Rob Mayes first came to my attention on the TV series The Client List which starred Jennifer Love Hewitt. I loved that show and was sad it didn’t last. When I was introduced to Rob Mayes the country singer I was delighted that an actor who played a character I really liked, also sings, plays and writes country music. What I was ecstatic about was the fact his music is really dang good, so much traditional country in the melodies and pure heart and truth in all of the lyrics. This isn’t a musican that I am going to forget any time soon. The song that got my attention in a very impactful way was his single Grandpa’s Hands which he released last month. The song is dedicated to his grandparents to whom he was very close with and the lyrics will pull at your heartstrings. Anyone who is or was lucky enough to have a close relationship with their grandparents like Rob did will surely relate.
As it is now December and Christmas is fast approaching, Rob has also released a Christmas single It’s That Time of The Year Again. We at BOON never tire of a Country Christmas so this song is very inviting indeed and you know what? I think I am going to have to crank it loud and put up my Christmas decorations later!
We caught up with Rob to discuss his single Grandpa’s Hands , His time on The Client List, his EP Closer, all about Christmas and more!
Hi Rob how are you?
How has your week been and what have you been up to?
Recovering from Thanksgiving, playing a show this week, and then off to Nashville!
You have just released the song Grandpa’s Hands which I love. The song is so sweet, honest and relatable – What line did the song start with? What lyric popped into your head to get the song process rolling?
Thank you. I wrote that song as you hear it, each line came out one after the next. “She raised me while Mama was workin..”
With a song this personal, who do you play it to first to get an opinion and was this song in particular a song that you wanted to play to someone different than you usually do for their thoughts?
Because I reference so much of my family and specific personal things that are personal to not just me but to others in my family I was a bit uncertain how my folks and my family would take it. But when I first played it for my aunt Vita and uncle Ray, and they responded to it, it touched them, I knew that maybe the song was ok.
Roughly how long did the song take to write as I can imagine with a song so personal it either comes out so easily or takes a while to make sure it’s exactly what you wanted to express
I wrote it one setting.
You mention that both sets of Grandparents helped raise you, but what was their relationship with each other? By that I mean were they close as both my sets of grandparents barely knew each other
They were super close. They even shared the same wedding anniversary, if you can believe that!
Reading that your dad’s dad played the guitar and banjo, was he the one to teach you to play?
He didn’t, but he certainly inspired me to play. I still have his old Les Paul that he got off of one of the band members of KISS.
When and where did you get your first guitar?
My first guitar was black Epiphone Les Paul style that looked nearly identital to the actual Les Paul my grandfather ended up giving me years later.
The lyrics mention “he let me help him when he built something” and you have said before he did woodwork, what kind of things did you make together?
We finished my other grandparents’ basement. We put up drywall. We put up drywall in my parents’ basement. We built birdhouses.
What is your fondest memory of your grandparents?
So many memories. My grandmother knitting. My grandfather taking me to the fall festival at the Cleveland Metroparks and that inviting smell of cinnamon and hot cider. Them always starting every family gathering with a “highball” – essentially just bourbon and ginger ale on the rocks.
Is there anything you wish you had asked them? As you have said before, you were lucky to have had so much time with them, I think a regret for me is not asking more about my grandparents youth but I was relatively young when they passed so do you have anything you wish you had asked at all?
God, I wish I’d asked them so much. But, I’m grateful that I more or less listened to them more than having asked questions. I’m not a question guy. I feel that more is revealed electively, rather than when someone asks something of you directly. Lord knows I’m more apt to share when the person I’m chatting with offers something up about themselves, as opposed to prying to get something out of me. People think sometimes that maybe I don’t care enough to ask them questions. It’s not that at all, it’s just that questions usually shut me down in conversation, whereas open sharing opens me up.
What is the greatest lesson they taught you?
Tell us a bit about the Closer EP – What was the process of putting the EP together? Was there a theme/message that you wanted to get across?
I wanted to paint a variety of sound within a greater sonic umbrella and to shed light on my influences and what my sound is, can be.
How hard was it easy to pick songs for it and how do you select the track list order?
It’s never easy! I still wish I had put MY HEART IS BLEEDING on there even though it is so sonically different.
What song has had the best reaction on the EP and why do you think that song has resonated so well with fans?
CLOSER and ROAD WITH NO LINES. But then again, WE’LL SEE too.
I was a fan of the Client List and was upset it was never renewed. Firstly, how does it affect actors waiting on the news of a renewal and did you miss working on the show when it was cancelled?
That show was awesome. Great cast and crew, I miss it. Wish that one would have gone a couple more seasons, but not my call to make!
Which members of the cast were you closest with?
Alicia Lagano since we had most of our scenes together. And had a blast working with Sunny Mabrey. And Jennifer Love Hewitt of course. She’s got it down. She’s damn good. She commands respect. She runs a tight show. One that you’d do anything for. I can’t commend and thank her enough.
Who are your country music favourites and who (if anyone) were you rooting for in the CMA’s?
I love Midland right now. And Kane Brown. Cody Johnson, Ashley McBryde. Hey – she did OK at the CMAs!
You were in the film The Road Home For Christmas – what is it like to make a Christmas movie and was it filmed no where near Christmas time?
Haha it takes true acting to make a Christmas movie in the height of summer!
Seeing as Christmas is approaching, what is (if have any) your Christmas tradition(s) at home?
Kucios (pronounced “Kuchas”) is a Lithuanian tradition we celebrate each Christmas Eve.
What is your favourite Christmas food and drink?
Christmas beers! Wine! Steak! Crab legs! Twice baked potatoes!
Do you wear an ugly Christmas sweater?
That reminds me..
Favourite Christmas movie?
Favourite Christmas song?
You released a version of Baby It’s Cold outside with Vanessa Marie Carter- tell us about being a part of that project and how it came to be?
Vanessa asked me. I laid down that vocal in my living room and shot it over to her and her producer in Nashville, and boom!
Any plans to release another Christmas song?
Yes – IT’S THAT TIME OF THE YEAR AGAIN comes out this Friday, December 6! You can also catch it being featured in the Vivica A Fox movie CHRISTMAS MATCHMAKERS on December 8!
Any plans to visit the UK?
Workin’ on it!
Thanks so much for chatting today, I very much appreciate it and hopefully we will see you soon in the UK.
Thank you!! Tune in this Saturday to catch my thriller HE’S OUT TO GET YOU on Lifetime Movie Network..you may even hear some of my songs 🙂