BRETT ELDREDGE IDENTITY CRISIS
“You were picking flowers on a side road/ leaning back on a fence post/ couldn't help but notice/ you were wanting something more/ I was staring off in the distance/ blinked twice and I missed it, can we just rewind it/ like it was before/ and I woke up and you were gone/ and I've been wondering for so long/ oh, was it your heart or mine/ was it just the wrong time, Gabrielle/ we never got very far/ but, girl, wherever you are/ I wish you well/ oh, Gabrielle.” - Gabrielle - Brett Eldredge-Daniel Tashian-Ian Fitchuk.
Acclaimed Nashville singer-songwriter Brett Eldredge had an identity crisis on the eve of the release of his fifth album Sunday Drive on Warner Music.
It was not his hometown Paris.
That was in Illinois - not France.
But it was the identity of who was going to play the role of Gabrielle in his video to promote Sunday Drive.
It was not his former lover - the woman who inspired the song.
The singer changed her name to protect her privacy.
Brett didn't reprise his favourite canine Edgar who appeared in a previous video Love Someone.
They spent an evening on a couch gazing at beautiful scenery, romantic candlelit dinner, watching movies and sharing bowls of popcorn, ice cream cones and even romantically holding hands.
Edgar made appearances on tour, fan events and interviews and led Brett into the arms of a woman with a Golden Retriever.
When Brett dressed up his pet rescue dog Edgar - a Weimaraner/Vizsla mix - for dining dalliances he started a trend of sorts.
Oklahoma singer-songwriter Wade Hayes also used his rescue dog Jack in his video for Who Saved Who - title track of his eighth album.
Jack had been a constant companion for Hayes, 51, during his two battles with colon cancer after he rescued him from a truck stop 70 miles out of Nashville .
Edgar and Jack may have had similar stories but they were not related.
“Edgar came from Alabama , he was a very kind of shy pup,” Eldredge told Nu Country TV.
“I grew up with dogs but never had my own. He was very shy and it was great to have someone to share the journey with. He has been to a lot of places with me.”
So will we see Edgar in another video?
“He's retired now, that was his final performance,” Brett explained.
“He's just my partner in crime - now he's retired and enjoying retirement.”
And what about Gabrielle - is she retired also?
“The person's name was not Gabrielle,” Brett added.
“It was about a long-lost love that didn't quite work out. I was wondering what it could have been. People shape your lives in a relationship, that was the sentiment of the song - it was very real for me.”
Eldredge went into isolation long before the Covid-19 pandemic to write songs for his new album.
“I'm on my own and have had time to write more music,” Eldredge confessed.
“In the last year and a half I was on my own. I isolated myself a lot and figured out what I wanted to say. This pandemic is different but it's a time you can reflect creatively.”
And the video?
“I'm working on planning that video right now, even today,” Eldredge confessed.
“I don't know who that's going to be yet. I like to write the music video scripts as it's another way of songwriting. I'll be interested to see who we get to play that part – it's part of my job to tell these stories in another way.”
Check out the video on Nu Country TV this Saturday July 25 to see who Brett chose.
It was not his brother Brice whom he locked up in his video for Drunk On Your Love.
“I haven't requested him for a new video yet, his time might come again,” Brett quipped.
“We have a very close relationship. He had never been in a video but did a pretty good job.”
More experienced was Sadie Robertson of Duck Dynasty who appeared in his video for The Long Way - a tale of returning to a hometown.
“She was a natural, just a great performer,” Brett confessed.
“She became a good friend. It's so much fun to make these videos - crazy to see how many videos I have made now.”
PIANO FUELLED MIND CROWD
“Sun comes up on the coastline/ watch your shadow dance on red sky/ feel your hair run through my fingers/ oh, your memory, how it lingers/ and not a day goes by/ I don't need your smile/ I don't feel your heart in every mile/ empty streets and whistling pines/ but not a day goes by/ you don't crowd my mind.” - Crowd My Mind - Brett Eldredge-Ross Copperman.
“The starkness of the song and the pure emotion of the piano and just kind of the way it rolls, it's representative of the starkness of the place I went to go to make this album, when I was alone in a little beach cottage in California and I was by myself for weeks with a flip phone and nothing else, you know?” Eldredge added.
