Jun 2, 2019
Brandon Rhyder’s backstory in becoming a modern-day staple of the Texas and Red Dirt Music scene sounds familiar, yet is totally unique. In the beginning, a small spark is lit inside the aspiring artist. They ponder their life and the gravity of the decision to seriously give the dream of being a touring and recording artist an honest to goodness shot. Then, through a series of events, that small spark gets fanned into a flame and through hard work, dedication, perseverance and “conviction” leads to a successful career. Sounds simple doesn’t it…
But in Brandon’s case, before any of that happened, it took a little encouragement from his friend Ricky to make him seriously consider giving the music business a shot; and when he did, it completely changed the trajectory of his life.
Brandon grew up in northeast Texas, but it really wasn’t until he attended college at UT-Tyler that he even considered picking up the guitar. Once he did, it was a natural evolution for him to start stringing chords together behinds the words he’d already been writing. But, that’s almost where the story ends.
After graduation, Brandon did what most good boys and girls do; he entered the workforce, took a steady job and settled down with his wife. The thought of pursuing a career in music hadn’t even crossed his mind.
He and his new wife built a home and began what looked to be a very “normal” life. Interestingly enough, within a year of building the home, and through the encouragement of the home builder himself, (the previously mentioned Ricky), Brandon and his wife headed for Austin. They put a for-sale sign in the front yard and took off to chase the music dream. Almost 20 years after making that decision now, it’s certainly proved to be the right one.
In this interview with Brandon he talks with us about his early years in Austin and slowly building a following. Then, he explains that after meeting and sharing the stage with legendary singer-songwriter, Walt Wilkins, things quickly changed. Walt produced Brandon’s 2005 record, “Conviction”. After that, Brandon’s career gained steam very quickly with larger crowds at live shows and record sales going way up.
With the success of Conviction, Brandon was soon playing 180+ live shows per year; a pace that would continue for the next 6 years.
In the interview Brandon also talks about recording trips to Nashville and working with other legendary artists like Radney Foster who would also go on to produce Brandon’s 2008 record, “Every Night”. During this time of his career Brandon explains how he landed a deal with a Nashville publishing company and was travelling there at least six times a year or more to write with other people.
Towards the end of this interview the conversation takes a more serious tone as Brandon divulges his recent multi-year struggle with a health issue. Finally after many, doctors and many tests, they were able to pinpoint what had been plaguing him and now Brandon is feeling better than he has in years which has lead to great vocal range and more new songs being written.
Brandon also talks about the awful disease that is Cancer, and how it recently claimed the life of his hunting and fishing buddy, who also happened to be his father-in-law. The silver lining in this sad story is that Brandon has written and recently recorded a new tune stemming from this experience which pays homage to his father-in-law.
In the final minutes of the interview Brandon relays a very sad story to us involving a friend and fan of his music named Jacob who was a member of our armed forces whom just in the morning before this interview was recorded, had attempted to take his own life. Brandon makes clear that he wants to shine more light on the tragedy that is PTSD and the high suicide rate of former military personnel.
In Carly’s outro for this show she gives a couple resources for those suffering from PTSD which we ask that all listeners of the podcast and readers of this blog to share with others. The first is Mission 22, who’s goal is to put an end to veteran suicide. Please visit www.mission22.com and consider donating to their cause. The second resource is the Suicide Prevention Lifeline whose number is 1-800-273-8255. One life lost is one too many….
To find out more about Brandon Rhyder, where he’s playing next, and how to buy his music and merch, please visit www.brandonrhyder.com .