With a resume that boasts a vast array of courageous skills ranging from serving as a Navy SEAL to competitive skiing, it’s a wonder how Pete Scobell ended up in country music. But if anything, his latest album “Walkin a Wire” was a natural step in life of the this up and coming star.
It all started a couple years ago when Scobell, fellow country star Wynonna Judd and future producer Cactus Moser all contributed songs for the movie “The Hornet’s Nest,” when the producer of the film introduced Scobell to Moser and Judd. From there, Scobell came out to Nashville to record a four-song EP titled “Unfinished Business,” in addition to recording a duet with Judd, “Hearts I Leave Behind.” “That really kind of generated the momentum going into this; it kind of evolved from there,” Scobell said of how recording with Judd helped move his music career forward.
Chance would have it that “Walkin a Wire” would fall into Scobell’s lap as he was going through a myriad of songs for the album. When he and his team came across the title, they found that it stuck, thus bringing to life the 2015 album. “We weren’t aiming to make any kind of album, we just wanted to make great music and it ended up being a country album,” he said about how his sound ended up in the fitting into the genre.
The relationship Scobell has formed with Judd is one he doesn’t take for granted, citing her as a valued confidant and mentor. “[Wynonna] is like my big sister, I can’t imagine my life without her,” Scobell said, revealing that when he first came to Nashville, the country singer was generous enough to let him stay with her his first two weeks here. “It’s like going to Washington DC and staying in the White House. She’s kind of the queen.” Calling her a “blessing” and a “shepherd” in his life, Scobell praises the impact that Judd and Moser have had on him, as they are constantly ensuring that he’s always with “the right people at the right time doing the right things – they’ve just been so good about that,” he admired. “I’m super lucky that they were my first in-roads here, so I hold her very near and dear to my heart.”
As for what the most important lessons are that he’s learned from the “No One Else on Earth” singer? “Patience and to focus on the music – make great music that means something to you and that you’re passionate about and connected to,” Scobell revealed. “She just always encouraged me to make music that I was connected with and to just let it happen and not try to force it.”
Being able to make music he’s passionate about was just one source of inspiration during the creation of “Walkin a Wire.” Scobell recorded the breakthrough album at the famed Studio A on Music Row, a historic establishment that boasts legendary clientele such as Johnny Cash, Dolly Parton, Willie Nelson and even recent crusaders like Ben Folds. When Scobell first walked into the studio, he was naturally in awe of its uniqueness, but was unaware of the history behind it. When Moser and his bandmates informed him of the culture within its hallowed halls, it made the experience of recording the album that much more enriching.
“I think your environment affects everything – your mood, the feeling, the nostalgia. Everything is affected,” Scobell said on how recording in the historic studio affected the sound of the album. “When your moods change, your communication changes. And really it’s an event, you’re not making a record, you’re making a piece of history. The ghosts talk to you there. It’s inspirational.”
Like many artists, Scobell feels a special connection to music, using it as a vehicle to express his emotions and provide listeners with a reflection of his life. “I’m a pretty passionate person and so I think that music for me has been a way to communicate life experiences,” the up and coming singer said. And he has had quite an array of life experiences to draw inspiration from.
Scobell spent many years of his young life serving as a celebrated Navy SEAL, an experience that carries extreme emotional baggage. “You live a lot of life in a short amount of time and so it’s hard to unpack that,” he said of his intense military background. While it may come as a surprise to some, Scobell explained the parallels between working with a team in the Navy and performing in a band. “Being in the SEAL platoon is just like being in a band,” he said, describing how everyone has a role to fulfill as they live and travel together. “You get somewhere and you have a plan and then everything changes; you’re comfortable with chaos. A touring act is so much like a SEAL platoon, it’s scary, [it’s a] very intimate relationship.”
In addition to valiantly serving our country, Scobell was also at one time a competitive skier, as the Colorado native grew up ski racing, in addition to climbing the Denali, the tallest mountain in North America, and participating in some of the biggest mountain competitions in the Centennial State. A head injury he sustained while competing led his doctor to tell the athlete that he needed to step away from the competitive aspect and just engage in the sport for fun, which in turn led him back to music, with the injury almost serving as act of fate. “I really need to play music, because it’s just been that recurring thing in my life,” Scobell said in regards to the timing of the injury and his return to making music.
As for what he wants listeners take away from “Walkin a Wire,” the singer hopes that fans simply enjoy the project and can feel the passion he’s put into it. “I hope people listen to it beginning to end and go ‘that was a great album, that was a cool experience,’ Scobell said. “Each song has got a little bit of something different in it and for me it was just a blast putting it together and recording it. I can listen to it beginning to end and be like ‘I’m very proud of that.’”