Like many young talents that move to Nashville seeking stardom as a country music artist only to find themselves roped in and caught up in the songwriters legion of Music City, Brian Callihan’s story is a familiar one, but (pun intended) he is still very much writing it. He left his little hometown in rural southern Georgia with ambitious designs on Nashville and spent years on a tight rope in a balancing act between his need for the stage and the demands of a published songwriter. As a kid he was able to do this with greater ease because a tough childhood and the lack of contentment at home made plenty of room for the pursuit of escapism…and that’s what music was for him. He was already well into writing songs at the age of 12, and by the time he was 16, Callihan was a local hotshot playing 2-hour sets in bars, venues and at house parties. The scope of his original songs at such a ridiculously young age, and his unflinching presence on stage brought him constant notice. So, after several more years of honing his stage craft, he finally packed up and headed to Nashville at the age of 21.
The key to setting up community in Nashville is to find your “group” of people to write with, and for Callihan, it was making those songwriting bonds with Josh Martin and Cole Swindell. Though his living arrangements were rather spartan, calling a friend’s shed his home, he wrote every day, built up both his catalog and connections, and two years later in 2011, he signed his first publishing deal with Better Angels. Now, the proud renter of a full blown house, Callihan is shoulder to shoulder writing songs with folks who have basked in the golden light of a #1 hit. He hits the pavement running with a few of his songs put on hold for Scotty McCreery, Dustin Lynch and Dierks Bentley. Though he never had intentions of moving to Nashville to be a songwriter for other artists, his knack for it kept that path under his feet. His songs have been recorded by several artists including Cole Swindell, Dylan Scott, Trent Tomlinson, Halfway To Hazard and many others. Callihan also snagged a coveted spot at the Key West Songwriters Festival, and debut performance at the CMA Music Festival. Over the course of nearly a decade Callihan has had a total of five publishing deals, and while his love for writing songs burns bright, his clamorous need to be “the artist” burns with even greater force. So, in early 2020 he began working on his new album, and in the summer released the first single “Broke It Down” written by Callihan, Harrison Kindy and Larry McCoy (Thomas Rhett “Make Me Wanna”). The song quickly hit home with music critics who deemed it a “classic country tune, spinning lyricism that shows the vulnerability of his past, and transforms his sad story into something beautiful.” The song made a big introduction and offered just a taste of what the bright young songwriter packs as an artist. His forthcoming self-titled debut album is, on the other hand, a full and hearty meal. It will be released on November 27, 2020.
Right off the bat the next single “Hometown Boys” once again grabbed the attention of music critics, specifically American Songwriter Magazine who said the song “relates to every man,” and premiered the music video. The song stands as a sort of anthem for the country life that shaped him. He went back to his old stomping grounds to film the music video and even had some old friends join him on screen. The third single “Same Thing She Told Me” followed on its heels, a gut punch ballad gasping for air when he tries to warn the next guy that her cunning love trap doesn’t change, only the guy who falls into it. If you consider that the entire album is Callihan’s personal country boy declaration all dressed up in Wranglers, boots and a cowboy hat, then “All A Man Needs” is the theme song. It’s an old dog, and old car, and an old time type of country living that marks the essentials in life. In an ode to his grandfather, “Proud” is a two-sided coin representing both the legacy of such a full life led, and the pride in sharing that family name. “Fallin’ For Her Angels” is a prime example of the seasoned songwriter Callihan truly is. It’s an age old story about the bad boy and the good girl, but brilliantly described on the soul level. Anyone who truly knows Brian Callihan can testify to his iron fortitude in life in general, and his stubbornness in particular. He is the kind of man who targets his passions like a top gun fighter pilot and always flies with confidence. So, it’s not really a surprise that he chose to self-produce his first full length album, only that it took him so long to do it. On this impressive opener to what will no doubt be a very long season of notable future album releases, Brian Callihan proves he can do it all. With his pen, with his guitar, with his voice, and also behind the controls, his brand of country music is 100% him from start to finish.