Eddie Bush has been playing music in Charleston for 30 years. Through a career that's taken him all over the country as a solo performer and as a member of One Flew South, Chucktown has remained his home base. His first post-One Flew South album, Shared Time, is set for a summer release, and his first single, "Calloused Hands," is already getting local radio play.
We talked with him about his musical career, which has put him in the national spotlight more than a few times.
CP: Shared Time is your first since full album since One Flew South's Last of the Good Guys in 2008. When can we expect it?
EB: I started on it almost immediately after One Flew South officially called it quits a little over a year ago. I've been working with a guy named Dave Matthews, who's a producer and engineer in Nashville. We're taking our time finishing it, wrapping it up, and making sure we do it the right way. We've got to make sure we get everything in place to give us a chance to truly support it.
CP: Early in your career, you were a guitar guy and a singer-songwriter, and then made a transition to country. What made you move in that direction?
EB: I had an opportunity to do a show with Keith Urban. I didn't really know him, but I got put on the bill, and it was like watching Bon Jovi but with a mandolin and fiddle in the band. And I thought if that's what's happening in Nashville, then I've got to try that. I was trying to get a major label deal when I met [Nashville songwriter] Marcus Hummon, and he was putting a three-part group together. I met the other guys, Chris Roberts and Royal Reed, a week later in Nashville and the first time we sang together it was bad ass, it just clicked.
CP: Another one of your brushes with national recognition was after 9/11, when your song "Spirit of America" became an instant sensation. What was that like?
EB: It was flattering, and it was weird. I wrote "Spirit of America" six days after it happened, and that whole thing was just completely fluky. When I wrote that song, I had no intention of ever actually playing it for anybody. I just had to write it because it was all over the TV, that kind of imagery and feeling.
CP: And is that what led to you writing the policeman's anthem "The Thin Blue Line?"
EB: A lieutenant came to me and said, "What do you think about writing a song for us as a fundraising tool?" I said, "I'd be honored to do that, but I don't know anything about what it's like to be a police officer." So I just hung out with them a lot and wrote "The Thin Blue Line." I was really nervous playing it for them, but they loved it.
CP: That's great that it started from something genuine. I like that kind of charity.
EB: I feel like if I can make music and it can help somebody, then that's the best. The Omar Shrine Temple in Charleston asked if I wanted to participate in a project. I raised money through sponsors to make "Holiday Harmonies," which featured my Christmas song "I C Christmas," and I gave money from that to Shriners.
CP: It seems charity has become something very important to you in your career.
EB: Throughout the length of my musical run, a lot of people have helped me, whether it's investing in me so I could put CDs out — people coming out of nowhere to put shows on, to get endorsements with companies, to get opening slots, whatever. So it's a complete circle to try to help people.