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In Defense Of The Almighty Catalog – My Interview With Trey Lewis

Photo credit: Trey Bonner

Strange quote, right? It’s one of my favorites, so I guess I’m a strange person and I’ll own that. I’ve actually enjoyed that quote for years and never once thought about including it in anything I’ve written for this publication, that is, until I talked to Trey Lewis. You may know his name, but more than likely, you’re more familiar with his viral hit song. Yeah, that song. I’ll spend a minute on that right now just to get it out of the way, and we’ll venture back down the “Dicked Down in Dallas” road again in a bit. I just need to make one thing crystal clear right off the bat, it was never my intention to get on the phone with Trey Lewis and talk all about that song and nothing else, and I’ll explain why.

Photo credit: Trey Bonner

Video courtesy of Trey Lewis and YouTube

First of all, I’d heard the song when it became the huge iTunes sensation that it did. I knew it. Did it surprise me? Of course it did. Was it secretly pretty catchy? Yep, it was. Its popularity still surprised me, I mean, it hit number one across all genres, yet there was no denying it had an earworm of a melody and the lyrics weren’t too hard to learn. It had “barroom anthem” written all over it, so I guess there was that. Maybe, on second thought, it wasn’t all that surprising after all. Shortly after the song blew up, I learned that a good friend of mine, and a guitar phenom here in town, Ben Miller, was out on the road touring with Trey Lewis. That was a huge signal that this artist had to be a decent guy, no matter what the song was like. Ben Miller is as standup a human being as you’ll find in Nashville and if he was willing to work with Lewis, that was saying something. Completely by coincidence, the very day I learned that Miller was playing guitar for Lewis, I was planning to go to a songwriter round at Live Oak, mainly to see another artist. I happened to look at the flyer for the round and Trey Lewis was also on the bill that night. Well, now I could see what other tricks Lewis had up his sleeve. Or was he really just destined to be the “Dicked Down in Dallas” guy forever and never anything more?

Photo courtesy of Patti McClintic

I went to that round. The place was packed. I made sure to sit right in front of Trey Lewis when he played. I listened to him play quite a few of his songs, and let me tell you, they were absolutely nothing at all like his big number one hit. You wouldn’t know it was the same guy to be honest. This was one seriously great singer/songwriter. I was totally impressed, but of course, when you have a number one song, you have to play it eventually, right? Now, mind you, the bar was filled with people of every legal age and demographic. There were college kids, guys in business suits, senior citizens (yeah, I was one of ’em) and everyone in between.

Video courtesy of Think Country and YouTube

It was a mad mix of humanity, but when Trey Lewis started to play “Dicked Down in Dallas” the place just came to life. It was what they were waiting for, and everyone in that room sang along to every single last word of that rowdy, raunchy song. It was like he found the outlet to the whole joint and he plugged it in. You want to know what I was thinking? I could be wrong, but I would bet my last buck that at least someone in that bar would never admit to liking, much less knowing the lyrics to that song. Yet there they were, singing it at the top of their lungs with a whole bunch of other people. That tells me that deep down, we all have vices. Or are they really vices? Maybe it’s just life and people not taking it too seriously for a few minutes. Something we all should be doing more often. Like Frank Zappa said. I’ll rest my case right here for now.

Well, a little time has gone by since that February show at Live Oak, and I’ve since listened to a lot of Trey Lewis music, so when I was given the chance to interview him, I jumped at it. I really wanted to get to know this artist that’s being labeled as the “Dicked Down in Dallas” guy, and who, after getting to know his other music, I feel deserves a little more credit than that. Does he think so? You can decide for yourself after you read this interview.

“God will not look you over for medals, degrees or diplomas, but for scars.” ~ Elbert Hubbard

Trey Lewis was born in Birmingham, Alabama. Most of his family resides in the Trussville, Oneonta or Springville areas of Alabama to this day. When Lewis was about three-years old, his parents divorced. His mother remarried shortly after that and they moved to Vestavia, Alabama, which according to Lewis was “kind of like the city, and a lot of my friends used to kid me that I was a city boy.” He explained that it was really the suburbs of Birmingham, and that’s where he grew up.

