When quarantine came around last year and Larry Fleet found himself with an excess of free time, he and his collaborators got together and started doing what they do best: write songs.
At first, they were kinda just doing it to keep up their chops and pass time. “All of our shows were getting canceled,” Fleet explained. “So, I was like, ‘Alright, let’s get together wherever and just write.’ Sure enough, we pounded out around 30 or 40 songs, maybe more. Someone would come in with an idea and we’d make something, but it was kinda like we were writing for someone else. We were bored and we just wanted to have fun, so we wrote stuff that sounded like hits.”
But for Fleet—who’s become an exciting rising voice in country music since joining the Big Loud roster in 2019—the feeling of writing for someone else was only fun for so long… after a while, he began using these writing sessions to really dig into his own life experiences. “I started coming in and saying ‘This is what’s going on with me,’” he said. “We started writing with that in mind, and we came up with a bunch of songs, like ‘Heart On My Sleeve.’”
Eventually, the songs that spoke to Fleet’s life started coalescing into an album and now, it’s coming out—Stack of Records is due on September 24. The aforementioned song, “Heart On My Sleeve,” is the latest single (out today, September 17).
“That song is about my wife and kids,” Fleet said, and when you listen to the heartfelt lull of the verses and the euphoria of the choruses, you can tell that it really is coming from Fleet’s heart. Welcoming a new baby in August 2019, his love for his family has been a ripe subject to pull songs from in the past year of pandemic woes. Even the title track from the forthcoming album is an allusion to his parents and the life they provided for him as a child… musically, that is.
“When I was growing up, we had a record player and my parents had this big collection of records sitting in piles all over the place,” Fleet said. “Whatever they thought was cool in the moment, they bought, so we listened to everything from Otis Redding to Alabama, Hank Jr., Pink Floyd, Ozzy Osborne, and more—it was literally all over the place, and I thought it was the coolest thing in the world. You don’t even realize it when you’re a kid, but this music and how it makes you feel is helping you mold yourself. So, when we were writing the song, I think Ben Hayslip, Eric Paslay, and I were just thinking back to all the things we learned from records growing up, and how those things still help us in our lives today. I love the opening line, When I couldn’t find the words/ I played her some Whitley/ sometimes it’s better/ when you say nothing at all. There are those fun, clever moments like that. It’s one of my favorite songs and it’s very honest to who I am.”
As you might be able to tell, when it comes to writing songs for himself, that last bit about being honest is a mighty important element for Fleet. And with Stack of Records on its way, he’s excited for the opportunity to share his signature blend of country, rock, and solid-bones songwriting with even more folks. The singles so far have certainly gotten him on some new radars—in part thanks to the massive success of “Where I Find God,” which has racked up millions of streams to date—but when it comes down to brass tacks, his favorite way to make an honest connection with his listeners is live, in person.
“That’s how you grow as an artist,” he explained. “We have a really good band and we put on a good show, so when people come and see us, they like us. Then we get a chance to talk with them and get to know them and the fan base grows.”
With a slew of shows coming up—stretching all the way to the end of the year—Fleet’s itching to keep making those connections, wherever he goes. One highlight for him, though, is the upcoming Pilgrimage Festival in Franklin, Tennessee on Sept. 25-26. “Pilgrimage is cool,” he said. “There are a lot of country festivals throughout the year, but this one is different—there are so many different cool artists from different genres. I ended up having to look a lot of it up, and it’s super cool. Plus, Dave Matthews is playing the same night we’re playing! There are so many cool names on it and I’m so proud to be a part of that.”
With all the thrills of the road and all the joys of his family life to look forward to, Fleet is ready to embrace this new era with open arms. “It’s busy, but that’s a good thing,” he said. “We’re booked until right before Christmas, then we get some time off. Then, when next year rolls around, we’re gonna be ready to fire it up and have another crazy year. I’m looking forward to it.”
Larry Fleet’s new album Stack of Records is out September 24—watch the music video for the single “Where I Find God” below: