A couple of weeks ago, I had a chance to chat with singer songwriter Cody Bowen, who recently released a new single to honor long haul truckers, those unsung knights of the road who bring the necessities of life to our communities and are often taken for granted by many. Cody is certainly no stranger to the Country lifestyle. He was raised in Spruce Pine, Alabama, an authentic slice of small town America. As Cody put it, he grew up in “the kind of place Country music was written about”, where on “Friday nights, everybody shuts down to go watch the football game”. Unlike those small town denizens who drift away from their hometowns, for whatever reason, Cody has remained true to his roots, and it is clear that those roots run deep; Cody’s family settled in northwest Alabama more than 150 years ago. Although he admits that some things have changed, the community still has a small town feel “where everybody still knows everybody”.
Likewise, Cody is no stranger to the music scene, either. In his early life, he greatly admired the musical ability of his grandfather, who played guitar and sang in the local church choir. Later, his grandad would pass the guitar along to Cody, an instrument he plays to this day. He got his start back in his college days in Tuscaloosa. Inspired by local bands and touring artists, Cody got some buddies together and formed a band. Although lacking in experience, he was determined to make music a part of his life. He explained, “I taught myself how to play, and how to write. I had some really good mentors along the way.”
Later, Cody found his way to Muscle Shoals, Alabama, the “hit recording capital of the World”. Cody describes the city as a kind of Country music crossroads. “You have the blues in Memphis. You have Country in Nashville. You have the Mississippi Delta, which is sandwiched in between. And then you have Muscle Shoals … and all of these huge artists recorded there. It’s sort of this hidden gem.” Hoping for a chance, Cody started hanging around Fame Studios and soon started making some friends and finding some contacts. Soon, those contacts would lead to the release of his first album.
Cody’s new single, State Lines, was penned in appreciation of over the road truckers. When asked to explain his motivation for writing the song, Cody told me that he works in the trucking industry, and has come to know many of the drivers on a personal basis. “Our guys are what we call ‘over the road’, they’re long haul. It’s not like they’re home every night. the more I saw that and the more I worked with these guys, I developed a real appreciation of what they do. They are forced to stay on the road and stay away from the very family they are working to support. And with this Covid 19 … we’ve got these guys going out and exposing themselves just to keep the world turning. You can build all the ventilators you want, you can make all the masks. But, if you don’t have trucks to haul it from the manufacturer to the consumer, what good is it”. Very well said, indeed!
State Lines is available on Spotify, Google Play Music, Amazon and other outlets, and has found a fair amount of airplay on radio stations across the nation. You can listen to the song, as well as my interview with Cody, via the links below.