Interview: John Schneider discusses his 52-song project, ‘The Odyssey’

Although best known for his iconic role of Bo Duke from “The Dukes Of Hazzard” and on shows like “Smallville” and his current series “The Have And Have Nots,” veteran actor John Schneider is also a celebrated country music artist with more than ten albums to his credit along with four #1 singles.

This year, the singer-songwriter has launched perhaps his most ambitious project yet. A 52-track, song a week, compilation called The Odyssey. Together with famed drummer/producer Paul Leim, Schneider has recorded fifty-two all-new, fully orchestrated songs with the help of acclaimed songwriters like Paul Overstreet, Chuck Cannon, Mac Davis and Bill Anderson, along with some of Nashville’s finest musicians. A recent track, “Can I Buy You A Beer,” offers an alternative and perhaps more appropriate way of thanking our military veterans and first responders for their heroism and service to our country.

AXS recently spoke with Schneider about The Odyssey, songwriting, and the upcoming 40th anniversary of “The Dukes of Hazzard” in this exclusive new interview.

AXS: What inspired your new project, The Odyssey?

John SchneiderIt’s all about the story, but a song a week? No one has ever released a full-blown, fully orchestrated, mastered single every week. People are wondering how we did it, but that’s part of The Odyssey and storytelling. We cut all of these songs live. All of us in the same room together, counting it down and just going for it.

AXS: What’s your songwriting process like?

JS: For me, it usually starts with a bit of humor; like “My wife ran away with my best friend. I’m sure gonna miss him!” [laughs]. Other times, it could be more serious family issues like bills and too much month at the end of the money. There’s another song, “If These Walls Could Sing,” that’s told from the perspective of one of the last buildings in Nashville that were once a staple of the music business. Everyone from Elvis to The Rolling Stones and Willie Nelson has played there. Every time they tear down a great old building to put up a box monstrosity it’s aggravating, and that’s great kindling for a good song. But it’s not something where we just sit down and say, “Let’s write a song.”. It’s more about sitting down and asking, “What’s going on in your life right now?”

AXS: Let’s discuss a few tracks from The Odyssey, starting with “Can I Buy You A Beer.”

JS: I am always one to thank firefighters, military, police and first responders for what they do. They’re the ones running toward while the rest of us are running away. It’s common that we thank people in uniform for their service, but we’ve been saying it for so long that it’s almost become second nature. I love the notion of coming up with a new way of saying thank you.

AXS: How about the track, “The Phantom of The Grand Ole Opry”?

JS: That’s a song about dreaming big. You can’t get anywhere without dreaming and going for it every minute of every day. When I hear something that speaks of dreaming and dreaming big, I’m attracted to that because I’m a dreamer. That’s a story and that means something to me.

Read the rest of my
Interview with John Schneider by Clicking Here!

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