After more than a decade of rocking out in the band Decyfer Down, frontman TJ Harris announces his return to country music with, appropriately, “My Kinda Country,” an upbeat and gritty single whose video is premiering on Billboard below.
It also brings Harris back into the public eye after a bit of a hiatus following the band’s last album, 2016’s The Other Side of Darkness.
“I never really quit doing music,” the North Carolina-based Harris tells Billboard, “but I’ve returned to country music, mainly because of me listening to it all my life, growing up on ’80s and ’90s country and Charlie Daniels, Lynyrd Skynyrd, southern rock, Hank [Williams] Jr. I grew up on that but wound up playing rock ‘n’ roll. But I always knew I had to do something besides that. So coming back to [country], that’s the return to me.”
But, Harris adds, he’s coming back to country on his own terms. “I found a sound that’s my own,” he explains. “It’s not ’90s country rip-off, and it’s certainly not modern-day pop-country. It’s my own brand, my own sound.”
Harris started that journey by “digging back into some old stuff” and then heading to Nashville to do some writing — including with Brantley Gilbert guitarist Noah Henson on “My Kinda Country.” “I started recording the demo myself, and everything fell into place. I didn’t have to think about anything — it sounds just like it did in my head,” says Harris, who filmed the song’s video in Franklin, Tenn. “I hit the playback button and said ‘Omigosh, this is it. This is what I have to do. This is my sound. This is me!’ And that was the turning point that pushed me over the edge to knowing this is definitely what I need to do.”
There’s more where “My Kinda Country” came from, meanwhile. Harris says he’s written enough songs for almost two albums — collaborating with the likes of Paul Ebersold, Zac Maloy and Blair Daly. He’s also recorded an acoustic version of “My Kinda Country” and is planning to release a few more singles followed by, most likely an EP.
“I’m trying to see what makes the most sense for the next step,” Harris explains. “I’ve been privileged to sit in the room with some really great writers, man. It’s so cool. I can’t wait to let people hear more of this music.”
The video for “My Kinda Country” is below.