The Nash Next Challenge is down to its 10 finalists, and in the lead-up to the announcement of the champion on Oct. 25, NCD will be profiling each of the 10 finalists.
Today, we are getting to know finalist Murphy’s Ford, which is a band comprised of Brandon Matthews, Ryan Tomlinson, Adam Hunt, Craig Wingate and Quinten Rice.
In July, Cumulus Media and Big Machine Label Group invited aspiring country artists and bands to participate in the Nash Next Challenge, an artist development competition where the winner will receive a recording contract with Big Machine Label Group and have an original song produced by Jay DeMarcus, which will garner national radio airplay on Cumulus Media radio stations across the U.S.
The winner of the Nash Next Challenge will be crowned on Tuesday, Oct. 25, at Mercy Lounge in Nashville by judges Kix Brooks of Brooks & Dunn, Jay DeMarcus of Rascal Flatts, Danielle Bradbery and Big Machine CEO Scott Borchetta. The event, which will also feature a performance from Trent Harmon, is open to the public from 7–10 p.m.
Members & Ages: Brandon Matthews, 28; Ryan Tomlinson, 28; Adam Hunt, 32; Craig Wingate, 36; Quinten Rice, 35
Home City Market: Columbia/Jefferson City, Mo.
Who are your musical influences?
We’re all big music fans and grew up with pretty eclectic tastes, including Stevie Ray Vaughan, Lynyrd Skynyrd, George Strait, Blackberry Smoke, Eric Church, Prince and B.B. King. It really doesn’t matter what genre. If it’s real music—hopefully with some roots music influence—we probably dig it and have been influenced by it.
What three words describe your band?
Laid, back, dudes.
What would you say is unique about your sound?
Our sound is unique because our musical tastes and backgrounds differ so much. We try to let our influences show in our writing, so sometimes we’ll write something with a bluegrass feel or a blues or rock feel, but we still try to write the song to fit our band and genre and appeal to as many people as possible.
What three albums would you take to a deserted island?
Lynyrd Skynyrd’s Second Helping, Stevie Ray Vaughan’s Live at Carnegie Hall and Drive by Truckers’ Decoration Day.
What’s a song you wish you had written?
“Freebird.” Not only is it an awesome tune lyrically and musically and it has that killer guitar jam at the end, but damn near every bar gig we’ve ever played, there’s always someone in the back of the room yelling “Freebird” at the top of their lungs. That has to be a pretty good feeling.
What’s the last song you heard that blew you away?
Chris Stapleton’s “Fire Away” really amazed us the first time we heard it. Damn near everything Stapleton does is awesome.
Who are the King and Queen of country music?
Gotta go with George Strait and Dolly Parton.
What’s your go-to karaoke song?
“Cowboys Like Us,” speaking of King George Strait.
What’s the first thing you do after a show?
Typically we try to find a frosty beverage.
What’s been your most exciting or unusual fan encounter?
Encountering a fan of your own music is always exciting—just to get that little extra encouragement or to know you’re making an impact or a difference or that someone is enjoying what your doing is just an awesome feeling.
What’s your favorite song to cover?
We covered “Tuesday’s Gone” once, and we tore it up! But for whatever reason, we haven’t played it since that show.
What’s the most embarrassing thing you’ve done onstage?
There are way too many things to list. We’ve slipped and fallen pretty hard in front of way too many people a couple times, unplugged guitars on accident a few times, had insanely out of tune guitars a few times, forgotten lyrics. You name it. It’s just part of live music. It ain’t gonna be perfect, and embarrassing things are bound to happen you. You just gotta roll with the punches.