INTERVIEW: Woody Bradshaw "Broke"

Jeff Nystrom, the producer and engineer that has directed the sound of A-list clientele including Celine Dion, found one of Nashville’s best kept secrets when he happened up on Woody Broodshaw. The current album is hard to resist listening to over and over again as you can’t wait to hear the next song.

Woody and I enjoyed some time visiting about the music, the release of this CD and his excitement about the future.

Q: Woody, it is great to see you again. The last time I talked with you , you were just getting ready to get the single “Broke” to radio. Where are you with everything you have going on?

A: We have the album complete now and titled it “Broke” after the first single. We had very good acceptance at radio, and now we are busy putting together a team to help promote it and to get me out there performing and to get radio to play it.

Q: What has been the reaction when you sing it live?

A: The reaction has been great! We wanted something very “in your face”—and “Broke” is exactly what we wanted. It is a great radio song . It is where country is going; if not already there. It has some great hook-y and quirky things. Plus the word “Broke” is kind of timely. It brings up images of what the song is about. It is unusual.

Q: Have you had any criticism or are there any people who are having a hard time with it because it is not traditional country music?

A: The only criticism was that it was very radio friendly. It is the crossover thing. It is here to stay I think. The traditional sound is going to have to get even better and smarter; but even that is changing too. We are in a digital age. This song has a lot of the eighties feel as far as the dynamic of feeling music. But then the lyric lends itself to anything that is on country too.

Q: Do you find yourself leaning toward a certain genre of music or is there anything that inspired you?

A: Yes, very much. I am a product of rock and pop music. That was influenced by my brother. Then my mom raised me on the old singer songwriters like Johnny Cash and Kris Kristoferson. Jimmy Webb is one of my favorite song writers. I loved the lyrics of the old school. But I also like Chicago and similar pop hits too. So you jumble that up and bring it together and make something fresh and new. As long as you are enjoying it; that is the whole idea.

Q: Have you been out on the road performing?

A: No, that is next. Right now we just completed the album. We want to get it out there and get some reviews and the next thing is to get it out on radio and then start touring.

Q: Are you setting up a radio promotion tour right now?

A: Well, that is kind of in the works with any label opportunity. And also there is an offer from Europe as well. I am not opposed to doing things outside of the box that way either.

Bev: There is a demand for it over there.

Woody: They have their own set of criteria. They love the great stuff.

Q: With all the different things that you have done; for instance you have done athletics, you have done acting, you have done video etc. How do all those things come together to put you where you are now?

A: Well, I think all those things are of incredible benefit. People seem to think as an artist you can do only one thing. I think my acting has helped me to write better and perform better. You can really tap into other stuff, like feeling. When I saw Jimmy Webb for the first time as an audience member, I thought “that is just awesome”--but when you actually think “I can do that”--it was really like a board on the head! The funny thing is; when I thought I could do that, I had no back ground. My brother was the musician and I was the jock. My parents always said that Donnie was their musician. And I thought, “Oh I guess I’m not.” So it took me awhile to find that gift. I loved music and I would act it out when I as younger, but then I went into acting. Music has always been a huge part of my life.

Q: You pursued the acting career and went on to college for that, right?

A: Right. And that is where I started singing. But that was kind of secondary. People told me I was really good. I got the little karaoke machine and my acting manager wanted me to sing all the time. So that is how I got interested in singing. Then I went to a class where pro singers were going to school and I got intimidated by that because they were really good. Then I started writing music. I thought, “You’re a writer now” and I could work on the singing. As I got into the writing, then the vocals became a huge part. Now, I do not even know what to call myself. When I first started writing, I thought I would write all my own songs and it would be all about me. But I have let the ego go and now I am a singer and I want to portray the song that suits who I am personally. The first album I did was all me. Now this album has only three of my own songs.

Q: When you look for songs that you want to put on an album, do you have an unwritten set of criteria that you look for? What kind of things do you try to find?

A: First of all I like the real bold stuff. I like the cowboy Elvis songs where my acting comes into use. I like to put the guitar down and act it out. And then I am a romantic and a balladeer; I think a lot of the songs that I write and look for are songs that elevate women. I also do the Homer Simpson act where I screwed up big time and want to come back. I am at a place now that I just want to write with the best and get from the best.