Music was always in his ears as a kid. His mom was a fan of a lot of female artists. The great Carole King and a whole host of the tremendous women of 90s country, like Trisha Yearwood, Pam Tillis, Lorrie Morgan and Patty Loveless. Lewis said, “You know, all the great female artists from the 90s that seem to not exist anymore, you know? All that great, great stuff.” His dad, who took a job out of town, would come to pick him up every other weekend, and would listen to people like Clint Black and Brooks & Dunn in the car as they drove back and forth. As Lewis replayed those drives in his memories while he was telling me about them, I got my first real foreshadowing of him as a person. It was then that I knew I was talking to someone who was far more complex than one viral song with some off-color lyrics.

Photo credit: Trey Bonner

He explained, “It’s really funny now. I look back on it, because you know, my mom and dad, they went through the divorce, and now that I’m older, and I’ve been through a divorce, I know what that music was. My dad would pick me up and we would listen to Clint Black, Brooks & Dunn, you know, just stuff like that. I have some of my fondest memories just ridin’ in the car singin’ some of those Brooks & Dunn songs, but now I can look back on it and those are some sad songs, and he was really goin’ through it, you know? My mom was really goin’ through it, you know what I mean? To me it was just music. My dad passed away when I was 26, and you know, I kinda look back on it and see some of those songs and those were kinda his anthems at the time, you know?” I told him I was sorry he lost his father at such a young age, to which he replied, “Yeah, it was out of the blue. Yeah, it almost broke my heart, but I’m good.” He said that with such a mix of sadness and courage in his voice. I’ll never get it out of my mind.

Photo credit: Trey Bonner

We interview so many artists and we ask so many questions, and no matter how many times you ask the same one, you just never know what you’ll get as an answer. I’ve done countless interviews where I’ve researched an artist like crazy beforehand, so I have a fairly good idea of what they’ll say, but I purposely didn’t read up on Trey Lewis. I didn’t want anything to get in my way or influence my thoughts. I wanted to go in kind of cold. When I asked him when he started singing and playing music, he stunned me, but here again, he opened up some more of himself and showed me that his path to success wasn’t paved with gold. For anyone that believes he got lucky with one freak hit, think again.

Photo credit: Trey Bonner

Lewis started using drugs and drinking when he was 14. That became problematic enough that he ended up in rehab and finally got sober at 19. Think about that for a minute. He was a drug addict and an alcoholic and became sober all before he left his teen years. That’s a rough few years for a kid. The main thing is, he survived it and he has maintained his sobriety since the age of 19. He’s in his 30s now. That’s something to be proud of, but that’s not all of it. I’ll let him tell you what happened. “I went to rehab and after I went to Sober Living in Bessemer, Alabama. That’s like a halfway house, I lived there. They call it Sober Living to make it look pretty, you know?” So, that’s the quick story of how Lewis fell apart from substance abuse and stood back up again, all in a relatively short period of time, at an age where many young men would have resisted any type of help to get better. A sign that resilience was simply a part of who he is.

Video courtesy of Trey Lewis and YouTube

After living at the halfway house, Lewis mended fences with his father. Their relationship had been strained during his younger years, but now it was repaired and he even moved in with his dad for a while. He was working at a smoothie shop at the time, obviously trying to stay on the straight-and-narrow, but obviously something was nagging at him, he wanted to do more. Music was always in his life. He had uncles that played guitar and he said his mom had “this fancy karaoke machine,” but he never really took to any of it before. After getting sober, however, he decided to try his hand at guitar and learned a couple chords. He told me, “I was like, ‘This makes me feel really good, as good as drugs did when I first started doing ’em.’ So, I was like, ‘This is what I wanna do.’ I bought a guitar, I taught myself how to play.” That was how it all began, but wait, there’s more.

He continued, “Once I got sober, I started helping other alcoholics getting sober too, stuff like that, sponsoring people in 12-step fellowships. So, my very first sponsee played guitar and he was in a rock and roll band in Nashville. I came up to Nashville with him one weekend just to kind of be like, his sober guide through it all, and I played some songs for a guy in a studio. That guy was like, ‘Dude, your voice is awesome. Come to Nashville, we want you to record.’ So, I just kind of did that through about the next year or so, and I was like, ‘Alright. I wanna do this.’ So, I did that for a while and I was just hooked, I just couldn’t let go.”

