There’s a fine line between “having to” and “choosing it”… and that was the line that made me fall in love with the sound and style of Willi Carlisle. It’s from his latest track “Van Life” on his upcoming album “Peculiar, Missouri” which comes out next month, and it perfectly sums up a dream I’ve been chasing ever since I left the bustling city behind 13 years ago. All my friends thought I was crazy to leave my established desert music scene, uproot my kids and go hide in the woods. My bank account cried over the loss of “city wages”. My mother worried that I was never going to be able to manage the tedium of raising chicken and keeping a garden. But the fact that I chose this life on purpose made all the difference. In fact, once I started listening to more of Willi’s music, it felt like he was telling my story. Mine. Not his. Not some bubblegum pop country generic references to checklists about rural life. MY STORY. But that’s the mark of a great songwriter, isn’t it? When they tap into the human condition then find a way to spell it out so that it feels both personally and universally true at the same time.