Had Wade Oliver been more interested in math back in the fifth grade his career choice might have been entirely different, “An announcement came over the intercom encouraging anyone interested in taking guitar lessons to come to the office,” Oliver chuckled. “I wanted out of that math class so I went.”
It helped a lot that he has music coursing through his veins from both sides of his family tree. Around here, we call that coming by a vocation honest, not ‘honestly,’ but as in, “he comes by that honest.”
And Wade would say it just that way, having been raised on Penitentiary Mountain, near Moulton. And yes, there was once a penitentiary up there, somewhere, or so they say.
Wade took a few guitar lessons from Jerald Parker, owner of Jerry’s Record Ranch in Decatur, a place where vinyl records were sold for years before these shiny little CD’s made them almost obsolete. In Parker’s opinion, Oliver was a natural.
He plays by ear, much like Jerry Lee and Elvis, and he sings about what he knows, the rural South and its people. He was raised on Southern gospel, his grandfather Hood’s country rhythms, his Oliver granddad’s as well, and the sound of the music coming from Moulton’s only radio station when he was growing up, which only ever played country, from sun up until sun down.
His first exposure to an audience came at the age of 11, when he entered a talent contest at a Decatur mall. He recalls being so nervous that he barely remembers playing “Dueling Banjo’s” or “Wildwood Flower.”
That was many moons and a lot of miles ago. Oliver has been on the road for the last five years, taking his music to big cities and little towns all across the South, getting acquainted with DJ’s, singing in bars to rowdy construction workers and underpaid waitresses with aching feet, and people are noticing.
He is also writing a lot of his own material. “I rely on personal experience and the ups and downs of life, it gives my music the ability to bring back that experience of feeling like the guy singing knows your life story, an experience that seems forgotten in today’s modern country music market.”
All of that hard work, all those nights on the road, all those pinched pennies are about to become things of the past, and things he and his wife, Vanessa, have wished for, all those dreams they’ve dreamed are about to come true.
Wade has been nominated for six, yes, six, Josie Awards, at the largest show of its kind for independent musicians and songwriters, now in its fifth season.
Wade’s song, “Thank God and a Soldier” is up for Patriotic Song of the Year. Another of his songs, “You Can’t Play Country for Modern,” was nominated for Country Song of the Year.
His signature song, “Outlaw,” has put him in the running for Country Male Vocalist of the Year. “Outlaw” also put him in the category of Country Entertainer of the Year, and “Outlaw” might very well make him this year’s Country Male Artist of the Year, as well as giving him a shot at the Fans Choice Award for Male Artist.
This year’s event will be held in the Celebrity Theater inside The Dollywood Theme Park on Saturday, September 21, 2019. So if you love country music, seeing the upcoming stars and visiting Gatlinburg, what are you waiting for?
Oliver says that writing music has to be from his own personal experiences. Many of them have strong ties to everything we all grew up with and sometimes take for granted.
From his lyrics to the melodies he dreams up in his head, you will feel the heart and soul you used to know and love in Country Music. You may call Wade Oliver’s style of music, Outlaw Country, or you may say he is Traditional, but those of us that know him, he’d be happy if you just come out and simply call Wade Oliver the Music Man!
His grandfather, Wilson Hood played lead guitar and sang with the best of the day, including Tina Turner, Melba Moore and others at Fame Studios in Muscle Shoals, and all over the South, and even in Chicago for a while, but family and his Lawrence County roots won out over the road eventually. He once shared a stage with Jerry Lee Lewis at Gordon Terry’s Terry Town in Tennessee. They say the acorns never fall far from the tree . . . this must be true in Wade Oliver’s case. He is living his granddaddy’s dreams!
Good luck to you, Wade, from your homefolks!
For more information, contact wade oliver <email@example.com>
1: Song: “Thank God and a Soldier” for Patriotic Song of the Year
2: Song: “You Can’t Play Country” for Modern Country Song of the Year
3: “Outlaw” Country Male Vocalist of the Year
4: “Outlaw” Country Entertainer of the Year
5: “Outlaw” Country Male Artist of the Year
6: Fans Choice Award for Male Artist