Dig Baton Rouge

Rocking Out and On

By Claire Salinas


CJ Solar spent four years studying songwriting at Belmont University in Nashville, and since graduating in May of 2014, he’s been busy. He’s signed a publishing deal to become a staff writer with Sea Gayle Music, had one of his songs recorded by country artist Jerrod Niemann, and on Friday he’ll be coming back to his roots to perform the Texas Club.

Solar describes his style as “just kind of raw country music that’s got a rock and roll influence.”

“I grew up playing a lot of classic rock as well as country music,” said Solar. “I feel like I try to blend a little bit of musicality and classic rock musicianship into what I’m writing. I feel like it blends with what is current in music but it’s still different.”

Having a band during his time in college allowed Solar to figure out what type of music he enjoyed writing.

“We had the band on the road on the weekends and during summer while we were in school,” said Solar. “We got to do some cool openers during that time too, like Chris Caigle. It was good to try out new material on country music fans and get a feel for what people like. I kept writing songs, getting feedback from the crowd and the songs got better. The high energy stuff definitely goes over really well.”

Solar explained that his days as a staff writer give him lots of time to perfect the song he plays.

“Kind of the way it works in Nashville is we start at about 10:30 or 11 a.m. and we write until we’re done,” said Solar. “Sometimes it takes an hour, sometimes it takes eight hours. Sometimes we start with a title for a musical book or a riff, but usually there’s an idea to go off of. Writing songs every day elevates the songs and allows you to get better at the craft.”

However, according to Solar, getting his song Blue Bandana recorded didn’t happened overnight.

“I wrote that song a little over a year ago,” said Solar. “A few other big artists thought it was cool, but ended up not recording it. Late last year Jerrod Niemann liked it, but he put it on hold for about four months, then around May he recorded the song and I got to hear it through the record label. I’ve met Jerrod a bunch before and I’ve talked to him a few times about it.”

Solar explained he learned about the recording through a phone call from Chris Dubois of Sea Gayle Music.

“He called me and told me Jerrod had just recorded the song, and that was a great call to get,” said Solar.

For Solar the best part of coming back to the town he attended high school in, will be getting to catch up with friends and family.

“I’m really excited for a lot of my friends and family to come see me play these new songs. I’ll get to eat some crawfish, hang out with all my friends and family and I’ll get to hang out with my younger brothers.”

Solar will be opening up for Michael Ray at the Texas Club on Friday, June 19 at 9 p.m. Tickets can be purchased online at Ticketmaster.com.


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