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Bobby Pinson finally gets lucky

By Jeffrey B. Remz, June 2005

Page 2...

While some of the stories Pinson puts to music make it sound like he was a hellraiser, that was not the case, he says.

"I never was a crazy kid," he says. "I was the guy actually doing all the driving. I wasn't a big drinker in high school. I have my little crazy years 10 years later. It's just romanticizing the songs."

Pinson explicitly makes religion part of his musical package. "One More Believer" is about a person doesn't lead the perfect, upstanding life, but got the faith.

"It's one of those things where you can get to a higher point in your life, and you can say I didn't realize that I strayed that far from the straight and narrow. Thank God for looking at me when I wasn't worth it."

The closing track is "Jesus Loves Me," the only song Pinson didn't write. Don't bother trying to find it on the CD jacket - it's a hidden track.

"Religion is the cornerstone of my life. My religion and my wife (he met her while literally crossing Lower Broadway in downtown Nashville) are the two most important things to me. That's a big statement if you knew how important music was to me."

"I don't use my music as a forum or podium for politics and religion. I don't feel like I'm saying you have to believe in Jesus or you're going to hell tomorrow."

Pinson grew interested in the verse as a kid, reading the poetry of Shel Silverstein in elementary school and participating in storytelling and writing contests.

He started writing songs immediately after graduating high school and soon entered the Army where he helped close down Fort Ord in California. Pinson sang at each battalion's closing ceremony.

He left the Army after three years and started playing clubs and fairs around the country before moving to Nashville.

Like many musicians, he did not have exciting jobs - delivering pizza and the Yellow pages, working as a banquet server and buying junk at yard sales and auctions.

In 1999, he signed with Sony/ATV Music as a staff songwriter.

And it was as a songwriter that Pinson achieved success. LeAnn Rimes recorded "Won't Be Lonely This Long" on her latest disc, "This Time."

Pinson also has the lead track, "Takin' Up Space," on Van Zant's new disc, "Get Right With the Man."

Blake Shelton recorded "In My Heaven," which Pinson co-wrote with Rivers Rutherford, on his debut with the song released as a single.

He also has been fortunate to have songs be recorded by Tracy Lawrence, Marty Stuart ("If There Ain't There Oughta Be") and Trent Willmon ("The Good Life").

By 2002, he was playing showcases around Nashville with the idea of attracting attention from a record label.

"I was just kind of run up the flagpole several times...I've been passed on by pretty much every label in town. That's what I'll call it now - timing - I called it other things. If it would have happened then, it would not have been this record. I'm just glad that it's going strong."

Pinson admits to have been pessimistic at times.

"Definite disappointment. Disappointment and discouraged. I didn't get it - because to me, my music is not left of center. I think it's down the middle level. I think it's user friendly. I just don't think it's Nashville radio friendly. That's the hand that I was dealt. I had a choice of doing what everyone else was doing or not. And I chose or not. It took me longer, but it's really gratifying"

"I told (RCA label head) Joe Galante when we first met. The truth is all that was preparing for me the day when I don't want just a record deal, I want my songs on the radio, but I don't just want my songs on the radio. I want a song on the radio that I'm proud of. I mean it. You can't lie to yourself. I just had to make a conscious decision to stay with this."

Pinson is comfortable with the music he has made.

"I think what this record is doing is making people say - the wording is different, phrasing, writing structure, but the kicker is the subject matter we're getting away with after 10 years of 'God, don't mention drinking, then the non-drinkers will not buy your record'. There's so much over thinking."

"I feel at peace," he says. "It's like you have that talk with a girl and lay it out where you stood. I put it out there, and it's going to be what it's going to be. I feel really confident. God's blessed us so far. I never really thought of it as a commodity and numbers and how much going to sell and the first week and all that. It just makes my head (spin). I hope the ones who (buy it) do enjoy it as much as I enjoyed making it."

Pinson's attitude towards his debut perhaps could be summed up by several lines in the catchy lead-off "I'm Fine Either Way." He sings, "I've learned to live with me/There's some things I didn't do right/But I'm gonna sleep fine tonight."

"This is what I want to pass or fail on my first record," Pinson says, adding, "We had what we represented me well. We had a pass or fail record. Either way, I'd be fine."

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