Former resident’s music career taking off, featured on magazine

Published 12:01 am Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Ever heard the term, “Don’t quit your day job?” Former Andalusia resident, and current Walton County, Fla., deputy sheriff, Artie Rodriguez has – but only because his “night job” as a country artist is taking off.

Artie Rodriguez was recently on the cover of “Country Music People.”

Artie Rodriguez was recently on the cover of “Country Music People.”

Rodriguez will be back in Covington County this weekend, trading in his pistol for a guitar, as he performs at the annual Lew Childre Steel Guitar Concert in Opp, but he will gain even more exposure in May when he graces the cover of Country Music People, UK magazine.

Rodriguez, who moved to Opp to join the band, “Young Country” in 1992, said he has been juggling his “day jobs” and his musical career for years.

“After I moved to Opp, I moved right over to Andalusia and lived there between 1992 and 1995,” Rodriguez said. “I was a CAN (certified nursing assistant) at Andalusia Manor. But I played all the little clubs that were around back then.”

Following his stint as the singer for “Young Country,” Rodriguez said he found his way back to his hometown of Crestview, Fla., and became a sheriff’s deputy, but never gave up on his dream of playing traditional country music.

“I’ve been working with the sheriff’s department for 14 years,” he said. “But it was about two years after high school that I picked up a guitar and started to learn music. About a year after I started (with the sheriff’s department) I took some time off. I toured with Clay Walker and Ty Herndon on different tours and had the opportunity to open for those guys.”

In 2011, Rodriguez released his first solo album, “She Loves George Jones,” as an independent artist. But he said it has been the 2014 release of his second studio offering, “I’ll Give You Something to Drink About,” that has propelled his career into the international market.

“It’s making some noise overseas,” he said. “The album review came out in April and the cover will come out in May.”

Duncan Warwick, editor of CMP, UK, said it was the quality of Rodriguez’s music that initially caught his attention.

“There were a number of factors that influenced my decision to put Artie on the front cover,” Warwick said. “Firstly, he has released what I consider to be one of the best country albums I have heard in a while. Secondly, I personally admire that Artie stays true to traditional country music, and continues to make records in that style, where fiddle and steel are considered an important part of the sound. That is also something a lot of fans in the UK respect. Artie has built up what seems to a reasonable following over here, with specialist import retailers doing well with his CDs, and a healthy amount of chatter on social media sites.”

Rodriguez also attributed much of his success to the desire for traditional country music from fans overseas.

“The thing is, I’m keeping country music country,” he said. “A lot of the fans overseas can turn on the radio and hear country music that sounds just like the rock and roll or pop music. They really like traditional country music over there.”

And that is right down the alley for an artist who says country music just doesn’t sound like country music to him without a steel guitar and a fiddle.

With his album already a success in Europe, Rodriguez said he is doesn’t know exactly what the future will hold for the man dubbed by CMP, UK as “The Singing Lawman.”

“I’m looking at a possible tour of the UK, and playing as many of the traditional country venues that we have around here,” he said. “But I’ll be in Opp next weekend playing between noon and 1 p.m. People can stop by and get an autographed CD.”

Rodriguez said those curious about his music can find him on both Facebook and Youtube. Those who would like to download his music, he said, may do so on iTunes or at