Drew Baldridge returns to Copper Dragon Dec. 7

Drew Baldridge returns to Copper Dragon Dec. 7

Drew Baldridge returns to Copper Dragon Dec. 7
Leah Williams

There is something about Drew Baldridge that immediately pulls you in. The smile, the presence, the candor that comes with growing up and singing about small town life in Illinois.

“I just try to do the best I can,” he said.

Baldridge will return to the Copper Dragon on Thursday, Dec. 7. The Southern Illinois native recently chatted with the Nightlife about his upcoming album, the importance of social media in a clickbait world and when he knows he has officially “made it.”

Originally from Patoka, which is about 77 miles north of Carbondale on U.S. 51, Baldridge was first introduced to country music when his mother took him to a Josh Turner concert. That inaugural experience came full circle when Baldridge played the Grand Ol Opry in Nashville for the first time and was greeted on stage by his idol.

“That was such an amazing night,” Baldridge said. “I’ve played there now eight times and still nothing beats that first time. It still doesn’t seem real sometimes.”

In 2016, Baldridge released his debut album, Dirt On Us, which included the opening track “Dance With Ya” pulsates with a popping bass beat and a punchy horn section. The album also had a couple other standout tracks, particularly “Rebound” a slowed down tune about breakup boundaries. He wrote and recorded the song with Emily Weisband.

Baldridge said the various genre-pushing elements on his album are what he experienced in music growing up.

“I think we are often a product of what we grew up around and I always liked Michael Jackson and Earth, Wind & Fire,” he said. “I love to dance on stage. My band and I choreograph our dances.”

Baldridge said he is currently at work on a new album that he hopes to have released some time in 2018. Working with producer Chris Stevens, Baldridge promises the record will run the entire spectrum of genres, from the same slap grooves and rhythm and blues to familiar country.

“It’s going to have that same mix of old traditional country and the newer stuff with that pop and funky dance feel,” he said. “We absolutely can’t wait for everyone to hear what we’ve got.”

Baldridge has an active Facebook account, where he often posts live video chats, acoustic covers and behind the scenes videos of his band on tour. He said he maintains a strong social media presence as a way to engage with his audience.

“It’s extremely important,” he said. “It helps me feel connected with my fans and they feel connected with me.”

Baldridge said he plans to spend the holidays with family before returning back to the studio early next year to finish recording.

“We are all from Southern Illinois and we just want to do everybody proud,” he said. “I always said that I know when I make it is when you see that welcome to Patoka sign and it says right underneath it ‘Home of Drew Baldridge,’”

“That’s when I know I made it.”

For more information about Drew Baldridge or to hear music, check out his official website at www.drewbaldridgemusic.com.