Singer-songwriter Bo Armstrong grew up in Dallas, Texas, and lived there until he was an early teenager. Neither of his parents were originally from Texas and he had assumed his parents moved there because of a job opportunity. About two years ago, he discovered the real reason why. “My dad was inspired to move to Texas because of a Jerry Jeff Walker record,” he tells us. “I thought that was so wild because he’s not even a musician. He’s a fan of music, he’s a storyteller, he loves all that stuff, but he point blank told me had he never picked up that record, he would have never moved to Texas.” Armstrong carries the same free spirit his father does as he’s had quite a journey before settling in music city to pursue songwriting.
When entering high school, Armstrong had an opportunity to go to a boarding school in Connecticut where he played hockey. He reconnected with country music, specifically Texas country music because it reminded him of where he was from. It was at that time where Armstrong also discovered a love of playing the guitar and songwriting. “If I was by myself, I could play along to songs that made me feel connected to home,” he explains. “That turned into just writing my own stuff as like, you know, being an angsty kid away from home.”
When he was in college he continued writing songs, playing songs, and occasionally performing live. His classmates associated him as “the kid with the guitar” but he never let that transpire into a career due to the commitment to playing hockey and schoolwork.
In the following years after graduating, he taught in Mississippi, lived in Ireland, and worked in film production in New York City. “I kind of got over it and was looking for the next thing and I was like, ‘Maybe it’s time to finally give songwriting a chance in its entirety.’” He went to Nashville on a whim and without a solid plan. Oftentimes, Armstrong thinks about what would’ve happened if he started his songwriting career earlier, but says the experiences along the way shaped him into the storyteller he became. “I kind of like where I am. Like being able to write with a bit more experience, a bit more perspective,” he exclaims. “You just meet more people. And you hear more people’s stories and your heart kind of grows to understand people in different circumstances.”
He put out a new full-length project in 2020 called Chasing Ballads which acted as the follow-up to an EP he released in 2018. His goal was to put out a record that told a narrative from top to bottom. “I wanted to tell a full story and I wanted to have that as a part of who I am and my journey with all of this stuff,” he tells us. When he wrote the title track with two of his friends in Nashville and coined the phrase “Chasing Ballads,” he wanted to give a bigger story to it. Then came the other 10 other songs.
Some of the tracks were solo writings, others he wrote with his good friend and producer Brian Phillips. “Some are distinctly about me, some of them are bits and pieces of other people’s stories that I think fit to the overall story that I was trying to tell and one of them is totally a fictional story,” he says.
In 2021, he put out “I Love Somebody Else,” a super slow, yet inspiring ballad that features up-and-coming Texas artist Madison Rodges. His second single of the year, “More Than I Did Then,” came out right before Father’s Day weekend. He was in a songwriting rut after the record due to the pandemic and family responsibilities. “One morning I wrote that one while I was with my little two-year-old. It just kind of came up and fell out and made me feel really good,” he explains. Writing that track also helped Armstrong put things into perspective about life and the difficult last 14 months that plagued the world. “I realized that I actually had it pretty easy, all things considered because I had good family support and I was really thankful for the time that I had spent at home with my wife and son. It felt right.”
His most recent drop is the peppy, loose, and high-spirited song, “Get It Right” which came out on July 23rd. His goal for the last string of singles was to experiment and not write with much intention as he had done with his 2020 album.
At the beginning of September, Armstrong plans on releasing an unexpected cover. Every penny from streaming royalties will go to a special cause.
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