PMK•BNC Entertainment Strategies
When country singer Brett Eldredge stopped in Cleveland last summer to perform with superstar Luke Bryan at Progressive Field, he tried to spend some time in the city and not just hole up in his hotel room before heading over to the stadium for the concert.
“I got to roam around Cleveland that day,” says Eldredge in a short 10-minute phone call from a Denver tour stop. He comes to Jacobs Pavilion at Nautica
with opener Devin Dawson at 7:30 p.m. on Friday, Sept. 28. “I love the vibe there. There are cool new restaurants there. I’m a big believer in checking out the cities where I play. I can’t sit on the bus for a long time. I really love Cleveland and can see the city’s charm. I’m excited to be back as the headliner now. Being there with Luke at the baseball stadium was amazing.”
Eldredge’s affection for Cleveland probably has something to do with his Midwestern upbringing. He grew up in Paris, IL, a city he describes as “the middle of nowhere.”
“Coming from a place like that, you really create your own connections with people, and I think that’s why some of the most amazing people in the world are from the Midwest,” he says, adding that his biggest inspiration was crooner Frank Sinatra. “I love the values I was brought up with and have carried on through my life and the connection with people. I think that’s why I love music so much.”
A late bloomer, Eldredge didn’t start writing his own songs until junior year of college. He then moved to Nashville where he became inspired by the people there whom he says were “standing up on stage, telling their own stories in front of people and playing guitar.”
“At that point, I realized that I needed to figure out how to do all that stuff,” he says. “I developed a love for country music and never looked back.”
He started writing songs for other artists, and in October of 2009, he inked a deal with Atlantic Records.
“I didn’t push myself on any labels because I wanted to be ready,” he says. “I took my time. A buzz started happening, and I started getting the calls from labels. It was a whirlwind, but when I signed to Atlantic, it was the right time.”
In 2010, he released the single, “Raymond.” The song made a decent splash on the Billboard charts, but when the follow-up single flopped, Eldredge says he knew it wasn’t going to be easy to kickstart his career.
“I got that first song out there, and it got me into the dance,” he says. “My second single didn’t even chart. I knew then that I needed to dive in and get it right. I wanted to make that debut album happen. [The album] went No. 1, but it didn’t happen overnight. I’m glad it didn’t happen overnight. I think if my first song would have gone to No. 1 right away, I would’ve thought it was easy.”
With his latest album, a self-titled effort, Eldredge says he sought to “dive even deeper.” The twangy album opener, “Love Someone,” sets the tone for the album. “I’m falling for you over and over again,” Eldredge sings over a tapestry of acoustic guitars and mandolins. With its sonic swells and exuberant vocals, “Superhero” has pop/rock crossover potential, and the ballad “The Long Way” shows off Eldredge’s soulful voice. The mid-tempo "Cycles," a ballad that finds Eldredge talking more than he sings, chronicles falling in and out of love with the same person.
“[With Brett Eldredge
], I wanted to show more of the depth that I have, and I want to continue to grow,” he says. “It’s got big vocal moments and songs about my honest relationship with love. It’s not just about being in love but struggling to find love too. I don’t wanna hide anything. The more honest I can be with my music, the more special [the songs] come out. I think the album came out really special because of that. It’s got some breakup songs on it, but I think it’s a reality of love record. It’s not all sunshine and rainbows. It’s ups and downs, and I’ve sure been through all of them. I relate to that experience a lot, and when I start writing about that, I just can’t stop.”
Brett Eldredge, Devin Dawson, 7:30 p.m. Friday, Sept. 28, Jacobs Pavilion at Nautica, 2014 Sycamore St., 216-912-7032. Tickets: $80.13, livenation.com.