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Interview With The Trailer Choir

July 24, 2008

I should send out a thanks to Brian Robillard from Universal Music, distributer for Show Dog Records, for establishing a connection to the band for me. The following is my recent interview with the new trio Trailer Choir.

CMC: How did the trio known as Trailer Choir come to be?

TC: Butter – I’m a native of Ohio and had been in Nashville for more than ten years working the music scene as a singer songwriter with many different bands that I had started before Trailer Choir.

Crystal – I moved to Nashville, by way of Louisiana, right out of high school to work on music, and I was doing my own thing either solo or singing back-up for other artists in town for many years as well.

Vinny – After supporting myself by working for Sonic in my hometown of Linden , TN I managed to secure an office in Nashville to start songwriting and working the music scene. Butter and I met at these offices and became fast friends and started writing songs and performing shows together as the “Trailer Choir”…working frat parties and the club scenes in other states and across Tennessee and putting together an “all-original” show in Nashville. Crystal had been friends with us individually, and had been involved in many group shows with us and was a fan of what what had going on. One night Crystal felt that there needed to be a female harmony in a song… so she jumped on stage and started singing in my microphone… From that point on it all came together, and the three of us were putting on shows as a group… Shortly after that Toby Keith walked into one of these shows…signed us to his record label and the rest is history.

CMC: What individual aspects do the three of you add to the group?

TC: Butter– I guess I’m the “front man”, adding comedic crowd control to Trailer Choir. I have a way of keeping anyone’s attention with witty banter, humor.

Vinny – I like to add the dance moves known as the “gyrations that shake the foundations” enhancing what has become known as a “visual assault”.

Crystal – I add a soulful touch with my high harmonies to the overall “sound” and a softer touch to the overall look of the group.

Everyone in the group is ultimately an entertainer with makes for a strong, three-pronged stage front!

CMC: What is it like touring with Toby Keith?

TC: We are meeting so many new friends and fans, and really seeing how people react to our songs. Now we are seeing people recognize us from the music video, and even knowing the lyrics to the songs… but mostly, being able to be out with someone like Toby, who is one of, if not THE best at what he does… helps us to learn everyday about how to treat people, and really entertain a crowd.

CMC: We all know you have done work with the soundtrack for Beer For My Horses, but when can fans expect a solid project from the Trailer Choir?

TC: We have the first five songs wrapped up and 4 of those are available now digitally… we are busy touring all summer, so we don’t have a final release date, but we are hoping for… and it seems to be looking like sometime close to the holidays.

CMC: Were you given any offers before signing to Show Dog Nashville, if so why did you turn them down?

TC: There were meetings, but no solid offers that really worked for us all…

CMC: Who are your biggest musical influences?

TC: Crystal– Wow that’s a tough one… everyone from Lynard Skynard to Aretha Franklin and Tammy Wynette

Vinny– Garth Brooks, Justin Timberlake

Butter– John Mellencamp, the list could go on and on…

CNC: Who is the songwriter(s) in the group and where do you get your inspiration?

TC: Crystal – We are all songwriters, Butter and Vinny had completed most of the songs that Trailer Choir currently perform, and have been recording before I joined the group… we have recently started experimenting with all three of us writing together. The inspiration comes from just watching people and seeing life “in motion”… this all started watching people react to songs at bars and frat parties… so now we get to see them react with our own original songs.


CMC: What do you feel defines you as a group in your sound and your image?

TC:We are a “back yard bar-b-que in high definition”… a visual stimulation, and each song is a 3 minute vacation… “So Come On and Take A Ride!”


CMC: Other than country artists, who else would you find on your play lists?

TC: Crystal– Duffy, AeroSmith, Aretha Franklin, Bonnie Raitt

Butter– Aerosmith, Rolling Stones, Nickleback
Vinny- Justin Timberlake, Jamie Foxx, Aerosmith, Pink Floyd

CMC: You share your label with several other rising artists and groups like Mica Roberts, Carter’s Chord and Flynnville Train.. What’s it like working with and around these guys on and off the stage?

TC: It’s great…. we are like family. We share a tour bus now with Carter’s Chord. Mica is great to us. She has been touring with MANY country superstars, so we learn a lot about touring and working a stage from her.

