JAMZ TONIGHT: Nashville artist, Opp native kicks off series

Published 1:58 am Thursday, July 6, 2017

Martin McDaniel said he is looking forward to playing for friends he’s known his whole life at tonight’s July Jamz.

The Opp native has been working in and from Nashville for the past 10 years, and is preparing to film his first music video in California later this month. The video will be released along with a single, likely at the end of the summer.

“We just tracked the new record two weeks ago,” McDaniel said, adding that there is still studio touch-up work to be done. The group will fly on July 26 to California, where they have several gigs and also shoot the video. Locals will definitely have an opportunity to hear the song tonight, he said.

“We have two possible singles,” he said. “The decision isn’t final, but I’m pretty sure it’s going to be a song called, ‘About last night.’ I’ll know for sure in the next day or so.”

McDaniel’s band includes his youngest brother, Wright, who is a drummer.

“He moved to Nashville four years ago,” McDaniel said. “I picked him up from his high school graduation (in McKenzie), and he’s been with me ever since.”

McDaniel said he and his brother are fortunate that their parents, Liz Reid and Tim McDaniel, have been supportive of their work.

“My mom never said, ‘Get a real job,’ ” he said. “And my dad has been supportive, too.”

Opp native Drew Hassell plays bass.

“We’ve been friends since I was 3,” McDaniel said. “Technically, I’ve known him longer than I’ve known my youngest brother.”

McDaniel and Hassell had played music together before. McDaniel had been in Nashville about a year when Hassell came through town on a Greyhound bus.

“I talked him into staying,” McDaniel recalled. “We’ve been playing together on and off since then.”

Others sit in with them, but the three local natives are the band’s core group.

In the 10 years he’s been in Nashville, he’s learned that the business is more difficult than it looks from the outside.

“There’s a lot that goes into it,” he said. “It’s not just the playing. There’s a lot of meetings, a lot of phone calls and a lot less sleep.”

But he keeps a tight schedule, and is up at 5:45 daily to get his workouts in, part of a dedication to fitness he’s adopted in the past two years.

“I started on this to eliminate one of the no’s,” he said. “I’m not going to let anything slow me down from what I came here to do.”

It’s important for health, he said.

“But also, you need to be in some form of shape, and round is not really the shape they’re looking for. They can’t say ‘no’ for that reason any more.”

McDaniel did some research, and committed to his own healthy regimen. He tracks macros and keeps up with caloric intake.

“It was definitely a huge diet change,” he said. “I’ve eaten a lot of grilled chicken and lean protein. A lot of people ask me how I got a six pack. You can crunch yourself to death, but 80 percent of the battle is diet and 20 percent is working out.”

In addition to his morning workouts – a two to three mile run followed by time in the gym, McDaniel keeps writing appointments several days each week.

He explained that while much of music writing comes from an inspiration, completing that process often involves bouncing ideas.

“Usually the ideas are already there,” he said. “But the process usually seems to be better when you have somebody there to bounce ideas off of.

“The inspiration comes at all kinds of times,” he said. “I’m constantly writing stuff down. It might be something I’ve heard, randomly thought of, or life situations in general. You get with other people to really try and make the best of it.”

The latter part of the weeks and weekends usually are spent travelling. Friday morning, the group will fly to Chicago where they will play Friday night. They also have another gig on Saturday at a private event in Chicago’s Tinley Park. But for tonight, it will be good to be in home territory.

“It’s great to get to see everybody and catch up, he said. “I like to play some new stuff for people I’ve grown up with and known the longest. I am looking forward to being there.”

July Jamz begins at 6 p.m. on the lawn of Springdale, and Today’s Yesterday Band will open the show. There will be a foam machine for kids, and some concessions are available. The event will conclude at about 9 p.m. with fireworks.