Wednesday, 10 September, 2008 5:57 PM
Trailer Choir: From Frat Parties
to Concert Halls
courtesy of Show Dog Nashville
Trailer Choir is a brand
new group on the country music scene. It is made up of Crystal Hoyt,
Mark “Butter” Fortney and Vinnie “The Mack”
Hickerson, a 400-pound man who dances in the middle of their shows.
Toby Keith discovered
the group and signed them on his new label, Show Dog Records. Trailer
Choir is now performing on his “2008 Biggest & Baddest
The name of the group
is very unique. “Butter is the one that came up with that
concept,” said Crystal Hoyt of Trailer Choir. “Butter’s
our funny front man. It kinda started with this idea with these
frat parties that we had been playing. They really liked the idea
of being able to stop in the middle of a song and having everybody
sing the song with you. That’s the choir concept. Then the
trailer part comes in.”
style of music is different than others in country music. It is
more fun and edgy.
we put out there is simple melodies that people can sing along with,”
says Hoyt. “Songs that have smart writing that are still touchy
and fun. There’s definitely a serious side to it too to show
the public. We call it a three-minute vacation. Leave the troubles
behind for a little bit and have a good time with us.”
The group started out
by playing cover songs. Then, it made the transition to original
“Butter and Vinnie
started the college frat party shows,” said Hoyt. “That
kinda energy that’s created when people know the song and
are familiar with the song. It’s really hard to work an original
song into that cause sometimes you lose the crowd if you do that.
They started intentionally writing songs that were geared towards
that type of crowd. You could still keep the energy up but still
a song that people would catch on to quickly enough that they could
still sing along with it.
“We made that transition
from a being cover show into an all original show in Nashville that
broke kinda it’s own following out of that.”
Toby Keith, one of the
biggest stars in country music, discovered the group.
“There was a good
buzz goin about Trailer Choir,” said Crystal Hoyt. “I
knew the boys for years, Butter and Vinny both before actually joining
the band. They were getting out really good songs. People were talking
about it. Someone had mentioned it to him and he said ‘I wanna
go check ‘em out.’ Toby did a show one night last minute,
barely caught the last part of one song and came back just after
that. He said, ‘Can you come to this bar and play a couple
of songs?’ We went in there played two or three songs. Toby
said, ‘I’ll talk to y’all tomorrow.’ He
did and here we are now.”
debut single is a song called “Off the Hilbilly Hook.”
“We had a friend
who is from California and she was on Nashville Star a few years
ago,” said Hoyt. “She is just a fun, great songwriter.
She had gone to a Trailer Choir show one night and approached Big
Vinnie after the show and said ‘I have a hook that I need
to write with ya’ll.’ She got together with Vinnie and
started writing it. Then, Butter joined in later. That was actually
one of the first songs I ever sung with the boys. That’s kinda
what brought me into the group. It turned into this really neat
anthem for the Beer For My Horses movie.”
The group is currently
working on a debut album that will have between 12 and 15 songs
on it once complete. The first four songs are available online at
digital music retailers such as iTunes.
a good portion of it completed so far,” Hoyt said. “Not
all of it yet just because Toby’s producing it. So we’re
working around his schedule and the movie schedule and everything
else we’ve got going on. We’d like to get it out before
Christmas. Around November would be ideal. It all depends on scheduling.
We’ve got tons of material that’s been written that
we’ve been waiting to record.”
Sonic Drive-In restaurant
influenced one of the group’s band members in a big way.
“Vinnie has everything
in life because of Sonic,” Hoyt said. “He started working
there when he was in high school. Basically, that supported him.
He worked there and had a hard time leaving there to go into full-time
songwriting. The song ‘Rollin’ Through The Sunshine’,
they actually wrote that song, Butter and Vinnie did, over the phone
while Vinnie was working at Sonic flipping burgers and taking orders.”
Toby Keith gave the new
group some advice on how to be successful.
but be yourself,” said Hoyt of his advice. “He never
asked us to change anything. He said, ‘Go out there and do
what you do. Sing the way you sing. There’s no real plan yet
for what I’m gonna do with ya’ll. I just want you to
go out there and be yourself.’ He wants his artists to do
what he did which was be yourself but go out there and make your
own music, play your own music. He wants everybody to be true artists,
songwriters, entertainers, the whole package.”
Trailer Choir has been
touring with Keith on his 2008 “Biggest & Baddest Tour”
along with Montgomery Gentry, Carter’s Chord and Mica Roberts.
“We got to learn
a lot last year, just being on the side stages,” said Hoyt.
“But nothing really compares to being on that big stage. We
loved the side stages. It was the best learning experience for all
of us. This year, being on the big stage and in front of that many
people every night is such a blessing. Seeing Trailer Choir posters
in the crowd is really cool. Getting to learn from the best in the
business. Toby is one of the best, if not the best at what he does.
We get to see what he does every night and try to pick up tips and
learn how to do what he does.”
Trailer Choir will perform
at the DTE Energy Music Theatre on Sept. 14th.