Steevie: There are times I’ve found myself singing into a microphone that Elvis Presley or Johnny Cash once used, or wrote a song in the same room as Kristofferson once did and I can’t help but be inspired! I moved to Nashville because I knew it offered so many possibilities and held levels of talent that would ultimately make me work harder to be a better artist. It’s called the music capital of the world for a reason! It’s inspiring to work in a place that has been the creative home to so many incredible musicians over the years!
As a part of our series about Nashville’s rising stars, I had the distinct pleasure of interviewing Jon Decious & Steevie Steeves.
Inspired by the likes of Gram & Emmylou and Nicks & Petty, TOWNE hits like a 70’s rock band matched with smooth acoustic roots and an Americana vibe. The group’s impeccable songwriting and imperfectly perfect harmonies has quickly separated them from the sea of Nashville’s singer/songwriters. After a million miles of shows, songs, good faith and bad deals, TOWNE caught the ear of Grammy award winning producer Mitch Dane and recorded their debut full length album “In the In Between”, self-released in November 2020
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?
Jon: First of all, thanks for having us! We really appreciate it.
My, “how I grew up”, story is a little all over the place. I’m originally from Monticello, KY and lived on a farm and then, after a lot of moving, eventually wound up in a little town right outside of Nashville, TN called Pleasant View. So, most of my life’s been spent riding in cars and learning how to interact and get along with all kinds of different people…those lessons came in big-time handy in my chosen profession!
STEEVIE: I grew up in a small town called Blairsville in western Pennsylvania! Both sides of my family owned family businesses. One being a trucking company, the other being a mechanic shop. I grew up around hard working people who put family, faith and community first. Looking back, I’m grateful for that more than anything!
Can you share a story with us about what brought you to this specific career path?
Jon: I think I wound up getting into music, mostly, due to all of the time I spent moving and on the road as a kid listening to the radio. I was seldom in the same place for very long so one of the only real “constants” I had in my life was music.
STEEVIE: I knew from as early as 10 years old that I wanted to write and perform music in some capacity. I am not from a musical family, so my natural abilities seemed like an undeniable gift that felt like a calling in some ways. Everything is MUSIC to me and has been since I can remember.
Can you tell us the most interesting story that happened to you since you began your career?
Jon: Well, throughout my career, I’ve been lucky enough to play some of the world’s largest stages and meet a lot of heroes and famous people and such, but, the most “interesting” thing I’d say that’s happened would be me choosing this line of work in the first place. I come from a long line of farmers and folks that work in hospitals so, what compelled me to pursue a career in music, I have no idea.
STEEVIE: I would say almost everything in this line work is interesting! I love the full circle moments that happen. For instance, I grew up listening to Pam Tillis and when I was waitress in Nashville, I would serve her breakfast at the diner I worked at. Fast forward a bit and I ended up doing a show with her a couple years ago in Kentucky! I just love how music connects dots sometimes!
Can you share with us an interesting story about living in Nashville?
Jon: My favorite story about living in Nashville has to do with how I met Steevie. We’d both been selected to go to a songwriting seminar out in Wyoming and, one day while we were riding horses in the mountains, we came to find out that we were actually neighbors and both lived behind the same liquor store on 8th Avenue. That changed my life.
STEEVIE: I’d have to agree with Jon on this one. As a writer, Nashville gives creatives so many unique ways of pursuing your dreams. Getting accepted to a songwriting retreat in Wyoming and meeting Jon was obviously something I could have never dreamed up!
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.
Jon: I’d say the best parts of living in Nashville all have to do with the small-town-ness (is that even a word?) of the city and all of the immense talent that exists around every corner. When you get that many talented people confined to such a small space I feel like, whether we realize it or not, the overall creativity and quality of work from everyone is raised to a level they otherwise may not have achieved.
STEEVIE: There are times I’ve found myself singing into a microphone that Elvis Presley or Johnny Cash once used, or wrote a song in the same room as Kristofferson once did and I can’t help but be inspired! I moved to Nashville because I knew it offered so many possibilities and held levels of talent that would ultimately make me work harder to be a better artist. It’s called the music capital of the world for a reason! It’s inspiring to work in a place that has been the creative home to so many incredible musicians over the years!
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?
