Reuben Brock, based in Nashville, but originally from the Western USA, predominantly Colorado, Texas, and Iowa, is an American country/alt country/Americana recording artist and songwriter. Brock has toured throughout the US and Canada as the keyboard player for a number of country artists, as well as releasing solo music. Brock’s third and latest album, ‘DAMAGE’, is set for release this Autumn, while his new single, ‘Black Horse Through Hell’, is out now. Such an interesting song title naturally piqued our interest, so we’ve sat down and come up with a few questions for Reuben Brock to chew over, and we certainly hope you appreciate his answers us much as we do!
Hi Reuben, thank you so much for speaking to us!
We’ve just listened to your new single, ‘Black Horse Through Hell’, and we’ve been blown away! What’s the Reuben Brock story, and how did you get into music in the first place?
Thank you – I’m so glad you’re enjoying it!
I was really fortunate – music was always there in my life, and I guess I kind of come from a family of doers. If we love something, if it speaks to us, we just have to put our own hand to it and see what we can add. As for the technical, learning how to work things that make music, I began piano lessons at about 5 years old, and that was my foundation for teaching myself guitar at age 14. I’ve been writing and playing for most of my life, and have also had the pleasure of working with a number of other musicians and bands over the years. Every opportunity brings another perspective and makes it all just that much richer.
As for the recording and mixing parts, capturing, analysing, and managing sound obviously fosters a very intense relationship with what I’m hearing. It takes patience to slog through that level of detail, and I end up inhabiting the work on a pretty all-eclipsing level.
Your musical style is officially country, but there’s certainly some pop and rock elements to it. Do you feel there’s any need to strictly define musical genres these days, or perhaps we should allow artists to go with whatever direction they want?
Oh, just go with it…I see the role of familiar broad category headers as a good place to start, but I’m very glad this is an era in which an artist can find a home in multiple columns! I heard someone the other day say that everyone is their own genre these days. I think that’s a great thing, because we’re all made up of so many different parts, and every turn of the kaleidoscope brings something entirely new. My world has always included a wide variety of music. Country music, specifically, was a huge portion of my musical experience early on, and I remain true to that as my centre, but I’m definitely my own weird assemblage of pieces. I hope people enjoy the variety of musical perspectives in my music.
How have you been affected by the Covid-19 pandemic? Have you found it to be a help or a hindrance in terms of making music? What lessons have you learned during this time of enforced isolation that you’ll take with you into your post pandemic life?
The live performance and touring side of the music industry suffered enormously, of course, which has hurt a lot, especially for a lot of people behind the scenes – but it’s also been great to see how an industry comprised of creative survivors has embraced and created new ways to connect with their audience.
I’ll count myself among the artists who were able to take the isolation and interruptions as an opportunity to assess, write, and record with a passion, determined to create and share something that might matter or help in a time when we need each other more than ever. I’ve made a decision not to be paralyzed by the uncertainty of life, and felt weirdly pushed to work just that much harder on the 12 songs on my upcoming DAMAGE album, of which BLACK HORSE THROUGH HELL is the first track. We’re still standing, in this together and trying to make “this” look good, whatever it is! I appreciate everyone who finds some value in my music, and nothing would make me happier than for one of my songs to have a place in someone’s day as they hold strong and move forward on their own path.
As far as lessons learned, Don’t quit…Never stop moving forward and find a way to keep going, no matter what the circumstance. Not really a new lesson, but it was certainly reinforced over the last couple of years.
Who or what would you consider to be your biggest inspirations in both your music, and in life? In what way would you hope to be an inspiration to others?
Piano lessons were all about classical music, which I learned to love because of my first piano teacher. She always had a story about each piece of music. Grandpa played fiddle at barn dances and community events at the Legion Hall, and when that fiddle started up, everybody hit the dance floor. Grandma (a huge inspiration and motivator) was an extremely big fan of country music, so I learned to play country music early in life. I have to list Merle Haggard as an inspiration, as many times and as loud as I heard his music thanks to my grandma who absolutely loved Merle AND was a little hard of hearing! Yeah, I could play Merle on piano and on guitar! Special thanks to my folks for making me practice piano and for helping me get my first guitar.
Not sure I’ll ever be an inspiration, but a laugh, a smile, a good cry, a beat to dance to – we all need all of those things, and I hope listeners can find some of that in my music.
You’re preparing to release your third album, ‘DAMAGE’ in the autumn this year. What can fans expect?
I am so excited to be releasing DAMAGE this fall. I know we live a world of singles, but I hope that fans will listen to the album from start to finish. I worked to make each song a story, but also to tell a story with the album as a whole.
Tell us something about the video for ‘Black Horse Through Hell’. Who came up with the concept?
I think I have take the blame for that. ‘Black Horse through Hell’ started off as a performance video, but as we got into it, new ideas kept coming up and so we have fiddles with sparks and red hell-scapes with vultures and fire and explosions and flaming cactus…which got to be just too much fun and probably got a little out of control, but what the H… (Did you find the lizard?)
If you had the opportunity to start all over again, what changes, if any, would you make in your life, and why? Do you have any advice for anyone considering a career in music?
Don’t ever let anybody convince you to take a different course than what you know is the right path for you. Even temporarily… I have let myself be knocked off the path on occasion. That’s something I would change if I could. Life can be full of detours if you let it. Don’t let other peoples choices knock you off of your path…
Finally, what question do you wish someone would ask you in an interview, but nobody ever does? And what’s the answer to that question?
Ha, ha … wow… Let’s see…
Nobody ever asks me what the name of my horse was. He was a Quarter Horse named Nick.
‘Black Horse Through Hell’ is out now and can be streamed and downloaded on Spotify, Apple Music, SoundCloud, and Bandcamp. Find out more about Reuben Brock online on his official website, Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. Watch the video for ‘Black Horse Through Hell’ below, and watch out for our review!