"In an age when everything is less than authentic, here today and gone tomorrow, we stay true to the craft. We are not a flash in the pan."
This is the quote from an airplane magazine that inspired singer/songwriter Ben Rector while writing his recently released album, "The Walking in Between," which came out in August. The Nashville-based musician is now on tour, and Knoxville has the chance to see him at his sold-out show at the Bijou Theater on Wednesday at 8 p.m.
Amanda Cleveland, contributing writer for The Daily Beacon, interviewed Rector over the phone to check in on his current tour and find out the details surrounding his musical journey thus far.
Amanda Cleveland: You're returning to the Bijou this October. Are you excited to play in Knoxville again?
Ben Rector: I love Knoxville. Part of that's because of my background in Nashville, but really you guys are just a great crowd. You all are the right kind of rowdy. You get excited and it's fun.
AC: How has your tour been going so far?
BR: It's been great. I had been kind of afraid that only 18 people would show up to the shows. But luckily that hasn't happened. I have been nervous because we are headlining. It is really amazing, but it's also a lot to carry on your own shoulders. I can be a pessimist about business and about shows, to be honest. I tend to think things are going to fall apart, but the energy we have been getting from the crowds helps to relieve some of that. So yeah, we have had a really good tour so far. Everyone has been really responsive and we have been received well.
AC: Where did you get your inspiration for your new album, "The Walking In Between?"
BR: The song writing process came pretty easily, but the actual production was more difficult just because I really wanted it to be good. I felt more pressure with this album and I was waiting for a sense of satisfaction that I thought would come. But for some reason I didn't feel that for a long time. That's when I started focusing on the little things that made me happy, like spending time with my wife. So the songs are about the ordinary, everyday things that make up life.
AC: How did you get involved in music?
BR: I first started playing guitar in high school, I was 16 or 17. And it just felt, I don't know, natural. Not to say that I picked it up and immediately knew what to do with it. It just felt right, and like it was part of what I was supposed to do, and that's when I started writing songs. During college I eventually started to realize that I could do this as a career. I still can't believe that this is my job.
AC: What can people expect to see from your upcoming concert?
BR: Well, I'm going to be singing, and I'm going to be playing instruments. I'll also converse with the crowd some. (Laughing) Just kidding. I hope to just be energetic and to draw people into the music. There are a lot of aspects that go into putting on a good show. It has to be more than just standing there playing songs off the record. You have to pull everything together and put effort into it both musically and visually. We've got some visuals, not over the top, but enough with lights and stuff to just look good.
AC: How do you feel your music has evolved since you started?
BR: Music and songwriting is a process. I don't want to close myself into a box, I want to grow and to keep moving forward while I keep my own voice. I've been pretty consistent, but this new record has some new sounds in it. The most important thing to me is that I just keep growing and pushing myself as a musician and as a songwriter.