There are some people that when you meet them for the first time you instantly recognize that you are going to like them. Greg Shaddix is one of those people. Born in Lousiana, singer, songwriter and musician Greg Shaddix now calls Atlanta home.
It was a Sunday afternoon and my husband and I had some free time to kill and decided to head to MadLife Stage & Studios in Woodstock, Georgia for a sunny afternoon on the patio. We were pleasantly surprised that there was a musician setting up his prized Martin N-20 guitar on the outdoor stage and we struck up a conversation with him as we settled in with an order of the best fried green tomatoes I have ever put in my mouth and a cold Blue Moon. Greg was wearing a cowboy hat and we later learned that he truly has earned the right to wear it. From 1999 to 2004, Greg spent his summers working on a cattle ranch in New Mexico. His experiences and lessons learned as a cowboy created some pretty amazing stories that he shares through his songs of those days.
And speaking of stories, Greg is one of the best storytellers around. He has a real gift for telling stories and you are never really certain how much of his tales are true. Maybe this gift was passed down to Greg from his father who is a Southern Baptist preacher or possibly his grandfather who was also a preacher. If anyone knows what it is like to grow up as a preacher’s kid then it will come as no surprise that Greg’s stories often give us a glimpse into his life and the good and not so good experiences that have shaped him into who he is today.
As I sat there listening to Greg, I had a sense that he has gone through some tough times in life, as we all have. One story that particularly struck me was his song about his grandfather, George Hubert Shaddix. I related all too well with Greg’s story of watching a beloved grandparent age and eventually pass away. Greg honors the memories of his special relationship with his grandfather in the song “Fathers and Sons” and just a heads up…when you hear this one, you might need to have a Kleenex handy.
But, not all of Greg’s songs are sad. After I collected myself from the “ugly cry” that happens when a song especially touches me, Greg had me laughing at a wild tale in his song “Outta Beer” where an eighteen wheeler beer truck was stolen for a joyride and the bandit made off with the mother load of the liquid libation. I’m still not convinced that this wasn’t a true story of Greg’s former days even though he swears that he and his friend Mark Combs made up the song while drinking a bottle of Wild Turkey on the back porch. As Greg says, his stories are told “through lines written about real life. Not all fact, not all fiction.”
Interview with Greg Shaddix
I sat down with Greg recently and had a chance to talk about his musical journey. On stage, Greg’s southern accent charms his audience with his quick wit and comical “under his breath” comments that you have to be listening to catch. But in person, like most artists, he is shy and humble when talking about his musical accomplishments.
When did you learn to play the guitar and did you take lessons or were you self-taught?
I learned guitar at 13. My dad bought me a guitar when I was 11 and I pitched a fit about wanting a radio controlled car instead. He took the guitar back and got me the car. I think I must have felt bad, because a couple years later I asked for another guitar. I took lessons for less than a year and self-taught after that. I still have the guitar I learned on. A 1980’s Sigma Martin.
What was the first album that you added to your personal music library?
Chill of an Early Fall by George Strait
What was your most recent addition to your personal music library?
Brenn Hill, Rerides
What was your first live music experience?
Hank Williams Jr. with Charlie Daniels at Oak Mountain Amphitheater in Birmingham, Alabama
If you could cover one album in your music library which would it be?
Redheaded Stranger by Willie Nelson
What artist do you wish more people had in their music library?
I wish more people had older Jimmy Buffett in their musical library, before he became a silly version of what he created…and of course…..John Prine.
And speaking of John Prine, Greg recently said that in his opinion, one of the greatest lyrics ever written were from Prine’s song “Angel from Montgomery”. In the song it says,
“There’s flies in the kitchen I can hear ’em there buzzing
And I ain’t done nothing since I woke up today.
How the hell can a person go to work in the morning
And come home in the evening and have nothing to say.”
I asked Greg what this particular verse meant to him and he said, “I think it is what the world is wrapped in today. People don’t talk anymore. Life isn’t perfect like Instagram pictures portray. I think many people live the reality of coming home to silence, and if not silence, then conversation that means nothing.”
Head over to Reverbnation to add Greg Shaddix to your music library.
You can catch Greg Shaddix playing his music live at several places around town. My favorite venue to see him perform is on the patio at MadLife Stage and Studios in Woodstock, Georgia each Friday night from 8-11pm rain or shine. The weather is warm and the beer is cold. Come join me and have a drink or two and hear some true and “mostly true” stories from one of the best local troubadours around. If you are lucky, Greg might even tell you the story of how he one time acquired an “instant mullet” if you ask him.