To say the music business has two completely different personalties is an understatement. There is the image we all see in daily life, the one where hits are abundant, songwriting comes easy, everyone gets a record deal, and the music is appreciated by the masses. Then there's the closet personality. The dark side that exudes long periods of down time, where gigs are scarce, writers block takes hold, and just getting your music out there for someone to listen to is more than just a bump in the road. This is the reality of the music industry lifestyle. For every single chart-topping artist living the dream of playing sold out venues to hungry audiences, there are thousands upon thousands of starving artists simply trying to make their dream a reality. It is a monster. A monster that cannot be defeated, but simply appeased for an undetermined length of time. For artists like Bob Simpson, there is a personal battle with this monster, one that is fought daily.
I asked Bob to share some of his back story with me, and this is what he had to say. "Well, I guess I was born with a love for music. My first memory in life was listening to music. I wanted to be the man singing on those records I heard. I had envisioned to be on a stage with a guitar in my hand like Merle Haggard or whoever it was that I'd heard growing up. When I was about 15, I got tired of just listening. I wanted to make music. My family didn't have much money for lessons so I taught myself how to play guitar and every thing else I play. I got really into songwriting after listening to Neil Young and Whiskeytown as a teenager. I felt like those songs they wrote really said something and had an emotion to them that I could personally tap into. Almost like they had something to say. I guess I had something to say too. So I started writing songs. Then I was playing open mic nights, which I still do and I feel it's a good exercise for any musician. Then I started getting booked in coffee houses and bars and I was lucky if anyone listened. So I started recording and making records on my own terms and going out on the road to push them." As with most musicians, the driving influence was derived from early teenage experiences with music. The difference between most of the general public and musicians, the musician chooses to take the love of the sounds to another level, and begin to emulate what they hear, and interpret and form their own versions.
When asked about where he draws inspiration from, Bob shared these thoughts. "Anywhere. It could come from anything. Simple or complex. A rock or a dirty dish in the sink could inspire me. It could be something I heard or a movie I saw. Maybe even an article I read or an experience I had. Sometimes, the dreams I have can inspire me."
While the fruits of Bob Simpson's influences seem firmly planted in his sound, he truly has evolved into a unique individual, producing one-of-a-kind genuine music. His vocals are very clear and crisp, and his control over his ability shows great maturity in his music. While he may not have the name of a Brandon Rhyder or Sean McConnell, Bob Simpson certainly possess the tools to achieve high accolades among the scene's great vocalist.
While the road ahead for Bob Simpson may not be an express-lane to success, it certainly isn't a dead end road. As Bob continues to evolve his sound, we will continue to follow along and support his ventures, wherever the road ahead may lead. I'll leave you guys with another up-close and personal performance by this new face to the scene.
There is no clear plan for success in music. The paths set out before by successful musicians doesn't always work for the ones following in their footsteps. There is no manual, no classes for this process. Honestly, the reason one solid artist gains public interest, while another equally talented may go un-noticed is as big a secret as any I guess. It is a journey that many will continue to make, one that we hope continues to run down those Texas Red Dirt Roads.
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