Zach Cornell comes from a little speed trap town (as he calls it) in the Texas Panhandle, and he’s been using that down-home upbringing to write his own brand of country music ever since. After moving off for college in 2014, Zach's music "hobby" grew into a passion that he couldn’t let go. He played local shows around North Texas while attending school and bartending in local restaurants.
In 2018, Zach set off for Nashville, Tennessee to work full-time as a musician and songwriter.
“Nashville just seemed like the next logical step. I grew up in a Texas town of just under 2,000 people and it definitely played a big role in the songs I listened to and the stories I eventually began to tell through my own songs. But, I knew at some point I’d have to head to Music City and see if I could hang in there with the pros.”
When Zach isn’t on the road, he can be found in Nashville playing local venues across the city, as well as co-writing with other local artists. His first full-length studio album, titled Devil’s Been Working, hit the airwaves in November 2020. In late 2021, Zach took some brand new songs to Jack Gavin and Kevin Willis at Rising Sun Studios in Old Hickory, TN.
We recently had the opportunity to chat with Zach about is newest single, "Stay Awhile," which was released on March 4, 2022.
Hi, Zach! We appreciate you taking the time to talk with us. Your new single “Stay Awhile” has a real traditional country vibe to it. Who are some of your musical influences?
Well I don't think I'd even be making country music if it weren't for Hank Williams, Merle Haggard, and Waylon Jennings. To me, those are the best to ever do it and they influence every note I play and every word I sing. But I would say this album in particular has heavy influence from guys like Keith Whitley, Tom T. Hall, and Chris Stapleton to name just a few more. Every song I write is an effort to honor some of my honky tonk heroes in one form or another.
How did growing up in Texas impact your songwriting?
It's no secret Texas has its own brand of country music. A lot of the biggest names to ever play my kind of music came from Texas, and the country music history back home is as rich as it gets. I think the experiences I had in my little speed trap town in Texas shaped the stories I wanted to tell and the ideas that I wanted to use in my songs. I did a lot of things in Texas that my Tennessee friends don't quite understand, just because the culture there really stands on its own and there's not a place in the world like it. So I think I can add a lot to songs just by having those unique experiences and upbringing, and in the right time and situation it helps me to bring a lot to the table as a writer.
Since moving to Nashville, you’re often playing out at some of the local venues. If you could play a show anywhere in the world, where would you pick?
I think I'd stay in Nashville to play a show at the Ryman. This has been a dream of mine for a long time, and now that I really feel like a local in Nashville it would be even more special to me. To most country artists, there's not a more iconic stage in the world. In short, it would absolutely be the highlight of my career.
Do you have a dream duet partner you’d love to perform with?
I'd love to do one with Colter Wall. He is unapologetically country, and he just puts out whatever the heck he wants to, all of it country gold. He's also a hell of a writer, maybe the best out there right now. And I think people overlook that because of how big his voice is and how traditional his sound is.
What else can we expect from you in 2022?
I've got some more songs on the way that I can't wait for y'all to hear. Maybe even a full record if I can get all my ducks in a row!