Midland have recently become the talk of the town – their traditional stylings have made quite the impact in the country music scene and in a great way. Releasing their debut album On The Rocks – fans and critics have been raving about the trio non-stop. Midland have already formed a huge fan base here in the UK and will be visiting our shores to be part of next years Country 2 Country Festival which we cannot wait for.
I caught up with Midland’s bassist Cameron Duddy who was an absolute delight to chat with. Cameron was not only interesting but incredibly easy to talk to with his warming and humble personality.
If you haven’t checked out Midland’s music yet then please do. Their hit single Drinkin’ Problem catapulted their career followed by an even stronger album.
I hope you enjoy our chat as much as I did.
Hi Cameron – how are you today?
I am good, how are you?
Great thanks. I am Hannah and it is very nice to meet you – well, over the phone!
What have you been up to this week? Have you been busy with the album release?
Yeah, it has been very busy since January actually. When the single went to radio we kind of just left home and haven’t been home for maybe more than a dozen days this whole year. It’s crazy. This week we started off by celebrating our number one single here in the States. We had a party in Nashville and hopped in the bus which will take us on tour all around the United States with our buddy Jon Pardi.
Congratulations with the release of On The Rocks! How has it been since its release? How has the response been?
Oh, it’s been incredible. It has surpassed our expectations, that’s for sure. You don’t know how your debut album is going to land with people; I mean, of course we all thought that it was very, very special, but you never know. It’s a gamble putting yourself out on the line like that, but there has been an overwhelming amount of support and the response has just been incredible, incredible.
As your sound is quite traditional, do you think that style of the genre is making a comeback now after the popularity of Bro and Pop Country? It seems so, with the success of yourselves, Kacey, Brandy Clark and so on…
I think it is. Maybe six months ago I’d have been a bit skeptical, but it seems that the people really want this and they have spoken! They are buying the album, they are requesting the song on the radio and they are showing up at the concerts. I can’t tell you how many times I have shaken someone’s hand and had them say ‘Thank you for bringing back traditional Country music.’ It’s just kind of far out to be at the tip of the spear for this kind of pendulum swing back to a more traditional sound. We definitely root our inspiration from the 70’s to 80’s and early nineties music from Country to rock ‘n’ roll and soul music. Our influences are kind of far and wide but we like to think of ourselves as kind of ‘neo-classical traditionalist’ – or something, haha – I don’t know! It’s hard to put a name on it, but it feels good that people are responding to it.
Good, well we love it in the UK; I have heard nothing but good things. You are signed with Big Machine – how did that signing come to be and how are they to work with – I hear they are like family and give their artists a lot of freedom
Yeah, we signed with them because we got a good feeling that everybody just believed in what we were doing and didn’t want to change it too much. Of course you evolve, we signed the deal over a year ago and we have evolved our sound and really honed in on what we wanted to do – and you learn that from recording music and playing it live. So it’s just kind of digging deep into what works and what is reactionary. Ultimately Big Machine has always been supportive of our vision and no one has tried to change anything. We do everything ourselves – the music videos, the album artwork, the logo, every single thing comes out as Midland. I am not sure if the label likes that, haha – but we certainly have taken on all the responsibility of how we want to present ourselves. It really just boils down to us being ourselves, so for that, we thank Big Machine for just letting us do our thing.
Jennifer Nettles said pretty much the same as you – I don’t know if they like it but I do it anyway, haha!
So tell us about the title of the album – On The Rocks – where did that come from?
We were at a deadline and didn’t really know what to call the album and Mark, our lead singer, kind of threw out that we talked about that title maybe a couple of years ago and somehow he had written it in his phone. Thankfully he remembered that and threw it out there and it seemed like the right thing to do in the spirit of drinking but also the double entendre of us kind of being out on the rocks.
Our name, Midland, comes from a Dwight Yoakham song.
Your first single was Drinkin’ Problem, which you wrote with Shane McAnally who is one of my favourite writers. What is he like to write with?
Shane is one of our best friends. We have gotten to know him and Josh Osborne over the last three or four years since we first got to Nashville and have become more like brothers. It is always fun when we get to sit in a room and write with them and we always come up with something interesting. Drinkin’ Problem was the first song that we sat down and wrote with the guys. We actually had the song for about two or three years and it was the song that got us through the period of Midland moving to Nashville and looking for a record deal and a publishing deal; we always had that song in our pocket. Without that song, I am not sure what would have happened. Not sure if we would have even got a record deal but we definitely created the album in a way around that song and evolving that sound from Drinkin’ Problem; it is kind of the genesis of On The Rocks itself. Of course, we had our own material going into Nashville which we had been playing in Texas but ultimately Shane helped us evolve as songwriters and as musicians, you know.
