Photo by Katie Kessel
Come on in as 11 Questions opens its door to musicians who spend so much time here in Nashville that they feel like they live here. Our first entry is the uber-talented songwriter Scott Sean White who splits his time between here and the great state of Texas. In addition to penning great songs, Scott is a solid performing artist in his own right and also gives us a quite lively “eleven” to enjoy.
After garnering local attention for his writing, White has now just released “Call it Even,” his debut LP. Following on the footsteps of many classic singer-songwriter records, it smacks you right in the face with an opening track that commands you to listen. Listen to the heartfelt truth that White boldly lays on the line in the title track right here.
Man, I am so glad to have discovered this record and thank Scott for joining the 11 Questions family. He’s playing some upcoming dates in Texas and hopefully we will see him here soon in the other great state!
Where are you from originally, when did you move to Nashville and why?
All Texas! Born in Waco, grew up mostly in Kerrville, then lived in Dallas or the immediate suburbs from age 16 or so up until about five years ago when we moved out to Poetry, TX. Yes, I’m a songwriter, and I live in a town called Poetry. I heard Ray Wylie Hubbard lived out here for a little bit, too. As for moving to Nashville, well, I haven’t actually done that. I guess you could say I live there half the time because I am in town two weeks each month to write, perform, and record. I started the back-n-forth trips in January 2005. I have friends who let me crash at their place and I just run, run, run from about 6:30 or 7:00am every day until 10, 11 or 12 at night. I came to Nashville to learn how to write great songs. I’m still working on that and always will be. I also live there half the time simply because I love it. I love the songwriting community and the friendships. It’s an amazing place despite all the changes and flaws.
What are the first and the last records you bought, and where did you buy them? Were they CD, vinyl or digital?
First record? Easy! Joan Jett and the Blackhearts 45 rpm single of “I Love Rock ‘n’ Roll.” I can’t remember the name of the store, but it was some mom and pop record store in Kerrville when I was growing up. I’m pretty sure I still have it in a box out in the shed here in Poetry. As for the last record, it was my friend Kristen Kelly’s EP – Something Worth Saying Pt. 1, and I downloaded it just yesterday as it went all the way up to #10 on the iTunes US Country Albums chart. Super cool lady and songs, and a friend of mine. Gotta support your peeps!
First and last live concerts that you’ve seen?
Oh man, that hurts. I miss real live concerts. Dadgummit. But, first concert ever? It was the Texxas Jam at the Cotton Bowl in 1982 with Journey, Santana, Sammy Hagar, Joan Jett, and Point Blank. It was all day, a hundred and something degrees while the sun was up, and 80,000-plus fans. That was the day I fell in love with rock ‘n’ roll for a good long while. Sammy Hagar was a madman. Just all over the stage and hanging upside down from the lighting truss 40 feet over the stage. It was crazy. My brother Daniel took me to that concert. Good stuff. The jersey I got at that concert was my most prized possession for a couple years. I even cried one time I thought I had lost it. Bless my heart.
Last concert? Cody Johnson and friends in Nacogdoches, TX, on Saturday, February 8, 2020. My good friend Jesse Raub, Jr, was one of the opening acts, so I got there early and hung out most of the day with Jesse and Cody and everybody. Jesse and I worked on a song we had started at one of their shows in Tulsa a couple months earlier, and then Cody grabbed my guitar in the green room and played a song that he and I and Jesse wrote. He had made a few tweaks on it and said, “Hey, check this out.” Man, that guy is one singing fool. I also found out that night that the Nacogdoches rodeo arena was the first place Cody competed in the rodeo. Or was it the last place? (I think it was the first.) Also, pretty sure that it’s where they shot the video for “Dear Rodeo” with Reba. Pretty cool!
Whose star should be added to the Music City Walk of Fame?
Whew! There’s a lot of names I could put here. But I’m gonna go with the pre-eminent female songwriter in my mind who belongs in every Hall of Fame and Walk of Fame and any Thing of Fame that exists. That’s Hillary Lindsey. I don’t know her personally, but females are grossly under-represented in this town’s honors and history. Put her in everything. And then catch up and flood the places with the great women artists-writers of this town. OK, I’m off my soapbox. But seriously.
Where do you go in Nashville for coffee and pizza?
