In the last few years a strange synergistic connection between independent country music and professional wrestlers has emerged, and it has resulted in some profound support for up-and-coming true country artists. Cody Jinks has benefited greatly from the vocal support of “The Rock” Dwayne Johnson. Colter Wall has enjoyed shout outs from numerous wrestlers as well. And now Joshua Hedley, who released his debut album Mr. Jukebox on Third Man Records earlier this year, can include himself in that club.
A huge wrestling fan himself, Joshua Hedley’s people reached out to retired wrestler Stone Cold Steve Austin to see if Hedley could be on the wrestler’s podcast. Austin spun Hedley’s record, fell in love, and invited Hedley on his show to fawn over him.
“He’s about a singing son-of-a-bitch,” Steve Austin says. “This dude can sing his ass off, he plays fiddle like nobody’s business, he’s got a great backing band, great steel guitar, it’s just awesome. I love every single song on this damn CD, or download, or whatever you call them anymore these days. Music has gotten to a place I don’t even understand it anymore, but I do understand a good sound when I hear it, and this album in my opinion is lights out … I will guarantee your ass you will dig this album.”
Hedley spoke with Steve Austin on the hour-long podcast about how he started playing fiddle at an early age in Florida, moved to Nashville when he was 19, and began playing every gig he could on his way to becoming the Mayor of Lower Broadway, and a signee to Jack White’s Third Man Records.
“I’ve known Jack for a while now. I had worked with him a couple of times as a fiddle player on some recordings,” Hedley explains. “The guy who heads the label when Jack’s on tour, his name is Ben Swank and I’ve known him for years. I was touring around Australia, and I had nothing at the merch table. So I decided to bite the bullet and make a little 4 song record, figure out how to pay for it later, and bring it to Australia to sell. That EP that I made got in Ben Swank’s hands, and he played it for Jack, and he said ‘Sign on the dotted line.’ So I did.”
Joshua Hedley and Steve Austin also spoke about wrestling, and the similarities between wrestling and music. The entire podcast can be heard on PodcastOne.
With a lack of support for many independent country artists through mainstream media and radio, things such as celebrity endorsements and podcasts have been a huge boon in name recognition for artists who otherwise get lost in the shadows. We’ll see if Steve Austin’s endorsement has the same effect for Hedley.