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Sam Grow: Finding His Way In "This Town"

Ask anyone, Sam Grow has one of the biggest hearts in the business! At first glance, listeners may see Grow as a "big, tattooed, motorcycle-riding guy". They aren't wrong, but there's plenty more to Sam that will surprise listeners who look beneath the surface. After singing "Amazing Grace" in church at five years old, Sam knew that being a musician was going to be his path. After years in Nashville, Grow feels that he is in the record deal we will be in till he is 80! With a lot of grit and even more talent, Sam has massed up an impressive number of streams across Spotify and Apple Music. His authentic lyrics and gruff yet tender voice has become of a favorite of country music fans. Sam Grow wears his heart on his sleeve and feels blessed to call his fans, "friends".

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What is your guilty pleasure TV show?

Oh man. That’s the problem now it is like what now is a guilty pleasure. You can just watch all of it, but I'm a sucker for Yellowstone. I loved that show. It like crushed me when it was over. I love, you know, old cowboy stuff is just my jam. I've always liked that.

What is your go-to takeout order?

Oh God. So there's goDa be two different kinds because when I'm on the road, it's, whatever's quick. So it's going to be like pizza, thin crust. I know you don't want to hear that, but I only eat that deep dish when I'm in Chicago, you know, cause nobody knows how to do it. When I'm at home, I love believe it or not. I'm a fan of sushi.

What's your go-to karaoke song?

Oh man. I have a lot. But my two main squeezes. “Neon Moon”, Brooks and Dunn and “Drift Away” by Uncle Kracker, those are my two. Everybody loves those songs. It puts everybody in a good and there are no bar fights when “Neon Moon” is playing!

What is the story behind your first guitar?

When I was my dad's blue collar, he was a power lineman. He worked on power lines across the country. So every dollar he got, he earned. And that's just kind of was his philosophy with everything for me. If I wanted something, I had to earn my way to get it. I'd borrowed a guitar from a friend and he wanted me to learn some songs with some substance. My dad, he had me when he was 40 years old. So he liked Elvis Presley and old school country and old school, soul music. That was his go-to. He loved that stuff. So he was like, “Boy, I want to hear you learn something with substance. If you come and play me some Green Say, I'm not going to buy you a guitar”. That was his whole thing. He said learn something with substance. So I tried to know of his Presley song first. He wasn't too big on that. And he said only Elvis should sing Elvis. And then I sang an old Sam Cooke song called “Bring It On Home” And he said, let's go and get you a guitar. So he went and bought me my very own guitar and I'm glad he did because it's been my life ever since.

Has then ever been a time you have wanted to throw in the towel with music?

No, I've never wanted to throw in the towel and I can honestly say that I never played music cause I wanted to be rich. I only played music because I loved it. So there's never been a moment where I wanted to quit playing music because that's the thing that makes me the happiest. I've just been blessed enough that it's been my job since I was 16 years old. Every day I count my blessings that I get to pay my bills by playing music. God allows me to have this gift. And I'm so grateful for it every single day. I'd never quit doing it.

When was the moment that it clicked for you? The moment you decided Sam Grow was going to be a musician.

It was it was in church. My dad had made me sing. I chickened out the first Sunday my dad had me sing. He wanted me to sing “Amazing Grace.” I was five years old and I got up in front of the church and I was terrified and I chickened out the first ]me. But the second ]me I got up there and sang and everybody clapped and it was quiet when I was singing it. Then at the end, everybody clapped. I was like, man, for one moment, you have everybody in tune for a moment. I’ve just loved it ever since I was a kid. How powerful music is that it can make a room full of people, go quiet to want to listen or sing along. You know, I love that.

How is country music healing for you?

Country music has always been, that's what brought me to it. At a young age, my parents split up and I was 12 or 13 and that's when I first started writing music. I had all these feelings and I didn't know how to get them out, you know, at 12 or 13. I would sit down and just write those feelings out on paper and make them rhyme. After I finished, it made me feel better. As you go through and as life goes on, it only gets more complicated. It's just always been my therapy it's way cheaper than a therapist. So I just always wrote it down and made songs.

You have had the privilege to work along side Colt Ford. What impact has he left on you?

So Colt has been such a huge role in my life since I've met him. It was an emotional time for me. The first time we like really hung and everything started to happen, my dad, wasn't doing well and he was sick. As I mentioned before, my dad was old school. I was doing the independent music thing for a while and made a living at it. But my dad didn't think that I'd made it unless I signed a record deal. That's just like his mindset because he was old school, you know.

So my dad passed away September 11th, the day before his birthday, September 12th of 2018.

And two weeks later Colt did everything he could to make it happen to where I signed my first record deal right after my dad passed. I always think that, was my dad open to have pulling some strings and making things happen.Ever since that day, the day we signed our relationship has been solid!

Colt doesn't drink. But he did my dad. He used to drink Crown Royal. That was his favorite drink. I have a flask with the last bottle of Crown Royal he had. Whenever big moments happen I take a pull of it in memory of my dad and Colt took a drink that day. After he took the drink, he raised it to the sky and he said, JR, I promise, I’m always going to take care of your son. Like he's my own. He has, since it makes my eyes water.

