John Schneider has returned to the musical world in the past year with a vengeance. The entertainer – who placed 11 records in the Billboard Top Ten in the 1980s – released the most critically-acclaimed album of his career in 2017, Ruffled Skirts, and has kicked off 2018 with an aggressive strategy of releasing a song a week. So far, Schneider says it’s been well-received by his fan base.
“It’s gone great,” he tells Sounds Like Nashville. “Paul Leim continues to amaze me with the type of material that he is having sent to me. He’s the consummate drummer in the world, and he also knows where all the good writers are. It all starts with the song, and if you don’t have good material, then you don’t have much of anything. You can have a bunch of people play their ass off, but if the song is weak, then the song is still weak.”
But, it’s more than just a simple download that fans can purchase – one can also buy exclusive content that takes audiences behind the scenes of the artistic process. Schneider is sharing the profits from each sale with the musicians involved on the tracks.
He admits that’s it a novel concept – one that might not have worked during his commercial heyday for MCA Nashville. “The whole business has changed, and maybe it took 30 years for me to figure it out.”
He admits that he has missed the music making process, but offers that there is a time and a place for everything – and the time wasn’t right for him. “I really didn’t have anything to say. I’ve written a lot of screenplays, and been involved in a lot of entertainment, but I really didn’t have anything to say until Ruffled Skirts. That showed me that music can be great, but it can also be timely information and perspective-altering. It can really broaden the experience of the listener. People have been doing that for years. Take Merle Haggard, and all the amazing stuff that he did with political commentary. He, Johnny Cash and Waylon Jennings always had things to say that pulled at people’s ears a little bit, and made them listen a little bit harder to ideas and thoughts that they weren’t going to have on their own.”
One of the most interesting parts of the marketing plan is how his real life has mirrored the release schedule – and he insists that wasn’t the concept. “We put ‘Wherever She Is’ out first because it was fun, a novelty song. That was our plan. About an hour after we released it, out comes this article about what a bastard I am from my soon-to-be ex-wife. You can’t make it up, and the second song was ‘Crazy Women,’ then out comes this story about how I owe child support. My youngest child is a 22-year-old fire fighter in Oxnard. This woman’s crazy. We put out a song, then an article comes out to somehow support the song,” he says with a laugh.
With that, Sounds Like Nashville is excited to bring our readers an exclusive video from John – the incredible new ballad “Outta This Town.” It’s a song that he feels that a lot of people can relate to. “Chuck Cannon wrote it with Mac Davis and Jeffrey Steele. He has wanderlust. He can’t wait for the day that he gets out of high school, and he’s going to travel the world. Then, something happens where he can’t. Then, he has a family, and he becomes this guy who is never going to get out of this town. He wonders constantly what is on the other side of the water tower, and where does the railroad tracks go. It’s about that man or that woman who wants to go, but for whatever reason, they are compelled to stay in their town. Or, maybe it’s someone who is forced to stay in a relationship or a perspective. I think it’s a wonderful song. I would love it if Bruce Springsteen heard it and thought, ‘Why didn’t I think of that?’ It’s that kind of song, very thought-provoking, like so many Chuck Cannon songs.”