During my journeys in the heart of the web, i have the opportunity to make great encounters. That’s how I first met Chad K. Slagle and his music. I wanted to get acquainted with him and to share with you.
Through this article I wanted to honor a singer, songwriter , that should interest many of you . Chad K. Slagle sings life, nature, Native American and bowhunting through texts telling stories of ordinary people but harsh , adventures in the great outdoors and sometimes those great names in the history of our favorite sport.
First, a few questions to make your acquaintance.
– If you had to present you, what say you ?
Chad : Chad is a singer/songwriter, author, and bowyer that resides in a small cabin on a lake in Oklahoma.
– How did you become a craftsman of music ?
Chad : I began playing the guitar around the age of 13, and started writing songs about the age of 15.
– Are you self taught or did you have a mentor ?
Chad : I taught myself to play guitar and write songs, but my grandmother was a big encouragement to me from the time I was young. She played piano, guitar, and mandolin. She is the one that taught me about country music legends like Willie Nelson, George Jones, Waylon Jennings, Merle Haggard, Johnny Cash, and others. My father also played guitar and sang a bit. He taught me about the singer/songwriters of his day – people like Bob Dylan, Neil Young, Joni Mitchell, Cat Stevens, and James Taylor.
– What do you prefer, the composition of music or writing songs ?
Chad : I love the entire process of creating songs, but I would have to say that I am lyricist first and a composer second. Most of my songs are relatively simple in music composition, but it is the lyrics that gives them depth.
– Do you have a favorite song ?
Chad : Of the songs that I have written, I would have to say that Grandpa’s Walking Stick is probably my favorite – not only because it is a true story about my grandfather, but because it has touched so many people. I get more compliments and letters about that song than any other.
When surfing on your website, i realize that you’ve moved (traveled) a lot. – Do you think the trip is something needed to form its own opinions ?
Chad : I enjoy traveling, seeing and experiencing new things, and meeting new people. Discovery and experiences are the backbone of my writing, whether music or otherwise. As the saying goes, “Life is a journey, not a destination”.
– Do you have a travel story or a place that have you specifically enriched as a human being ?
Chad : There have been so many enriching people and experiences on the road, that it is hard for me to narrow down a specific instance. But, I would have to say that when I toured Germany last year, it was an amazing experience. I met a gentleman by the name of Tom in Prien, Germany. He only knew a couple of English words. But, later that night at my performance, I could see Tom in the audience and he was singing every word to my songs. Even without the being able to understand the words literally, he felt and understood them spiritually. It was an amazing moment for me.
– What is, to you, the most common motivation for writing a new song ?
Chad : I will often have a song chorus or “hook”, as I call it, which will come to me. They generally come when I am doing some sort of outdoor activity. I will usually come back later and actually write the song.
You write many articles in « primitive archer”. Magazines, are of your point of view, a media as powerful as music ?
Chad : I really enjoy writing articles for magazines since storytelling is probably one of the only ways of relaying information that most likely pre-dates musical composition. I have even written articles based on my songs which has allowed me to elaborate on the subject, giving fans a more detailed look at the characters I write about in my songs.
– Today, you devote yourself exclusively to the song or you doing something else ?
Chad : I have never liked to do just one thing. I am always working on different projects—and usually at the same time. Musically, I have a band called Freedom Roadthat I enjoy playing with. We play a mixture of blues, country, and rock. I have also helped produce a few albums for friends of mine, and I have started to co-write songs with other writers. I also work as a spokesman for Quest Products, a company that produces outdoor gear and clothing.
Now I want to speak specifically to your work, you tell stories that no one had sung, at least at this level of commitment.
– Is your first album had a special origin or that there was a natural progression for you ?
Chad : I had worked as a musician and writer in Nashville for several years before recording my first album. I had grown tired of the music business and wanted to do something different musically. At about the same time, I had taken up another hobby—traditional archery. As I got more involved with archery and hunting, I began writing a few songs that were related to what I was doing…mostly just to play to friends around the campfire or hunting camp. The response was overwhelming, so I continued to write and eventually decided to cut a record of the songs.
I quickly found that nature has a very important part in your text and it is the support of your stories. – In what environment, you have to be for to find your inspiration ?
Chad : Most of my ideas and inspiration come directly from experiences in nature. Sometimes it is while hunting or fishing, but it is often when I am simply hiking, camping, or just working in my garden. I enjoy everything about the natural world, and that often comes out in my music.
– Are you personally committed to environmentally ?
Chad : I am very committed to the environment. I have been an avid reader of Mother Earth News, Resurgence, and other earth-conscious magazines for many years. I live in a small cabin that I built myself. I eat mostly organic foods, some of which I grow in my garden and greenhouse. I also support many outdoor groups like The Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation, The National Wildlife Federation, and other organizations that are directly involved in helping provide and restore habitat for wildlife.
In your song dedicated to « Fred Bear », you tell how you went from using a compound bow to go hunting archery traditional.
– What do you like more in the traditional archery ?