Photo courtesy of Trey Lewis

It was apparent that was when he was sure that was what he needed to be doing with his life, but there were still a couple of major obstacles blocking his way. He didn’t live in Nashville yet and he had a job in Alabama. He was working at the treatment center where he had been a patient. He’d held that job for seven years, which was admirable, but he was also having to take a lot of time off because he was also getting some opening gigs for country artists with tour stops in Birmingham. They would be on radio tours and looking for local acts to open their shows. This was good news for Lewis, but it began to get old for his superiors. Lewis related, “They would ask for a local opener and I would open ’em. I was just takin’ off to play this gig or that gig, and they were tellin’ me, ‘Look, you gotta, like, be here when you say you’re gonna be here or we’re gonna have to do something different.’ I was like, ‘That’s cool. I’m just gonna quit.’ That’s when I was all in. That was like five years ago. So, I’ve been doing music full-time for five years now. I’ve been in Nashville goin’ on my third year now.” That took care of both problems. Nothing more holding him back.

Once in Nashville, what happened next? How did Lewis get himself familiar with how things work? How did he start meeting all the right people? You actually need to backtrack a little bit and head back to Alabama if you really want to know. Sometimes you meet the most important person ever to grace your life in the least-expected place. I’ll let Trey Lewis take the mic and tell you this one.

“I played in a cover band for seven years. We didn’t call it a cover band. I was still Trey Lewis, but we were playin’ covers to make a livin’. About a year-and-a-half before I moved here, I was playin’ in Auburn, Alabama, this bar called SkyBar, and this guy walked in. I was up there on stage and changing the lyrics to a country song to make them kinda naughty. This guy walked up and shook my hand. I didn’t really think anything of it. Then when I first moved to Nashville, I went to Revival (Revival 615 at Tin Roof) and that same guy came up to me and we shook hands. His name is Matt McKinney, and now he’s like my best friend. He’s the writer on the viral ‘Dicked Down in Dallas’ song. Well, he’s one of the writers. There’s three writers on it. (The other two are Brent Gafford and Drew Trosclair). I wasn’t a writer on it, but I just took a chance on a song my friends wrote. Anyway, that was one of the first hands I shook in Nashville, and that’s when I happened to have first met him.”

Photo courtesy of auburnskybar.com

Do you believe in fate? I do. Trey Lewis does. At least he does when it comes to himself and what he was destined to do with his life. Listen to what he had to say about how all the pieces of his existence up until that point started to fit together. “I truly believe everything I went through in my past really set me up for success, and how things were kinda gonna be. Like how I started going to 12-step fellowship and I would sit in the back of the room and not talk to anybody. If I saw somebody comin’ my way, I’d pull out my phone and pretend like somebody was calling. The more I stayed, the more I did the work, and the more I got to know the people and became a part of the community. You know, all that kind of changed for me. “

Photo courtesy of Trey Lewis

Lewis continued the story. “That was kind of the same thing as when I moved to Nashville, but I knew that coming in that it wasn’t going to be easy to meet people, because the town can be like high school sometimes, you know? Yeah, that’s kind of the real disgusting part of it, but you know, there were many nights where I would go to the bar and I don’t drink, so I’m already kind of like, oddball out, you know? But if I didn’t tell you I didn’t drink, you wouldn’t know it. There’s plenty of people that are like, ‘We got drunk last night,’ and I’m like, ‘Dude, I don’t drink,’ and they’re like, ‘What?’ So, if I don’t tell you I’m sober, you don’t know it. I’m very comfortable in my own skin and with what the program’s done for me, but anyway, there were many nights where I would just go to the bar and not talk to anybody, or I would talk to people and just kinda be like, ‘Alright, this ain’t gonna be my night. I’m just gonna go home and try again another day.’ But when I moved here I knew that this is what I wanted to do and this is where I was supposed to be, but I’ve got the rest of my life to figure this out and I’ll try again another day. So, I just kept goin’ back. At the 12-step fellowship they say to just keep comin’ back and showin’ up, and I kept comin’ back and showin’ up.”

