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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


    Tucson native turns country star


    A Tucson native and Wildcat supporter Troy Olsen’s country stardom hasn’t kept him from remembering where he came from. His songs paint images of what he misses most about home, the Arizona desert.

    Olsen has produced popular songs like “Summer Thing” and “Good Hands,” has had songs recorded by popular artists such as Tim McGraw and Blake Shelton and shows no signs of quitting anytime soon.

    Daily Wildcat: What do you like best about Tucson? What do you miss about it when you aren’t around?

    Troy Olsen: Where do I start? I miss the weather, of course, because I love to play golf. I love the Mexican food and miss it terribly; there is no real Mexican food here (in Nashville) which sucks. And I just miss the desert, you know?

    What are some of your favorite places to hang out in Tucson?

    When I come to town it’s sort of different, of course, because usually when I’m in town I am doing a show and I don’t get to come down as much as I’d like to. I hang with friends when I’m home. I’d rather hang at a friend’s house instead of stay at a hotel. I like to play golf and just catch up.

    How did you get into country music? Have you always listened to country music?

    Yeah, I was always into country music. I started playing guitar when I was 12 and that was right around when I was discovering Dwight (Yoakam) actually. I was learning all of Dwight’s songs and Steve Earle. I love guys like that and so I pretty much have played country my whole life. I mean, I play some rock stuff too and I do dig rock and some pop and I’ve written all kinds of songs, but there is no doubt I’m a country guy.

    If you could choose anyone, who would you want to do a duet with?

    Dwight (Yoakam). I would definitely do that with Dwight.

    What country music singer inspires you?

    Wow, I’ve had a lot of influence from Glen Campbell and Waylon (Jennings). I’m a huge Waylon fan.

    What is your favorite song to play while performing?

    Probably a song of mine called “Ghost Town Train” because it’s just a really really pretty song and there’s a certain feeling. There’s a certain color that it paints that I really love and it’s just a really breezy kind of song that just feels good.

    What is your favorite part of your job?

    My favorite part of my job is being in the studio and writing. When I was younger, my favorite part was being on stage and I still enjoy that a lot, but I don’t enjoy it as much as the creative part. I like writing the songs and then recording them and spending time in the studio and kind of making them come to life.

    What are some popular songs that you wrote that are recorded by other artists?

    I’ve had songs recorded by Blake Shelton; I had a big hit with a song called “I’ll Just Hold On.” I’ve had songs recorded by Tim McGraw, Chris Young, Patty Loveless.

    What song can you not get enough of right now?

    What song have I been jamming in my car? I hate to admit it, but I’ve been jamming “Pumped Up Kicks” from Foster the People.

    When do you plan on producing another album?

    Probably early summer of next year.

    What is your favorite and least favorite part about being on the road?

    The least favorite part is just the hours and hours of down time, you know, just being stuck either driving or just a lot of killing time. Then, of course, my favorite part of being out there is just actually playing. You basically only play for an hour and a half and then you’ve got 22 1/2 hours to kill so that’s sort of like the yin and yang of being on the road. You spend a lot of time trying to get that hour and a half, you know?

    What is a must-have item that you can’t leave behind on tour?

    That’s a great question. A good pillow.

    What hobbies do you like to do when not working?

    Golf, in fact I just got done playing golf. That’s one of the perks of being a musician. Being a professional songwriter means you don’t have a schedule so I like playing golf and that’s pretty much it. No, I like to hunt this time of year too.

    Being from Tucson, are you a fan of the Wildcats?

    Being out West here, they don’t broadcast any games hardly ever out here because of regional television, but I enjoy seeing U of A almost having something of a football team. We beat ASU though and that’s the only game that matters. They won the Arizona super bowl so that’s good.

    What are you looking forward to most in 2012?

    I am looking forward to getting back on the road. I was on the road for about 18 months straight up until a few weeks ago and so I was out there for a long time going coast to coast and burning up the highway and got really tired. Now I’ve had some time off to sort of regroup and written a bunch of new songs I really dig so I am looking forward to getting back on the road.

    Olsen will host a New Year’s Eve concert at the country bar Cactus Moon on Dec. 31.

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