Singer-songwriter Erik Dylan is gearing up for the upcoming release of his album, Heart of a Flatland Boy, due in October. If you’re not yet familiar with his music, it’s high time you had an introduction.
Originally from Kansas, Dylan made his way to Nashville, where he was discovered at a writer’s night by Kip Moore. This fortuitous meeting led to a publishing deal for Dylan, who has since landed album cuts for an impressive list of Nashville talent including Moore, Eric Paslay, Eli Young Band and Justin Moore. Songwriting isn’t the extent of Dylan’s talent, however. Take a listen to current single “Pink Flamingos” and you’ll quickly see that he’s got all the makings of a performing artist in his own right.
We asked Dylan to give us a little more insight into his career and the upcoming album, we appreciate his time and candor in doing so. Read on for our exclusive Q&A. For those who are just discovering your music, which of your songs would you say best encompasses who you are as an artist/songwriter? I really feel like this whole record is a good representation of who I am as an artist & a songwriter. I’ve never been able to say that before. It feels really good. It took me almost 5 years to write this record. I wanted it to represent who I am & where I am from. One of my biggest fears is writing songs that my buddies from Northeast Kansas don’t relate to. I could sell a bunch of records, but if the people I grew up with didn’t buy it, I would consider it a failure. I want the people from my hometown to see this record as a true representation of where I’m from and who I am. If that happens, I have done my job as a writer & artist. My favorite tracks for personal reasons are:
“Flatland Boy”: It’s a song about being fed up. I feel like the hardest working Americans are always the first to get screwed in this country. If I have a blue collar anthem, this is it. “Fishing Alone”: Fishing Alone is my favorite song on the record right now. Some of my favorite memories happened on the banks of some farm pond in Kansas. I see my fans relate to that song every time I play it. It really feels good to know I wrote a song that is connecting emotionally with my audience. At the end of the day, Fishing Alone is about regret. I hate regret, a hell of a lot. “It Ain’t Broke”: It represents everything about where I’m from. I know when I go home that the light is probably going to be out on the Texaco sign & they still won’t be selling beer on Sunday. That makes me happy knowing some things never change. Is there a song you’ve written that’s been cut by another artist that you wish you could have kept for yourself? Not at all. There are songs that I will eventually record for my own projects. I really want to record “Comeback Kid” for the next record. But I love that Kip loved that song enough to release it. When a song gets cut, I don’t care who cut it. I’m just happy that people got to hear it.Most songs end up on a hard drive on Music Row and never see the light of day. I celebrate every song that gets to live in the sunshine, no matter the artist. What artist would you most like to tour with? Eric Church would be amazing to tour with. I think his fans would dig what I do. I really respect what he has done over the years building something real. He’s great. It would also be fun to do shows with Steve Earle, Reckless Kelly, or American Aquarium. I really look up to all those guys. What has been the proudest moment of your career to this point? There are peaks & valleys in what I do. There are lots of valleys. I try not to get to excited about anything. It keeps me right in the middle mentally, and has worked so far. I always want to see what is on the other side of the mountain. That being said, getting to know Guy Clark & call him my friend is one of my favorite memories in Nashville. This record might not have happened without Guy. He always told me “All you need is a satchel full of good songs & some patrons. Don’t worry about the other shit.” Guy was the best. We love a song that tells a good story, and “Pink Flamingos” certainly does that. It’s a clever take on some pretty dark subject matter. How has the response to the song been so far?It has been really positive. I think most people agree with the song at a base level. This world is a scary place. We all want to take care of our own, especially our kids. I’m not saying that it’s right, I’m just asking the listener to understand why the neighbors are pleading the fifth. What’s your favorite way to spend time aside from music? I love hanging out with my family- my wife, Jackie, and I have a toddler named Townes. He is my best buddy. I spend as much time as I can with him. Being a Dad is the best thing that ever happened to me. What can we expect to see from you through the end of the year and beyond? The album release is on 10/21. I plan on being on the road a TON. I can’t wait to play these songs live for my fans. I love making records, but I love playing live even more. I will be on the road a lot in 2017. It’s 10 minutes until you take the stage – tell us what you’re sippin’ on! I drink a glass of bottom shelf bourbon on the rocks. I actually ask the bartender for the cheapest whiskey they’ve got. As an opener, I feel like I need to remember that I still have a lot of work to do, and cheap whiskey always reminds me of that before I go on stage. Heart of a Flatland Boy is now available for pre-order at iTunes with three instant tracks, including “Pink Flamingos.” Keep up with Erik Dylan via his website, www.erikdylan.com and follow on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.