Jon: One time I was on-stage in front of about 10,000 people and my guitarist had broken a string and, to fill the silence while he re-strung his guitar, I told a pretty gross inside joke thinking it would be HILARIOUS. To this day, I’ve never heard such a large crowd be so quiet: you could have heard a pin drop. While that story is hilarious NOW, it was definitely one I learned the hard way.
STEEVIE: I’ll never forget The first time I ever got hired to sing some demos here in Nashville. I was apparently recommended because of my bluesy, pop voice but I made the mistake of assuming I needed to sing with a country accent. We got through a couple songs and the engineer stopped the session. He loved my voice but politely told me to drop the accent and sing with MY VOICE. Hahaha! I was relieved but utterly embarrassed! I stuck with MY accent ever since and got a ton of work since then!
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?
Jon: My list of, “thank you’s”, for any successes I’ve ever enjoyed is at least 10 miles long: from every bandmate, co-writer, tour manager, record label person, etc… but the person I’d have to, individually, credit more than anyone would be my mom. She’s been my biggest fan since day one and I literally can’t thank her enough.
STEEVIE: My grandmother. Her belief in me has kept me going strong since the beginning. Coming from a small town, it can be tough to follow your dreams beyond the county line, but she gave me the confidence to do so. While I was still living in PA, she secretly entered me into a singing competition in Nashville! She flew us there and we spent a long weekend falling in love with the city. She’s the reason I wanted to move here!
What are some of the most interesting or exciting projects you are working on now?
Jon: Well, Corona cancelled most everything we had planned this year so, we’ve been writing a lot for our next record which, for us, is always our favorite thing. We’re also officially releasing our debut album, In The In Between, on November 13th and we’re excited about that as well.
STEEVIE: OUR DEBUT ALBUM WILL BE RELEASED in November! I love this album and everyone who played a part in it! We’ve been writing some of my favorite songs yet this year as well, so I’m already looking forward to recording again!
What are your “5 things I wish someone told me when I first started” and why. Please share a story or example for each.
1. Your career is like a building; build the foundation first and then build one floor at a time.
2. If you ain’t having fun making the music, nobody’s gonna have fun listening to it
3. The longer you’re on the bottom the longer you’ll be on the top
4. Don’t expect anything from anyone. In fact, No Expectations, in general.
5. Take your work seriously, Not Yourself.
1. Approve of yourself.
2. Be 100% in the the moment!
3. Show up
4. Don’t expect anything from anyone!
5. If someone tells you to lose weight to be successful, tell them to go to hell.
Which tips would you recommend to your colleagues in your industry to help them to thrive and not “burn out”?
Jon: Sometimes when I’m feeling spent, I’ll read a book by or about an artist that I admire. I’m always quickly reminded that everyone feels, or has felt, whatever way I’m feeling at one time or another.
STEEVIE: Jon, you stole my answer! Lol
You are a person of enormous influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. 🙂
Jon: I would inspire a movement that removes filters from pictures and encourages folks to make videos of them being their silliest selves.
STEEVIE: Yes Jon! Can we get rid of this weird “filter frenzy” culture? I think too many people are truly suffering from depression because of body image issues! Can we all just love ourselves the way we are? Love -the -skin -you’re- in MOVEMENT!
Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?
Jon: My stepdad has always said, “Do something, even if it’s wrong”. It always comes in handy for me when I get stuck writing a song or trying to figure out what step we should take next. The message really boils down to, “Just keep going and you’ll figure it out along the way. Don’t give up.”. I think that’s pretty good advice.
STEEVIE: “Find out who you are and do it on purpose!” -Dolly Parton
I love this quote. Don’t be afraid to be your true authentic self! That’s what makes ART so powerful!
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. 🙂
Jon: I’d be down for an omelette with Bill Murray. He’s a big Chicago Cubs & John Prine fan, like me, and I think it’d be interesting to ask the guy from Groundhog Day what 2020 has been like for him.
STEEVIE: I can’t pick just ONE! But today, I’d love to chat with Carole Burnett! Do I need to explain this? I’ve idolized her my whole life and just think she’s incredible!
How can our readers follow you online?
Jon: You can find all our everything’s at TowneMusic.com, or Instagram @TowneMusic, or on Facebook *search* “TowneBand”.
This was very meaningful, thank you so much! We wish you continued success!