- By Ken Perrotte
Sundance Head -- the Soulful Country Artist with a Passion for Everything Outdoors
Updated: Nov 9, 2020
The massive SHOT Show at the Sands Convention Center in Las Vegas attracts nearly 60,000 people every January. Miles of exhibits showcase the latest in guns and ammo, as well as outdoors gear. A throng of interesting people can be seen walking around the exhibit halls, or meeting/greeting/performing at any of the hundreds of booths. This year, besides introducing their nice, new Case Kickstart Trapperlock knife, W.R. Case & Sons Cutlery also brought in Sundance Head, winner of "The Voice" in 2016, to perform at the booth's late afternoon happy hour. Yes, beer and wine, and music if you're lucky, is a regular feature in many booths at the end of each SHOT Show day.
Head was a member of Blake Shelton's team on this incredibly popular show. He has been on the road a lot since winning the reality-show singing competition “The Voice” in 2016 as a member of Blake Shelton’s team. He was Shelton’s opening act in in a major arena show tour for several months before doing another 280-plus dates booked by his Nashville management team.The last few months saw him putting the finishing touches on his first full-length album since winning he Voice. His first full-length album was released Jan. 25, 2019. It's titled, "Stained Glass and Neon." Head is the first artist signed to legendary country singer-songwriter Dean Dillon’s Wildcatter Records label. Dillon wrote many hits for artists such as George Strait and co-penned the mega-hit “Tennessee Whiskey.” Head calls the record “traditional country” with a number of songs he wrote or co-wrote, plus several contributions by some leading songwriters. It's a solid package. Check out the music video of "Leave Her Wild."
During my interview with the amiable Texan, Sundance, pulled a small pocketknife from his pocket and held it out for inspection. “I cleaned two 130-pound, white-tailed deer last hunting season with this knife,” he said. The knife, a Case Mini Copperlock with a green, bone handle, doesn’t look like much of a deer processing tool, but Head says he did everything from field dressing to the cooler with the small, sharp blade. “You don’t need a big knife; you just need a good knife,” he said. “It’s my favorite knife. I carry it with all the time when I’m on the road. My brother passed away in a car wreck in 1988 and my mother, after a few months of not letting anyone in the room, told me I could go in and have anything I want. The first thing I went to was his records. The second thing was his knives. He had several Case knives that my grandpa had given him. I still have all of them to this day,” Head said, adding he plans to pass them down to his children.
His first album was "2016 & Gruene," was billed as “soulful red dirt music.” He next released "Soul Country," another great blend of country, soul and blues. It included his mournful single, “Darlin’ Don’t Go,” an original song he performed during the finals of The Voice. The song hit number 4 on the U.S country music charts in 2016.
Head grew up north of Houston in a little town named Porter. He said his musical influences included everything from Motown to Bob Seger to Led Zeppelin. His father, Roy, was his biggest influence, though. His father was a wild-dancing rebel rocker who fronted several bands and charted a number 2 record – Treat Her Right - on the 1965 American music charts, just behind the Beatle’s Yesterday. He made the jump into country music in the 70s and 80s, also charting several hit songs.
“I grew up listening to a lot of 50s and 60s music, then music from the 70s and 80s from my brother’s collection,” Head said. His musical journey includes a little bit of everything, including a period playing in a “hair band,” he said with a smile.
Sundance comes by his soulful vocal chops honestly. Roy Head notes in other interviews that his father was
a Texas sharecropper. As his own musical tastes were forming, he’d listen to guitar players singing “black music” in their little “shotgun shacks” and in the fields. Both grandparents played instruments and sang. Roy’s vocal stylings had some radio listeners and record executives thinking he was a black man.
Roy Head passed along his love for hunting and fishing to Sundance. “I grew up hunting and fishing. When I’m not out on the road or at home with my family, I’m in a deer stand. I love hiking, camping, cooking out in the open over a fire,” he said. The family owns 100 acres in East Texas and they regularly hunt the property. Head’s immediate plan upon returning from the SHOT Show was to take his 5-year-old son on a three-day camping trip. He explained they have some pesky feral hogs on their property and the trip might result in some fresh, local baby back ribs.
Sundance credits his wife Misty with pushing him to try out for The Voice. He explains they had a solid fanbase in Texas, with regular gigs that were paying the bills, but to really go national they needed broader exposure. The Voice, with its tens of millions of fans, was the ticket.
Head had a plan for winning as he advanced through the live shows. “My plan was to sing female songs with a male vocal and put my own arrangement to them so they would seem like a brand-new song, yet people would be super familiar with the material. That worked out for me,” he said. Looking to the future, Head said his roots and home are in East Texas, but if things work out as hoped, the family might spend much of the rest of their life touring on the road.
Below is an audio interview with Sundance Head about what he's been up to since winning The Voice, his new album, as well as his love for the outdoors and what he hopes is on his horizon. Yeah, he let me try out his custom-made Taylor guitar. Great guy and we wish him utmost success.