Country songs to the show. The band and I love to have the audience sing along with us too.
What do you hope the audiences takes with them from your live performances?
It’s amazing how music can influence us. Music has helped me so much throughout my life and I feel that my music has helped others as well. I perform sort of a mix of songs at my shows. I sing a few that talk about trucks, girls, drinking a beer and having a good time. Most people can relate to that. I also sing songs that talk about Jesus and hope that I can spread the Gospel through my music. Most of my fans would be considered “middle of the road” type of people in which they believe and Christ and are Christians, but can also go out and have a drink or two, listen to music, and have a good time. I hope that people take just that from my shows. I hope they can realize that it is ok to be a believer in Christ and be a Christian, but also go out and listen to country music, dance, have a few drinks and have fun.
Do you feel like where you're from influences the music you create?
I was looking forward to answering this question. I grew up in Red Bluff, California about a half an hour from where Merle Haggard lived. Nearly everyone I was around growing up were fans of Merle. Nearly every country band I was around up here in Northern California had a lot of Bakersfield sound influence in their music. I learned to play lead guitar from my dad and Roy Dyer who were both greatly influenced by Merle Haggard and Dwight Yoakam. I also love the Nashville sound and sort of try to blend the two in my music. For my next record, I am sort of going with the modern day Texas country music sound. I really like what Cody Johnson and Aaron Watson are doing these days and will be recording my next record in Texas. I am going to work with the sound that they are currently doing, but also try to mix some of the Bakersfield sound in with it to show my California Country roots. I can’t wait to get started on the record in the next few months.
What would you say is the most rewarding part of what you do?
I love to see people be happy. I know my music has touched people and hope that it continues to do that. I love meeting new fans and making friends all throughout the states. I have made some great ones and look forward to doing certain shows that I’ve performed at for the last 6-8 years. I love a lot of my local friends in the Red Bluff to Redding California area, but also have made a lot of great friends and fans in the Humboldt and Mendocino areas. One of my top favorite areas to perform are in Fortuna and Fort Bragg. I love the ocean and weather over there and book shows as much as possible in those towns. I love to travel and visit new places as well. There are so many different parts of the music business. I do love to write songs, play the guitar and be in the studio. However, traveling the country, visiting new areas, performing shows and making new fans is probably my favorite part and most rewarding for me.
So far, what's been your best experience from pursuing a career in music and entertainment?
This is a tough one, but I would have to say getting to meet and open for some of my country music heroes have been the best experiences. Getting to meet and open for Kris Kristofferson has probably been the highlight. He’s considered one of the best singer/songwriters in country music history and is a legend. Right there with that experience though would have to be performing on stage with Clay Walker, Bryan White and Darryl Worley. I had the chance to open for Bryan White a few years back. He was mine and my cousin Alex’s favorite country singer in the early 90’s and I can still remember us singing his biggest hit “So Much for Pretending” along with him when it came on the radio. Who would’ve thought I would have the chance to open one of his shows let alone perform on stage with him 20 years later. After my opening slot with my buddy Casey who was playing guitar with me at the time, Bryan came by and told us good job. He asked me if I knew “Liza Jane” by Vince Gill and I told him that was my favorite song (still is today). He told me he was going to call Casey and I up on stage in the middle of his show to sing it with him. It was an honor to perform it with Bryan and is still one of my all time favorite show experiences as of today.
What can we expect from you in the upcoming months?
These next few months are going to be some busy ones. I am currently continuing to push my new single “Thank God” and am doing everything I can to get it out to the masses. I have a new single called “Outa Style” that will be releasing February 4, 2022. This will be my first single to be released to Texas Country radio. I will be starting to work on a new album in February 2022 as well. I will be working with Edgewater Studios in Houston, TX. I will be going to Nashville in January to write some more songs for the album. I feel very blessed to be working with top industry songwriters like Brian White, Dave Gibson and Corey Lee Barker to name a few. I can’t wait to see what we come up with for songs for my new record. I have a few of my own that I’ve written myself that will be going on the record and possibly a couple written by friends. I’m starting to get quite a few dates booked for 2022 so make sure and keep up with me on my social media and my website to see where I’ll be performing. Links to my social media and website are below.
Please let everyone know where to find you and your amazing music!
Spotify link for new single “Thank God”- https://open.spotify.com/track/3v4J8GQQ5fSniOaFAkmSaG?si=88e0a57d009044b3
Thank you for your time!
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