Country music has always maintained an ebb and flow between pushing the genre forward with outside influences and returning back to the roots that keep the genre grounded in its history. It’s rare for one artist to balance those two directions, but Doug McCormick pulls off that hat trick masterfully on his new EP, Sweet Dixie Memory.
Doug grew up the son of a blue-collar textile worker in Patrick, South Carolina (pop. 350). He spent his childhood loving the land and the outdoors, appreciating the significance of the hard working men and women on those neighboring farms. Doug played second base on the McBee High School Panthers baseball team, was a leader in the local FFA organization, and even received his B.S. in Agricultural Education from Clemson University.
Though he moved to Nashville and signed a publishing deal with BMG/Chrysalis in January 2013, Doug’s mind wanders back to that small Carolina town when he’s writing his heartfelt lyrics.
“I always try to go back to that place and say, ‘What would my dad think about this,'” Doug says. “And even more than that — my buddies back home, will they relate to this?’ So, I think having that kind of raising, having that kind of background, just being from a little town in Carolina, that’s where the music comes from.”
The rich legacy of country music factors into Doug’s music in a big way, too. Heavily influenced by his Mom’s music, it was the sound of a steel guitar and a fiddle on classic songs by Garth Brooks, Keith Whitley, Randy Travis and The Judds that first sparked Doug’s passion for country music. That fire burns throughout Doug’s songs to this day. He says, “The legacy of country music is important to me, because if I think of that legacy fizzling out, I mean, it breaks my heart. Country music has meant so much to me over the years, and the generations coming up deserve that same kind of quality music.”
While Sweet Dixie Memory is built on Doug’s strong country foundation, certain nuances in the production give the music an edge perfectly in step with the sound of today’s country radio. Doug credits his producer, Marshall Altman (Frankie Ballard, Eric Paslay), for helping him make music that will light up his concert crowds while also maintaining the timeless quality Doug shoots for in all of his songs. Doug explains, “I want to make music that people are going to be singing 10 years from now. I don’t want to record songs that are gonna go up the charts and then nobody’s gonna know it in a few months. I love digging in and finding a deep lyric that’s gonna hit you in the chest.”
Doug definitely pulls off that emotional punch with “Time Don’t’ Care,” a song written in the wake of a close friend’s sudden death. He shows off his tender side with the romantic ballad, “Dirt Road Dancin’,” an ode to his high school sweetheart-turned-wife, Rachel. Doug offers a nod to those hard working people from his hometown in the driving “Hands Of A Country Man.” And for a real taste of Doug’s live show, look no further than the sun-drenched country anthem, “Pretty Girls & Fishing Poles.” He says of that standout track, “It just makes you feel good. You can’t help but bob your head to it. It’s infectious. It makes you want to drink a cold beer on a creek bank with a pretty girl and drop a dang red and white bobber in the water. Who doesn’t want to do that?”
Through relentless touring, Doug has built a loyal, grassroots following that continues to grow with each performance. With the release of Sweet Dixie Memory, he is looking forward to introducing this new music on the road. He looks ahead with excitement to all the future holds, and continues to humbly tip his hat to the ones who make it possible for him to live his dream every day: God and the fans of country music.