Cole Washburn ~ Traveler’s Moon

Cole Washburn

Cole Washburn

Nashville country recording artist Cole Washburn’s debut EP titled Traveler’s Moon has been nominated for multiple awards. Not only is Cole Washburn a talented singer-songwriter and musician, he’s a good sport. He smiled and laughed and gave a fabulous interview after waking up to a broken heater in 5 degree weather earlier in the day. Still wearing a hat and coat inside, Cole told me, “I woke up like a popsicle.”

Prior to the release of his debut EP, Cole Washburn released a single from the Traveler’s Moon EP each month from April 2014 until the EP’s debut. During that time period, he released six songs. He recorded two additional songs that are also on the EP: Who I Was and Timberline.

When I asked about the campaign, Cole explained: “That was a lot of fun. I’ve been writing the songs on this record for a couple of years. I built a studio with my producer back in January of last year called Gravity Nashville. The process is a great one-day-at-a-time thing. Over time, you get songs that you really like and you start to get an idea of the album concept. I had some great artists write and perform on the record. I was really fortunate.”

Some of the great artists who contributed to Traveler’s Moon include: Anna Register on vocals; Kyle Everson on pedal steel, acoustics, banjo and mandolin; Kenzie Wetz on violin; Phil Madeira on accordion; and Steve Bryant on bass.

According to Cole: “I had a good response, so I’m hitting the studio again this year, and we’re going to keep on doing as many songs as we can. I’m going to stick to releasing a song a month, because I can put a lot of time and effort into it without it being overwhelming. When I try to get a whole record done, I have to disappear. I’m also cutting a television show right now. I’m pretty busy, so I can’t really disappear.”

Cole Washburn performing 3Whaaaat? A TV show? I had to know more: “It’s called American Treasure. I travel around the United States visiting places that I think are cool, that are treasures of our nation. We do some interviews. It’s a little bit adventure, a little bit history, a little bit of science. I’m also going to be doing some treasure seeking too, but I’m keeping that hush hush for now.”

When we returned back to discussing the Traveler’s Moon EP, Cole gave me the back story behind the title track Traveler’s Moon: “The song came from my heart. We all have the moon watching over us, as we travel and as we go about our days and our nights.”

My personal favorite song is Beautiful To Me. It’s lovely, and I wish someone would sing it to me! When I asked Cole Washburn who he’s singing the song to, he laughed and told me: “I am singing it to an imaginary girl. I wrote that song with a friend of mine. She came up with the concept and sent it to me. Originally, she had a different melody. I rewrote the melody and changed some of the lyrics. A producer here in Nashville tried to do a pop thing with it, but that wasn’t the right direction. I’m happy with the way it came out. ”

Cole Washburn collaborated with a team of artists on the Traveler’s Moon EP. What does he look for when he collaborates with other artists? “My songs tell stories, so if I’m writing with somebody, I try to find somebody who not only understands song structure and melody, but also telling a good story. There are a lot of great writers here in Nashville, so it’s not hard to find. I’ve had some fortunate experiences.”

Cole Washburn performing 2Cole Washburn has been described as the Bruce Springsteen of country rock. I especially hear that in his single Head Above The Water. I also think about Willie Nelson when I hear the song Traveler’s Moon. How does Cole describe his music? He smiled and told me, “Those are pretty cool people to be associated with. I really don’t think about a certain artist or sound when I’m writing my music. It’s what comes to me. I honestly don’t listen to the radio that much. I do have some records I really like. I do like Bruce Springsteen. I’m a big John Mayer fan and Allison Krauss fan. I try to keep it me. If I was trying to describe my music to somebody, I would say it’s Americana, which (to me) is a little bit of everything, from pop to country to blues and a little bit of rock.”

What is Cole Washburn’s music background? “My mom gave me a guitar when I was twelve. She taught me about three chords. I also started taking piano lessons around that same time. Piano is my primary instrument.” Cole laughed and continued, “I don’t get to play it out a lot, because it’s really heavy. So, I just take my guitar everywhere. I started writing songs when I was seven years old on the piano. My first song was about my sister, and it was called Cry Baby. My parents are both from Kentucky, so I grew up with that country, Southern influence. I love classic rock as well.”

Like me, Cole Washburn is a big fan of Twitter: “Twitter has really been my best friend with this project. I used to be more of a Facebook guy, but Twitter is a really great way to connect with fans and quickly get out information. Of course, I have a website, but I find that my ability to connect with fans and have conversations has been mostly on Twitter.”

Cole Washburn rehearsingTo make it in the music business, Cole believes you’ve got to start with a great song: “Songs are king in this business. You have to have good content, and that takes time and takes practice. Take classes. Join an association. We have NSAI, which is the Nashville Songwriters Association. There are Meetup groups, where you get together with people and write. Try to co-write, if you can. Then, start to play out and start to build your fan base on social media. When you are ready to record your stuff, wait until you have enough money or the expertise to do it right, because you don’t want people hearing a bunch of junk. You want your songs to be well represented.”

To sum up, “Take your time and do an excellent job. If you do an excellent job, the cream rises to the top.”

In 2015, Cole Washburn will be working on his new The American Treasure television show. If you are interested in watching the show, a local Nashville cable channel is picking it up. There is potential to get it out nationally on some major networks. So, stay tuned.

He’s also planning a Traveler’s Moon Tour in the fall with some cool backup musicians. Keep an eye out there too. Also, look for some new release singles.

Amused Now Featured Artist Series

Cole Washburn - Travelers Moon coverCole Washburn

Cynthia Kahn, Founder of Amused Now