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Nathan Bartgis: “God gave me this gift for some reason”

His EP That Kinda Man is a real contestant for the 10 best albums of the year and he’s got a new Song When Your Rock Turns To Stone coming out on SEP-14 – so we catched with the great Nathan Bartgis to talk about music, religion and real snakebites.

How come that you only started playing music 4 years ago, your music and lyrics sound so very profound so one would guess you’ve been doing this your whole life?
Music as a kid was never a big part of my life. I would listen to whatever was on the radio while riding in the car which was mostly 90’s Country. But that’s as far as music went for me really. I never really had any albums or cds that I’d listen to in my free time. I most definitely did not enjoy music classes in school!! So most of my free time as a kid and teen was spent playing sports. I didn’t start digging into music until probably 6 years ago. And as far as playing, singing and writing music, that all started around the time I met my wife. I got back into going to church and straightening myself out a bit thanks to her. Not long after I got baptized and became saved. About 2 weeks after I started teaching myself guitar and writing songs and have been at ever since. I never once in my life thought in a million years that this was the path I would go down. But I know God gave me this gift for some reason. So I intended to give it a shot and see what becomes of it.

We really dig the song Snakebite – what’s the story behind?
Snakebite is one of my songs that I’m most proud of! It took me about a year to actually complete this song. I started out writing this song about an experience I had when I was eleven. I was fishing on my uncle’s farm and got bit by a 4 ft rattle snake. However, I then put a more relatable twist on the song so people could relate to it. But all while comparing that personal experience I had to just life in general. Because after all, not everyone has been bitten by a snake before haha…. But the song more or less is about the fight that we all have within ourselves to try and do things right. Even though it seems like everywhere you look in the world today it’s so easy to do the wrong thing. So within the song, the word “Snakebite” is referring to sin.

You got a new single When Your Rock Turns To Stone coming out SEP-14 – what can we expect?
For the new single coming out in September I think I’d have to say…. expect to be a little surprised. But in a good way! This song will stand apart from my songs on my That Kinda Man EP Album. Not because it’s any better or the other ones are any worse. But just because I’m expressing a more traditional sound on this song. Imagine a George Strait or Keith Whitley song and then just put my singing style behind it. I’m very happy with the way it turned out. I think it will show people versatility in my singing ability and the ability to be able to make the listener feel the song.

How did you and your band mates come together?
All the guys in my band live locally within 20 minutes of each other. Alex Sellars on lead guitar and Chris Houck on the bass I met about 3 and a half years ago. However, we lost touch and reconnected within the last year and started playing again. Robbie Burkhart on harmonica and TL Bartles on Guitar I met about a little over a year ago and they were the first two to start playing with me to start up the band. And last but not least, Troy Keller on the drums I met through Chris just this past New Year. Chris and Troy have been playing together for 30 years and were childhood friends.

Are you embarking on a bigger US tour soon and how about plans for crossing the big pond?
Right now we have a lot going on. There are no current set dates for a US tour yet. However, it is on the list of things to get worked out. Right now we are focusing mainly on promotion and getting my name out along with my music and building a solid fan base. As far as coming across the pond. We have had a gentleman reach out to my management about possibly doing a USO military tour overseas but that is still in the working stages and has not yet been determined.

Which artists are you most influenced by?
I’m influenced by so many artist it’s hard to count. But the first artist I was influenced by was Jamey Johnson. He was one of the first artist I really started digging into and really listening and paying attention to the lyrics of his songs.

Where do you get your inspiration from for your lyrics and music?
I think it would be hard for me to pinpoint a specific thing or idea that inspires me as far as writing goes. I just try to take my life and things that I’ve experienced and learned and try to tie that in on what I’ve seen other people go through. Because at the end of the day everybody has their own story but if you can make someone feel like they lived some of the same things I’m singing about in my songs… Well I think that’s what it takes to draw people into the music without just forcing something down their throats because it’s being played 50 times a day on the same loop… lol

Where do the ideas for the videos come from?
As far as the videos go. I just let them tell the same story as the song does. Just visually instead of verbally. I’m hoping before this year is over to have a video with the new single I’m about to release in Sept.

If one would like to compare you with any other well-known artist/band who would you name or would you like to be mentioned with?
I can’t say it’s a goal of mine to try to be like any other artist or band. I’m just being myself and plan on being the type of artist to give off that ’what you see is what you get’ appearance. And I’m going to stay true to myself and who I am. However, I’ve had people say my music and voice reminds them of George Strait, Randy Travis, Jamey Johnson, Chris Stapleton, Stevie Ray Vaughn, and I even had a sound engineer that was working with me in Nashville telling me that my writing reminded him of Ronnie Van Zant. All of these I consider to be great compliments and I could only hope to be able to accomplish what all these great artists have, within in my music career.

You are recording in Nashville, any plans for moving there since it’s the mecca for country music and country artists?
I don’t have any plans to move to Nashville. If it becomes necessary to have to do so I will most definitely consider it. But I don’t believe you absolutely have to be in Nashville to have a successful music career. Especially nowadays with all of the social media and networking that is available with today’s technology.

What makes Nashville so special for a musician?
I can’t speak for everyone when I say this. But I think what makes Nashville special for a musician, or at least especially a Country Music musician is all of the history that’s there. When you think of places like the Ryman Auditorium and the Grand Ole Opry. Those are two of ‘in my opinion’ the top 2 venues to play as a Country Music artist.

Any insider tips for Nashville e.g. restaurants, bars, clubs, must see places
I don’t go out on the town much when I’m in Nashville. Mostly just there to work and then head back home. But there are a few places I’ve been and places I recommend. The Nashville Palace and The Grand Ole Opry at Opryland. Are worth checking out for sure.

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