Nashville came calling
It's 423 miles from Mount Sterling, Illinois to Nashville, Tennessee.
The four members of country music band Madd Hoss Jackson know the roads to Nashville very well.
For the last two years the band has been trekking back and forth making a CD, and now the band is more than ready for you to hear it.
Here's a look at what's ahead for Madd Hoss Jackson as the band members travel from Mount Sterling to Music City.
The band's bus has pulled out of Mount Sterling many times. Most of the times it's to take the band to one of its many shows in a five state area. This time though, there is destination a little farther from home Music City USA .
"This is all I've been shooting for since I was in high school," Matt Bullard said.
"My intention when I started with this band was to make music my living," Andy Ham said.
And the band is very close. Over the past couple of years, the band has been working on a CD in Nashville.
"In this case, we looked for songs for the band for at least six or eight months. I went through hundreds of hundreds of songs. I would send them up a few at a time, and they would like it or say no that doesn't work for us," Fred Vail said.
Fred is the person who's known for "discovering" Madd Hoss Jackson. The band recorded its CD at his Treasure Isle studio . Vail has worked with some of the biggest names in music including Jason Aldean , Keith Urban , and Miranda Lambert .
He hopes to add Madd Hoss Jackson to that list of super stars.
"The hard part is over with. The getting their attention. Getting the album done. Getting investors and putting a lot of our hard earned money into it," Vail said.
A lot of bands and solo artists come to Nashville and spend years knocking on doors and playing in clubs for tips to get their career off the ground.
On Music Row, Nashville USA, you cannot walk down the street without hearing live music from building to building. Madd Hoss Jackson didn't have to do that. Nashville came calling for them.
"Our chances that we'll get to make a living are pretty good. As far as being super stars, we're very realistic. We understand that not everyone gets to do what they want to do. We have laid a good foundation, playing around our area that people in Nashville noticed, started calling us to come down instead of us coming down and knocking on doors," Andy Ham said.
To hear the songs from the CD, you'll have to check out Madd Hoss Jackson live in concert. The band has been playing the music to the audience to see what the fans think of it.
"The feedback has been 100% positive. I haven't heard or read one negative comment," Vail said.
Now it's up to Vail. He's currently shopping the CD to labels in Nashville, and he says he's getting some interest. He also points out Madd Hoss Jackson has a really strong fan base locally. He's convinced that fan base will grow once he gets the band to sign on the dotted line.
Balancing the band, the day job and family
After you put in your eight hours at work, it's nice to unwind with a hobby.
For Madd Hoss Jackson band members, that hobby is turning into another full time job.
Band members hope soon, they'll just be able to play music for a living.
"We're burning the candle at both ends," Jim Jennings said.
"It's all of our dreams. We are ready to see what's going to happen now," Andy Ham said.
"We're all really good friends. We'd hang out together during the week even if we weren't playing," Mark Behymer said.
"My favorite thing to do is to sing and play guitar in front of people. I love that," Matt Bullard said.
The four guys of Madd Hoss Jackson have been playing together for the last seven years, and now they're ready to go national.
The band recently brought a photographer to Nashville to take pictures for their CD. The guys are in their element here in music city, and you can see excitement on their faces. The guys enjoy working their way through the streets of Nashville, but at the same time, they still work day jobs.
Jim Jennings is also an alderman for the city of Mount Sterling, and he and Andy Ham volunteer at St. Mary's School in the music program.
The band members are also busy on most weekends playing live shows. In fact they play more than 100 dates a year in five states. Hopefully soon, they'll play twice that many dates in ten times as many states.
All four band members are married and have families. We'll have that story tomorrow in the KHQA News at Ten, so stay tuned.