Ben Brooks Opens Up About Debut Album and Nashville Roots

"I fell in love with Nashville immediately."

Rising songwriter and artist, Ben Brooks, is set to release his debut album, Jean on Jean in October. This may be Brooks’ first album, but he’s been kicking around Nashville awhile. Check out our interview with him below. 

Photo Credit: Laura Partain

Coming from a small town and now in Nashville, how has being here influenced your music?

I fell in love with Nashville immediately. I had never seen so many incredible musicians/songwriters in one place before. I spent several years just going out and seeing different performers trying to absorb as much of the music scene as I could. I still enjoy doing that. It made me take a step back and really try to write the best songs I could write. At the end of the day, you’ve got to have good songs. Otherwise, what’s the point.

Who have been some of your biggest musical influences growing up and do the same artists currently continue to influence you now?

I grew up listening to Tom Petty, Bob Dylan, Zeppelin, Allman brothers, Pink Floyd, The Beatles, The Stones. Bands like that. I don’t think I’ll ever stop listening to them and they do continue to be a big influence on me.

What excites you most about the Nashville music scene ?

The music. I love all the great bands that call Nashville home. Rayland Baxter, The Great Peacock, Nikki Lane, Jason Isbell, Sturgill Simpson and so many more. I could go on and on about the bands in this town. I love that any night of the week there are always a number of great shows to go see.

Tell us about your new album. Why did you choose to title it, Jean on Jean?

I’ve been writing these songs and slowly recording this album over the last few years. It took a lot of living to write this album and I’m extremely proud of how it turned out. I recorded most of it at a studio called Jays Place on Music Row with my friend Scotty Rollins engineering/producing. Some of it was recorded in Scotty’s garage. The title “Jean on Jean” simply came from my surroundings here in Nashville. Any night of the week, no matter what season of the year it is, no matter where you are in Nashville there are always plenty of people wearing  jean jackets and blue jeans.

Your new song, “Tearin’ it Apart,” is fantastic! When/where do you do your best writing?

Well thank you very much, I appreciate that. I always like writing while I’m driving on the interstate or on a long drive. My mind just sort of zones out in just the right way. Sometimes writing first thing in the morning just after you wake up is good. Or late at night. Whenever I get a good idea I usually record it in my phone until I can get to a guitar and sort of flesh it out.

If someone is coming to Nashville for the first time, where do you take them?

Usually Roberts on Broadway. They have the best bands on Broadway and a real old school, honkytonk feel. Or the 5-points area in East Nashville if they want to see more of the local scene. I’m a big fan of East Nashville.

What are some of your favorite Nashville restaurants?

There are so many great ones. I can’t think of any I don’t like. I like Edley’s Bar-B-Que a lot, Two Boots Pizza, PM, Dino’s, Rudie’s Seafood.

What do you do on a day off, no work allowed?

I like day drinking around East Nashville with friends if the weather is nice. Or going kayaking/canoeing on the Piney or Buffalo river.

Is there anything coming up for you that you’d like to share?

I’ve got a single coming out called, “California” on September 12th that I’m really excited about. Also the release of my debut album Jean on Jean on October 7th. Both will be available wherever you get your music online.

Instagram: @benbrooksmusic

Credit: Suzanne Pfeil
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Mary Ann Kaylor Griffiths

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