Country music artist Charlie Bonnet III released a single that sparked interest in everyone. Soon after, an album would follow through, led by shows, tours, and further plans for more activity. Charlie Bonnet III himself discusses his single, album, and plans ahead!
1. Please tell us about the history of your band and its members.
CB3: First off, thank you for the interview! I am Charlie Bonnet III, known by the fans as CB3, and I am a Nashville based solo artist and songwriter. I've been working on my craft for a couple decades now actually, and have had projects in the past on a national scale, namely Disarray, a hardcore band in the 90's and early 2000's that was signed to Eclipse Records. Years later I was the lead guitar player for Big Smo, a Warner Brothers act that does hip hop music. When that ran its course I co-founded another band called Moccasin Creek, which lasted about four years before lack of proper management and lack of business structure destroyed it. Now I have a solo band called Charlie Bonnet III and The Rebel Ways Band, and we do songs from all the eras of my history, plus new solo material. It's a lot of fun, and I have a great bunch of guys jamming with me. My drummer and second guitarist, Travis Ashley and Adam Farris, have played together for years in a country rock band called 4 Miles Gone, so they have a pretty solid chemistry. On bass we have Ceth Carter, who was a big Disarray fan, and who has followed me for 20 plus years. He asked to audition for the band, and pretty much came in there and killed it on the first day, so we signed him up!
2. What’s the origin of the band’s name?
CB3: Rebel Ways is the name of my fan club on Facebook actually. My last band wasn't very active towards the end of 2014, so I was doing a lot of acoustic shows during that time, and a super fan by the name of Bob Adams drove to one of the Tennessee acoustic shows all the way from Indiana. After the gig I told him I was probably going to be forced into a solo artist situation, and he offered to help me promote, which turned into the Rebel Ways fan club, which he now runs for me. In a very short time I had over a thousand fans on that site, so I named the band Rebel Ways as well, to show appreciation for all the support that they - the Rebels - have shown me!
3. Where is the band based out of and what is your music scene like there? Are there any local bands you could recommend?
CB3: The band is based out of a little town in Southeast Tennessee, called Winchester, which is a hole in the wall really. There is a pretty cool band there called The Stagger Moon Band, and my bass player's uncle is in that group. 4 Miles Gone is my band guys' other group, and they do modern country type stuff. I have some pals in a hip hop act called the Redneck Souljers, who are also based out of Winchester. They have been traveling a lot and have a recording deal with a Nashville indie. I wouldn't say there's really a scene here. It's too small of an area really, but those bands stay pretty busy.
4. How would you describe your style? Which bands influenced your music?
CB3: The music we do is very 70's influenced country rock. Take the classic era of Lynyrd Skynyrd and bring it into the modern day, and you get an idea of what I am going for as a songwriter. On the latest album I used a different producer from my previous stuff, and it has brought a more modern element into the production, which I like. I tell people if 70's era Skynyrd and Waylon Jennings joined forces, and hired Kid Rock's producer, you'd get a sound close to what we are doing with this band.
CB3: "Hillbilly Rock Star" is a concept I had for many years, and it is named after a lyric in a Kenny Chesney song from 2006, called "Living In Fast Forward." I was going for a storyteller vibe, similar to what Jamey Johnson does, and the lyrics tell my story of getting a guitar at age thirteen, and chasing the music dream ever since. I am very proud of the song, and it is a fan favorite. The video was shot in Hazel Green, Alabama, at a small bar called Billy's Bar, where I play a lot of acoustic solo shows. Billy let us come in there early on a show day and basically bring all our biker friends out for a party. My studio producer, the very talented Jon Conner, did the entire video himself. It was his vision, and I think he captured the vibe of the band very well.
6. Where does "Hillbilly Rock Star" come off, like which release and why should we check out this particular release?
CB3: As of now, "Hillbilly Rock Star" is a stand-alone single on iTunes. I just released a brand new record called "A Hotel In Valdosta," and originally we were going to put "Hillbilly Rock Star" on that record, but we are saving it for the follow up record, which should be out by the first of the year. I would encourage fans to check out both of these releases. All of the signature Southern rock sounds are there, but with a modern production element. I think all the songs on this project are my best work yet. There's really not a weak track. My producer and I worked hard to trim the fat from the ingredients, and only serve up the best product possible.
7. What should labels/zines/promoters know about your band? Why should they be interested in it?
CB3: Right now I have a deal with a Tennessee indie label called Dammit Boy Entertainment. We would possibly be interested in licensing the record to different territories of the world if the right labels approached us. I'd say the industry folks should pay attention because this music is not fodder that the mainstream forces down society's throat. This is old school song writing, and I really don't care if it sells a million copies or ten copies. It is created from a very honest place, and it's not a product that we threw together to try and make money. I don't care about any of that. At my age now I just want to make music that I like, and if the public catches on, then that's a bonus. So I'd say the labels and media should check it out because it's real. Promoters should check it out because my band rocks! This isn't a "stand there and do nothing" country band like mainstream artists have. We are a full throttle Southern rock n roll band, with high energy. This band isn't the "neighbor kids" recruited to come play some shows with me. My guys leave it all on stage and never "phone it in" with a half ass performance. We are there to rock!
8. What plans do you have for the future as a band?
CB3: Our goal is to get into the bike rally circuit, mainly in the south and Midwest. I think we will be hitting that scene pretty hard by 2016. Right now it's more local and regional. We are doing a show or two a month, just trying to do some shows that make sense for us financially. We can't travel to the other side of the country or anything like that. We hope to conquer a ten hour radius of home, and really try to grow a strong fan base regionally. That's the goal for the next couple years anyway. Between band gigs I do a solo acoustic gig to keep the rent paid.
9. Where can we listen to your band and where can we buy your stuff?
CB3: My official website is www.CB3music.com - that's the main hub for everything going on. There are links to basically every form of social media on that site, as well as a link to my webstore, where we sell t-shirts and other merchandise. Digital music can be bought at www.CB3itunes.com and at every other digital site, such as Google Play or Amazon. I have a few music videos on YouTube, as well as a bunch of live footage. The direct like to that is www.CB3videos.com - or just Google the name Charlie Bonnet III and all kinds of stuff pops up. I hope you find some music you like! Thanks for the interview! I hope to see you all at a show real soon. Cheers! CB3!