11 Questions to a Nashville Musician: Craig Gerdes

Craig GerdesHere’s something new and certainly welcome to 11 Questions: somebody who used to live in Music City. The man in question who came and left is singer-songwriter Craig Gerdes who has recently released his debut LP “Smokin, Drinkin & Gamblin.” In fact, in one of the songs, “Red Neck Sonsabithces,” Gerdes lays it out plain and simple why he felt Nashville didn’t want him here. After a lot of bad pop music began to be called country, who can argue with a line like “country music don’t play in Nashville, Tennessee”  

Well, to these ears there’s no denying that Gerdes writes, plays and sings real country music befitting of the best outlaw singers. And, if he doesn’t need to live here to make it, that’s fine with me. Let’s just hope he’ll pass through every now and then while he’s out on the road touring.

Thanks Craig for adding this new twist to 11 Questions and looking back at what it was like when you were here.


Where are you from originally, when did you move to Nashville and why?

I’m originally from Pattonsburg, IL (central part of the state), and I reside there now as well. I opened a show for a Nashville-based band back in 2011. They liked my songs and encouraged me to come to Nashville to try my hand at writing for a living. I was there from 2011-2015, and in that time, I managed to record an album, but it just wasn’t “me” so it never saw the light of day. I wanted to be more than a “songwriter in Nashville,” and most of the songs I was writing were too country for the industry, which left me feeling like I didn’t belong. So, after four years, I decided to hit the road and take my music to the people.

What are the first and the last records you bought, and where did you buy them? Were they CD, vinyl or digital?  

The first record I ever bought was probably a Beatles vinyl record from a department store. The last record I bought was Dallas Moore’s Mr. Honky Tonk at one of his recent concerts.

First and last live concerts that you’ve seen? 

First concert I remember going to was a Glen Campbell concert with my parents. I was pretty young but remember it well. The last concert was a Jamey Johnson concert in Chicago.

Whose star should be added to the Music City Walk of Fame?

Jim Vest. He’s a living Nashville legend, and I was lucky enough to witness that firsthand when working on my latest album.

Where did you go “back in the day” in Nashville for coffee and pizza? 

Well, my favorite place for breakfast / “bloodies” / coffee was always Noshville in Midtown. For straight-up great coffee I would have to say 8th & Roast. For pizza, it was always Pie in the Sky.

What’s your favorite record to ever come out of Nashville? 

Right off the top of my head I would have to say Merle Haggard’s Back to the Barrooms

Where was the best place to eat late night after a show?

I always joked that there weren’t enough places to eat late night in Nashville! Pie in the Sky used to serve till 2:00 am, so I always went there.

The Bluebird calls and asks you to host an “In the Round.” Pick three local songwriters to join you. 

Bobby Braddock, Steve Earle, and Jamey Johnson.

What are your favorite music venues to play in town? 

I didn’t really play much when I was living in Nashville since I was always stuck in writing rooms, although I just had my album release party at the Nashville Palace and I thought that place was pretty cool.

Name a musician who you’d like to see move here? 

That’s a tough one! I always thought it would be cool to see Dwight Yoakam walking the streets of Nashville despite his Bakersfield/anti-Nashville bravado.

Finally, what’s in your musical future?

With the release of my new album Smokin, Drinkin & Gamblin, extensive touring is on the horizon, and we will be going back into the studio to work on a follow-up very soon.

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