Video (audio) courtesy of Trey Lewis and YouTube

He went on, “I had some songs that I had written, and I had a friend, Kyle Coulahan, we opened for Riley Green, he did and I did, a couple years before I moved to Nashville. So, when I moved here I knew him. He introduced me to the whole Freak Show (Music Row Freak Show) family, Terri Jo Box and all them. They kind of took me in as their adopted son, so that was kind of like a cool thing, and that was kind of how I met people. I mean, really I just kinda, you know, you just meet people and you have a connection with ’em. Really between Kyle Coulahan and Matt McKinney, like, Matt McKinney’s such a… I don’t know the word, but he’s like the kinda guy that can bring different crowds of people together, you know? He’s like the common bond in between those people. You know, people don’t want to talk about it, but Nashville is kinda like a high school. You’ve got your cliques. You’ve got people that do this type of music and that type of music. It’s kinda like cliques in high school, sports and whatever. Matt McKinney has the innate ability to bring all those people together. I’m not saying he’s the only reason, ’cause there’s Alex Maxwell and all of them, but you know, I just try to be friends with everybody, you know what I mean? I’m not better or less than anybody else. I think that what it comes down to in Nashville is, if you’ve got good songs, you’ve got a good head on your shoulders, you don’t do shady shit and you’re good to people, things will happen.”

“I think that what it comes down to in Nashville is, if you’ve got good songs, you’ve got a good head on your shoulders, you don’t do shady shit and you’re good to people, things will happen.” ~ Trey Lewis

Alex Maxwell (left) Photo credit: Trey Bonner

Things will happen. Things did happen. They really happened. The “trashy little song that could” debuted at number one on December 1, 2020. It shot right to the top of the mountain. If you’ve ever been to a songwriter show with a hit writer playing, you’ve probably heard the expression “the song that changed my life,” and there’s a reason that phrase will be repeated forever in this city. It’s because it only takes one song to actually do that, to really and truly change a person’s whole life. As crazy as it sounds, “Dicked Down in Dallas” changed Trey Lewis’ life. In a day. The beauty of it is, it didn’t just change his life for the better. I know there are people that just came to this interview for the “DDID” story anyway, we may as well just get to it, right? Let’s go.

Image courtesy of Trey Lewis

I mentioned to Trey Lewis that I was at that Live Oak show and I told him I was taking mental notes during his performances, especially “Dicked Down in Dallas.” Of course, that wasn’t difficult, because as I said, things became rather electrified when that was going on. If you didn’t notice what was happening, you either had too much to drink or you must have left early. Lewis responded to my comments with, “Yeah. That was a moment.” I’m sure that happens at every show he plays, and whether he was just being considerate of me noticing the crowd interaction or whether it was actually somehow different or special to him, I’m not sure. In any event, he went on with some details about the song and what he’s experienced since it’s become a part of his life.

Photo courtesy of Patti McClintic

“I haven’t really experienced much hate for the song. Nobody’s said anything to me. Sometimes you get the feelin’, like somebody will say, ‘Hey, congratulations on all your stuff,’ and you know, they’re talkin’ shit with their buddies, you know what I mean? Like, behind your back? I don’t know. I haven’t experienced any of that because everyone that knows me and knows what kind of person I am and what I stand for, to see those people truly happy for me, like that’s really cool. Because it’s changed my life. It’s changed my band members’ lives. Guys that have been with me for years. We’ve just been pounding the pavement. Now we’re all really makin’ a living and getting to do something cool. You know, we get to play these shows, and you know, our motto is ‘Come In a ‘Dicked Down in Dallas’ Fan and Leave a Trey Lewis Fan.’

“Come In a ‘Dicked Down in Dallas’ Fan and Leave a Trey Lewis Fan.” ~ Trey Lewis

When Lewis told me the band motto, I was really happy to hear that. That was pretty much my objective in writing this piece, even before I spoke with him, but even more after our conversation. I just wanted people to listen to his other music. I had no idea how he was as a person. I just thought the guy deserved a fair shake when it came to his musical abilities. It turned out he was a whole lot more than a really good artist. He’s a really good human being and that needs to count for something extra. It’s my opinion that no artist should be defined by one song, even if that song happens to be a viral number one hit, and even if that hit happens to have some explicit language.

