Performing straight country

Trent Tomlinson, songwriter and singer, kicking off tour in Portage

By Kelly Maile | staff writer Published:

Nashville country artist Trent Tomlinson will kick off his 2013 tour at the Dusty Armadillo, 3147 S.R. 44 in Rootstown, on Saturday.

Tomlinson grew up on a farm in southern Missouri. He got his start to music when he moved to Nashville at the age of 17.

"Before I got into music, I worked on a farm with my dad," Tomlinson said. "I got really tired of that and I figured I'd better learn to do something else if I didn't want to work on the farm my whole life, so I learned how to play the guitar."

Tomlinson's career jumpstarted when he discovered his talent for songwriting.

"I knew music was right for me," Tomlinson said. "Within six months in Nashville, I had my first deal, but after that I had a long dry spell for about 10 years. It took me a while to realize that songwriting would really launch my career. The labels recognized I could write hit songs and that's how it all started."

Tomlinson's described his music as straight country.

"My music is country," Tomlinson said with a southern twang. "My opinion is that country music is not country music anymore in a lot of ways. I really try to stay true to the backbone of the music. You know, Merle Haggard and Johnny Cash. It's very lyrical and I write songs that have a story to it."

Over the years, Tomlinson said he has gotten wiser and better when it comes to songwriting.

"It's kind of like a golf swing for me, the more you do it the better you get," Tomlinson said. "I think you're only as good as the last song you wrote and obviously the more life you live the more things you have to talk about. For me, it's hard to write about something I don't know about. I write about things I have gone through in life and it works for me because people can relate to it."

In 2006, Tomlinson was signed to Lyric Street Records with his debut album "Country Is My Rock." The album produced three Top 40 singles, including "Drunker Than Me" at No. 19 and "One Wing in the Fire" at No. 11.

"I was with Lyric Street Records for many years with Rascal Flatts," Tomlinson said. "That label has closed their doors and I found myself in a unique position, between record labels. To tell the truth, I've made more money without a record label than I ever did with one. For some reason, I've been making my own albums, doing my own thing and funding my own career and I've drawn more of a crowd than I did when I was on the top of the charts."

Tomlinson now considers himself to be somewhat of an independent country artist.

"I never really play the Nashville game the way they think I should play it," Tomlinson said. "I'm going to sing the songs I want to sing no matter what and I'm doing better than I have ever done."

Tomlinson believes that his career has picked up because of websites like Facebook, Twitter and Youtube.

"People are finally hearing what I did for the first time," Tomlinson said. "I came out in 2006 and was the number one best-selling new male country artist. Eric Church was second. Back then, Youtube and Facebook wasn't happening like it is now and I think new listeners are just finding out what I did and what I'm all about."

Tomlinson's new 2013 album, "When I get on a Roll" features 12 new original tracks. He will release the album at the concert.

"It's some of the best music I have ever written or done in my life," Tomlinson said. "I'm real proud of it. It's not in stores yet, but it will be at the concert for everyone to buy and that's the only time you can buy it."

Tomlinson will be playing old hits along with a new material at the show.

"I've got a few surprises I'm not going to pull out of the bag yet," Tomlinson said. "The only way you'll know is if you buy a ticket and come see me."

Tomlinson has played all over the country, but he is new to the Dusty Armadillo.

"I'm excited," Tomlinson said. "This is one place I haven't played and I'm looking forward to seeing what it's all about and hopefully have a good crowd. This will be the first weekend of my 2013 tour. It's a brand new show and we're excited to bring it to you guys."

Carie Young, the marketing coordinator at the Dusty Armadillo, said the concert is a part of a winter concert series.

"We do shows like this from October to March every year," Young said. "This will be the first time Trent is coming here. It's a very high-energy show. Our customers do line dances to his music, so everyone is really happy he is coming."

Young said the show is close to selling out.

"It's going to be close to a sell-out crowd," Young said. "Anyone that likes country music with a little bit of rock to it will enjoy this show. He sings some really great ballads and it will just be a energetic, fun night."

Tickets are $10. Doors open at 7 p.m. and the show starts at 10 p.m. For more information, call 330-325-0647 or visit www.dustya.com.

Contact this reporter at 330-298-1123

or kmaile@recorpdub.com

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