2019 – Holy shit, its July.
Earlier in February I had told my mentor that this year was going to be one of personal growth, potential career change and a possible move to Music City.
Personally, I have always found value in being absurdly transparent with every aspect of my life and this conversation was one that I prepared for with some coaching from my father. Even five months later… I still think it was a bit crazy to tell my leadership at my IRL career that I was contemplating this big of a change.
To which that exact discussion guided me through the most tragic and triumphant first six months of 2019.
I had a lot of hope for this year with my premeditated ambition, transparent discussions and alignment for a massive change… but life does not always work the way you want it to.
My predication did not include the unforeseen death of my favorite human, my father.
As friends and family know, my father battled with multiple illnesses for a very long time. While I was preparing for a move across the country I took it upon myself to spend most weekends back in my hometown with my parents. I feel incredibly fortunate that it was a priority in that I know I spent every last moment with my Dad that I could.
He was always inherently supportive of my dreams and in the last ER visits he told me “Do not let my health deter you from chasing this future you want to build for yourself. Do not let your emotions get the best of you and assume that you cannot take care of your family from afar. I believe in you.”
My ambition combined with his health were the topics of our last conversation in person.
Long story short, he loved and supported me my entire 29 years of life.
As the world would align with “musical” signs, my first show after his passing was Whiskey Myers with Jobe Fortner at Ace of Spades in Sacramento, California.
I was excited and eager to see Jobe with a group of friends because earlier in the year he had me awestruck in Nashville at the Raised Rowdy Whiskey Jam takeover.
So, I made sure to let my babes know that we had to go to one of the back to back shows.
First night we bought tickets and this moment happened.
Fortunately, Taylor Sutter and I were able to meet up with Jobe and his manager the next day to conduct an interview
As most of our readers know, the Blue Bandana Country team attempts to set up these kinds of chats with various fun and deep diving questions.
Over the past year and half, we have had the opportunity to chat with many females in the music industry for “‘Back Pocket Talk”. However, with our expanding opportunities, we finally felt it was time to introduce our following to the first “Bandana Bull Session” where we interview male artists. Jobe provided such a moving on-stage experience that it only felt right to ensure he was our first one.
As we sat down with Jobe we were quick to realize he was one hell of an artist with a deep connection to his songs and family.
With his humble/southern personality and eye widening vocal range, Blue Bandana County has no doubt that he will rise to country music stardom.
When anyone on the West Coast asks me who they should be listening to, Jobe has been a front runner on our list this entire year.
So please take the time to read our interview & download our Apple Music playlist inspired by the session.
Taylor Sutter: We would like to break the ice with our daily Bandana Babe argument…Bud Light or Coors Light?
Jobe Fortner: Miller Lite! Is that allowed!?
Taylor Sutter: Of course it is. Meg and I are always battling on which is better! Which you basically did not help with the debate… but perhaps you did.
Anyway, who are some artists that are getting radio airplay that have caught your interest?
Jobe Fortner: Honestly, I don’t listen to the radio. The only radio station I listen to is 650 AM WSM. They play a lot of Cody Johnson, Riley Green… current and then also a lot of old stuff… the early 2000s. It’s the Opry station in Nashville and that is pretty much all I listen to radio wise.
When I am visiting home in Georgia, my song Stereotype plays on 92.3 which is the local station in Monroe. They also play nothing but old country so that is the station I listen to when I am home.
Megan Hinde: Lynyrd Skynyrd – You covered Simple Man last night, why did you select that specific song?
Jobe Fortner: Simple Man – you know it was song that I grew up on.
My grandmother “nanny” she loves Lynyrd Skynyrd. So I grew up listening to them with her… as well as The Eagles. Her brother passed away and that was a song that always really special to them. So I have always wanted to cover it.
Then Bradley Jordan from Peachtree Entertainment in Georgia said there is something special about singing Simple Man to an audience. It brings a different energy to the room. But it is also a special song for me because it reminds me of my mom.
TS: Who are three songwriters in Nashville that you enjoy writing with?
Jobe Fortner: Definitely, Ryan Nelson. His songs speak for his personality.
Will Hoge. I love writing with Will. He is someone that I started writing with this year. I wrote That’s My Amen with him and a few other songs.
Rob Snyder. Which is one of the writers on She Got the Best of Me (Luke Combs) and I have probably been writing with him for six or seven months.
So that has been my recent crew and they are behind a lot of the new recent music.
MH: Movie Question: Happy Gilmore… We LOVE to ask artists to paint a picture of their Happy Place.
Jobe Fortner: On stage with a huge crowd. That’s my spot. We traveled for two straight days, we will be driving for basically a week… all for forty-five minutes a night to do one thing that we love.
That is literally my happy place. I could not be anywhere else… doing anything else.
TS: Tell us the story behind your Buckin Buckarette custom leather guitar strap.
Jobe Fortner: I have two! My first strap is my “Jobe” one – which is the one I use on my electric guitar and Dana Elliot (Custom Leather Artist) wanted to do a strap that was inspired by the state of Georgia.
