Hunter Lyons: “There’s a seemingly endless amount of great shows and great musicians”

Where I grew up we had almost no music scene, so the best part of living in Nashville for me is the abundance of different and interesting things to do, all the time. There’s a seemingly endless amount of great shows and great musicians. The craft beer and art scenes are strong. I think Nashville […]

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Where I grew up we had almost no music scene, so the best part of living in Nashville for me is the abundance of different and interesting things to do, all the time. There’s a seemingly endless amount of great shows and great musicians. The craft beer and art scenes are strong. I think Nashville is also still a great size to where it gives you a taste of city life without losing its’ small town southern hospitality charm.


As a part of our series about Nashville’s rising stars, I had the distinct pleasure of interviewing Hunter Lyons.

Hunter Lyons is an independent alternative rock/americana artist based in Nashville, TN. He started playing guitar at 8 to be like his dad, and quickly fell in love with it. Hunter began singing and writing songs when he was 12 to develop a deeper connection with the music. The emotion and weight of a song is split up into all the different parts involved, and Hunter felt the most connected to the music when he was able to tap into them all at once; the guitar, the vocals, and the lyrics. Fortunately, for a young man with little-to-no direction on where to begin his music career, Lyons had many opportunities to perform a variety of different music styles. He performed in church band, school jazz band, pit band, theme park band, did some singer-songwriter bar gigs, and more. From these opportunities, Lyons gained influence and skills from many different styles, and they all play a part in his sound today. His first performance at 14 was a little 30 minute opening set for a friends band at a coffee shop in Mechanicsburg, PA to 10 people. He was terrified walking onto the stage, but was heartset and obsessed walking off of it. Hunter took lessons throughout high school and later graduated with a degree in music.

Lyons moved to Nashville at 21 years old with the idea of becoming a songwriter for other artists. He would hang around that scene for about a year, work some odd jobs and had some miserable times as you often do in your early 20’s, but he had a constant feeling that he was missing something. Hunter needed to get back to what made him fall in love with music in the first place — playing guitar, writing music that was a true reflection of himself and what he was going through, playing music he loved because he loved it, not because he thought others wanted to hear it. It was that mental awakening, coupled with the confidence of being himself and living a life of his own, where he really found himself as an artist and as a man, and that led

Hunter to today, to tell these stories and to make his upcoming debut EP, Trust In A Stranger. Lyons has released one single to date, “Red Man” which is included within the 5 song EP. His combination of multiple different genres into his work lets him stand out in an overcrowded Nashville country music scene, by blending all of his influences together into his self-described “roots rock.”


Thank you so much for joining us in this series! Our readers would love to get to know you a bit better. Can you tell us a bit of the ‘backstory’ of how you grew up?

Thank you for having me! I grew up in Mechanicsburg, Pennsylvania. My parents owned a custom countertop company — I started working with them around 12 years old. Working hard and earning your way was something they instilled into my twin sister and I very early. My Dad is also a guitar player, which is where my inspiration started. I played baseball and had a few close friends that I’d hang out with — bonfires, four wheelers, basement pool tournaments — but most of my time outside of school was spent working, creating music and (through highschool) performing at local venues on the weekends.

Can you share a story with us about what brought you to this specific career path?

I remember the night I knew I wanted to pursue music as a career. I was maybe 11 or 12. My favorite band was The Red Jumpsuit Apparatus and their lead guitarist at the time was Elias Reidy. My dad picked me up from school early one day but didn’t tell me why. We drove down to Baltimore and made it into a dark little bar where RJA was playing an acoustic show. I stood on a bench against the wall right in front of Elias and watched him play, thinking the whole time “Wow, someday I’m going to be up there”. I’ve been dedicated to a life of music ever since.

Can you share with us an interesting story about living in Nashville?

My first weekend living in Nashville, I went out with some new friends. It was a Monday, and after bar hopping all night, we ended up at a rooftop pool by Midtown at 5 am. Entirely too drunk, we decided to throw a football across the pool, but in the absence of an actual football we used a full can of beer. The game ended when I missed a throw from the far end of the pool that landed the lip of the can less than a fingers width below my eye, gashed it open and sent blood all down my face. One of the girls with us was (I believe) a first year nursing student, so, both of us being pretty intoxicated, I asked her “Hey does this need stitches?” and she replied “…nah, you’ll be good” and the night went on.

Can you share with us a few of the best parts of living in Nashville? We’d love to hear some specific examples or stories about that.

Where I grew up we had almost no music scene, so the best part of living in Nashville for me is the abundance of different and interesting things to do, all the time. There’s a seemingly endless amount of great shows and great musicians. The craft beer and art scenes are strong. I think Nashville is also still a great size to where it gives you a taste of city life without losing its’ small town southern hospitality charm.

Can you share a story about the funniest mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lesson you learned from that?

It’s not really funny, but one of the lessons that’s stuck with me over the years is to always look the part when you’re working — it matters. When I was 16 my Dad and I visited Nashville for the first time. We were visiting Belmont as a prospective college for me and were going to try to get me into the Bluebird Cafe open mic night. Knowing this, my Dad suggested that I dress for the gig, but it was hot and I knew it was a longshot to get in so I chose to wear cargo shorts and skate shoes that day. Well, long story short I did get in to perform at the Bluebird that night, which was surreal, and looking back at the video now I just get distracted seeing myself looking like a kid going to skateboard with some buddies while trying to present as a serious singer-songwriter.

None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story about that?

I am extremely grateful for the team that created this record with me. Steve, Dave, Luke, Bryce, Ivory and my sister Courtney made this record possible each with their unique talents and contributions — without them, I wouldn’t have the opportunity to share these songs with you now.

What are some of the most interesting or exciting projects you are working on now?

Right now I am just focused on sharing the new EP with as many people as possible.

Which tips would you recommend to your colleagues in your industry to help them to thrive and not “burn out”?

I don’t know if I’m in much position to give advice since this is my first independent release, but I believe the most important thing when it comes to not “burning out” is to make sure you’re creating and playing music that you truly love. Don’t create something just because it sounds catchy and you think other people want to hear it — I think people can feel the energy in authenticity, and ultimately will be more attracted to it as a fan.

Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?

My favorite quote is Matthew McConaughey “Just Keep Livin’” I actually have it tattooed on my arm. It’s kind of my internal motto for life. When the good times are rolling and you’re up, roll with them and enjoy them. But when the hard times come, and they will come, don’t let them break you. Take them for what they are, give them their deserved amount of time and emotion, and then leave them where they lie and keep moving forward, “Just Keep Livin’”.

Is there a person in the world, or in the US whom you would love to have a private breakfast or lunch with, and why? He or she might just see this, especially if we tag them. 🙂

I’d love to sit down with Matthew McConaughey. He earned his success, it seems, in a similar way to how I am trying to earn mine — following his heart and putting in the work. Not afraid to fail and always looking for new challenges. I think he and I hold a lot of similar values and traditions that would make for some great conversations.

How can our readers follow you online?

Readers can follow my socials @hlyonsmusic or visit www.hunterlyonsmusic.com

This was very meaningful, thank you so much! We wish you continued success!

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