Young and alive, Guthrie Brown decided at age 18 what was most important to him: music. Ready to go all in or all out, he flew out of Montana and landed in Nashville with nothing more than talent and a desperate hope for success.
“I’m glad I’m doing it here [music] over anywhere else.”
Not many people would advise you to drop out of high school to pursue your dream, and I would be surprised at finding more than a couple people encouraging such a thing, but Guthrie’s got guts, and here he is a year and a half later living that dream he left everything else for. He didn’t rule out all schooling, though. He had quite the attendance record at the “college of YouTube” he assured me.
Back in Montana, Guthrie and his first band played with other acts like North Mississippi Allstars, The Spill Canvas, The Lumineers, Hanson and many others. But he is running full steam ahead here in Nashville now and has his sights set on touring in the fall after releasing a new album which will possibly include some special tracks he recorded back home. After a spell of playing 4-hour sets three times a week at The Listening Room, his new-found second home and family have cushioned him with a nice bed of contacts and new fans.
19 now and still fairly fresh to Music City, Guthrie “conned” 3 close friends from home into leaving school behind to move to Nashville and join him in the music-making adventure he had himself so eagerly set out on. More to reality, Guitarist John McNally, the solo East Nashvillian, and the other 2 live-in bandmates drummer Kenny Hardy and bassist Jake Batts decided that after a summer visit they simply wanted more. Nashville must have worn an extra cute dress that summer because these guys made the move almost as instantly and ruthlessly as Guthrie did a year before.
“Our place is blow-up beds galore. Tons of fun though… took them to Motown Monday at the 5 Spot and everything just goes out the window from there.”
Not everything was fun and games for Guthrie at first, however.
“I didn’t leave my house for the 1st year.”
“Well, I mean, you live in North Nashville,” I naturally had to retort back, trying to make a bad slap at the dodgy parts of town.
“Ha, yes! It was probably safest to stay inside,” he laughed back.
As the self proclaimed “chubby kid that was always singing,” he grew up emulating all of the cool things his older brother did. Once his 11-year old senior picked up an acoustic, it was on!
“It sucked moving here just because I used to have romantic ideas about songwriting, and being in charge now of really running my career I have so much more of the business side to worry about. Learning about the business side causes you to lose some of your innocence you had at the beginning of your songwriting life. Your first years you listen to the records that change your life, you know?”
“Now my job is trying to keep the innocence of my love for music. I mean, I don’t want to sound selfish, but it’s the most important thing to me. Music is my life. I will never do anything else!”
Thank goodness he has the passion to ride along the skirts of his talent, and it is in this that we can be able to believe in bigger and better things to always be lurking in his future. He will refuse anything less.
“When I learned about lightning 100 and the music scene in east Nashville, I realized that’s why I moved down here. The community is more supportive of any music scene than I’ve ever seen. Not cut throat – people genuinely want their friends to succeed here.” And with a three second assessment of his last statement he quickly added, “Well… at least all the people I’ve met!”
So on he treks in the furious battle to retain his pure love for the music and to produce the best communal enjoyment he can for his audiences.”You have to be shameless but have a little bit of pride… a little bit.”