Halfway to Hazard Interview:
A New Album and New Perspective
After a several year hiatus, the duo poised to be the heir of the Brooks and Dunn throne has returned to country music with a new, revealing video. The message? Halfway to Hazard is ready for a fresh start. They are coming to terms with their painful past, and they are open and honest about the trials that almost split up the group for good. In 2015, they’re giving their dream another shot with a steady touring schedule, a new album, and a TV program. They are also receiving a humanitarian award in their home state at the Kentucky Music Hall of Fame Museum 2015 induction ceremony for their charitable contributions that they have generously given throughout their career.
I had the honor of speaking with Chad Warrix and David Tolliver:
Could you discuss your new music video with us?
Chad: David and I had taken a little time off and decided this past year that we were ready to start recording and go forward again and write a new record. So we started talking to this production company out of California, and they kind of want to follow us around, and they built a little trailer and make a live video — kind of discussing how, in the beginning, things were going good for us, and then the bottom fell out, as the story goes, and we want to share our story with people and have another run at it.
What is in store for 2015?
David: We are looking at new music and looking at a new outlook on our careers and a new TV show and playing some shows — we will be on the road with Lee Brice and Chris Young. We are just happy to be back out, and we have got our heads straight; well, I have definitely got my head straight [laughs]. We are both pointed in the same direction, we are both humble and glad for every opportunity that we get. As cliché as it is, when you get another chance you really appreciate every day and every moment. That is what I am doing, and I know that is what Chad is doing now, and I think that is the head space that we are in, and it is a good place to be in. It is nice to have a second chance, and we are going to take every advantage that we can.
Could you discuss the humanitarian award you are about to receive?
Both: We have no idea [laughs].
We have been very proud and fortunate over the last eight years to really be heavily involved with charitable organizations up in Kentucky and all over. We always try to give back to kids charities, perform at live concerts that benefit organizations within our communities and telethons, and whatever we can do to help. We actually reached the million dollar mark this past year with charitable money and so the Kentucky Music Hall of Fame kind of wants to honor us with an award. We are humbled by it, it is truly amazing, and we just love to give back with the Kentucky Spirit. When you are from there it is a big sense of pride, and we try to help each other, and we really just love doing things for our home state.
How did you get the name Halfway to Hazard?
Chad: David and I grew up in little towns outside of Hazard, Kentucky, and Hazard is the focal point and big community within a metropolitan area. Growing up in small towns outside of Hazard, that is where we would go to town, to go to the movies, to go shopping, to chase girls [laughs], and that is just kind of what you did. And as we were trying to come up with a name, we actually had the name in a song lyric on a song called “Cold” on our first record, and we thought it was a great name for our duo and it works. Hopefully it’s easy to remember and it represents where we are from and all about.
I was thinking maybe it had ties to The Dukes of Hazzard?
Chad: Yeah, we definitely grew up as fans of that show, and it is funny, that show was actually filmed in Georgia, and my college roommate was from Covington, Georgia where they filmed the show “Dukes of Hazzard.” Another funny story: one night David and I had just finished writing the song “Daisy,” our first single on country radio, and about a night or two before it was getting ready to be released to radio I called David and said, do you realize what we have done? We are called Halfway to Hazard, and we are about to release a song called “Daisy.” People are going to think we did this on purpose [laughs], but we didn’t, and it was just ironic. But we love that show, and if that is how people get us and our music in their minds then we are happy about that. We are definitely Daisy Dukes fan, and Luke and Bo and Uncle Jessie, Cooter, and everybody; we love that show, it was a great part of our childhood.
David: God bless James Best. He played Roscoe P. Coltrane. He died. I actually met him a few times. He was a really great guy, and he was from Kentucky. A lot of those characters would come to the Black Coal Festival in Hazard (KY), and I have actually got a picture of myself sitting in Daisy Duke’s lap and sitting with Boss Hogg when I was a kid. And that was definitely a cherished show. It was wildly popular, and it is crazy how many people love it and still do.
Chad: And with the reruns on CMT, I can now introduce my kids to the show.
Do you guys consider yourselves Christians or spiritual people?
David: I grew up Baptist.
Chad: We say a prayer every night before we go onstage, and we always try to be our best and do what we are supposed to do. You know, we are not perfect and we fail but we definitely try to keep God and Jesus in our lives, and it is a big part of it — especially since we have both become family guys, having kids, and you want them to grow up in the right environment.