The Steel Woods
I heard about this weeks artist from mutual friends that introduced me to his music. I really enjoy his sound but beyond that he is just a really friendly down to Earth dude. He has been nothing but nice to me since I first started talking to him so when I found out he was interested in being on my ‘5 Shots’ page, I couldn’t pass up the chance. Like always guys please like my page if you haven’t already so you never miss any upcoming artist interviews and also please share this article to help spread the music of James Scott Bullard Thanks!
Round 1 – How long have you been performing music for people, how did it all get started?
JSB – I would con my way into local bars when I was a kid, like 16 and just hang around until the guitar player or bass player didn’t show up or got too drunk to finish the set, then I’d take his place. So technically since I was 16. I never actually intended to sing until I started my first band and it was less of a headache and more cost effective for me to play guitar AND sing than to try and find a singer and have to split the money another way, so that’s how that happened. I had my first real band during my late teens/early 20’s in the mid to late 90’s, and we had some pretty good regional success, made some records, opened for a few bands who were big at the time; Creed, Big Wreck, Superdrag, a couple of Butch Walkers bands, etc. We had this big blue converted church bus, and we’d removed all the seats but 3 so we could haul our equipment. It had no heat or air, and when you tried to get any, you got a good buzz from the exhaust that was leaking through the vents instead, and those WERE the good ol’ days! Anyway, that all adds up to a lot of years!
Round 2 – I’ve heard you might have a new video and album coming out soon, what can you tell us about them?
JSB – Absolutely! The video is VERY close to being ready. It’s for the first single from the new album. The album is titled: “Full Tilt Boogie” and the single is titled: “Wicked Ways,” and as with the last video, I took the director’s chair on this one. However, I have a REALLY bad habit of starting with one concept, then throwing it out the window and starting from scratch after 18 hrs. of footage has already been shot, which drives the cast and crew insane! I forget that we only have 4 min. to fill up and find myself trying to tell too much of a story. I was reminded by a dear friend recently that art is meant to be interpreted by the viewer or listener, don’t lead ‘em by the hand. That made sense, so I simplified this one by mix-matching the footage we shot and it turned out to be really cool visually and tell its own story…But the BEST part for the fans (and my personal favorite part) is that because there was so much leftover footage, I stole a cue from Michael Jackson…Don’t panic before I explain: After all of it was put together the right way, we had this gritty, surreal mini-movie on our hands that I couldn’t part with. So, there’s gonna be 2 different versions of the video like Michael did back in the day with “Thriller.” You’ll have the long version with the video book-ended by a mini-movie, and then the short version of just the song, (but no dancing zombies, or me in red leather!) And even after all that, there’s still roughly 10 hrs. of footage on the cutting room floor that will never see the light of day. As far as a release date for the video, my understanding is that it’s going to accompany the pre-sale for the album, so it should be coming pretty soon. The album, “Full Tilt Boogie” is being held for release until early 2018, because releasing an album at the beginning of a new year gives it a whole year to really dig in and take root with fans and radio. It is a bit of departure from the stuff like “Elizabeth” and “Another Heart.” I mean it’s still me, still the truth as I’ve lived it, still true blue, real country, but not as soft. It’s edgier and a lot more brazen. A lot less ‘poor me’ and a lot more ‘told ya so!’
Round 3 – What is your favorite type of guitar to play (Fender, Les Paul etc…) and why is that?
JSB – Electric: My first guitar was a Les Paul, and damn I love the tone of P90 pickups, but Fender Tele is my top choice, been playing them since the 90’s, no need to stop now. Acoustic: I’ve tried them all, the last 2 I’ve played live and on records were Gibson J-45’s, but I have recently been swayed by an AMAZING Guild D-40 I played, so that’ll be my next purchase.
Round 4 – For someone who has never heard your music before how would you describe it to them?
JSB – I’ve heard it called outlaw, real country, alternative country, honky-tonk, Americana, that list goes on forever, but for me, honestly, it all boils down to the blues. Whether it’s rock or country, or whatever, it all came from the same place and it’s all our own interpretations of that. That’s why I think folks don’t connect with pop country, it doesn’t speak TO you or FOR you. It doesn’t understand you like real country music does. Real country music speaks to the every day people; The blue-collar, broken hearted, addicted, angry, common man and woman who deal with real life every day, where there ain’t no sugar coating. …You know why we believed Merle Haggard turned 21 in prison? Because HE DID! In short; To be a songwriter, you have to know what you’re talking about, or folks will see right through you. You have to have conviction. You don’t have to suffer to sing the country blues, but it sure does help.
Round 5 – What are some of your favorite things to do outside of the Music World?
JSB – I have an 11 year old son who I adore. My father once told me before he died: “You’ll never understand what love means until you have a child of your own.” He was right. Every moment I get to spend with him is my Eden. He’s better than me, he’s my hero. And now that he’s older we have so much more in common, we both love Slayer and Pantera! My other passion is filmmaking. Not only did I direct the last 2 music videos, I’m in the process of directing a horror film right now. (I’m a horror film fanatic, so I figured if Rob Zombie could do it, I could too.)
Last Call – Open message to say anything you want to the your fans and the people reading this.
JSB – Thank you! I’ll never be able to say that enough. In the past year I’ve been shown so much love and support, it’s unreal. Without you guys, there is no me. I’m humbled and honored that so many people like what I do, because secretly I’ve always felt like at some point someone is gonna come up and ask for my i.d. and kick me out of the club. Ha! Another big thanks to my manager @Missy Davis Jones for assembling a new award-winning team of people behind the scenes who never miss and don’t understand the word no! And my booking agency @Lone Star Music Promotions and @Big Dawg Music Promotions for getting a helluva start on putting me out there where the fans have been asking for me. And there’s a couple more tricks up the sleeve that I can’t talk about yet, but just hold tight for 2018, I promise y’all ain’t seen nothin’ yet! Last but certainly not least: Myself and plenty of others in the same genre owe a HUGE debt of gratitude not just to the fans, but to folks like you Josh Fairbanks, and Amanda Carlon, Samuel Trimble, and Jon Brashear over at Outlaw Resurgence, Argo Dilligaf, Venice Joe Pettijohn Jr., Bronson McNellis, W.B. Walker, my long-time gal pal, Sloane Spencer, and several who I know I’m forgetting (please forgive me) who continue to put us on radio and push us on social media and turn people onto the fact that there’s real music beyond the top 10 rotation and CMT. For that we owe you guys everything!