Back in March at this year’s Country to Country Festival, the weekend kicked off with a stunning CMA Introducing Nashville songwriters round at the O2 Arena, which featured Tyler Braden, Alana Springsteen and Caylee Hammack. Whilst we had been fortunate to catch Hammack at a special intimate, industry showcase back in 2020, this return three years later marked her first public performances in the UK. This trip went so well that less than six months later she returned to these shores to perform at the main stage at The Long Road Festival and a series of co-headline dates alongside Tenille Arts. We had such a great time meeting Caylee earlier this year (read HERE) that we just had to catch up with her to find out about jumping into frozen iced buckets with Dierks Bentley, get an update on her sophomore album that she was teasing and all the fun that she had in Glasgow to kick off this tour. “I love Glasgow, it was so much fun and it was the first show of this little run with Tenille Arts and Alyssa Bonagura. I already knew it was going to be fun though because it was in Glasgow, it is over here where people truly take country music seriously and appreciate it but also I’m with two girls, so it’s some girl power time and I never get to tour with a bunch of girls. The place last night was in an old church of some sort and when I got up on stage I was so hot, it was so hot and I knew I was going to be be Tina Turner sweating the whole time but I accepted that fate and I think the first song it happened with was “History Of Repeating” where people started singing along. Every single song that I have released, the majority of the crowd knew it and I mean every single line to the verses. Of course, I want to say that people do that at every show but they don’t! It is something special here and truly I had to force myself to disassociate during that show so not to ball my eyes out because I felt that I could be human, I could be vulnerable, that I could be myself on that stage and feel loved. I feel that feeling with people that give your music time and give your music a chance, that’s everything that you could ask for as a young artist in this industry.”
That is the thing that you do hear so many people say about playing here and I think we touched on this last time but you will hear from others about over here but you don’t understand it until you actually get to experience it. Talking about last time, that was back in March where you got to open that huge festival in the O2 which is huge and also this crazy idea where it is you, Alana (Springsteen) and Tyler (Braden) just the three of you on this ginormous stage in this big old room and that surely could never work in the States? “Oh no, no no no. When I first came over I was like we’re getting to play the O2? Like the main room? Yeah, that room and it’s really wild to be able to do a writers round on a stage that big but I think the coolest part about it is that the people listened so it actually worked. The reason that it wouldn’t work in Nashville is you know, for a big room like that you’re going to need this big ricking band to keep people’s attention where as here you don’t. I remember the first show I did in Europe, it was in Berlin right before Covid shut everything down and I remember getting on stage, singing the song and half way through I just knew they hated me, I knew it, they were so quiet and just stared at me. I’m thinking oh man, they really don’t like me here, this is going to be a long week, then as soon as I finished the song there was two seconds of silence before they just erupted into applause. The next song happened that way and I watched all of the other people on stage that night and I realised it was just a deep appreciation that I have never got to experience and I’m so grateful for it. I get so giddy when I get to come over here, I’ve already built a vacation into this, I’m going back to Scotland to do some hiking, exploring and trying to learn a lot of catchphrases to be really clever so you all invite me back.”
Friend, you are more than welcome to keep coming back as much as you want! You have got some friends playing with you this time and it’s not just you with your guitar this time. As a performer, how do you feel things transform from where it is just you to where you have a band behind you? “I think it gets a lot sassier. Not as mellow and not as solemn, we get a lot goofier on stage and a lot more energy I feel. I cuss a little but more though, I like to let my guard down but people connect to that and as much as letting your guard down means you can get hurt more, I also think people connect and we all need to be a little bit more real. Me being real is messing up in life, laughing at myself, goofing off and almost tripping over a wire trying to catch myself in a cool dance move, you know it’s rolling with the punches.”
So, tonight is night two of this little run of three co-headline shows with Tenille where you have the lovely Alyssa Bonagura opening up for you both and like you said before it is super cool to just have a girls tour and all three of you are amazing performers, really cool people to hang out with but you are all really openly positive human beings which must just create such a great vibe. “Yes, it really is. Last night there was this moment with Tenille where I was like hey, do you need my curling irons and she went I’m alright, I’ve got mine over here so it’s like cool, just letting you know and she said same here. It’s nice to have another woman on the road because I was just out with Dierks Bentley and Dierks was talking about all of these boys that have been out on the road with him but there hasn’t been a girl yet that has done the ice plunge challenge which is jumping into a big bucket of ice water then sitting in it for as long as you can. He started reeling off that this artist did a minute and this one did two, so I asked what was the longest that any of them stayed in there and he said seven minutes so I said ok, I’ll do seven and I hopped in. I was telling Tenille that what’s really funny is when it comes to girls, I don’t feel that competition because we’re both fighting the same fight and we can only help each other but gosh almighty, if one of the boys can do something, I’m like I’ve got to figure out how to do it better.”
You looked like you were so comfortable in the video, is it just a case of you need to be in there with some whiskey to sit in there for so long? “Oh, that was about half way through. You should hear the outtakes, I’m so surprised that Zach who is Dierks’s digital guy didn’t put it in. There is one where my voice is full of sheer desperate saying I need a shot and it was such a scream. It did help the last three minutes but honestly if he had not told me that everyone else wimped out, I probably would have too but I was like no, I’ve got to prove myself. My TM actually stopped us after seven or eight minutes because she was like I know that you’ll die in there before you get out because I looked down to say what would I have to do to set a record that someone couldn’t beat and she is like no, no, no you have got to go soundcheck.”
Dierks in someone that anyone that has worked with or toured with him is so complimentary of everything about him and the thing numerous say about him is that he doesn’t take himself seriously at all but really takes what he does and everyone around the process so seriously where he has such a welcoming mindset to have people on the road with him. “I agree. What I think it boils down to and I think Dierks would tell you this himself, he was not always treated as well being the opening act for some of the headliners that he worked with and he made a vow that he was always going to make sure his opening acts felt welcome. Dierks was the first big artist that ever took me out on the road and took a chance on me. I had no clue what I was doing and I was an awful opening act you know, I was very much stumbling around and nervous but he still took a chance on me, let me come out and kind of showed me the ropes. Anytime I get to go back out for a couple of weekends with them, it’s kind of like coming home because that was the first crew that I got to know and he is just a good one. He has learned from the best and the one thing that I have learnt if the people on that crew are great and are really great people, that means the boss is good because it all trickles down and they set the standard where you either have good people or bad people around you and Dierks has surrounded himself with great people because he is a great person.”
Then this weekend it The Long Road which is going to be so much fun. It is a really nice festival, you are going to love it and it’s great to see a lot of girls on the line-up like they always try and do, the site is stunning, There is this big old manor house that will be right in front of you when you are on stage and you’ll do your press up there in the garden of the house and the other stages are really cute, like the one that Alyssa (Bonagura) is playing is the front porch of a log cabin that has a working chimney with smoke that comes out. “I’m so excited and I can’t wait. I want to want around and see everything.” Are you normally someone that likes to get see what’s going on and experience more of festivals and events? “One thing that I love as an opening act and I was told this by one of my artist friends when I was venting a little when I had to drive a van and was little tired. She said one day you’ll never get to drive your boys in a van, one day you’ll never get to be the opening act where you get off stage and can go get a drink then hang out at side stage and go and watch people perform. She says one day, you’ll be sitting in the back of a bus waiting until ten PM when you go on and when your done you’re going to want to have fun whilst everyone else is loading up by that time so said to just enjoy these moments. I love watching side stage but I hate that you never have good sound from there so sometimes I have a little wig, I’ll do is wipe off some of my makeup, throw on my like gym clothes and go into the pit to just hang out with everyone, then I get to feel it with them. It’s not the whole time that I’ll wear my wig, it’s just after a show and hey heads up to anyone reading this, if an artist ever doesn’t seem to want to take a picture whilst someone else is playing, it’s only because it’s being polite to who is on stage. That’s why I have my wig sometimes because I don’t want to distract attention, I just want to be in the pit and be one of the listeners so I sometimes put it on after but I’ll be walking around and nobody will miss this big red hair the day before.”
I love it. I know that you need to head off for soundcheck so just to finish up, last time we were talking about a new record being on the cards so have you got any news that you can tell us about where we are and some sort of rough timeframe? “I’m guessing it’s going to be spring or summer next year. I’m finishing up some and I’m actually going to bring in my friend John Osborne to play around with some stuff and see we create. We’re going in to do that in October and I’m very excited for it, something has clicked recently and one thing I tell people is that the English word “time” translates into two different words in Greek which are “Kairos” and “Chronos”. Chronos is time like twelve o’clock and unfortunately creativity is Kairos in that it happens when it’s going to happen, I really feel like the Kairos side of my creations has caught up with the Chronos side so we can finally start rolling some of these songs out. Trust me, it has been way too long for me, I want to have another song that I can end the show with other than “Family Tree”. I love it, I appreciate it but I just want to end the show differently and zest it up you know so give me another single.”
This has been so much fun girl, have a blast tonight and enjoy some rest after then I know so many people are pumped for TLR, you will love it and we’ll see you there too!
You can find the latest track “That Dog” from Caylee HammackHERE and you keep up to date with all of the pending news on her upcoming album by following Caylee on INSTAGRAMTIKTOKTWITTER & FACEBOOK. The Long Road Festival takes place this weekend (25th to 27th August 2023)at Stanford Hall in Leicestershire , with last minute ticket details available on their WEBSITE and you can catch all the action from the weekend on INSTGRAM and FACEBOOK.
True country music is honesty, sincerity, and real life to the hilt. Garth Brooks