Make no mistake about it. The Chris Weaver Band is an act that is one of the most musically unique that has come down the pike in quite some time. Are Weaver & Co. country? Yes, without a doubt. But, there is a definite R&B / soul twinge to the music of the West Virginia native that has people within the industry watching with interest.
That buzz will no doubt continue with their sophomore album, "American Dreamer," and the set's first single, "Raise The Dead." Weaver tells Billboard that he's interested to see what the response to the new music will be.
"I think the material on both records are good, but what's different is the ability that we had to spend more time on each song and add things like the background singers and the instruments that went into this record as opposed to the first one," he said, adding that American Dreamer was two years in the making, while his debut disc, Standing In Line, was finished in a week's time. "I'm interested to see what people think. It's definitely a more produced record. That's the part that interests me the most."
The singer knows his musical style is a little bit different than much of what is on the radio today. But, he feels if he can just get his music heard by the masses, he can make an impact.
"If I played you 'Mary Had A Little Lamb' with a nice melody, and you put it on the radio 150 times, I guarantee you everyone would be singing it right now. It's all about familiarity," he said. "If any song gets out enough, you will find a true gravitational pull, as far as whether people will dig it or not." He thinks his different sound serves him well. "You always try to compare yourself to everyone who is on the radio, and I'm really glad that I don't have the ability to do that. I'd rather be in that position than someone who is just in the middle of the pack of everyone else."
Weaver is very excited about the current single, as well. "I wish there was some big grandiose story about how that song got written. James LeBlanc was one of the writers on it, and he had this book of ideas. He said ‘I've got this title,' and we started kicking it around. It basically talks about how you drudge through every day and sooner or later, you wake up, and you realize life is pretty short. You have to make the most of the time you got."
The singer says the album does take on a serious tone in spots. "The whole record really has a spiritual tinge to it. It wasn't that way on purpose. I don't know if it's where I am in my life. Some of the songs I've written have been more than just about relationships. There's other parts of life. Sometimes, you're happy in your relationship, but the tires are falling off of your car. I like the song because people can get into it and sing along. That's a huge thing, especially with a new artist. You need to be able to have some of those types of tunes that people can gravitate to pretty quickly."
While Weaver has been making the rounds visiting radio on a consistent basis the past few years, it's not his first time in a broadcasting studio.
"I was actually a sales person at a radio station," he allowed. "My first taste of being on the air was with the morning guy, who was a big guy in Morgantown. I was on the air with him for about a year. I'd do about an hour and a half with him, and I started doing my own commercials. Learning about the sales aspect of radio – which is really the guts, because without it, they don't run, helped me out a lot. Even in talking with some of the people we've talked to over the past couple of years, in talking their lingo."
Having that first-hand knowledge of the radio business has definitely helped him while promoting his music. "I think the major thing I learned was that it is still about personal relationships. When you really get out there and start meeting these program directors, it really is about that personal relationship. I'm sure there are stations we wouldn't have gotten on had we not gone out and visited them. At the end of the day, business is business, but personal relationships are what that business is based on."