“And I had a pen and a notepad, and it was a very lonely time in some sense, but also a time I needed to make myself feel something and really let that stuff come out, just for my personal self, and then it grew my music.
“I got home and got together with Ross Copperman, and this was just fully on my mind, Crowd My Mind and all the people that I carry with me through my life.
There's certain people that just crowd your mind. You can't let go of them no matter where you go.”
WHERE THE HEART IS
“In a world that's gone cold/ show me where the heart is/ would you show me where the heart is/ I need to feel right where the heart is.” - Where The Heart Is - Brett Eldredge-Jessie Jo Dillon-Tyler Johnson
Equally evocative is another piano fuelled song Where The Heart Is that he wrote with Tennessean Jesse Jo Dillon - daughter of singer-songwriter Dean Dillon - and Tyler Johnson.
“In Where The Heart Is you remember that magic you had in your life,” Brett explained.
“You remember that time that you had before you got jaded a little bit. I think it's important to remember that - share that and remember where the heart is. It's a really powerful message and has great energy.”
Eldredge says the pandemic created hurdles but also provided survival strength.
“I know one thing for certain is in tough times we always have music and I've got some really special music to get out there and I think it'll help us,” Brett revealed.
“Any way that we can all connect more with ourselves and with each other in these tough times, and if music can help with that a lot, I'd love to play a little part in that. That's what I go to in these times, I go listen to music.
“I'm going to push forward and get this music out there and I'm excited to hopefully be an escape for some people in tough times, and also be encouraging and some optimism. We're all going to push on through and come out the other side together. It's going to be all right.”
Eldredge left Paris almost two decades ago and has used Music City as his major base for writing with peers.
“I've lived in Nashville for 15 years now,” Brett recalled.
“It's got a lot of great things and I call it home now. My family are here - a great place, a beautiful place to live. I spend a lot of time in the countryside. I come into town to write and play music.”
Eldredge is keen to return to Australia for a post pandemic return tour.
“I'll look at the calendar next year and see when we can get playing again and get back there as soon as I'm allowed to,” says Eldredge whose 2019 Australian tour included the Melbourne Forum with Californian Jon Pardi.
“I really enjoyed the energy of the shows in Australia - the people. And I loved the energy of the crowds – and how they loved to have a good time - as soon as someone gives me the green light I'm gonna be working my way back.”
It was almost a decade after he debuted on Nu Country in 2011 with a war song dating back to 1943.
He took viewers inside a nursing home in Raymond - poignant tale of a janitor mistaken by a patient with Alzheimer's for her deceased son, who was killed at war.
“Raymond was based on a guy who worked in a nursing home,” Eldredge recalled.
“He was the janitor in a nursing home - one of the patients had Alzheimers and mistook him for her son. It was a really emotional song. It was the first video I ever shot. My grandmother had Alzheimers also.”
BACK TO SCHOOL VIDEO
“And they were watching the world through an open window/ trees lined up like dominoes/ this old car could find its own way home/ it's the ordinary things that mean so much/ that's where I learned it all, from them/ to fight, to love, to laugh again/ man, I thought we were only wasting time/ out on a Sunday drive.” - Sunday Drive - Barry George Dean-Don Mescall-Stephen Paul Robson
Eldredge later revealed the locale for his Gabrielle video - his old high school in Paris, Illinois.
It followed him around places where he spent countless hours as a kid.
“We started the day filming this video in the basketball gym that my grandfather, father, brother and myself all played in and ended the day in an open field watching one of the best Midwest sunsets I'd ever seen,” Eldredge later revealed.
“It feels like I'm still there in that gym. I can almost hear the lights buzz as they warm up before turning on completely and smell the old wood of the gym floor.”
Brett hopes the video will inspire viewers to courageously pursue the passion, whatever the odds, and regardless of fear.
“I hope this song and the nostalgia we captured in the video inspires people to chase down opportunities your heart gives you, even if it might not work out in the end,” Eldredge explained.
“You'll be glad you never let fear hold you back.”