Chad Brock has been singing his entire life, but the former athlete didn't realize how unique his musical talent was until he met Florene Gabriel Reese--his high school chorus teacher and perhaps the biggest influence in his life. "I elected chorus because I wanted an easy A," the native of Ocala, Florida now admits. "The next thing I know I'm the one singing the solos in the Christmas pageants and all the other big choral programs."
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While the experience helped to make him comfortable in front of crowds, it also brought out his desire to pursue his love for music. The ace linebacker even turned down a football scholarship so he could continue his pursuit of performing and songwriting.
Brock, the son of a school teacher and railroad worker, took her advice to heart. He sang at her funeral and soon packed his bags for Nashville to chase his dreams of becoming a country music star. One of Music City's most talked about new acts, Chad Brock's self-titled debut album for Warner Bros. Records is dedicated to the late, great Florida chorus teacher who nudged Brock to follow his heart.
Norro Wilson and Buddy Cannon produced the 10-track album, building upon the success they've created with such stars as Sammy Kershaw, Mindy McCready, Kenny Chesney and country legend George Jones. "The artistic chemistry between Norro, Buddy and I shows in the energy of the music," Brock notes. "All the players in Nashville love to work with Norro because he's fun, full of energy and he brings out the best in everybody. Norro later brought in Buddy, who has an exceptional ear for music."
The simplicity and unpretentiousness of a song like "Evangeline" is what attracted Brock to country music as a kid. "Even at 12 or 13," he says, "I felt country reflected real life more than other musical forms. I could see that my mom and dad had lived some of it, and the parts they hadn't lived, they knew people who had. I found it more soulful than music based on loud guitars and screaming."
The realness of "Ordinary Life" cut straight to Brock's heart the first time he heard the Bonnie Baker-Connie Harrington composition. The ballad is the story of a man who, feeling the rut of domesticated life, leaves his wife, son and "ordinary life" behind only to find out the grass is not greener on the other side.
Album closer "I Wonder Where Love Goes," one of three tracks co-written by Brock, is equally stirring. "I had my heart broken," Brock explains of the heart-felt lyrics. "There was a girl I fell in love with when I was I I years old. She was 13, an older woman," he continues with a chuckle. "I was crazy about her all through high school, but she moved away after she graduated. I didn't see her for 15 years. Then we ran into each other in Atlanta and we started dating and eventually got engaged. It didn't work out. The lyrics of that song stem from the heartache I felt: Is there a place in heaven for love that's gone to hell/Does it turn to dust, just like us, and live again somewhere else/Oh, there's no doubt spring will bring new life/I wonder where love goes when it dies."
"Emotion is what draws me into music," Brock maintains. "Am I going to laugh? Am I going to cry? How does the song make me feel emotionally? The song has to make you feel something, that's the way I chose the tunes for this album."
The first chapter in what should be an enduring legacy, Brock's debut, like Twitty's best albums, will touch the lives of those who hear it.
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