Clay County Native Johnathan East Tells His Story
From Sunday afternoon jam sessions to producing music videos with one million-plus views, Clay County native Johnathan East tells his story, and shows his roots, through traditional country sound. The singer behind “A Little on the Redneck Side” and “American Farmer” among others, traces his motivation for making music back to when he was 13, listening to country legends on local radio. “There was a little radio station back then called 95 Country. They played a lot of old stuff, as well as the stuff that was popular at the time. I got into Hank (Williams) Jr.”
While East explained that he was not as confident in his songwriting as a teenager, that did not stop him from perfecting his craft through talent shows while making memories with close friends. “We had a little garage band in high school, and we were pretty bad,” says East. “But, it was a lot of fun at the time. We used to go to the Methodist church in Lineville on Sunday afternoons. We would go up there and practice all afternoon.”
Since then, East has broken out of his shell, and has written songs and uploaded music videos that have been viewed thousands of times on YouTube, with the most popular being “A Little on the Redneck Side”, which is on the verge of reaching four million views on the site. He and his band, the “Trailer Park Cowboys”, consisting of Seth Myers on bass, Mel Vance on lead guitar, and Jason Lovett on drums, tour across the south and sing songs that tell the story of everyday life in this part of the country, as well as a love for calling the Yellowhammer State home.
East used his signature style when writing his most recent single, “Too Much ‘Bama in Me”, a song that he says was inspired by an interview with WTDR-FM Radio, Thunder 92.7 in Oxford. “It started out like most interviews start out… “When are you going to move to Nashville?” says East. “I said that “I just love Alabama too much.” That started being my go-to answer.”
In the song, East answers the question by listing reasons for staying in Alabama including having the luxury of catching fish in Lake Guntersville and watching the sunset at Mt. Cheaha at his disposal. The title of the song comes from the ESPN “30 for 30” documentary “Roll Tide, War Eagle”, where Harvey Updyke, the man who poisoned the two oak trees at Toomer’s Corner on Auburn University’s campus in 2010, infamously said “I have too much ‘Bama in me” when answering the question of why he did it. “Too Much ‘Bama in Me” is a great song that describes the advantages to living in the “Heart of Dixie”, but East is not one to just “talk the talk.” While he performs his songs all over, there is one place that he loves playing, and it happens to be a favorite hangout amongst the locals.
“My favorite place to play, without a doubt, is Lynnie Bo’s. Just because it is two miles away from my house. It’s a really neat place to play and hang out. It’s not far from the lake.” East is currently recording new songs. While he is in the studio writing new material, he continues to play the songs that crowds love, plus some of his favorite covers, including “Midnight Rider” by the Allman Brothers. To catch Johnathan East live, visit his website “johnathaneast.com” and check tour dates, or just listen to your favorite song on YouTube, Spotify, iTunes, Amazon, or CDBaby.