Mitch Gosche (left) Photo credit: Trey Bonner

As kind of a “commercial break” right smack in the middle of this interview, I took that opinion and I tested it. I wanted to know if I was the only one that felt the way I did. I’ve heard people complain about “Dicked Down in Dallas” a time or two. Of course, I suspect those complaints came from people that never bothered to listen to any of Trey Lewis’ other songs, and there are plenty of them out there, all quite different from the one that gets all the attention. So, I took to my own personal Facebook page and I asked the question: Do you believe an artist’s biggest hit defines who they are as an artist? Or do you take into consideration their complete catalog (everything, even things like “experimental” projects, etc.)? The overwhelming majority said the entire catalog is what matters. There were a few who elaborated by adding other factors they considered, but overall, it was the catalog. These answers came from both music fans and music professionals alike. Here’s just one response from a Michigan music fan:

“I look at everything personally, if they wrote the music, play an instrument, their vocals. All of it. Anybody can be a singer, but it takes truly talented people to be artists.” ~ Becky Zwyghuizen Garvelink, Hudsonville, Michigan

So, in that very un-scientific little experiment on Facebook, I came to this conclusion. Out of 52 responses, the vast majority told me they consider the catalog to be more important than a hit song in defining an artist, and really the other replies were either tongue-in-cheek type jokes or answers like the one above, so for the most part, it was a win for the catalog. That tells me that nobody should discount Trey Lewis’ artistic abilities because he recorded “Dicked Down in Dallas” and nobody should judge him for choosing to do so either. It was, after all, a fortunate decision on his part and it’s never a good idea to tear into someone else’s success, especially when they’ve achieved it completely legally and through hard work. I’ve done my homework here. I’ve listened to Trey Lewis’ entire catalog. I’ve listened to his number one hit. I’ve heard him play acoustically live all by himself. He isn’t a one-hit wonder with a one-track mind. He’s a serious songwriter that happens to have recorded a song he didn’t write, with lyrics that might not fly in church, but they sure fly in a crowded bar, and they’ll fly in an arena. You can take that to the bank, just like he is.

Terry Adams (left) Mitch Gosche (right) Photo credit: Trey Bonner

Back to your regularly scheduled Trey Lewis interview. I asked Lewis to give me a little more as far as anyone that thinks he’s only got one song in his bag of tricks with the “big” one. He said, “I know people look at me kinda funny when I talk about God because I have a song that’s so explicit, or when I pray or something, but that’s a part of my life and I do it every day. I have a really good relationship with my Creator, but the deal is, as musicians, as people that create things for people, we have a job to either make somebody laugh, make somebody cry, bring somebody through something they’re goin’ through in their life, make ’em happy or make ’em smile, you know? I think that music is universal, the universal language, and I think that, like you said, I have a wide variety of music that’s different from that song. I have one song that’s more pop, or one song that’s more rock, or whatever. That’s the deal. Music is just music and I’m not worried if it’s too country, or if it’s too poppy, or if it’s too rocky, or whatever. I think music will all go into one big genre one day anyway. If you create, just create. That was always the only thing I ever wanted to do was put music out and play my own music for a living, but anything that happens past this point is just icing on the cake, you know?”

Photo credit: Trey Bonner

To add to my argument that Lewis needs to be taken seriously, he’s been working with some really talented people. While I didn’t read up on his life history, I did check out some of his music credits, and I saw the name Nolan Neal pop up more than a few times. Nolan Neal, for those that don’t know, is an extremely talented singer/songwriter from Nashville who has appeared on both The Voice and America’s Got Talent. He also works as a producer. A recovering drug addict, Neal appeared on America’s Got Talent to share his story, hoping it would impact those in similar situations.

Photo courtesy of Nolan Neal

I very recently had some friends visiting from out of town and we stopped into the Hotel Indigo to see some live music. Oddly enough, Nolan Neal was the performer that day. This is how the Nashville tangled web is constantly becoming even more tangled up. That day, I had no idea I would be writing about him in this piece, and that was only a little over a week ago. Today, here we are. I have been a fan of Neal’s work for quite some time now, so I was glad to see him playing at Indigo, and I was happier to see his name credited on so much of Trey Lewis’ music. I asked Lewis how he and Neal became connected.