Q: Are you doing a lot of that now, writing with other people?

A: I did that before. Right now I am in kind of business mode. But that is the next thing. I am kind of setting all that up now. Jimmy Webb would be my ultimate choice to have him featured on an album.

Q: What is your ultimate goal? Your “someday I will know I have made it when---”

A: I used to say that. Two years ago when I played in Lancaster and played before forty-five thousand fans, I signed autographs for three and a half hours which was a record at that seventeen year old concert. Keith Urban has played there and a lot of other big artists. That was one of those things that I was really excited about. There was a moment that I looked back at my dad and he was just beaming and there was this line that went on for just forever. I thought “these people are lined up to see little old me?” It was very humbling. Things like that keep changing. I want to make great music. And I want to touch people with that gift. And not just the music. I want to do stuff that brings out the best in yourself so you can minister to the people. Then if the accolades come with that then I’d love that too.

Q: Have you played at the Opry yet?

A: No. (with a face that beams and lights up with a big smile)

Bev: So that is one of your aspirations. (he smiles and nods yes)

Q: Were you affected by the flood?

A: No, I wasn’t. I was in Green Hills at the time which is kind of up higher and it is flat. I did not even lose power. But I had some friends that got some flooding. They had water for a few days. It was devastating.

Q: Have you been out doing any volunteering?

A: Just for friends. But I would like to do something on a bigger level. It is hard to know where to start.

Q: There are a lot of charity events going on. Are you planning on getting in on any of those?

A: Well, actually there is something with my publicity group that we may be doing in the next two weeks.

Bev: You are writing and you are promoting. What else are you doing?

A: I’m dying to start performing! That is the part that I have missed. Here in the studio you are creating and you start trying to work it, but there is nothing like just performing.

Bev: Getting that live feedback.

Woody: Yes. I really do miss that. I have some Hard Rock dates coming up. It is funny, like this tragedy of the flooding and the economy, once you start doing for yourself, one thing begets another and success here is starting again.

Q: How old were you or where in your career were you when you first performed on stage as an artist?

A: It was around 1996-97. I opened for BJ Thomas.

Q: Wow! That was your very first time?

A: Yes. I didn’t even have a full band. I had one guy with a guitar. And he had a whole symphonizer, a sequence thing. Sounds like you have a full band with you. It felt like my big rock show. But it went really well.

Q: As shows have progressed and you have done more, do you get that same feeling when you walk onto the stage, butterflies and all that?

A: That was more fear back then. Actually you improve from that and then you get seasoned. I know a lot of artists depend on a band to make them feel whole. But to me it is just like I have to do my job and you can either join me or not.

I had a great acoustic player and when I did that concert people said “It is too bad you can‘t use your full band“. And I said, “You know what? There is forty-five thousand people at this event and four other acts after me with bands. But I am going to have the best show.” I said “I am going to show them that with the just the two of us, we can do it” and sure enough---. I said “We are going to steal it”. I know it sounds cocky, but it was one of those things I really put out there you know? And sure enough we set some kind of record.

Bev: And that is what the audience likes, the personal interaction.

Woody: Well basically it is what a country audience wants---they want you. And you have to give them one-hundred-ten percent.

Bev: Did you always know you wanted to be a country performer?

Woody: Well, I just figured where music was at, the pop world was not really the pop that I liked anymore, it had become a different thing. So it was just a natural fit. This is a songwriter’s community. And I love that. I knew I would get better here.

Bev: In your mind have you already calculated how you would like to do some videos for the songs?

Woody: I did a video two years ago at the Grand Canyon. It was gorgeous. It was not your typical video. It was very abstract. It told the song in a way that was broad and visual. Basically it introduced me. I think “Broke” would be a lot of fun to do. You can do all kinds of stuff. I will pursue doing a video of “Broke” the same way.

Bev: Are you releasing anything on I-tunes yet?

Woody: We are about to start doing that. There are a few things in the works. I am excited. I think we have the right material and it is all lined up. I want to do it right.

Bev: Woody, as always, I love talking to you and enjoyed catching up again, was there anything else you wanted to share?

Woody: Thanks Bev, I always enjoy talking with you too. Really, I just want to say that this is very creative music. It pushes the envelope.

For more information on Woody Bradshaw visit

Transcribed by Darlene McPherson

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