Have a first listen to the brand-new Colorado-inspired “country and Midwestern” song.
Teddy Robb’s new tune “Heaven on Dirt” was inspired by his time in Colorado. Originally from Ohio, he moved to the Rockies to immerse himself in mountain music. A gig playing at Pepi’s in Vail a few nights a week resulted in his being discovered when he struck up conversation with a guest who turned out to be from the Recording Academy. The encounter led to some key introductions in Nashville, where Robb has since moved and gotten a publishing deal and a record deal.
He grew up with musical influences like Glen Campbell, the Eagles, Bob Seger, and George Strait and calls his own music country and Midwestern. “It’s rooted in traditional country values and I think you’ll hear that, but I also think you’ll hear the influence of my time out west. That time made such an impact on me and my music.”
He’s played the Today Show, been played on country radio, appeared in Rolling Stone, and racked up over 80 million streams.
For this premiere of “Heaven on Dirt” we talked to Robb about his music, his Western influences, and the songs that lift his spirits.
Cowboys & Indians: What would you like your fans/our readers to know about you, your background, and your music?
Teddy Robb: I’m originally from Akron, Ohio, but I live in Nashville now. I was going through a rough patch in a lot of areas of my life and that had me feeling broken. Broken down, brokenhearted. Just broken. I picked up a guitar and that helped me start putting the pieces back together and I haven’t put it down since!
C&I: You grew up listening to a lot of classic rock and later got into country. What was your big break?
Robb: My big break came when I was actually at my lowest. I was eating dinner at the bar where I usually fronted the house band in Vail, Colorado, and was just wondering whether music was ever going to work out for me. I didn’t know what the next step was. The bar was crowded that night and I offered my table to a group of guys. Next thing you know, they bought me a beer and we started talking about life. Turns out one of the guys was the chief marketing officer of the Grammys and he ended up connecting me with the Nashville Grammy office, which led me to my first producer, Ben Fowler, which led me to Shane McAnally and Katie McCartney at Monument Records.
C&I: Tell us about the new music.
Robb: Honestly, [multi Grammy Award-winning songwriter and producer] Shane McAnally) brought it to me and I just knew immediately that I needed to sing it. The song was written by Pete Good, Ben Foster, AJ Babcock and my label mate, Brandon Ratcliff. Fowler and Shane McAnally produced it. We tracked it at Ocean Way studios in Nashville in early March — right when things were about to get crazy with quarantine.
Because of the climate, I actually did tracking on FaceTime! It was the strangest tracking session I’ve ever been a part of. Once that was done, we were able to do post-production and vocals remotely, so there really weren’t any big issues after that. We were able to complete my first EP during the downtime and now we’re releasing”Heaven on Dirt” to country radio.
C&I: What’s your favorite part of the song?
Robb: “That 40-acre plot where you talked to God ’cause your cell phone didn’t work.” That’s a hard place to find these days. And then the guitar solo — it just takes the production to another level.
We have one video that’s really a nostalgic look at my childhood through some old photos, but we’re working on a couple of other videos. One of them will involve fans and their own personal heaven on dirt. I’m really excited about that one.
C&I: What have you been doing during lockdown?
Robb: The same as most people, really — trying to stay healthy and be as productive as I can. And also eating, drinking, and playing video games with my buddies! But honestly, I’m beyond ready to play live music again. I hope we can get there soon. I’ve been doing a good bit of writing on Zoom. It’s pretty cool, but I also miss being in the room with actual people
C&I: What should we do when we’re in your town (home and current)?
Robb: When you’re in Akron, rent a pontoon boat on Portage Lakes and go bar hopping. In Nashville, go hear some songwriters in a round. There’s really nothing quite like that.
C&I: What’s next for you?
Robb: Constantly working on new music. I just have to be creating new music or getting better on guitar. Besides that, I’m itching to get out and play live music again. We need it.
Teddy Robb’s Feel Good Playlist
“Modern Day Bonnie and Clyde”— Travis Tritt
“Take It Easy” — Eagles
“Peaceful Easy Feeling” — Eagles
“Against the Wind” — Bob Seger
“Get Along” — Kenny Chesney
“Much Too Young” — Garth Brooks
“Gentle on My Mind” — Glen Campbell
“You’ve Got a Friend” — James Taylor
“Angel From Montgomery” — John Prine
“Troubadour” — George Strait
“Dancing in the Dark” — Bruce Springsteen
“Time” — Pink Floyd
Photography: Images courtesy Robert Chavers