Final Jeopardy Category: Country Stars Who Were Born in Nashville
The Clue: Name a country music star who was born in Nashville. We’ll even cue up the Final Jeopardy music for you.
Chances are, you probably lost all of your money, unless you said: “Who is Kitty Wells,” who is the only one I can think of. Sure, there’s a long list of country stars who were born in Tennessee, including Dolly Parton (Sevierville), Kenny Chesney (Knoxville), Chris Young (Murfreesboro) and Kelsea Ballerini (Mascot), but Music City is more of a mecca that a genesis.
Enter 21-year-old Tucker Beathard, a homegrown Nashville commodity whose debut single, “Rock On,” is currently No. 4 on Billboard‘s Country Airplay chart as his debut EP, Fight Like Hell, drops today (Oct. 7). By the way, Tucker’s last name is pronounced Beth-ärd, not Bēt-härd, but we’ll get to that in a minute.
Tucker’s Nashville origin is rooted in country music. He is the son of well-known Nashville songwriter Casey Beathard, who has penned such Top 10 hits as Kenny Chesney’s “The Boys of Fall,” Darius Rucker’s “Come Back Song” and Eric Church’s “The Outsiders.”
As dad worked writers rounds around town, young Tucker began carving his own musical path, picking up drumsticks and banging the skins before moving to guitar. Tucker started penning songs in his early teens, and it turns out that the Beathard writing chops run in the family. Not only did Tucker co-pen all six songs on Fight Like Hell but he also plays both lead guitar and drums on the entire project.
Literally, Tucker can “Rock On” to the beat of his own drum.
Tucker may not be the answer to the aforementioned Final Jeopardy question yet, but when you couple his lively stage presence with his lyrical depth and solid delivery, he’s well on his way with Fight Like Hell.
Tucker sat down with Nash Country Daily to talk about his new EP, his oft-mispronounced last name, growing up in Music City and more.
NCD: I was at one of your shows about a month ago in Nashville. You mentioned that you’re kind of an introvert. Is it hard for you to talk about yourself?
Tucker: If the questions are asked, I can explain. If someone’s like, “Tell me about yourself,” it’s like I don’t really know what you want. I just, I don’t know.
Tucker, tell me about yourself. No, I’m just kidding. I’ve got some questions for you.
Your older brother, CJ, is 22. He plays quarterback for the University of Iowa. Growing up, did you guys get into any playground fights about your last name?
No, not really. It’s happening more now. Nowadays more people are mispronouncing it or give you crap for it. But every sports team we played on, if they called our name on the loudspeaker, majority of them would get it wrong.
You’re closing in on 200 live shows this year. When you get back home to Nashville, what do you like to do to relax?
Yeah, I was born and raised here and I just got my own place with four other buddies. We just kind of decompress, or at least I do. Personally, I just kind of like to lock myself away in my room and just decompress. But I’ll go out and hang at Red Door or Winners and Losers.
Your dad, Casey Beathard, has penned No. 1 songs for everybody from Kenny Chesney to Darius Rucker to Tracy Lawrence. At what point did you decide that you wanted to make music your livelihood?
I’ve done music my whole life, played in bands and played the drums, mainly. I think when I started playing guitar and writing songs—just to let out personal feelings on my own—I just never really thought of it as like, “This is what I want to do.” It just kind of felt so good and so right to the point where I couldn’t do anything else. I didn’t want to do anything else, you know what I mean? You get bitten by a music bug, they say. Good luck trying to get out of that.
Growing up, were you exposed to a lot of different kinds of music?
Yeah. I remember riding around in the car with my dad and a song would be playing. He’d be like, “That’s Pink Floyd” or “That’s Joe Walsh.” I was like, “Wow, that’s really cool. I want to be able to know every person on this station.” I’m just a fan of music and songs.
That translates in your live show. You can hear a lot of different aspects from country to rock.
Yeah, no doubt. It’s fun to get up there and rock the guitar.
Do you ever hop back there on the drums?
Every now and then. I used to do it more. I still am trying to incorporate it again. Yeah, I like to rock out on drums sometimes.
Your debut single, “Rock On,” which you co-wrote with your dad, is Top 5 and still climbing. You might get to that No. 1 spot. If it does, are you going to be able to tell your dad, “Hey, this songwriting thing ain’t so hard.”
Nah [laughing], we like to mess around sometimes and rip each other. When it comes down to it, we both recognize that it’s a pretty special thing to have my first debut single and be able to share this experience with the one that you wrote with—your dad—which is pretty cool.
You co-wrote every song on the EP. How important was it for you to write those songs and have every one of them be a cut of yours?
Really, the whole reason I got into songwriting was just because it was my therapy and it felt good to me. Singing a song that you didn’t write? I don’t know what emotion this person felt when he wrote it. How am I supposed to do that, too? It doesn’t feel right to me. Songwriting is not just a job for me. It’s my identity and my only way to speak.
Just to have a better understanding of who I am as an artist. It’s kind of tough to be represented by one song no matter who you are. Being able to hear these different songs should give fans a better picture of who I am as an artist.
When you’re up onstage singing your songs, what goes through your head?
You feel that emotion that you had when you wrote it. When you’re playing a certain song, you know where it came from within. It kind of just triggers that emotion again. You can’t help it, but you express that again when you play it.
You recently wrapped the Somewhere on a Beach Tour with Dierks Bentley. You’re kicking off your own headlining tour, Rock On College Tour, on October 13 with Aubrie Sellers. What did you learn from Dierks on his tour that you’re going to bring with you on yours?
Just being around that professionalism and how he treats his crew and everything. When you surround yourself with great people, naturally that rubs off on you. Not only him, but Randy Houser was out there and Cam was out there. I just got to soak up and just see how everything at that level was. It was a lot of fun. They’re great, great guys. Cam’s the nicest and coolest girl you’ll meet. Randy and Dierks are the nicest guys you’ll meet. I’m not just saying that. That’s the truth.
main photo by Ryan Silver