As mentioned in our inaugural On The Bus With... we were gonna try and make this a regular segment. We had an opportunity to fire some questions off to Ole Singer / Songwriter Austin Jenckes while he was out on tour with one of our favorites The Cadillac Three. The Seattle native / Nashville transplant answered these from his van. Possibly… You will see why later. Thanks Austin for taking the time for these questions.
Q) Tell us a little about your road to Nashville from Duvall, Washington.
A) I had just graduated from Western Washington University and was playing full-time around the Seattle area. My girlfriend (now wife) and I had been dating for a few months and my band was rehearsing at a local church. The pastor of the church knew someone in Nashville and introduced us. I took a two-week long visits to music city and made the move about nine months later. Brittany moved down shortly after that.
Q) Do you recall the write when you wrote your current single “Ride Away”? And maybe let us in on the whole inspiration behind it?
A) Yes! I had a guitar riff and a melody that I put down in my studio the night before we wrote the song. That next day me and my co writers (Tammi Kidd & Lynn Hutton) just starting coming up with a few of the opening lines and “Ride Away” is where we ended up in the chorus. It was a very simple and organic process. Musically I think I just knew what I wanted it to feel like and Tammi and Lynn really brought it to life.
Q) Being a singer / songwriter which part do you feel the deepest connection with and why?
- I’ve grown to be more lyrically driven as I’ve written more and more songs. Ride Away definitely started out as a melodically inspired song but I think once we started diving into it there were some layers there that really made it feel special. Singing is a healing mechanism for me so whether it’s a fast song that’s meant for rocking out or a ballad I’m always putting out as much emotion with my voice as I can possibly find. Connecting to the lyrics helps to find that raw energy.
Q) One song you really wish you wrote?
A) “You don’t even know who I am” was a hit by Patty Loveless in 1995 and Gretchen Peters wrote it by herself. It’s a story song with a ton of soul and there really isn’t a trick to the lyric at all, it’s just honest and the melodies are gigantic. My dad used to sing it and I always wished I could write a song like that.
Q) Getting to open for an act like The Cadillac Three in Chicago what’s it like to get those types of opportunities for you?
A) Playing with TC3 is a ton of fun and such a great experience. Their fans are the best around and I’m a big fan of them myself so it’s a dream. They have quite a following in Chicago so I’m very grateful to be able to share the stage with those guys. There’s an art to being the opening act and getting the crowd ready for the headliner. I’ve learned a lot this year on how to really connect and have fun with it. Playing live is my passion and I think being in front of new audiences brings out the best in me.
Q) When putting together a setlist, what is the first thing that comes to mind?
A) Honestly I don’t like set lists haha. I’ve done them before, but for some reason it just always made me feel like I was making a broadcast on tv or something. I like to feel the crowd out and try to have a good performance in the moment rather than plan the whole thing out ahead of time.
Q) First guitar you owned and did you name it?
A) I played my dads guitar a lot growing up. I still have it and it’s a late 70s takamine. Very similar to the old Martins, just not as expensive. First guitar he bought me was a Rogue electric and I never named it.
Q) Who has given you the best advice so far in your career and what was it?
A) There is a gospel artist named Israel Houghton that I met for coffee right before I moved to Nashville. I asked him about his experience in the music biz and all he said was “don’t let it color you too much.” I didn’t know what he really meant at the time but over time it has meant a lot to me and kept me focused on being myself and staying true to my own sound.
Grab the new single Ride Away HERE.
Be sure to hit up Austin on his socials…