Sullins Goes Solo
OKLAHOMA CITY- Many long time red dirt fans, myself included, were saddened when Chad Sullins and The Last Call Coalition called it quits last year, after four albums and several years out on the road. However it’s good to see that Sullins is still pursuing his music career, just as a solo artist these days. Sullins has partnered with Smith Entertainment and together are working to put out a new album called Songs to Drink Alone to. It’s a compilation of all of Sullins’ favorite sad songs that he’s written over the years. Although they are all songs previously recorded, the album will contain new versions of the songs “Broken Wings” and “What’s Left of Me”. There are eleven songs on the album and it will hit Itunes on Friday July 29. Sullins will have physical copies available at shows as well.
“We've got some fans out there that just have the Incommunicado album and don’t have any other records. Some fans just have Wake-up Call and don't have any of the other records. So some of the songs on this new album will be new to some people and some of the older fans who have been there since the beginning will know all of these songs. But there will be new versions of old songs,” explained Sullins. “’Broken Wings’ was one of the first songs I ever wrote years and years ago. When we recorded it for Uphill Battle we had John Fulbright in the studio and I didn't want to pass up that opportunity so we did ‘Broken Wings’ with the piano. It was an old 70s electric piano. It was brought to my attention this year that there isn't a recorded acoustic version of ‘Broken Wings’ so I wanted to do one.”
Now “Broken Wings” is my personal favorite song of Sullins’, and honestly it made me nervous when he said he had a new version. It can be disappointing when a musician takes your favorite song of theirs and redoes it and you feel like the first version was much better. That has happened in my music world a time or two. However, Sullins gave me the new version to review and I have to admit that I am very pleased with how it turned out. It feels more emotional and real, less produced. It’s a heart wrenching song, and the new acoustic version does it justice.
“I also wasn't real happy with the version of “What's Left of Me’ from our album Wicked Spell. I was absent pretty much the whole day it got recorded at the studio and I just didn't want to start a fight so I just went with it but I wasn't entirely happy with the way it turned out. So I wanted to put an acoustic version of it on this record so it’s down the way I wanted,” said Sullins. “So hopefully people will dig it. I was joking around with someone that this record is going to be my ode to John Moreland because it's just all depressing tunes,” said Sullins with a laugh. “The whole thing is just fucking depressing really. I seem to be pretty good at melancholy, but they say write what you know.”
Sullins says his next move after this album just depends on how it all plays out. He’ll continue playing solo gigs and touring as much as he can, and is looking forward to a show on August 20 in Springfield Illinois where he will be opening for Radney Foster, someone he has always wanted to meet.
“It depends on how this compilation album does for when I'll get to do my next one. Wake-up Call never really got a single, it never really got pushed like it was supposed to. Everything kind of just fell out before that had a chance to really take hold. So I think what I'm going to do is release “Good Thing” off of that record as a single to a couple of radio stations in Texas and a few places in Oklahoma, maybe a couple stations in Kansas and just see how it does,” said Sullins. “If that does okay and I end up touring on that record for a couple of months I may just start recording a new record in the wintertime, maybe in November or so.”
Sullins also says when he is able to put out a new record, it will be different than anything he has put out so far.
“I’ve got plenty of new songs. I've also got a friend of mine named Zach Linley who is an amazing songwriter up in Illinois. He's got a couple of really great songs that he wrote kind of with me in mind and I think I will record those and put those on my new album,” said Sullins. “I think what I'm going to do for this next album is probably have five of my new songs on it and then five songs written by other people. That's kind of what it looks like right now, but things could change in the next couple months. This record is going to be a lot more country than the rest, more than any of the other records I’ve ever done.
That’s not the only ways that it will be different as well, Sullins plans on taking a hands on approach and doing as much of the album as he can by himself.
“I'm thinking that I’m going to try to play as many of the instruments on it as I can. I’ll obviously have to bring somebody in for steel guitar and piano and stuff like that but as far as all the rhythm stuff; the drums, bass, a little bit of the lead guitar on some songs- it’s not going to be too difficult, I could do that by myself,” said Sullins. “But we’ll see how it all goes. I haven't even come up with the name for a new record yet to be honest.”
Sullins also talked a bit about the differences from touring with a full band and being on his own now. There were many factors that went into the decision to disband, one of them being Sullins’ health. After his health scare with his heart a few years ago, it is imperative that Sullins try to remove as much stress from his life as possible.
“It's a lot less stressful to be a solo artist. Of course I miss rocking out but it's kind of nice to just be on my own schedule. I play when I want to not because I have to. I play where I want to versus where they tell me to,” explained Sullins. “I mean yeah of course I kind of miss jamming with the guys but at the same time I've always said that being in the band is like being in a marriage and being on stage is like the sex of the marriage. You can’t live a long healthy relationship just having sex all the time, you can't have a good relationship only in the bedroom it has to be good in all the other areas too. Touring with a band takes a toll, it's annoying. But eventually one of these days, depending on how this record does and the next record does, I’ll consider putting another band together. Right now I'm just going to finish out the year playing acoustic and just see what happens next year.”