Every single thing that happens, he calls he's just a Teddy bear, man. His eyes are always watering. He tells me how proud he is of me. And I mean, I'm so blessed. There's so many people that I have so many friends that are signed to major record deals that they're president of their label don't even really know who they are. And my president of my label talks to me on a regular basis. And, you know, I'm just so blessed how everything worked out. Colt is everything that he is and you see on online. He is that in person, I assure you he's one of the greatest people on earth.

I just have such a great family at my label. I'm blessed enough to where as a songwriter, I get to write with a lot of new artists.

A lot of these new guys think the golden ticket is that record deal, that major deal. I tell them all the time, there's only one company I would sign to if I was a new artist and that's Average Joe’s. If they didn't sign there, then I wouldn't sign a record deal just because the people that are in my office, they fight for me everyday. Like I'm their blood. And I'm just so blessed.

How has your path changed in country music since you moved to Nashville in 2014?

When I first moved to Tennessee, I signed a publishing deal with a company that it was in the era of 2014 bro, pretty boy country. My publishing company and label in town, that's kind of what they wanted me to do. I came into town, I probably ate maybe 10 calories a day and went to the gym 400 times. It was just a very image driven different song driven kind of thing. I would write songs for all those guys. It was like I said, I love writing songs. I'm a big fan of all those guys. And I wanted them to cut my songs.

I didn't necessarily want to cut those songs. I would write that stuff and then they would make me cut it. I loved the tunes obviously, cause I wrote the. Yet, I didn't feel like I was genuinely getting to tell a lot of my stories. It wasn't un]l “The Blame”, that I felt like I finally got to be completely honest, tell a real story and just really be me. And luckily after that song I became independent.

Then I got to make a whole different Southern rock kind of EP, which I love. And then Average Joe's liked that record too. Forest the VP and Colt gave me a check and go and go make whatever you want to make in the studio. Make 15 songs, we'll pick 12 and we'll put the record out. We won't babysit you at all. You do whatever you want. We just want to show you that we're happy to just be working with you. So that was my first experience.

The “Love and Whiskey” record was genuinely all stuff that I wanted to cut and put out. Colt called me after that record went number one and he was like, "Man, you have to let me work in the studio with you. Now I gave you the chance to make that one record, but can I please just be a part of it?” And thank God he did, because I think I'm making some of the best music I've gone to make now with Colt producing everything.

Do you feel that almost being at your ten year mark in Nashville right now, surrounded by the best people, is the best time to put out your most honest music? Are you happy it took this long?

Yeah. Everything that I'm doing right now, I feel so blessed and thankful to be where I'm at right now. These last couple of singles knowing Colt, they were like, you know, what do you want to do? What's the kind of music that you want to do? And I told him, I just want to be able to be to play music till I die. So my goal is to make music that I can sing when I'm 75 years old. You know, up on a stage, I just want to make timeless music. And and luckily they are fine with me doing that. God opened up every single door that I’ve gotten to walk through right now. And I'm very grateful that he put me where I am.

What does Sam Grow love about country music?

So country music has always been a special thing for me, just because of the stories. I mentioned earlier that at a young age, my parents split. My dad, when I would go and spend time with my dad on the weekends, it was just a blue collar. I mean the dude starched the front of his jeans. He wore cowboy boots every single day. Like when I say for real Midwestern cowboy, like that's just what my dad was. So tears weren't really a thing. Grit was always a thing, but how he would always, you know, if he was having one of those bad days or arguing with my mom. We’d get into, one of his cars and we'd ride around or in a bucket truck, and listened to the radio.

When my dad was having one of those days, he would put on, you know, George Jones, “He Stopped Loving Her Today”. He’d put on Brooks and Dunn “It's Getting Better All the Time” or you know, just Roy Orbison “Crying.” He'd just put on those songs that could to a T describe a real feeling that was happening currently. It didn't make you feel alone and country music makes you not feel alone.

That's what I love about that as you can be as raw and as honest as possible. You can put out a song that you think you might be the only one in the world that feels that way, and a country music listener lets you know that you aren't the only one that feels that way when it resonates. And that's what is so special to me. I’ve been able to make music that I feel like is completely true to myself and feelings that I've really struggled with. And I put it out and everybody listens to my music that relates, makes me realize I'm not alone in those feelings.

What can we expect music wise from you in 2021?

So I'm blessed enough again, to work. My label just kind of lets me do what I want to do. And I just want to be able to put music out on a regular basis. I'm a big DSP listener. I don't really listen to the radio. I listen to like Spotify Pandora, you know YouTube, Apple music. That's how I've, that's the kind of listener I've been forever. I mean, that's my genera]on.

I don't like to be stagnant on my music. I ride all the ]me, so I want to put a lot of music out. So I want to put out a single on Spotify at least every eight weeks. Then Apple likes you to package it up as like record. So I'll put those kinds of singles. I'll just as regular on Apple, but then I'll end them with a EPS.

I'm just going to put on a ton of music. Keep writing, keep making music. I'm in the record deal that I want to be in for the rest of my life. So I don't have to worry about regulations or any of that kind of stuff. I'm just going to keep making music with average Joes and do as much as I can and just keep putting tunes out. And then you can't keep me off the road.

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