San Antonio, Texas native Case Hardin already has some great achievements under his belt. He has won various awards and competitions, including accolades from West Texas Songwriters, State FFA, SXSW, and the award for "New Male Vocalist" from the Texas Country Music Awards. He has toured with Aaron Watson, Pat Green, Eli Young Band, Parker McCollum, Cody Johnson, Kyle Park, Randall King, Casey Donahew, Roger Creager, Mike Ryan, Josh Ward, Cory Morrow, Jason Boland, Radney Foster, Dwight Yoakum, and Tracy Byrd. Case notched a new milestone in his career within the last year when he landed two #1 tracks on the Texas Regional Radio Report with Alcohol Abuse and When You Roll That Way. In total, he has four top-five tracks on the Texas Regional Radio Report to his name, with his songs Texas Rain and Old Stomping Grounds both peaking at the #2 spot.
He recently shared his new Bernie Nelson and Phil O’Donnell penned single “Honky Tonk Highway” that leads nicely into his upcoming album “Lucky Him” which he shared all the details of, as Jamie got to know more about the breakthrough traditional country artist when they recently hung out over Zoom. “I played a little baseball all the way up through high school, but I wanted to learn how to play the guitar! I had been saving up to buy my first truck, but I went and bought a guitar and I started playing guitar, just acoustic and doing cover songs until my senior year in high school back in 2013 where I got together with some guys and started a band, but at first, we were terrible, I don’t know how anyone sat through a whole show but I’m glad they did. 2013 was a lot of playing cover songs around my hometown and we got to work on our first record. Some guys left and went to college and we got professional guys to play so we played around in college and released our first record that started having some radio success and I thought hey there might be something here. We started going around and playing everywhere that we properly could and now here we are with two number one singles later, which are going to be on this new record coming out. It’s a whole lot different from the rest of my family as we all rodeo, ranch and all of that kind of stuff so I took a little bit of a different path but not before I did it myself through high school and college. I’m much happier doing this because it’s the old saying where if you do something that you love, you never work a day in your life.” Despite having some really good success and traction across Texas radio with his recent releases, it has been a little while since Case has released a more extensive project so we talked about the process of piecing together his new album “Lucky Him”. “It’s coming out on August 5th and my birthday is August 6th so that kind of worked out good and it’s like a birthday present to myself. We went into the studio back in late 2019 and early 2020 so I had the vocal tracks down. Actually, the pandemic worked in our favour because I had all of these ideas and as the pandemic was around, we realised that we weren’t going to be able to go out there to promote it and play shows, so we put a hold on everything. It gave my time to think of new ideas for the record and maybe go a way that I wouldn’t have normally gone so we worked on it until probably the later part of 2021. We got it all taken care of, it was a three-year project that is a full ten track record and I’m excited for it. “Over Fort Worth” was back in 2016 and I got sick in college so the pandemic gave me some good time off to get back up on my feet and have the doctors clear me so, when things started opening again in 2021 it made it that we could be ready to release this record and start getting new songs out there on Texas radio.”
The Texas scene co-exists with what many people outside of the state may encounter if they are more accustomed to what comes out of Nashville, so I asked Case what he feels id the best way to describe any variation or if there actually is one musically. “It depends on what time period of Nashville. If you were to take Texas country and compare it to eighties or nineties Nashville country music, the Texas country music is a little bit more distorted rock but the stuff you hear now on Texas radio compared to what you hear now from Nashville is that Nashville is a little bit more pop whilst Texas is more going back to the roots. It’s steel guitar, fiddle and stuff like that with songs that have substance, there are some great songwriters in Texas country music. I’d say it’s a little rocky but full of that Americana story telling.” The lead single into the album was the upbeat Bernie Nelson and Phil O’Donnell penned “Honky Tonk Highway”, which Case talked about why he felt this was the perfect start to launch his new “Lucky Him” project. “After the first time that I heard that song, I sent it to my band leader Michael and said you’ve got to hear this song because it’s rockin’. He loves rock music which was another reason why I sent it to him and that’s what he grew up on where I grew up on more traditional country. I sent it to him and said man, we could do this. It talks about all of the places that we played and all of the things that we’ve done so to put that little edgy twist on there, I thought was perfect because our last single from the first EP was a song called Texas Rain which was a little rockin’ so I thought what better way to leave one album and go into the new album than to make it as punchy and rocky as that was.”
He previously mentioned his upbringing playing baseball and hailing from around three hours out of the DFW area, I incorrectly assumed this meant that his affiliation would have been with the Dallas based Texas Rangers. “With baseball, I’m a huge Astros fan. To think of the Dallas connection would have been a fair assessment and all of my friends are Texas Rangers fans because we are closer, Houston is about seven hours away from us but since I was a kid, I have been a giant Houston Astros fan. I’ve got to hang tight with them through the good and the bad, we lost too many games back when I was a kid for me to not enjoy all of the wins now.” The two of us has hit it off conversationally, not just as a pair of Cowboys fans but also we had discussed some of our quirks over here that differ to things across the pond such as how the price you see on a label in a store is actually the price you pay at the register over here and how gas is sold by the litre (at an extortionate cost) so we also talked about the prospect of a trip over being something that he would be keen to make work. “I so would love to come over. I was just talking about it the other day, about taking a trip and you’ve got me sold on that. There was actually another Case Hardin in the UK, I had Googled my name when I was in like seventh grade, and they popped up which was way before I had even thought about playing music. Anyway, I sent a message to Pete, the lead singer and we hit it off great, I released new music and I would send it to the guys, then when they were still touring and releasing new music, they would send it to me which was really cool, but it does kind of make it hard to make a Case Hardin brand name when there is already one across the pond. I really didn’t know there was that much of an interest over there, I mean I keep up with some of the guys that have made the trip and they will go over to France afterwards, but they love to just get out and about and I just never knew that Texas could go over so well. For a Texas artist to be able to go over to England or Germany and France, that’s just a whole lot different than what I had planned when I started in 2013 but I’m absolutely down and my manager was actually talking about France the other day so it would be so cool to try and set something up in England if we were looking at France and Germany anyway.”
The latest single “Honky Tonk Highway” from Case Hardin is out now with his upcoming album “Lucky Him” coming on August 5th (available HERE).