Bradley Warren Jr. came to Nashville by way of Fayetteville, North Carolina. His spellbinding eponymous debut album was produced by in-demand arranger and composer Dustin Ransom (Emily West, Ryan Bingham), and can be found on iTunes. Warren Jr. wrote one of the album's highlights, "Green and Red," about a girl he pined for for two years.
We're enamored with his raw, emotional sound, which melds elements of vintage rock with Nashville-style Americana. Plus, he's got a great head of hair.
Tell us a bit about "Green and Red."
A good portion of "Green and Red" was written in a little stone house over in Woodbine. I lived there for a few years. My roommates and I didn't own a kitchen table for the first year, so I'd sit on the linoleum floor and write music. I miss that house.
There was a girl I was into back then who wasn't really into me. We worked together at a place in town. It was one of those things where she would want to hang out and then not talk to me for two weeks. It went on for what seemed like forever. Most people know that feeling. It was a pretty mean roller coaster for me. It's like my stomach was always in knots. Man, I was head over heels for that girl for right at two years. I maybe even thought I loved her.
One night I was sitting on that kitchen floor and I remembered back to the first time she agreed to hang out. We met up for coffee and she came decked out in this little green jumpsuit-shorts thing and red lipstick. I was way underdressed, to say the least. I should have worn a suit for sure. She was stunning. I attempted to hang out with her a few more times. She wasn't really into it.
With us working together everyday, I had plenty of time to think about how I felt. Having to work next to her was torture. I remember contemplating a lot about what it meant to truly be "in love" with a person. I eventually came to the conclusion that for true love to be present, the love you give has to be reciprocated. The person you're in love with has to also be willing to give of themselves, their time, and not string you along. If the person you love isn't into you, that's okay. Someone else out there will be into you. I guess my discovery was that I was more in love with the idea of us being together. That was the main inspiration for the song. When it came to the recording, my producer Dustin Ransom and I finished writing it and tracked it at his studio in 12th South, where we also tracked the whole record. We approached "Green and Red" with a kind of a "less is more" mentality. We wanted the song to sound powerful but to also use as few instruments as possible on it, to help give it a timeless quality and to also give it space to grow dynamically. Dustin's guitar solo in that tune is one of my favorite moments on the record.
What's it like being an artist in Nashville?
Being an artist in Nashville can be hard, man. Being an artist anywhere can be hard. It can be the most rewarding thing in the world, but also the most terrifying.
For an independent artist especially, things like making records and playing shows can be a bit challenging if you're trying to fund everything yourself. Without some sort of financial backing, it can seem almost impossible. It's not truly impossible, it can just seem that way sometimes.
What's cool about being an artist in Nashville, though, is that there are so many cool resources and people willing to help you. Folks in Nashville want to see you succeed, and help can come about in ways you'd never expect. Every time I turn around there is a connection I didn't expect to make, or someone simply encouraging me to succeed. It's so rad living in a place where people work together to attempt and succeed at the seemingly impossible.
What's the last good concert in Nashville you've been to?
The last good, no not good, the most unbelievably insane show I've been to in Nashville recently, that actually made me think about throwing in the towel and quitting music forever, was The Punch Brothers at The Ryman. Holy shit, dude. If you were there you know I what I'm talking about. Gee wiz.
What do you like about Musician's Corner?
I love Musician's Corner because it brings together so many different kinds of folks in one fun and relaxing setting. There is something for the whole Nashville family. In all directions there are interesting things happening. In one direction you have delicious food for sale, in another there is a guy with long dreadlocks leading the dance party, and in another there are folks playing catch in the field. You can just come out and have a picnic with your people if you want, and it's totally free. There's really nothing better than soaking up a few rays on a blanket with your people and listening to killer music at Musician's Corner.