Bobby Pinson's songs include political statements, personal mantras, real-life situations, and the examination of the human condition.
Bobby, the son of a high school football coach and an elementary school teacher, grew up in a string of small Texas towns. He was the perennial new kid, so he learned how to connect to others without caring too much 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," Pinson says. "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 went off the air 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 says his early influences were Willie Nelson, Johnny Cash, Kris Kristofferson, Bruce Springsteen, and Steve Earle. 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 in the writings of famed children's book author Shel Silverstein.
Pinson started reading Silverstein's poetry and prose in elementary school. As a child, he competed in the storytelling and writing contests. "They would pick three kids out of each school 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. That's where I learned I was 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, but his efforts weren't an immediate success. "I sent one of my songs to one of those places I saw in a magazine just before I went into the Army," he says. "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, Wash. 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."
After his military stint ended, Pinson began playing clubs and fairs across the country. He moved to Nashville in 1996 with what he calls a "sack full of songs that weren't worth packin'." For the next three years Pinson 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, Pinson signed with Sony/ATV Music as a staff songwriter. In 2000, he signed to what is now known as Stage Three Music. His songs found their way onto albums by LeAnn Rimes, Tracy Lawrence, Blake Shelton, Marty Stuart and Van Zant. Though songwriting was paying his bills, Pinson still wanted to be a singer.
In 2002, Pinson began playing artist/writer showcases around Nashville. Eventually a "Bobby Pinson buzz" was spreading along Music Row.
Producer Joe Scaife, the man behind Gretchen Wilson's smash debut album, heard Pinson at one of these shows and liked Pinson's ruggedness. Pinson and Scaife teamed to produce Pinson's debut album Man Like Me.
"My music is passionate and honest and carved from pieces of my life," Pinson says. "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."
Pinson's lived-in voice paints accurate pictures of pain, regret, God, the devil, and the girls that make you believe in both.