I came down to Alexander City to see family at the end of March. My aunt had been sick, so I wanted to see her. It was tough knowing we had to say goodbye. So I spent a few days with family and after a while I wanted to give them time alone. My cousin Dook was right beside his mama all the way up till the end. It was bittersweet.
I got out to get some air and take a little breather. Bo Jones was over at Jason Tapley’s Production 81 Music Group & Recording Studio working on some new music. I had wanted Bo to cut some of my songs, so I went over to the studio and we hung out and worked on songs. I started laying down a song my friend Davis Nix and I started and Charlie Argo and I had finished. Charlie and I had just finished it up literally days before I came to town.
About that time, these two cool looking guys walked in. They had this swagger to them and just looked sharp. You could just feel the energy from them both. I had just come out of the vocal booth with this new song.
It was then I met Tre’Cinco and ATK.
Jason had told me about these guys. There were a few other folks in the studio with us and you could sense something extraordinary in the air. I asked Jason his thoughts on having these guys, who were signed with him at Production 81, about maybe adding something to the beat.
Well, his eyes got big! And without hesitation he said, “Yes.” Jason has so much music experience and knows good music, so I knew if he liked the idea, then we may be on to something special.
Tre and ATK were on board. So, I went back in with the guitar track and redid the song to leave space for them to add their own creative touches. It only took me maybe 10 to 15 minutes. And when I came back out of the booth, both guys had written already their lyrics.
I ain’t gonna lie. Here are two cool cats that I will never be as cool as, asked to be on a country album knowing their style was hip-hop and rap music and they had written their eight bars in just 10 minutes. Did I mention it was 1:30 a.m.? Even with Jason’s blessing I was skeptical. I mean they don’t know me. They ain’t never done this. We ain’t never done this.
Well, the rest is history. We had a moment in that studio that night — such a moment we were jumping up and down, everybody hugging everybody. The power of music. It’s profound, I’m telling you.
Not only was my skepticism met with brilliance like a car hitting a brick wall, I was just so captivated seeing these guys create then record this magic. In 10 minutes they wrote lyrics and in another 10 minutes, it’s recorded. It was such an uplifting experience. It was then I knew what Jason and everybody else who is already familiar with these guys knew: Bo, Tre’, ATK, all very humble yet enthusiastic. Some of the coolest cats I have ever met in my life.
I couldn’t wait to share this with my brother Kyle. He and I have had a couple of these kinds of moments together. Fame Studios, just a few months back; the Tracking Room in Nashville, Tennessee several years back; and I really was a little sad later he wasn’t there to experience that night in that little studio. But it was one of those moments I’ll never forget.
Sadly, our aunt passed and I made my way back to Nashville but what a great trip to Alabama for me. I got to say goodbye to a very special person in my life and be with family as she went on to the other side while holding hands with the ones she loved most. And at the same time, was fortunate to have welcomed new family into my life I otherwise may have never met. It’s funny how faith can fill voids and open doors even when you didn’t even know you were looking for it.
Not even a week of being back in Nashville, Jason sends me an email. He said, “Hey, I’ve been working on the song. I had Shane put some tracks on it.”
When I opened up the email and listened to it for the first time, it gave me chills. But more importantly than the sound was the message of the song. Here we’ve all been under stay-at-home orders, economy shutdown, people struggling to put food on the table, people learning what they thought had value in turn doesn’t. And that’s a hard reality.
So what better way to try and brighten folks’ spirits than by reminding them all it takes is a little love? You never know what that could potentially mean to someone else. I know for me, when I heard it for the first time sitting there in Nashville, I felt hope. I felt the song. I felt love.
I immediately sent the song to Kyle who is still in Louisiana at this point. A few minutes later, I got a very short response simply said, “Love it! I need to get on it!”
Needless to say, everyone was extremely happy about it. So we began to brainstorm what to do with it. Kyle and I have been working on a new album since January but that abruptly got put on hold due to the coronavirus. Kyle is 800 miles away. We have no budget to release anything. Matter of fact, just two or three weeks prior to this, we wouldn’t have known we would be even in this situation. ’Cause this song didn’t exist prior to that.
I asked Jason, talked to Kyle and Kevin, to see if we could maybe shoot a low-budget video for it. It would take a lot of organizing, lots of planning and even the ability to do something like this; we didn’t know if we could for reasons of the pandemic.
That’s where Main Street Alexander City executive director Stacey Jeffcoat comes in. And let me say because of her, we pulled every bit of it off. She pulled some strings, Production 81 gave us a budget and I called my ole pal that we’ve worked with before to see if he would come shoot it. And believe me, I don’t think anyone in their right mind would have said yes to our budget. However, having worked with him on videos before, I knew the editing and time spent editing of a video has always been the biggest expense.
So what if we cut out the editing? That’s what my mind was thinking. So Leighton Boggs probably thought I was crazy when I called him and said, “OK bud, I figured out how to do this. Let’s do a one-take video — won’t be any scenes, no dress changes, no choreography.” He knew then I had lost my mind.
But I’m telling you, after telling my idea to Stacey and giving her the time to see if this was possible, and after Jason gave me the go-ahead, once I laid it all out to Leighton as to how it would be done, everyone agreed it was a go. Now to get everyone at the same place, at the same time, to do exactly what each person is supposed to do, in one take? Well, it was gonna be a challenge.
After consulting with Leighton and Stacey and Kyle and Jason and after Jason consulted with everyone else, we finally decided on a date.
Alexander City has given us so much, man it would be cool to do a video right downtown Alexander City. I thought long and hard for a few days and I called Stacey and said OK, this is what I want to do. Can you make this happen? I want to shoot a one-take video and I just want the camera to continuously roll as we sing the song. And as the different artists come in singing their parts, the camera will pick them up and we’ll just walk downtown and see how it goes.
Well Stacey put all this together. She had downtown available. I mean the police department helped out, the mayor gave us the OK, all these people came together and Leighton and Lindsey Boggs (FocusCreativ) did amazing. They took an idea and they ran with it. Everybody showed up that day not knowing what to expect but man the excitement was there. It was just a great day. We all felt a little love; we practiced over and over. Lindsey walked it off time and time again. We would stage everything. It wasn’t right. We would change it then change it back. It literally took us all day. And we knew we had a tight window to film between 5 and 6 p.m.
So right at 5, and with everyone in their places, there was an equipment problem. And it took ever bit of 30 minutes to get fixed. We were back to it at 5:30. All this rehearsing; all this planning and finally, with 30 minutes left we finally were ready to shoot our first take.
Music began, we started filming, and then it’s all a blur. However, we killed it on the very first take. We knocked it out and it was truly incredible. I think we ended up doing two more takes just to make sure but the video turned out to be more than we imagined. It was truly a great day.
We hope the energy we gave off translates through the video and we hope the love we all have for each other is displayed. I think FocusCreativ did an amazing job of capturing the feeling of the song and how it feels. I’m so thankful and like I say this song is not really part of our album this is just something that sort of came about spontaneously and we ran with it.
But I never question anything like that. You just got to go with it. And here we are releasing a song. Like I said a month ago, we would not even have known all this but man we are so fortunate we did. We hope you like it. Check out our song called “A Little Love” by The Wilson Brothers featuring Tre’ Cinco, Jason Tapley (Big Sexy), ATK and Bo Jones.
A little love goes a long way.
Chad Wilson is an Alexander City native who now lives in Nashville. Tennessee, and tours with his brother, Kyle, as The Wilson Brothers. They’ve had songs reach No. 1 on both radio and CMT and were the 2019 Nashville Industry Music Awards Country Duo/Group of the Year.