The Huntsman finally ends the need of a country music album dedicated to the hunting and outdoor lifestyle.
The hunting industry, in its continual growth and expansion, holds nothing short in pure entertainment.
Entertainment in this neck of the woods, however, usually comes in the form of outdoor television, online hunting shows, and the list of emerging podcasts. But if we're honest, one place the hunting industry lacks in that overall entertainment scheme, is in music.
Okay, sure Luke Bryan has "Huntin', Fishin', and Lovin' Everyday" and we appreciate the Kevin Blake Weldon parody songs, but what about a full album surrounding the lifestyle of a hunter? Something we can crank up on the way to hunting camp, or listen to around the fire in the off season?
Lawhorn had plans to be in the agriculture business until he found his true calling, and country music has been his main drive for the last several years. We were able to link up with Lawhorn and get the scoop on The Huntsman and find where his motivation comes from.
Wide Open Spaces: So you grew up in the middle of no-where outside of Richmond, Virginia. How did you go from thinking you were going to be farming for the rest of your life to being a country music star?
JJ Lawhorn: Yeah man, so I grew up basically like any other country boy, having to make my own fun. To me, fun was chasing a coon dog through the woods or hunting deer. Just some type of extracurricular outdoor type activity that I could do after a day of bailing hay and such. I mean, we made our own fun and that usually surrounded fishing and hunting.
So is that where the inspiration for this album comes from?
Yeah I mean, I just grew up singing and writing little diddlies, basically only about the things that I knew at the time. For me, I knew farming and hunting and fishing. So as fate would have it one day, when I was grounded actually, I posted a video on YouTube and a producer out of Nashville found it and contacted me. He then came to visit me, he tagged along as we went shooting and hunting and we actually wrote a couple songs in my barn. From there, he took me back to Nashville and introduced me to some people and it just started taking off.
And that started when I was basically 16 years old and I started taking trips to Nashville. I gave it everything I had and started writing music with a lot of great writers and got a publishing deal. I then got a record deal, put out an album of my own and it did really well. But then I kind of slowed down, as it seems like everyone was just looking for what fits the formula and I wanted to just stay true to who I was. I've always wanted to make music that had a positive impact on people, but also do it my way. I had always had a particular sound and my own formula and I didn't want to lose that. So I ended up taking a step back and went back to my roots and what drives me. And that's where the idea for this album came from.
What do you want people to take from this album?
You know songwriters are often the unsung heroes of the music industry, and I was fortunate enough to have some legendary songwriters on this album. One in particular, who has written songs for Brooks and Dunn and other major artists, told me as we were writing that this album is kind of like an American Classic. That right there was worth the entire hard work of putting this album together.
I'm fortunate enough to be able to write and sing and put together this album with so many great people. As we put this album together, we wanted it to be for all generations of hunters in all walks of life. The people who are out there hunting hard, living the lifestyle, and maybe they're not getting the reward of a big buck or having a television show, but they're just out there doing it.
To them and to me, this is just a lifestyle and a way of life. This album is truly dedicated to that. What I want them to understand is that it's okay to live that lifestyle and to not be afraid to stand up for what you believe in. All too often today we're losing hunters, and supporters of the NRA and such, and things have just become political. I want this album to skip the cookie cutter albums and just play to my passion, hunting, conservation and the great outdoors.
If hunting had a warm-up mixtape, this would be it. JJ Lawhorn went on to tell me how he prides himself in being a traditional hunter and spends more time hunting than anything else he knows. We talked a good bit about what we both love about the outdoors, and it was immediately clear to me that he doesn't just sing the songs, he walks the walk. He's a real hunter who is sharing his authentic self with the world. If you strive to do that same thing, then you're going to love his music.
Much like Christmas brings out all the holiday songs, hunting season deserves to see this album year after year.
Lawhorn also explained that there really wasn't an album out there that could get you pumped up on the way to your treestand. He hopes this not only takes care of that void, but that this becomes the go to album for hunting clubs across the nation. It's an album we can put in, turn on, and enjoy from the beginning to end.