May. 21, 2008 - Issue #657: Willkommen!
The Charlie Sizemore Band
Who you gonna call? Charlie Sizemore!
You can refer to Charlie Sizemore as a bluegrass singer, a guitarist and a
lawyer, but not as a songwriter.
“It just feels really unnatural for me,” he says from his home
in Goodlettsville, Tennessee, a town that lies just north of Nashville.
“I’m a complete flop as a songwriter.”
He tried songwriting when he first came to Nashville 17 years ago, but
Sizemore says he was miserable because he was told what to write and how to
write it. Ever since, he’s let the songs grow inside him naturally
and only when they’re ready to bloom does he write them down.
“I’ll let a song germinate in my head for sometimes a
year,” he explains slowly, in a classic, southern drawl. “I
don’t take notes and I don’t carry around a pad to write down
song ideas. By the time I get out a pen and a piece of paper, the song is
“The song just takes shape on its own,” he continues. “I
just try to guide it along and help it become what it already
But when he does sit down to write, whether it’s with another person
or by himself, Sizemore has a list of rules that must be followed. The
first is he doesn’t go anywhere for the purpose of writing.
“The idea of going somewhere else to write,” he pauses to
chuckle, “Well, I just could never get used to that.”
The second rule is Sizemore writes what he wants to write and the songs
can’t be forced out of him.
“When I first came to Nashville, I tried songwriting but what other people wanted was different from what I wanted,” he says. “You know, there is such a thing as well-written trash.”
Sizemore has been playing music since he was six years old when he bought a
fiddle that he had been saving up for since he was four. And even though he
can live without songwriting, he says he can’t live without going out
on the road and playing live.
“I’ve never looked at my schedule and said, ‘Gosh, I have
too many dates to play,’ or ‘Shucks, I have to do an
interview,’” he says. “I hate to use the word, but
it’s a passion.”
The musician, who also runs a successful legal practice in Goodlettsville,
says playing on the road is the only way to “clear his
Ironically, he feels awkward in social situations but relishes the bond that forms between himself and the audience. He admits he’s also uncomfortable talking about himself, but not once is there an awkward moment during the interview. In fact, he talks about himself openly and displays true southern hospitality right to the very end of the conversation.
“If you’re ever in the middle of Tennessee and you’re in
a car wreck or get arrested, you know who to call, all right?”
Tue, May 27 (8 pm)
The Charlie Sizemore Band
Royal Alberta Museum, $18 (advance), $20 (door), free (kids under 12 with an adult)
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