Musician:  ERIK STUCKY

Premiere: “Good Vibrations”

Songwriters: Erik Stucky & Tiffany Gassett

Producer: Paul Allen


Erik Stucky releases first song and lyric video “Good Vibrations” from the upcoming album Good Vibrations to be released June 21.

Erik Stucky premieres “Good Vibrations” on today. From the first beat of the drums to the last-breath horn drop of the sassy brass section, Stucky’s hypnotically happy track “Good Vibrations” will have you energized body, swimsuit and soul. It’s a catchy, radio-ready, calypso-infused cocktail of joy—a strong contender for one of this year’s summer anthems. Thoroughly baptized with contagious horn phrases, cool-breeze island grooves, and lyrics reminiscent of falling in love your first day at the beach, “Good Vibrations” is a feel-good song—if ever there was one.

Stucky is a performing singer-songwriter from Montrose, Colorado, who now resides in Nashville. Active as a recording artist on the international scene since the release of his debut album in 2017, Stucky has performed across the United States and Europe. Performing on mandolin and guitar, Stucky combines his passion for lyric writing, folk instrumentation and big band arrangements as he seeks to break new creative ground in Nashville’s popular music scene. The well-respected musician Crystal Gayle said, “I love Erik’s music! His song ‘Good Vibrations’ makes me want to dance. Great music from a great new artist.”

On this first single from the upcoming album, Good Vibrations, Stucky’s ecstatic vocal delivery carries you with ease—back to those fun-filled, sun-drenched, happy-go-lucky days beside the ocean, spreading sunscreen on the sexy tan lines of the one you love. Though displaying a powerful and commanding presence, the horns still leave a generous space for a high-energy mandolin solo, followed by Stucky’s impressive delivery of what may just become a new genre of carefree island daiquiri-mando rap.

For being a guy who’s known for swimming in the more traditional streams of Nashville strains influenced by the likes of Lyle Lovett, Paul Simon and James Taylor, Erik Stucky surprises as he grabs his mandolin and bravely sets out to surf a bit beyond the bar. Get ready to set down your piña colada and ukulele, and have yourself a high-energy, sandy-toed mandolin dance—filled with good vibrations.

We talked with Erik Stucky about his passion for lyrics, his love for performing, and his need to explore combining various genres of music into his songwriting.

with M Music & Musicians magazine publisher, Merlin David

How did the new album Good Vibrations evolve?
This is my first album since I made the move to Nashville two years ago. Many people think of country music when they think of Nashville, but there is a very eclectic scene—when you leave downtown Broadway. I found hip hop, funk, pop, country and everything in between. I spent a lot of time exploring these different types of venues. As songwriters do, I absorbed and began incorporating these elements into what I do. So when the idea of a new album came up, this was a very natural and exciting direction to take. With many of the best musicians in the business within a 15-minute drive, and the help of my producer Paul Allen, it’s been no problem getting all the right musicians to create the big sound that I wanted. We started recording about eight months ago, and we plan to release the new album on June 21, 2019.

How did the idea for “Good Vibrations” develop?
I sat down with a new co-writer, Tiffany Gassett, and after talking for a few minutes we discovered we had something unusual in common—St. Thomas, US Virgin Islands. She had grown up on the island and I spent a good amount of time there as a kid—visiting my maternal grandparents and aunt who lived there. We decided to write a feel-good island tune, and that’s how it started. Once you get the spark of an idea, it tends to take on a life of its own. Now it’s a full blown pop song with a full horn section, rap and mandolin solo all rolled into one.

Is there one song you are especially glad made it onto this album?
The process of writing and recording each one was an amazing experience. However, the title track, “Good Vibrations” set the tone and direction of the rest of the album—it’s worth an honorable mention. I had a couple of other co-writers, and with this song, we set out to make a pop album. There is one song, “Living Life,” that I wrote I’m glad made it onto this album. It’s funny where songs come from. I was on a coffee hiatus, and it threw me for a loop. It came from a pseudo coffee depression low. (Laughs) It turned out to be real honest. It’s something positive that came out of a downer mood. The best part—it happened just a couple of days before one of the tracking sessions. In fact, I edited the lyrics the night before. I love the song.

What’s the main difference between this new album and 2017’s Stray Clouds?
They are quite different from each other. Stray Cloudsis a bluegrass album that I did with two of my musical heroes—John Moore and Dennis Caplinger. It was a very special project. Good Vibrationsis a pop fusion album where I am bringing together elements of music that I truly love but that don’t tend to exist together: pop songs, with a live horn section, and—the mandolin.

Who originally inspired you to write songs?
I’ve had so many artists from many different genres inspire me that I wish I could name them all. But the songwriters that stand out are Paul Simon, Lyle Lovett, John Hartford and Darrell Scott. Later on, John Mayer really turned me on to writing pop music. I still admire, and am inspired, by these artists’ work.