Lewis explained how he met Nolan Neal by saying, “When I told you earlier about that producer that I played a couple songs for when I first came to town, the one that said, ‘Move here and we’ll do an EP,’ it starts there. I moved up here and lived on a couch and we were havin’ trouble gettin’ things rollin’ and I was like, ‘Well, I’m up here. I’m not gonna just pack up and go home. I’m gonna make something work.’ So, I thought maybe I just need to do what I always did. So, I went to a meeting and I was sittin’ down next to this guy and he was sharing this crazy shit, and I was like, ‘This guy thinks like I do,’ and that was Nolan. He was hostin’ a writers round that night at Hotel Indigo and I went down there and we met, and then I asked him if he wanted to produce my project, and he’s been producing my music on and off for the last ten years. We wrote ‘Lying Ex to Me,’ and ‘Whiskey Miss Me.’ He wrote on my 2012 record. I think he wrote almost every song on that record, or if he wrote it, or if I cut one of his songs, or if he co-wrote it with me. He’s a super-talented guy. He’s one of my best friends. I can tell him anything. I can talk to him about anything. Of course, he’s been on The Voice and he’s been out in L.A., so that’s kinda how I started working with (Alex) Maxwell on producing my stuff, ’cause Nolan was out in L.A., but Nolan’s back in Nashville.”

Video courtesy of Trey Lewis and YouTube

Tangled webs, strange coincidences. Hotel Indigo. Did you catch that? I have been to Hotel Indigo exactly three times in seven years. One of which was less than two weeks ago. Who was there? Nolan Neal. Did I know he was going to be there? No. Did I know he worked with Trey Lewis? Not then. Where did Trey Lewis first hang out with Nolan Neal after that initial meeting? Hotel Indigo. The weird scenes inside the goldmine just keep getting weirder. This town is full of stories like this.

If I haven’t yet convinced you to at least give Trey Lewis a shot and check out something else besides that one mammoth hit song (and by all means, keep spinning that one too, the checks are most appreciated I’m sure), let’s go for the whole damned thing. Go see him live and if you still don’t like him, you can send me all the hate mail you want. He’s touring. His show dates are available on his website listed below. Find a show near you and just go for it. He’s really good and he has a killer band too. Asked how the tour has been going Lewis responded with, “It’s going really good. It’s really fun. This weekend is my first weekend off. We’ve played 48 shows since January. We’re one of the only ones. We played our first arena show. That was cool. It was with HARDY and Niko Moon. After Midtown was on the bill too. That was really fun. That was in Biloxi, Mississippi. That was supposed to be outside, but they moved it inside.” Sharing stages with cool artists like HARDY and Niko Moon? Not too shabby. Get yourself to a Trey Lewis gig before he’s the headliner and the new artists are hoping to open for him.

Matt Mcilwain Photo credit: Trey Bonner

Lewis mentioned earlier that you meet people via connections. Nothing could be more true in this town. If you do all the right things, and you “don’t do shady shit,” as he said, you’ll meet good people that will introduce you to other good people. Connections. There are good ones and there are very, very bad ones. When you find the good ones, you know it, especially if you’ve encountered those bad ones. One of the really good ones is Ben Miller, Lewis’ guitar player. I’ve interviewed Ben Miller for Think Country. That was when he was playing with Riley Green. Although he isn’t with Green anymore, the interview is still one of my personal favorites. You can read it right here: https://thinkcountrymusic.com/whats-new/guitarist-ben-miller-opens-the-vault-for-think-country/ It still holds up pretty well. I was interested to know how Lewis and Miller managed to connect. Here it is in Lewis’ own words:

“So, we did the Riley Green show and I met Ben there. Same place I met Kyle Coulahan. I think me and Ben became friends on social media or something. Me and my other guitar player Terry (Adams), we looked up Ben’s music on YouTube. He has this band called A Band Called BEN. He has videos on YouTube and some other stuff, and I would just listen to it. Then one day I just texted him about it and we just kinda organically built this relationship. When I moved to Nashville I was like, ‘Hey, if you ever want to get together and try and write some songs, let’s do it.’ So, we wrote some songs together. He was still playing with Riley. My manager owns a production company based out of Birmingham, and when Riley did the ‘There Was This Girl’ video at ZYDECO in Birmingham, it’s a venue, my manager’s team ran lights and I ran into Ben there. So, we always had this passing thing. Then I guess when ‘Dicked Down in Dallas’ came out and went number one on the iTunes charts, he called me up one day and said, ‘You’ve got a number one song for saying the F word!'”

