Nashville holds ‘Opp’ortunity for local man

Published 12:00 am Saturday, March 27, 2010

Looking at Martin McDaniel, he doesn’t come across as one might think a country music performer should.

There’s no flashy boots or cowboy hat. Instead it’s a batter red hat, flannel shirt and blue jeans and a guitar.

And it’s with that guitar the 23-year-old has gone from being an Opp High School graduate to a Nashville singer/songwriter. Tonight, he and another Opp native Drew Hassel and band members will open for fellow country music artist Billy Currington at the 50th annual Rattlesnake Rodeo.

Tomorrow, who knows where the future might take him.

“I’ve been playing guitar now for about seven and a half years and singing for as long as I can remember,” McDaniel said. “I can tell you that this (singing and performing) is what I have always wanted to do. I never really gave myself an opportunity to think that I couldn’t do it.”

“It” being pulling up stakes in Opp at the age of 20 and moving to Nashville to begin what he hoped would be a promising music career.

“I had played around here at basically any place that would let me,” he said. “I felt like I was doing the same thing over and over, and I thought, ‘I’m young. If I’m going to do it, I need to do it, now.’

“And I did,” he said. Since then, he has been living in Nashville fulltime. A short seven months after his arrival, he signed a publishing deal with Big Borassa Music, a company that has produced songs such as “How Country Boys Roll,” “Put a Girl in It” and “Honky Tonk Badonkadonk.”

“It’s kind of liked the stars lined up,” he said of his Tennessee arrival. “I was introduced to Brett Jones of Big Borassa Music. He’s had five or six recent No.1 hits. He heard me perform and signed me.”

In addition to song writing, McDaniel has opened for recording artists and fellow Rattlesnake Rodeo performer Luke Bryan, Collin Raye, Rhett Atkins and “a bunch more.”

“For me, music always felt right,” he said. “I’m one of the lucky ones. Things seem to be going pretty good. I just keep on, keeping on. I’ll play for anyone who stands still long enough to hear me play. And the fact that I get to come back to my hometown and do it is great.”

McDaniel’s music features both country and southern rock. He will be performing tonight beginning at 6:50 p.m. with Billy Currington taking the stage at 8 p.m.

Gates open today at 8 a.m. Local talent will perform at 9 a.m., 1 p.m. and again at 6 p.m. Opening ceremonies are set for 11:30 a.m. Snake shows begin at 2:30 p.m. followed by the greased pole climb at 4 p.m. and the buck dance contest at 5 p.m.

Tickets are $10 per person.

After the weekend, McDaniel will head back to Nashville where in the coming days he will meet with record company executives.

“I’m hoping,” he said. “This could be it, it could be a record deal.”

McDaniel is the son of Tim and Lisa McDaniel. To hear a sample of his music, visit