CMC: Where did the name Trailer Choir come from?

TC:Trailer Choir – The choir comes in because we love “sing-alongs” and we love to hear people singing with us. This group was born out of being on the road performing music, making a living, traveling from city to city that’s part of the “trailer” concept and, If you hang out with us for more than 5 minutes you’ll probably figure out where the rest of the “trailer” comes in…

CMC: The guitar is obviously a huge part of your performance. Are there any other instruments you three play and were they self taught or learned through lessons?

TC: Butter – I play the kazoo as well… ha ha

Vinny – I also play the guitar…

Crystal – I play the piano… took lessons for years, but I’m still not any good at it… No one would ever ask me to play onstage!


CMC: Now that you guys have hit the scene, how are your families adjusting to your new found fame?

TC:Everyone in all of our home towns have really embraced this along with us… It’ s been so great to get calls and text messages saying that they called the radio station to request the song, or voted for your video on CMT…


CMC:You guys do a lot of covers in your shows. What is your favorite song to cover on stage?

TC: Vinny– I really like it when we do our song “montage” and I cover “Baby Got Back”. “Wonderwall” is my favorite cover to rock out to.

Crystal – I really enjoy it when we throw “I Will Survive” in there… people almost never see that one comin’ and it’s a lot of fun to shift from a down home country tune and jam out to a disco cover just for fun!


CMC: How were the three of you individually connected to music before it became a professional practice? How were you introduced to it?

TC: Butter– I started playing guitar in high school and won a talent show. From there I moved to an area south of Nashville and attended MTSU. I took every class I could involving music and production. I performed in and around Nashville on my own for years and formed several different bands before finally settling in on Trailer Choir.

Vinny – My little brother taught me how to put together chords and play guitar, so from there I started writing songs. Everyone in my family plays and writes.

Crystal – I have been performing and singing for what seems like my entire life… my first pictures onstage where when I was two… No one in my family was musical at all though…. it really was just something I started just “DOING”… I picked it up from church and the radio. I really started taking it seriously and making a living with music in high school, which is what brought me to Nashville . I came pretty much straight from high school, got a “day job” and started to sing and perform pretty much any where I could…. That led me to working with some great songwriters and musicians, and sharing the stage with some of today’s greats…


CMC: “Off The Hillbilly Hook” is obviously a redneck party anthem. How does this song illustrate the three of you as individuals?

TC: Butter– For me its mostly the duck tape and whiskey of the video. I mean in the video..i’m singing into a plunger..wild.

Vinny – “Off The Hillbilly Hook”, has been my whole life to a “T”!

Crystal– I grew up in mid-south Louisiana where partying’ is just a way of life… we have a fair or festival to celebrate just about anything from a “pig roast” to a pecan pie.. (I was actually the Pecan Festival Queen, and the Rapides Parish Fair Queen) basically any reason to have a band play music, grab a drink and party… we have a festival and a queen for it… so being “Off The Hillbilly Hook” was pretty much every weekend for me! Just a way of life!



CMC: What is your collective definition of country music?

TC: Butter – Country music is about people by the people..not just where your from or what you look like..but more in how music tells little stories about life.

Vinny – Country music to is songs about real life and love and all the stuff that makes life just “go”…

Crystal – I feel like country is home to me. I grew up on it. My dad and I would ride around in his truck for me to learn a new Reba McEntire song when I was 7. As I grew up I really embraced other styles from classical to R&B… but I have always felt like country music is where my heart is…


CMC: Some have related your sound to Toby’s. Is there any influence that comes from working with him that your three apply to your music or is this the sound you’ve had all along?

TC: It’s a sound we’ve had all along..but there’s no doubt with him producing…we can’t help to get a little of his flavor on it.

2 Comments leave one →
  1. Leeann permalink
    July 24, 2008 4:41 am

    Nice work!

    I actually love it when kazoos are featured in songs.:) There’s one on Toby’s White Trash With Money album and on Eric Clapton’s unplugged album and it’s an extra treat for me.:) Wierd, I know.

  2. July 28, 2008 4:22 am

    Excellent interview!

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