From old-school country to nineties country, Blaine Holcomb has a found a sweet spot smack dab in the middle, creating a nostalgic yet modern sound. Growing up in Upstate New York, Blaine first picked up a guitar in the 5th grade, which soon led to a love for country stars like George Straight and Brad Paisley. He then started taking guitar lessons and singing, and discovered he wasn’t half bad. He continued to take lessons and hone his skills, and soon enough, country music was engrained in him.
Upon going to college, Holcomb met with a band called the Fulton Chain Gang, and started gigging around New York and other parts of the East Coast, opening up for several accomplished acts. After graduating, he decided that music was how he wanted to make a living, so he took his talents to the neon lights of Music City.
He auditioned to play at none other than Tootsies World Famous Orchid Lounge, and he got the job. He’s been playing at Tootsies, Honky Tonk Central, and Rippy’s the last four years while working on his own music. He released his self-titled debut album last year, along with his single, “Cowboy’s Do,” both of which have seen radio play. He is currently writing and working on releasing his next single by the end of this summer.
Music Mecca: You grew up in Hamilton, NY. How did you get started playing guitar/singing up there?
Blain Holcomb: I always wanted to play guitar, and I finally started taking lessons when I was in 5th grade. A local kid who was a senior in high school at the time and was teaching lessons, so I started learning from him. Then eventually I took lessons for a number of years through the rest of middle and high school with a local guitar teacher named Ed Vollmer.
MM: You just released “Cowboy’s Do” as a single. Where did the inspiration for this single come from?
BH: “Cowboy’s Do” is a song that got pitched to me by Nashville songwriter Monty Holmes. The song was written by him, Jeff Middleton, and Matt Caldwell, and I loved the song after hearing the demo because it sounded like a George Strait song, which was right up my ally. So I decided to cut it and release it as a single.
MM: You moved to Nashville four years ago to pursue a career in music. What has the journey been like for you so far?
BH: So far Nashville has treated me well. I’ve been making a living out of a tip jar down on Broadway, and writing songs and networking with people in the industry. I’ve met a lot of amazing people and very talented musicians that I’m lucky to be able to work with and call my friends.
MM: I know you frequent Broadway a lot, but what’s been your favorite venue to perform at in town?
BH: Yeah I’m down there playing most days of the week, and I’d say I enjoy playing at Tootsie’s and Honky Tonk Central most.
MM: I hear some of the new country sound entwined with the old country feel in your single. Who are some artists that you admire most?
BH: I love nineties country, and the older stuff, so I’m trying to make my music a blend of that mixed with modern production, but making sure I stay true to my country roots. My biggest influences are George Jones, Merle Haggard, Keith Whitley, Daryle Singletary, Brad Paisley, and others.
MM: Coming from small town New York, what has it been like moving to Nashville, the epicenter of country music, and trying to be an artist?
BH: So far it’s been great. It hasn’t been too much of a culture shock for me. I’m from a small rural town in New York, but Nashville feels more like a town than a big city, and I live on the outskirts where it’s still very rural, so I feel at home. I really enjoy living in Nashville and in Tennessee in general.
MM: You recently released your self-titled full album. Did you write all of the songs on the album or did you have some co-writers?
BH: I wrote a couple of the songs on my debut album, and I got some other songs from different writers around town. I’m currently working on some new music and writing a lot more so I’m excited to be releasing new stuff soon.
MM: What are some ways that you promote yourself and try and set yourself apart from all of the other guys trying to “make it” as an artist?
BH: Well I don’t feel like I’m very good at social media, but I’m trying to get better at it. And as far as setting myself apart, I’m just trying to be myself and make the music I love, which is a little more on the older (nineties) country side of things. I’m not really into the pop country stuff.
MM: You went to college and got a Communications degree. What made you want to become a full-time country music singer?
BH: So playing music was always just a hobby for me growing up. I always played a bunch of sports throughout high school and played music on the side. But once I got to college and sports ended for me, I started to focus more on music. I kind of became known around campus my freshman year as “the kid who plays guitar,” and that got me into a lot of senior parties and made me popular with the upperclassmen. (laughs) And then I got the opportunity to become the new frontman and lead singer for a popular country cover band with a 20-year history in and around Upstate NY. They were called the Fulton Chain Gang. I began playing with them and played three full years with them while going to school. We played everything from dive bars to county fairs to festivals, opening for national acts such as Justin Moore, Easton Corbin, Josh Thompson, Molly Hatchet, and more. It was during my time playing with the Fulton Chain Gang that I realized that music was the dream I wanted to chase. So I began making plans to move to Nashville after I graduated from college at St. Lawrence University.
MM: What do you have in store for the rest of 2019?
BH: I’m working on some new music and I plan to be recording and releasing a brand new single, hopefully before the end of summer.
For more info on Blaine and his music, check out his website HERE.