Starting in small town Patoka, Illinois, Drew Baldridge moved to Nashville at age 19 and hasn’t looked back. He’s focused on his music and career as a country music artist.
This June, it will be six years since Baldridge made the move from a rural place of approximately 500 people to country music’s capital. In the last 12 months of his journey, Baldridge signed with Cold River Records, played at the Grand Ole Opry for the first time, and released his first full-fledged album.
His album, Dirt On Us, released in May 2016, incorporates many of Baldridge’s eclectic influences from Michael Jackson and James Brown to Trace Adkins and Chris Young.
The combination of dance, pop, and country music naturally blends together in what Baldridge likes to call “funktry.” He says the combination of genres translates well into his first album and you can hear the different influences in his music.
“When you make your first album, you want it to say a lot about yourself because I think when people listen to your first album, they find out who you are,” said Baldridge. “I think this album does a really great job of describing who I am.”
The album’s first two singles “Dance With Ya” and “Rebound” are a testament to the different musical influences of Baldridge. The first, “Dance With Ya,” is a upbeat, country-dance song meant to get people up and dancing at his concerts.
“If you come out and watch a show, it’s a very high energy and fun [show]. We like to have a good time and the band is dancing and spinning around on stage,” said Baldridge.
The second single, “Rebound” is a slower pop-country leaning song written by Baldridge, Emily Weisband, and Simone Simonton. Weisband is also featured on the song and appeared in the music video. The song focuses on the male narrator being the ”rebound guy” in a relationship and takes a stand saying, “I ain’t trippin’ over all the words you’re throwin’ out/I ain’t your rebound.”
The song currently has over 15 million plays on Spotify and Baldridge says between the streaming and people reaching out to him over Facebook he has created a connection with the fans.
“After writing ‘Rebound,’ I realized how many times people will listen to this song and it changes their life and [they] realize they’re worth [more] in a relationship,” said Baldridge. “As an artist, that’s what you want to do with your music. Put out something that has some substance to it that people can relate to.”
The inspiration behind the Dirt on Us album goes farther than just his musical influences. The title track is inspired by Baldridge’s best friends and the memories they had growing up in Patoka. He said Dirt on Us is also a reflection of him and his band “getting dirt and grit” on them and the experience of working on their music for the last few years.
Other cuts from the album include the gospel hymn, “It Is Well With My Soul,” which features Baldridge’s father and uncle on the track, more traditional country songs like “Tractors Don’t Roll,” and two lighthearted country-dance songs “Drama” and “Curious Girl.”
Baldridge has currently been out on tour, performing close to 200 times in the last 12 months. In January he performed a few shows with Craig Morgan, who was the first country concert Baldridge ever attended. Baldridge says touring with Morgan has been a blast.
“I’ve been really lucky that the people I looked up to have been really good people,” said Baldridge. “And he’s [Morgan] one of these guys. I’ve sang ‘Almost Home’ and ‘That’s What I Love About Sunday’ tons of times in church and in bars and things like that and here I am sharing a stage with him for a couple nights,” said Baldridge.
Baldridge continues to play shows in support of Dirt On Us. He also uses Facebook Live chats to talk with his fans and plays acoustic version of songs on the record or new songs he writes while on the bus.
“I love to see the reaction of fans,” said Baldridge. “I love communicating to my fans. I’m a real believer that my fans are a part of my story and that they allow me to do what I do.”
Listen to the full interview with Baldridge Friday, Feb. 10 at 11 a.m. on WMCO 90.7 and online. You can listen to WMCO Program Director Marty Kurtz talk with him about all of his music influences, his album, and what it’s like out on the road with Craig Morgan. The interview will reair Feb. 14 and Feb. 17, again at 11 a.m.
WMCO has Baldridge’s Dirt on Us in current rotation.
Listen to the full interview with Drew by clicking the SoundCloud player below.