Big City Brian Wright’s debut album, “Honkytonkitis” is country to the core. “It’s real songs about real life the way country music was intended.” “Honkytonkitis” fill the shoes of country traditionalists while the rest of the genre strays barefoot.”
by Sean Stroh
Introducing Up and Coming country singer-songwriter from Nashville, Brian “Big City” Wright. He recently released his first full length album Honkytonkitis and still maintains a day job that requires he be 30,000 feet above the air.
Many aspiring artists find themselves waiting tables on the side in order to pay rent.
Country singer-songwriter Big City Brian Wright gets to fly airplanes.
“I don’t know another commercial airline pilot who is doing what I’m doing which is why I consider myself the first ‘Singing Pilot,'” Wright joked. “It worked for Jimmy Rogers as ‘The Singing Brakeman’ and Roy Rogers as ‘The Singing Cowboy’, so why not?”
Although the rising country artist from Nashville has achieved several career milestones this year, his musical journey experienced its fair share of turbulence along the way.
In fact, it wasn’t until after 9/11 that Wright actually began playing music regularly.
“The airline business was in a major shakeup and I didn’t know whether I would have a job. I was single, flexible and kind of bored to be honest,” he recalled. “All of my energy had been put into my career until that point. For years, I tried to figure out how to afford to do music full time and eventually just started doing it anyway.”
Following a long night of drinking, Wright convinced his buddies that chasing girls in uppity clubs would be fun for only so long.
Why not form a band? At the very least, they could hear the music they wanted to hear, get some free beer and of course, have the girls come to them.
“I met my wife during our very first gig,” Wright said. “We’ve been together for 15 years. I win.”
While Wright found his spouse rather quickly, developing an album proved to be an entirely different experience. If anything, it was Wright’s willingness to endure and refusal to settle that shaped the authenticity of the songs featured on his first full length album Honkytonkitis.
“I never forced any song I wrote. After 10 years of writing, I was looking back at these unrecorded tracks knowing I would forget how they went if I didn’t record them,” Wright said. “So I reached out to some professional session players that I knew in Nashville and they invited me to record with them in probably the best studio in town. I did this for a couple of years before slowly letting people hear the music.”
Many of those who heard Wright’s tracks walked away so impressed that they offered to pay for the music. As the demand increased, he eventually set up a website and began selling his songs, albeit to a small sample of listeners.
“Everything kept evolving until I had this whole album,” he said. “I just kept following this path that really started from a love of country music.”
That genuine affection for the genre recently caught the attention of iHeart Radio’s Digital Artist Integration Program, which placed his single “Lonesome, On’ry and Mean” on 128 stations with over 240 million monthly listeners for the entire month of June. The cover of the Waylon Jennings country classic charted rather quickly, beating several other major label artists in the process.
“I’m not going to lie, the competitive side of me enjoyed it so much. My music is different and can compete,” Wright admitted. “I know what country fans want to hear.”
In the meantime, the self proclaimed singing pilot has a simple, yet challenging goal in mind for the future with two more albums of material ready to record.
“I just want to keep all this momentum going. I feel like a bottomless pit for creativity,” Wright said. “Pilots are naturally very Type A, self motivated and somewhat courageous people. When you’ve been in a tricky situation more than once where didn’t know whether you were going to live or die, standing on a stage singing songs seems pretty harmless.”
Check out Big City Brian Wright’s music and find links to his social media through his website (www.bigcityrocks.com).