Dang it! I’m not a coffee guy. I’m definitely a caffeine guy, but I’m one of those weird folks who doesn’t like coffee. Dr Pepper? Yes, yes, and yes. And pizza, I love some pizza, but I hardly ever eat it in Nashville for some reason. I have no idea why and need to fix that. My go to places to eat in Nashville are The Local, Martin’s Bar-B-Que (for the unbelievable catfish tacos, oh my goodness), and wait for it, Virginia’s Market. I grab a chicken salad sandwich and some Lay’s potato chips for lunch most days I’m in town. I’m pretty basic on the food side.
What’s your favorite record to ever come out of Nashville?
Oh man! What a question. I love it and hate it. But OK, I’m gonna give ya two because they were the first things to pop in my head. Well, wait, I’m gonna give ya three. And not in any order.
- Maybe best country album ever in my opinion, If That Ain’t County by Anthony Smith. Just wow. The songs, his voice, the production, the chord changes. Crazy great.
- Maybe my favorite songwriter record ever, Killin’ Uncle Buzzy by Travis Meadows. The craft is off the charts and the raw honesty is even further off the charts. Growing up in a childhood full of alcoholics and addicts, it was an extremely emotional first listen because I had seen and lived all of it from the other side. Then the art itself and the songs. I still study it.
- This album has to be mentioned here for me because it changed the way I write songs. Tony Lane’s self-titled album. It was like a college class in songwriting for me. As a matter of fact, I started the title track to my record Call it Even literally days after listening to Tony’s record for ten hours straight all the way back from Nashville the first night I owned it.
Where’s the best place to eat late night after a show?
I’m old school man. Waffle House all day and twice on Sunday. They always call you “honey” or “baby” and the food always puts me straight to sleep!
The Bluebird calls and asks you to host an “In the Round.” Pick three local songwriters to join you.
OK, let’s do two rounds! One round is just my badass friends that I write with all the time and they’re my tribe. That would be Helene Cronin, Terri Jo Box, Barrett Baber, and I’d ask for an exception to have a fourth and get Adam Wheeler in there. Most of my favorite songs that my name has ever been on are with these folks. Second round would be the “pie-in-the-sky dream” round, right? Tony Lane, Tom Douglas, and Travis Meadows. Boom. Someday.
What are your favorite music venues to play in town?
Bluebird Café, hands down. Magical place that, for me, has been a church and a college and a therapist office all rolled into one. The vibe. The history. Heck, just my own memories there watching shows and playing shows. Douglas Corner was always my close second, although I didn’t play there very often. And of course, our Music Row Freakshow home base, The Local.
Name a musician who you’d like to see move here.
Wow that’s a tough question because this town ain’t for everybody as you know. Especially these days. And because I’ve been a part of this “machine” for a good while now, I know how it chews people up and spits them out. It ain’t always pretty. Keep in mind now, I love this town. I mean I LOVE IT! But just being real here, I’m not sure that I would tell anyone they should move here. It would have to be a rare person in a rare circumstance. So, let me borrow something that Barbara Cloyd told me years and years ago. She said that when people asked her if they should move here, she would say something along the lines of this:
“Well it depends on what you’re moving here for. If you’re moving here for the prize, the record deal, the number one song(s), the fame, and all that, then you should probably stay at home because there’s no guarantee any of that is going to happen. It’s like winning the lotto. But, if you’re moving here for the life, the songs, the songwriting, the songwriter community, and the life of being a songwriter, then yes, move.”
I always thought that was pretty on point. I would add to it this, if someone loves writing songs and/or singing them, way beyond all reason, and they want to get better at it, move here. Or at least live here half the time.
Finally, what’s in your musical future?
Definitely a lot more of writing songs. I do love it beyond all reason. It’s not something I really chose to do, it’s something I have to do. And apparently, Lord willing, making records of my own beyond this first one. I have some things I want to say, some things I want to put out into the world. Some good energy, some faith and hope. I don’t mean to get all cheesy, but really. One of my favorite things I’ve ever heard in this town was while I was working on a song years ago at Curb one day with Nicole Witt. Doug Johnson stuck his head in the door to say a couple things to Nicole, and right before he closed the door, he said, “Remember, change the world.” It sounds a little like a Hallmark card I know, but yeah. Let’s go!