Ben Miller Photo credit: Trey Bonner

He continued, “We wanted to add another piece to the live show and I knew Ben’s reputation, and I knew him good enough to know that we thought alike, and he could come in and whip us into shape and get us where we needed to be as far as the band. Take us to that next level. My response to him that day when he said that about the song was, ‘You ready to lead a band?’ He said, ‘You askin’?’ So, I called him up and asked him what he needed. I said, ‘Whatever you need, let’s do it.’ We worked out an agreement and we’ve been rollin’ ever since. you know, he’s like a brother.”

Ben Miller Photo credit: Trey Bonner

No matter what else you take from this interview. You can take my word that anyone that puts their faith in Ben Miller is probably a decent guy and a good judge of character. Even a guy that would sing lyrics your pastor might not say at Sunday’s sermon (even if he’s saying it all week long at the golf course with his pals). Nobody’s perfect all the time and everyone’s just trying to make a paycheck and get through this thing called life.

Photo credit: Trey Bonner

With all the real heavy stuff out of the way, we had a few precious minutes left. Trey Lewis was on his way to go sing a demo and I was crunched for time with another interview right after ours, but we crammed in a few more frivolous things. I pulled a random question card from a Chat Pack. It said, “On a scale of one to ten, with one being not at all, and ten being very much so, how superstitious are you?” Lewis’ response? “I’d say a five.” We determined that means he may or may not walk under any given ladder. If you see him near any ladders, take video. I’ll be interested.

I asked him to name a venue he’s played that was so cool he’d almost play it again for free. His answer? “I’d say Cahoot’s in Lebanon, Tennessee.”

This is for anyone that’s bound to be in close proximity to Trey Lewis and feels the need to do a little personal grooming. Think twice. When asked what one of his pet peeves was, he said, “People clippin’ their fingernails with, like, toenail clippers. It’s like fingernails on a chalkboard.” It obviously weirds him out. Find a bathroom or another state.

Lewis’ current favorite band? “I still haven’t seen Eric Church live. I really wanna see him, but I only wanna do front row.” Front row or don’t go. I can be on board with that. I told him I’ll only see Trey Lewis if I can be front row. I guess I need to know somebody.

Finally, when Trey Lewis “Thinks Country” what does he think? “Well, I think fishin’ and country music.”

Photo courtesy of Trey Lewis

There’s simply no better way to end it than right there, right? Wrong. That would be perfect if I wasn’t on a mission, but I am. I don’t go for getting on big soapboxes about many things, but this is really basic. Life is short. Celebrate someone else’s success. Whether you’re a music fan or another artist, be happy when something good happens to a fellow human being. Often times it’s envy that causes people to rain on someone else’s parade, sometimes just because we don’t like the original source of whatever caused someone to be successful we’ll talk down on it. I’m guilty of it myself, but the older I get, the more I’m working on checking myself with these things.

If you absolutely can’t handle “Dicked Down in Dallas” (even though I know there are people out there that like it and will never admit it) don’t let that one song keep you away. It’s opened many doors for Trey Lewis and those associated with him, and that’s to be celebrated, but there are a lot of layers to this artist, and there’s a whole catalog waiting to be explored. I am urging you to go and listen to it. Really soak it up. Go see him live. Meet him after a show. See him as a real person and not just the “Dicked Down in Dallas” guy because he’s so much more than that. He’s actually not that at all. He’s Trey Lewis from Birmingham/Nashville. He’s a singer/songwriter. He’s been sober since he was 19. He’s helped others get sober. He’s just a guy with scars. He would have been a guy with wounds that never healed had he not been a resilient person that wanted to do better for himself. Instead, he has scars, and God only looks for scars. He isn’t going to give a rip about that song.

Photo credit: Trey Bonner

Photo credit: Trey Bonner

For more news, interviews, reviews and features that always bring country closer, please visit http://thinkcountrymusic.com

Trey Lewis can be found:

Website: https://treylewismusic.com/

*Featured photo credit: Trey Bonner


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