John Fullbright's Musical Hero

GRAMMY-nominated singer/songwriter discusses his songwriting idol and performs at the GRAMMY Museum
  • Photo: Mark Sullivan/
    John Fullbright speaks at the GRAMMY Museum
August 22, 2014 -- 9:05 am PDT

GRAMMY-nominated Americana singer/songwriter John Fullbright recently participated in an installment of the GRAMMY Museum's The Drop series. Before an intimate audience at the Museum's Clive Davis Theater, Fullbright discussed writing the track "Happy" from his latest album Songs, and why he considers the late singer/songwriter Townes Van Zandt his hero. He also performed a brief set, including "High Road."

"He was the guy [who] made me go … 'I want to write songs,'" said Fullbright regarding Van Zandt. "I never got into [Ernest] Hemingway. … But I got into Townes. Townes was my Hemingway. He was my young man's idol."

A native of Okemah, Okla., Fullbright grew up on the music of artists such as Steve Earle, Woody Guthrie, Randy Newman, and Van Zandt. He started playing piano at age 5, and later guitar, and shortly after graduating from high school he began performing on the festival circuit. In subsequent years Fullbright played frequent shows at The Blue Door in Oklahoma City and in 2011 released Live At The Blue Door.

After launching a Kickstarter campaign to fund his debut studio album, in 2012 Fullbright released From The Ground Up on his own Blue Dirt Records. The album peaked in the Top 20 on Billboard's Top Heatseekers chart and earned a GRAMMY nomination for Best Americana Album.

Released in May on Blue Dirt Records, Songs features 12 tracks, including "Happy,"  "When You're Here" and "High Road," and cracked the Billboard 200. Fullbright is currently in the midst of an international tour, with dates scheduled through January 2015.

Upcoming GRAMMY Museum events include The Drop: Joe Henry (Aug. 27), Koaloha Ukulele: From Hawaii To Hollywood — Mele In Film (Aug. 28), The Drop: LP (Sept. 3), and Spotlight: Childish Gambino (Sept. 15). 

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