Free Throw Scores a Hat-Trick with Album Release, Headlining Tour, and Nashville Predators Advancement to the Finals
Last week, was a good week to be from Nashville. The Nashville Predators made it to the Stanley Cup Finals and Tennessee’s own, Free Throw, not only released their new album, Bear Your Mind, but they also kicked off their first headlining tour! We caught up with the band who talked of their love of the Preds, the recent addition to the team, P.K. Subban, and the inspiration behind some of the more personal songs on their album.
On May 26th, Free Throw debuted their 2nd studio release, Bear Your Mind, with prior single releases of “Randy, I am The Liquor” and “Better Have Burn Heal”. After learning more about the inspiration behind the lyrical messaging, the timing of the album release seemed fitting, given that the month of May is National Mental Health Month. Cory Castro (vocals & guitar) decided to write “Better Have Burn Heal” while struggling with his own body image issues. After going on medication for Anxiety, Cory, who had been in shape and very active all his life, rapidly gained weight as a side effect from the medication. Body Dysmorphia quickly became an everyday battle. Cory told ESPN Music, “I decided the best way to try and make myself feel better about it was to work towards the goals I have set in mind for myself and to write a song about it. I tried to write it in a way that was more relatable than just anyone who has struggled with weight issues - I wanted it to be relatable to people who have had any kind of identity issue or self-issues in general. I’m just trying to make people realize that no matter who you are, you can find a way to love yourself.” He spoke of the positive reactions from fans and how thankful he is, saying “When fans thank me for writing music like this, I always like to thank them back because most of the time I’m writing about my own personal struggles, and one of the worst things about struggling with anything personally is feeling like you’re alone. Knowing that you’re not, is one of the most helpful things.”
With this album, the band had a different subject in mind, focusing more on personal and internal struggles rather than drawing inspiration from relationships and break-ups, as they had in previous releases. Cory described this album as “Louder, a lot louder.” He went on to say, “We used a lot more overdrive. When we play live, we try to amp up our sound anyway, so with this record we really wanted to translate that live sound onto the record rather than just adding that element on stage after the fact.”
Throughout our interview with the band, their love of sports quickly became apparent. Even with their busy touring schedule, they always find time to go to as many Nashville Predators games as possible. “Bridgestone Arena is like my second home,” said Cory, “I love that place. I can’t get enough of it.” When the trade for their former Captain, Shea Weber, for Montreal Canadian P.K. Subban was announced, the band did have some mixed feelings – but not for long. “Losing a Captain is always a weird ordeal to go through, but honestly I love P.K.’s playstyle. He’s a lot faster and a lot less stationary than Shea was. To me, he’s just really good at the blue line and that’s something that’s always needed in a core defense in Hockey,” said Cory. Larry (guitar) recalled seeing the headlines, “The first line was like, oh my god, we lost Shea Weber and the next sentence was like, oh my god, we got P.K. Subban now!” Larry went on to say, “I’m also super excited to have him be part of the Nashville community. He’s such a charitable athlete. He seems to love it so far. I don’t think I’ve ever seen him not smiling.”
Nashville Predators defenseman, P.K. Subban, was recently featured in an episode of ESPN’s E:60. We asked the band what they thought about P.K.’s over the top personality. Justin (bassist) told ESPN Music how they love his larger than life persona, “We’ve never really had a personality like that on our team. We’ve always been a more laid back kind of team. It’s nice to have someone that really shines through as a superstar.”
— P.K. Subban (@PKSubban1) April 6, 2016
With the release of Bear In Mind, kicking off their first headlining tour, and having their beloved Preds make it to the Stanley Cup Finals, we’d say it’s been an awesome few weeks for Free Throw, who left us with one final remark: “Go Preds. Go Titans. Go Vols. Go West Ham.”
For the latest on Free Throw, follow them on Twitter!
Two weeks after releasing his third studio album, Identity, Colton Dixon wrapped up the 46 city Winter Jam tour. We've been fans of Colton Dixon since his American Idol days and were excited to catch up with him to hear all about the new album, life on the road, oh... and his love of ping pong, of course.
With Identity, Colton was able to share a more vulnerable, personal side of himself with his fans. “It was actually a little scary. This record sounds a lot different than the other two so it’s a step in a new direction," he said. At first fans were uncertain but when the album dropped, the Colton Dixon team received an overwhelmingly positive response. "That was so encouraging. It’s hard as an artist," Colton continued, "You pour your heart and soul into these songs and you get them exactly where you want them and it’s like, here’s a piece of me for everyone else to either like or not like... But yea people seemed to be enjoying it!"
"The Other Side" was one song in particular, where Colton was able to address the topic of losing a loved one - a topic that he and his wife, Annie, hold near and dear to their hearts. Annie had lost her brother shortly before meeting Colton. "It was hard to comprehend," said Colton. "Annie was so happy and full of joy." Colton told ESPN Music, "When this song came, I sang that chorus to her and we just cried together. It was a beautiful moment for her and I as now a married couple to experience that together. I knew this was going to be a heavy song but hopefully one that brings healing to a lot of people."
Naming the album, Identity, was a personal choice for Colton. The album is split into three sections: Mind, Body, and Soul. Throughout the album, Colton challenges people to find out who they are and why they do what they do. He said, "by sharing a little bit about my journey personally through all of this, I just hope it makes people think and encourages them to become that person.”
On a lighter note... Colton described the last few months of touring as "summer camp for all the artists". And although hanging out backstage and playing ping pong and corn hole was a blast, Colton loved going out and exploring all the different cities they stopped in. "I really love Chicago, it’s one of my favorites. My buddy took us to this ping pong club bar place called SPiN in Chicago and they have 20-25 tables set up and you rent a table, get drinks and food. I'm just okay at ping pong.. I'm not amazing. But it's something fun to do outside the venue!"
Colton is no stranger to the sports world. He played baseball until high school before deciding to go the music route instead. But not everyone can say their job throughout their teenage years was face painting at professional hockey and football games! Colton's parents started their face painting & air brush company, Skycolt Graphix, and are now the exclusive Airbrush Tattoo Artist for Tennessee's pro franchise Tennessee Titans and Nashville Predators. With that said, the whole Colton Dixon crew are huge Preds fans. Colton himself is a season ticket holder! “We tour with a wardrobe case that has a little TV in it, so I’ll hook my phone up to the TV and watch the Preds games when we can," said Colton.
And lastly, our interview wouldn't have been complete if we didn't ask him what his favorite thing to watch on ESPN was to which he told us "the Not Top 10 is a favorite. We love it." Don't we all??
Check out our First Take Spotify playlist to hear music from this month's featured artists Ben L'Oncle Soul, Lil Durk, and Mike Flowz feat. ANoyd, along with some of our other fav First Take tunes by Mark Ferg & The Culture, The Weeknd, T La Rock, Ariana Grande feat. Nicki Minaj, Curtis Mayfield, Marc Mysterio feat. J Rice and Charles Wright & The Watts 103rd Street Rhythm Band.
Follow @ESPNMusic on Twitter for the latest!
We've kicked off the New Year with a Clemson CFP Championship and with the Super Bowl right around the corner, we've got just the playlist to keep the NYE celebrations going!
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As someone who grew up around boxing and is an avid fan of the sport, I’m thrilled with the video Martin and Magnus at Gaucho Film created for “Seal The Deal.” We’re also very proud to feature fighter Frank Galarza in the clip, he and his young co-star Elvin really brought the feel of the song to life. Expect big things coming from both of them in the future! - Volbeat
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