Cody McCarver writes and sings about real life. It's something he has seen up close -- both as a member of the group Confederate Railroad, as well as a solo artist, releasing such songs to radio as "Red Flag" and "Look What You've Done." The singer returns to the spotlight with his new album, "I Just Might Live Forever." He told Billboard he wanted to make his sophomore disc a little more personal.
"We had some moderate success, winning Independent Artist of the Year from Music Row a couple of times, so for the second CD, I wanted to spend more time writing for it, so that's what I did. I wrote with different people, and nine of the eleven I either wrote or wrote with someone else. The title ended up being the same as a movie that I did that will be coming out in fall of 2013 called Billy The Kid: I Just Might Live Forever."
McCarver admits that his self-deprecating humor can catch people off guard from time to time. "That happens a lot. I have a tongue in cheek sense of humor. I can laugh at myself, and I hope that you can laugh with me. Take 'Redneck Friends Of Mine," for example. I read a review of it from a Scottish website. The guy said 'If you look at the picture on the cover of the album, you would think this guy is a real bad ass. But, then you listen to the songs, and you find that he's got a lot of faith in God, and a real sense of humor."
"I Just Might Live Forever" features an eclectic group of guest artists, ranging form Colt Ford to Big 'Smo to Oak Ridge Boys bass singer Richard Sterban, who adds his distinctive touch to "Bow Chicken Wow Wow."
"The Richard Sterban thing was just incredible. I had written the song and was just sitting on it. I hadn't done anything with it. I had done it at some of my shows, and was trying to get a feel of how I might want to record it with the band. Everybody who heard it said 'You can't leave the song written like that. You're going to have to change it - the line 'Boom Papa Mow Mow," which of course, was the line from the Oaks' classic "Elvira." Industry veteran Chuck Rhodes, a key member of McCarver's team, made a few phone calls, and Sterban agreed to lend his talents to the project.
The Tennessee-based singer is also proud of his work in front of the camera, with two movies under his belt. When asked how that chapter of his career began, he said "I went down with my record company to Cancun, and did a showcase. While I was there, a guy came up from L.A., and asked if I had ever acted. I told him if I got involved in music again, I would probably write songs for it than act. He said 'Let's give it a spin and see what happens.' The next thing I know, he's calling me to ask about doing a thing with Michael Madsen called 'Cole Younger and the Black Train.' Then, I also wrote "Outlaws and Trains" for it."
McCarver admits that while he's fortunate to call his own shots as an artist, the DIY approach is not for everybody. "It's a tough row to hoe. When I left Confederate Railroad, I knew if I didn't have a major record contract, that I would have to do it a different way -- longer hours, internet promotions and guerrilla marketing -- to develop not just a fan base, but a friend base. You have people out there who like your music, but then people will meet you and think 'You know, he's a pretty good guy. He'll sit down and talk to you, and he's just one of us. I've been blessed by the good Lord on that. If it weren't for other people pushing me at the grass roots level, I probably wouldn't be as successful."