Basically, on it is the Georgia flag that I was born under, which was the flag that lasted from the 1950s to 2001. Then there is also cotton flowers, Cherokee flowers (my family is Cherokee Indian) and on the back of it is my Great Grandmother “Hazel” with a Cherokee Indian dream catcher. So it has an old face within a dream catcher with feathers. This first leather strap has a lot of detail and she does this all by hand.
MH: Does Dana come up with the ideas on her own?
Jobe Fortner: For the first strap, I sent her some ideas of what I was thinking. Certain things in certain areas like in the front and the back then she runs with it.
But I recently got a new strap, which is the most incredible piece I have ever received from her! It is inspired by the Book of Jobe and the song That’s My Amen. It has a quote on it that my mom always used to tell me, so its really special.
So I had told her about the quote, something about the Book of Jobe and she did it all on her own. She crushed it.
Her work is incredible and I really hope she can get to Nashville someday.
My goal is to blow her up as much as possible and get her to be the #1 custom leather designer in our industry. Her work is art and has her own specific style to it.
MH: I can see it now… someday in a museum it will be all of the artist guitar straps she has created!
JF: No but really! She literally has guitar straps on pretty much every major country artists. We have seen them at all the main award shows… Grammys, CMA Awards, everything!
MH: I was able to see you for the first time at the Raised Rowdy Take Over at Whiskey Jam. So I have to ask… what has been one of your favorite memories at that Monday/Thursday weekly event at Winner’s in Nashville?
Jobe Fortner: That night. That was the most incredible Whiskey Jam.
We got on stage and the energy in the room was just incredible. Nick (Raised Rowdy Founder) crushed it and had a lot of RR crew. Then my band and I was able to play an encore of “Georgia” .
I mean an encore at Whiskey Jam…
I felt bad because it’s a writers round so your supposed to continue the show by rotation of people but the crowd wanted it. That rarely happens there.
MH: Hey that’s where I was sold on your voice and music!!! The group I was with all experienced that contagious energy and I could not wait to tell all of the babes back in California about what I just witnessed.
> Clip below of Georgia @ the Raised Rowdy Take Over at Whiskey Jam <<
TS: Tell us the story behind the song “That’s My Amen.”
Jobe Fortner: So last year (2018) when I was on a West Coast tour with Whiskey Myers, my mom was getting sick. She fell and broke her arm and went into the hospital.
She had surgery and during the procedure it triggered a heart attack.
She was 43 at the time and my band was in the middle of road trip headed to California. So I was on the phone with my family when they told me she was going to have heart surgery. At that point we were on the road between Vegas and California… middle of the desert. It was during those miles that I had my last phone conversation with my mom. It was like she knew it could be and I knew it could be in that moment.
It was really tough realizing that it could be the last phone conversation especially because it was short but it was then that she told me the lyrics “Keep on Keepin on”.
I told Rob Snyder and Will Hoge about it.
As songwriters we knew we had to work through that emotion and basically the song wrote itself.
It was the moment that I felt like I had said everything that I wanted to in a song. I could not say anymore in those lyrics.
I had moved to Nashville and my mom wanted me to do that. She was there with us when we did it. That song is inspired by my mom and what I went through losing her. She wanted me to play music and she was my biggest fan period.
I just couldn’t do anything else, I had to write it.
MH: It is really special to have the song with that kind of storyline. Definitely a touching sentiment. Thank you for sharing.
TS: We are a female run blog and ALWAYS ask about empowering/supportive females in every interview. With that said who is your biggest inspiration in the industry and personal life?
Jobe Fortner: Two women?
Industry – Hannah Dasher.
She did a lot for me when I first moved to town and I learned a lot from her. Majority of what I learned was when we went out on the road together… a lot about confidence and owning what you do.
She was a girl from Georgia and was not doing what people from Georgia typically do. At the time of my move I felt like I was surrounded by people doing the typical things… and she was always claiming she was the black sheep of our home state.
I love that she is doing her own thing and doing it exactly the way she wants to do it.
I respect that. We even wrote a song together with Erik Dylan – Bat Out of Birmingham.
Personal Life – Definitely my mother.
You can never prepare for the profound emotions that losing a parent will give you. This kind of tragedy will touch us all at some point in our lives and trust knowing that you are not alone… and now can blast a song like “Thats My Amen” to ease some pain.
It only felt right that this interview was Blue Bandana Country’s first Bandana Bull Session and I appreciate the patience of our following while I personally had gone through this massive life transition in 2019.
Jobe, thank you for taking the time to meet with us, during what was likely my most exhausting month of my life. I will forever be grateful for hearing “Simple Man” live and knowing the back end story of “That’s My Amen”.
BBC Followers, thank you for reading and now go indulge in our playlist based upon our first Bandana Bull Session with Jobe Fortner.
Peace, Love & NASHVILLE Kisses