#139 – Get A Leg Up With Chad Harvey

It’s been a solid 12 years, packed with earned life experiences and songwriting since Chad Harvey has released a new studio album. 2008 saw the release of his Get Lit album which provided a platform to tour through 2011. Initially to Harvey, that was a good thing. “The live shows to me are what it’s all about. That is where you connect with your fans and I lay it all out there on the line and don’t hold anything back—whether we are playing for five people or 500 people.” The relentless schedule started to show its weight and while being nudged by the label (Indie 500 Records) to start tracking the follow-up album, Harvey admits: “I was getting to the point of burn out; playing several nights a week while having to still maintain a day job to survive in Nashville.” He knew some rejuvenation was needed and took a two-week trip to Australia. On his flight back to the States he met his future wife and now they share two children with a full life. . . Except for one thing, Harvey exclaims: “Music!” 

With his creative cannon loaded and idea book bursting with new song titles, Harvey tracked Run From the Sound in 2015 alongside his longtime GRAMMY®-nominated producer Marc Johnson. 

Every once in awhile a singer-songwriter comes along that moves people to action—not necessarily a message to politicians for peace in wartime but instead a holler to the wallflowers to grab a cold beer and cut the rug at the local honky-tonk, sometimes a call to an estranged lover to come home—Chad Harvey is a songwriter whose songs do all of these things and more.  

Chad Harvey is a true American original born in Evansville, and raised in nearby Lynnville—that’s Southern Indiana to the uninformed—just down the highway from Indiana’s most famous musical export, John Mellencamp. . . an artist to whom Harvey has been compared. However, Harvey is far from a knock-off, Harvey delivers his self-penned emotive stories with an inimitable whiskey-stained voice. “Heyburn,” inspired by the small town of Heyburn, Idaho, spotlights Harvey’s ability to capture the voice of the many living in small towns across America and it’s because he was one of them. “This song idea came from a friend of mine, Craig Smith. He was traveling through Idaho and stopped for the night in Heyburn. He called me that night and told me about the place and how there was not much going on in the town, and how he imagined that if he lived there, he would want to get out. This struck a chord with me as it reminded me exactly of my hometown of Lynnville, Indiana. A small town of about 500 people in Southwestern Indiana that was built in the middle of the coal mines. Growing up there, all I wanted to do is get out and see what else was out there in the world.”   

 A gifted writer and performer equipped with a six-string Gibson and a Midwestern drawl, Harvey also sports rough and tumble good looks reminiscent of a young Elvis Presley and a cool swagger that calls to mind another Hoosier native named James Dean. Through his songs, he says what he means and means what he says. 

With aspirations greater than what Indiana had to offer, Chad fled to Nashville, TN where he enrolled at Belmont University to “learn about the record business;” however, he found himself learning more about the music business by meeting people, listening to classic records, and watching bands perform live in local clubs.  

On one cold winter night, a pivotal moment happened, Chad tuned in to Austin City Limits to watch John Prine perform; and on the same show, he discovered an artist who would help guide his musical direction: Todd Snider. Considering this a sign, Harvey picked up and moved to Austin to walk the same Texas soil as his heroes and to develop his own songwriting chops and performing skills.   

Through Snider, Harvey was introduced to the Texas music scene that included Jerry Jeff Walker, Jack Ingram, Guy Clark, Chris Knight, Billy Joe Shaver, Charlie Robison, Bruce Robison to name a few. Chad proceeded to play every honky-tonk, voodoo haunt, and BBQ joint with a makeshift stage on the same trail blazed by Steve Earle and Townes Van Zandt years earlier including being a regular at the prestigious Kent Finlay’s open mic night at Cheatham Street Warehouse in San Marcos, TX. 

Chad Harvey eventually moved back to Indiana to record his first full-length effort, Get Lit, backed by an amazing cast of supporting musicians including Mellencamp-alum Dane Clark on drums, GRAMMY®-winner Lloyd Maines on steel, and three-time GRAMMY®-winner Larry Franklin on fiddle. The end result was an astonishingly cool slice of Americana. ‘Get Lit’ was released in 2008 and broke into the Americana top 100 and Chad toured extensively throughout the southeast and Midwest supporting the release. 

“Run From The Sound,” the title track off the new album, brings an introspective Tom Petty lyrical approach with a Mike Campbell-style approach to the guitar tracks. “This song was somewhat of a surprise to me,” notes Harvey.  “When I arrived at the Pop Machine Studio to start tracking the record, Marc Johnson (Producer) said that he wanted me to hear something. He played me the song and I was immediately drawn to it. After listening to it a few times, I realized what the song was about. He wrote it about a relationship I had been in several years before. The song captured everything about it. I added a few of my touches to the song and we cut it.”  

The vitality of Chad’s live shows is captured in Run From the Sound standouts such as “Heyburn,” “Rescue Me,” “Run From The Sound” and “Nashville Intermezzo.” Get in your pick-up truck, turn up the speakers as loud as they can go, and listen to Chad Harvey tell the truth…or at least something close to it.

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The music provided for this episode is from:

Artist: Chad Harvey

Single: Get A Leg Up

Album: Get A Leg Up

Composer: John Mellencamp

Website: www.chadharveymusic.com