Kick yourself for stumblin' but never leave your feet
Lie awake with your mistakes and find peace piece by piece
Pray that you wake up as who you want to be
That's how you make a man like me
Born of triumph and tragedy, Bobby Pinson's songs embody the power and integrity to take them across the width of today's musical landscape. Political statements, personal mantras, real-life situations, and the examination of the human condition all find a place in Bobby's diverse material. When the panhandle Texan sings of who he is, where he's been, and at what cost, his photographic voice rings with gritty truth. "I've been wrong enough to know what right is," says Pinson of his life that's so vividly depicted in the music that he affectionately calls "Gutter and Grace."
"A John Deere tractor with an airplane engine" best describes Bobby's explosive mixture of country roots, rock 'n' roll energy and down-to-earth lyrics that springs from his heart.
Bobby's the son of a high school football coach and an elementary school teacher who "grew up fifty miles past the middle of nowhere in the land of wind and dirt where football was life, Dad was boss, and Christ was King." Raised in a string of small Texas towns, the perennial new kid learned that you immediately had to find a connection with somebody, while at the same time having almost a blatant disregard for what they thought. "You had to figure out what mattered to them, and at the same time, have a real strong sense of what mattered to you," says Pinson. "I think that's why my music is what it is."
"I lived in these towns without radio. The one trucker station we could get faded in and out, then off at midnight. I wasn't allowed to go to any concerts and I never bought many records. Not that I was deprived, I just did other things. I'd sing around the house and play my Dad's guitar, but my musical influences didn't really come until later in my life."
Pinson credits artist songwriter greats Willie Nelson, Johnny Cash, Kris Kristofferson, Bruce Springsteen, and Steve Earle with influencing that high school boy who is thirteen years into a career that's just now surfaced. Though he attributes his "first three chords" to his dad and his early interest in songwriting to his grandpa, Pinson's first fascination with rhyme was found on the pages of famed children's poet, Shel Silverstein.
Bobby started reading Silverstein's poetry and prose in elementary school. He competed in the Texas Universal Interscholastic League (UIL) storytelling and writing contests. "Like in the third grade, they would pick three kids out of each school, get them in a classroom and read them a story. They would call your name and you would have to tell that story back in three minutes. The child with the most descriptive story and most animated performance won. As you get older, it's poetry, prose, extemporaneous speaking, then dramatic interpretation - where you take a piece and play out all the characters - you're reading, but you're also acting it out with your voice. That's where I learned I was pretty naturally animated. Over the years, I have incorporated those storytelling skills into my singing style and stage presence. "
Bobby started writing songs the summer he graduated from high school, though he admits he got off to a rough start. "I sent one of my songs to one of those places I saw in a magazine just before I went into the Army. The only piece of mail I got during basic training was a letter from that magazine rejecting my song."
"I spent my last year in the Army closing down Fort Ord. I would sing at each battalion's closing ceremony as they relocated one by one to Fort Lewis, Washington. I was one of the last hundred soldiers on Fort Ord. My band would come on post and we'd rehearse in an old abandoned mess hall. And we sounded like it."
After three years in the U.S. Army, Bobby paid the first of his dues playing clubs and fairs across the country. In 1996, Pinson moved to Music City with a "sack full of songs that weren't worth packin'." The pursuit of his artist aspirations proved to be fruitless in the beginning. For the next three years, Bobby delivered everything from pizzas to the Yellow Pages, worked as a banquet server and bought and sold junk at yard sales and auctions to survive.
In 1999, Bobby signed with Sony/ATV Music as a staff songwriter. In 2000, he signed to what is now known as Stage Three Music. Bobby's songs found their way onto albums by LeAnn Rimes, Tracy Lawrence, Blake Shelton, Marty Stuart, Van Zant, and more. Though songwriting steadily became his Nashville toehold, Pinson's artist aspirations were alive and well.
In 2002, Pinson started playing artist/writer showcases around Nashville. Though there were no record label eyebrows raised in the beginning, the "Bobby Pinson buzz" was spreading fast among the underbelly of Music Row.
Producer Joe Scaife heard him at one of these shows and, excited about what he heard, began to work with Bobby. It was the "pre-Gretchen Wilson" Scaife who was interested in Pinson's raw ruggedness. Four million Gretchen records later, Scaife got his shot with Pinson when RCA's Renee Bell asked, "Joe, what else ya got?" After nine years and some 30 outside cuts, Pinson and Scaife teamed to produce Bobby's debut album, Man Like Me.
"My music is passionate and honest and is carved from pieces of my life. Not that everything is literally true, but the feelings are true, and the emotions and experiences are real, even if they're not mine. I put myself into the character of that small town guy who's made it out, or the one who hasn't.
"I think there are a lot of lessons to be learned without saying, 'Here's what ya gotta do.' I've never come from that spot. My parents didn't come from that spot with me. It was like they were telling me, 'you'll figure it out, but if you want a hint, here it is.' That's what I try to do with my songs. I'm just a guy who's been 'the idiot' who doesn't mind saying so for a good cause. I think people will hear 'the idiot' long before they'll listen to the man on the soapbox.
"Some people have called me an 'outlaw.' Boy, Waylon Jennings and Johnny Cash would get a good laugh out of that. I just think for myself and speak my mind. With that often comes the 'outlaw' tag, but I'm just honest and real and not askin' anyone for permission to do what I do. If that scares the Hell out of somebody, then so be it!"
Pinson's "lived-in" vocals paint the real life pictures of pain, regret, God, the devil, and the girls that make you believe in both. His songs are colored with wit, stained with whiskey and framed with hard won "wisdom by default." Bobby Pinson's music is that oil on canvas portrait of who you were, who you are, and who you want to be, that you wish you could hang on your wall and look at everyday on your way out the door.
--- from the official Bobby Pinson website