Is there any one song that inspired you?
“LA County” by Lyle Lovett. I remember the moment that song clicked for me—and when I realized what it was about. I was driving after Thanksgiving from my Dad’s parents in Kansas to Colorado. We were listening to Lovett’s 1987 album Pontiac. My Dad was a fan of strong lyrics. He would point things out to me—like “Isn’t that a cool play on words.” He is really into poetry too. On that trip, I finally figured out what that song was about, and it blew my mind. Songs aren’t just melody and words. I started listening to songs differently after that.

Tell us about a time when something unique inspired you to write a song.
On my last album, Stray Clouds, I wrote “Cold Coffee.” The idea hit me one morning when I saw my grandmother’s cold cup of coffee sitting on the counter. I immediately picked up a pad of paper and wrote the song with the hook: “It’s just a cold cup of coffee on the counter, so why can’t I just pour it out?” For some reason, after countless cups of cold coffee, that particular one stood out. The “how” and “why” of songwriting is still a mystery to me, and I like it that way.

What songwriting tip would you like to offer?
Make time for it. Some days you struggle to get one good line on the page, and other days you channel a completed song in an hour or less. I heard David Crosby say “pick up your axe every day.”

What instruments/equipment can you not live without?
I am pretty basic with my writing. I have yet to get into using drum tracks or anything too fancy. I attribute this to a life of playing acoustic instruments. Every song on the album was written using an acoustic guitar or no instrument at all. When I perform, I play a Collings mandolin and a Taylor guitar. I’ve put a lot of miles on those two instruments and they are great. I’ve been playing my Collings MT2 for over 10 years, and taken it all over the world with me. Its rich dark tone comes through great in the studio and on stage. And my Taylor guitar has been my work horse for nearly a decade. I’ve written more songs on it than any other instrument.

Which Top 5 Musicians inspired you to become a musician?
Sam Bush, Chris Thile, Lyle Lovett, Darrell Scott, John Mayer.

What are your Top 5 favorite albums of all time?
Graceland(1986) – Paul Simon
Pontiac(1987) – Lyle Lovett
Not All Who Wander are Lost(2001) – Chris Thile
The Foundation(2008) – Zac Brown
Howlin’ at the Moon(1998) – Sam Bush

Tell us a “pinch me” moment when you thought “Wow, this is really happening to me!”
Many of the musicians on this project have played for some of my favorite artists (like James Taylor and Lyle Lovett). To hear my songs come together with that kind of talent has been a very surreal experience. I’m a huge fan of Lyle Lovett, and he has his big band. It is so unique to him. I love that brass section with his “country” music. I always loved horns—thought it would be a great fit. My producer is awesome. He knows my influences—almost a mind-reader, even if I can’t explain the sounds I’m looking for. The trumpet player (also flugelhorn) played with Lyle Lovett for 18 years, and he’s on my album.

Do you remember the first time you heard one of your songs on the radio?
It was in my home town of Montrose, CO. I had given a demo of my song “For Old Times Sake” to a DJ at KVNF. He told me what time he’d be playing it. So my mom, dad, grandma and I all got together in the kitchen to listen. It was a real good feeling. Thank you, KVNF.

What is the best advice someone has given you?
The legendary musician John Moore said, “You only get one life, live it now.”

What advice would you give your teenage self?
It’s funny how things work when you just decide to do something. For a long time, I didn’t trust my own vision. But you really can do anything you want. I would tell myself to believe that earlier. Trust your instincts and trust that it will come together.

How did your music career come together?
With music, there is no template. I started playing mandolin when I was 10 years old. Music became more serious for me after high school—around 19 or 20. John Moore, an LA musician, is a legend in the bluegrass world. He moved to Dove Creek, Colorado—just a couple of hours from me. He started giving me lessons when I was 10 years old. In my high school days, I was listening to a lot of Sam Bush—when others listened to Madonna or Jimi Hendrix. Then, Chris Thile and Nickel Creek came along, and that took it to another level for me. John actually taught Chris [Thile] and Sean [Watkins] from Nickel Creek. Every three months, my parents would drop me off with John Moore—he was a professional horse trainer. I would stay, and do chores around his ranch—fix fences, whatever was needed. He had the wisdom to not have my parents pay him. He made me work for what he taught me. It shows how in-depth a thinker he is. He wanted me to put in the effort.

What’s next?

I’ve got a busy tour schedule this year. I am looking forward to all the new places and people. And like always—working on that next song.


Where can new fans get more info and stay updated?

Social Media:
Instagram: @erikstucky
Twitter: @erikstucky
Facebook: stuckysmusic

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