Wednesday, December 15, 2010

An Interview With Steve Wariner Over At The 9513

Steve Wariner was playing in Dottie West's touring band at age 17. He later worked with Chet Atkins, who signed him to RCA in 1977. However, it wasn't until 1981 that he cracked the Top 10. A year later, he topped the chart with "All Roads Lead to You." Two more Top 5 hits followed before he moved to MCA Nashville in 1984. Emerging as a strong songwriter, Wariner's smooth vocals and commercial sound led some to criticize his music as uninspired. But that didn't prevent 18 singles from MCA reaching the Top 10, with eight of them peaking at No. 1.

At a time when country music was selling its best numbers in quite a while, Wariner left the star-studded MCA Nashville roster for the start-up label Arista Records in 1991. Within a few years, though, Wariner again found himself on a label among the genre's biggest stars -- Brooks & Dunn, Diamond Rio, Alan Jackson and Pam Tillis. 

In a career lull, Wariner joined the Grand Ole Opry in 1996. A year later, he joined Anita Cochran on her ballad "What If I Said." Although Cochran was unproven and Wariner was considered out of vogue as a performer, the duet surprised the industry by eventually reaching No. 1 in 1998. Plus, two songs that Wariner had co-written -- "Longneck Bottle" by Garth Brooks and "Nothin' but the Taillights" by Clint Black -- also reached No. 1 that same year.

With his career momentum regained, Wariner signed to Capitol Records and offered "Holes in the Floor of Heaven," which won the CMA single and song of the year in 1998. A collaboration with Asleep at the Wheel brought Wariner his second Grammy in 1999. After three additional Top 10 hits for Capitol, Wariner launched his own imprint, Selectone Records.

I had an interview to talk with Wariner about a new holiday album and his upcoming 2011 project called Guitar Laboratory. Check out a snippet of an interview I did with the guitar legend below and then click HERE to read the interview in its entirety.
"I guess it started with the influence of James Burton and Buck Owens and those West Coast guys that always played telecasters. I just always loved that twangy sound and the bending of the strings. I’ve always gravitated to the Telecaster for some reason. When I was a kid, I learned to play on a Fender Jazzmaster. My dad had a Jazzmaster so I learned to play on that. I’d pretend it was a Telecaster. In my mind, it was a Telecaster at least. But I’d try and play high end and high tone out of it as I could and pretend it was. But then when I was in high school, I was able to buy my own guitar and it was a Telecaster of course. I don’t know. I loved Gretsch guitars. That was as I got older, probably because of Chet Atkins and George Harrison. George played that because of Chet, of course. But I could never afford a Gretsch at our local music store. They were pretty expensive back in the day. I ended up holding onto my Telecaster and always played that. So now I’ve got some vintage Gretsch guitars that I like to play and it was fun to bring out some of my favorite guitars to play on this album."

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