Chad : For many people involved in traditional archery, it is more a lifestyle than simply a sport. That is exactly what it is for me, also. It encompasses all that I find rewarding…..self-sufficiency, woodsmanship, and an oneness with nature. To hunt with traditional gear, you have to be close. To get close, you need a fuller understanding of your game and your surroundings.
Many of your songs are about simple people who have managed to choose the path of their lives in order to make it more beautiful and have a positive impact on society.
– Do you think each of us should strive to make this world better ?
Chad : We all impact our world by simply living on his earth and sharing it with others. If we don’t make choices that encourage a better way to live, then ultimately we are making our world worse—for us and future generations. Why anyone would not want to make a better world makes no sense to me.
Your song « Longbow Country » is a hymn to bow hunting and traditional archery but through it I think you make a call to a simpler life without embellishment Technology.
– How do you live financial crisis in the United States ?
Chad : The people in the US have become so dependent on modern conveniences that when financial crises like the one we are facing today hits, they are nearly helpless. Our country was founded by men and women who lived a simple, self-sufficient lifestyle. I have learned to grow my vegetables, hunt and trap meat, and live without debt. I live simply, so I am not affected the way many are.
– What is your view on the economic underpinnings of our modern consumer society and the questioning today of some of these aspects ?
Chad : We cannot continue to consume the way we have without problems. The current financial situation is simply a start. We are also facing global environmental issues because of our consumption. We here in the US have a long way to go in curtailing our use of non-recyclable materials. We use more than we should in almost everything and have not implemented enough things to counter it.
Others of your songs make references to natives.
– Do you regret the treatment that the American pioneer people inflicted on natives ?
– Do you think he might have been good to incorporate a larger share of their culture into ours, like the respect for nature ?
Chad : Living in Oklahoma, a state that probably has more Native Americans than any other, I have been able to immerse myself in their culture. In fact, the land I currently live on is part of a reservation. My grandmother was also a full-blooded Cherokee, so she and my grandfather instilled a respect for nature very early on. I have read many books on the mistreatment of Native Americans and the trials they went through. Although I am saddened by what happened to them, I am even more saddened by the state of our modern Native Americans. I teach bow-making classes and primitive skills to many youth groups. There seems to be so few people passing on the traditions of the native Americans these days. One Indian chief called me “The reddest white man he ever knew”, mostly because I knew more about the old ways than anyone in his tribe.
You sing several big names in the modern traditional bowhunting and you had dedicated your second album to Jay Massey.
– Do you think you have a duty to remember these people ?
– If yes, why ?
Chad : Jay Massey’s writings have been a huge influence on me. Anyone I write about in my songs has been a mentor in some way. Respect and appreciation are two of the greatest things I think we can give someone, so that is what I do. It is the best way that I can give back to those who have given so much to me.
I was very surprised to hear your song on Jeremiah Johnson. This is my cult movie par excellence. However, we Europeans know only the Sydney Pollack film , the story behind your song does not match that of the film.
– Have you taken artistic liberties, or is it actually closer to the American legend ?
Chad : HA ! Yes, I get asked about that song often. The song is actually a combination of two movies— Jeremiah Johnson and Legends of The Fall. I was hunting for black bear in the mountains of Canada some years back. I and a few archers were staying with a hunting guide friend of mine and it rained for 6 of the 7 days we were camped. We only had two movies to watch. So after watching them both several times, I wrote the song The Bear and The Mountain Man.
You have written two albums now.
– Is there any titles that you want to defend more than others ?
Chad : I feel good about all the songs that I have recorded. It is always nice to get so many different answers as to which song is a fan’s favorite. Every song I have recorded seems to have been someone’s favorite, so I think I did OK.
Writing songs or magazines articles is in part similar to writing a book.
– Would you write a book someday ?
– What are for you the 5 best books on bowhunting ?
Chad : I think it will be a natural progression for me to write a book(s) someday. I would like to write about my travels, more about nature and gardening, as well as trying my hand at a novel. I would have to say that the 5 books on bowhunting that have influenced me the most would be Longbow Country, Hunting Alaska’s Wild Rivers, A Thousand Campfires, 44 Years In The Life Of A Hunter, and Longbows In The Far North.
Let’s talk about the future now, It is now 1 year and a half since your last album came out.
– Have you planned to release a third album ?
– Maybe you work on other projects currently ?
Chad : I will most likely come out with an album of songs that aren’t necessarily outdoor related next fall. I have a lot of other material that I would like to get out. I have other outdoor songs completed, and may do a “Best of” CD next year that will have 4 or 5 new songs and will plan another tour.
You did a tour in Germany.
– What memories do you keep,
– Do you come back one day and go through France ?
Chad : I hope to definitely tour Germany again, and would love to come to France, as well. I have always wanted to hunt for wild boar in France.
I have many fond memories of Germany, and made some life-long friends. In fact, I had a few of those friends come and hunt with me here in the US this past fall.
Go to a final end
– What are your favorites literary, film and music
Chad : I am a fan of the arts, and appreciate many different artists. The list would be too had to narrow down, but I can say that I get a lot of inspiration from books, films, and music. Besides nature, they are the best things we have !