If you had a Drinkin’ Problem – what drink would it be?
IF we had a Drinkin’ problem, haha! Usually we drink tequila on stage – on the rocks with a squeeze of lemon, that’s my drink.
You know, I don’t remember when I even had that last or at all.
Oh really? Oh man we will have to get you some tequila, then!
You are coming to the UK for the C2C Festival, which is so exciting. Have you heard much about the festival or what the UK fans are like as an audience?
We cannot wait to get in front of a UK audience! We have heard that you guys are some of the most – what’s the word I am looking for? – you’re hardcore country fans! We cannot wait to get over there and spread the Midland gospel. C2C is going to be so much fun, a lot of our friends are playing on the bill and it is going to be like a travelling party.
How does it feel before even playing here to have such a fanbase in the UK? We don’t have Country radio to rely on, unless you know the dab stations so, if someone is a fan of your music here, they really did the research and spent time getting to know your music.
When they see you live, you know every fan there has worked hard to know you – and those who don’t will go home and put the work in to know you more.
I guess I will know how it feels more when I am standing on stage at C2C first hand, but I am really excited, we all are excited to get over there.
You have just announced that you are going on tour with LBT and Kacey Musgraves, which is going to be one heck of a show. What have you planned for the tour – will there be any collabs?
Yeah, we have been playing a song together that we actually played on Jimmy Fallon. We played an ELO song called Don’t Bring Me Down all together and I think we will probably be doing that together live on tour –and maybe for C2C, I’m not sure.
I hope so; we don’t know who is playing what days yet.
I am not sure yet, but I hope we get to do it.
What or who inspired your style – dressing wise?
Man, there are so many influences. Keith Richards is so ingrained in my being, as is listening to the Stones, the Beatles in the late sixties and seventies – kind of the ‘outlaw guys’ in the 70’s, Waylon Jennings, Willie Nelson. Ultimately we kind of just dress the way our dads did in the 70’s, so I think probably our dads, haha! That would be the most obvious answer. We are into all things kind of old and vintage and from that era, music, clothes, jeans, movies, trucks, cars and so on.
And what about artists – you mentioned The Beatles, The Stones, but who are you listening to in music right now?
Let me think here. Well since Tom Petty died I have gone back into his catalogue, which I do every two years anyway, I have always gone to the well when I need inspiration and I put on any Petty album; it’s just so ingrained in my being and it informs a lot of decisions. His bass players were all really talented and wrote funky bass lines so, yeah, Tom Petty right now is pretty heavy in the rotation. Also Petty’s fashion has influenced me, he has been like my surrogate godfather ha,
Were you also a Travelling Wilburys fan?
Oh, of course! I mean how sad that there are only two Wilburys alive? Dylan and Jeff Lynne.
I know, it is heartbreaking; I loved the Wilburys growing up.
What do you like to do on a day off?
Day off? I get home on the farm where we live in Texas and I will mow the lawn. It takes about two hours on the ride on mower. I listen to some tunes, I collect vinyl on the road so if the time is right and my son is taking a nap I will get to sneak into my kind of office and throw on some vinyl and listen to some music. I like to take it easy, man!
How old is your son?
A year and a half.
Oh, so is mine, so I completely understand why you want some ‘easy’ time, haha!
Oh yeah? Haha I always rush to do what I can for me in that hour and a half I get.
Have you had any bucket list moments so far?
Oh for sure. We got to play the Ryman and The Grand Ole Opry this year. Those were – wow! I mean, I remember going to Nashville for the first time with the guys and we went and did the tour of the Ryman which was where the original Opry was. We went there in the afternoon and we were just looking at the stage and just wondering, ‘Man, will we ever be able to play up there?’ Sure enough it seems like an overnight success but it’s been like a decade overnight success for us. You know, we have been at it for so long, so to be able to get up there and play on that stage was – I mean, I am still trying to process it.
I can imagine. Thank you so much for talking to me today, it has been such a pleasure and I cannot wait till March. You are going to have the best time at C2C, because we are the best fans; I am going to say it, I don’t care, we are the best fans, haha!
Hahaha! Go ahead and say it, haha, I believe it!
Well you will definitely find out soon. Enjoy the rest of your day.
You too, take care and thank you for your time.
Purchase On the Rocks by Midland here