Chris Canterbury — “Present each topic as a straight-forward Saturday morning kitchen conversation.”

Donna Block

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Photo Credit: Brooke Stevens

Haynesville, Louisiana native. How have the music regions (Cajun, Dixieland jazz, blues, Afro-Caribbean rhythms) in your home state influenced you as an artist?

I’ve always been drawn to the melodies of blues and gospel from as far back as I can remember, and I think those simple yet familiar melodies are tucked into every song I write. And as far as zydeco and cajun music, who doesn’t love a good squeezebox solo?

Working as a freelance graphic designer/illustrator. If you were asked to put one of your songs into pictures, which one would you choose and why?

That’s a good question — I was actually thinking about this not too long ago. The song “Take Me Over The Line” is about an aging trucker’s last haul — his retirement run. When I sing that song, I see a black velvet painting of an 18-wheeler hanging on a wood paneled wall next to a trophy fish. It’s kitschy and campy, but ultimately sits in the vein of exactly what the song is about.

“Present each topic as a straight-forward Saturday morning kitchen conversation.” How did you come to make this your approach to songwriting?

What’s more honest and forward than a first-thing-in-the-morning conversation at the kitchen table? Ever since I picked up a guitar for the first time, I’ve always wanted to write honest songs. I feel like there’s a market for saying what needs to be said, and that’s the thread I chose to pull.

Started as a thought experiment, your first opportunity to be on both sides of the control room window was the country-folk Quaalude Lullabies. “I wanted it to be loose like a box of bedroom demo tapes, but cohesive enough to stand on its own.” The theme is one of sadness and despair, taking private conversations and putting a public spin on them. How difficult is it to keep the personal nature of an intimate dialogue and still have it resonate with the masses?

If you’re experiencing something, there’s an almost certain chance a handful of the other 8 billion people in this world have experienced it as well. I think people want to relate to what they listen to, and if they don’t then they move on. As far as difficulty, I just write what I know in a way that feels like a conversation — I’ve been talking my whole life.

Photo Credit: Brooke Stevens

“In November 2013 I came to Nashville with a pocket full of songs and just enough confidence to share them with the world. In these last 10 years, this town has tested my determination and at times my will to stick around, but it also opened doors, roads, and built friendships that will stand any storm.”

You are featured in an upcoming documentary, Ten Year Town, that focuses on the special bond and friendship between a group of emerging Nashville singer/songwriters that met at Revival, a legendary writer’s round at Tin Roof on Music Row.

Together the group has stuck through the ups and downs of the challenging music business. What is the best advice you can share with new artists trying to navigate the business side of the music industry?

Write good songs that people relate to, don’t blow off an opportunity thinking that it’ll come back around again, and get used to the word “no” (or an equivalent).

Photo Credit: Brooke Stevens

Signing a publishing deal with KT Mack’s Park Ave West Songs Publishing (PAWS). In 2020, Mack founded a songwriter’s speakeasy to give creatives a space to share and support locals. Last year he launched PAWS with flagship songwriter Sadie Campbell. What are you currently working on with PAWS?

Mainly just focusing on trying to write good songs and hopefully find a place for them. If you know anyone that’s cutting sad songs, lemme know.

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Photo Credit: Brooke Stevens

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