Growing up on a seed farm in Oregon singer/songwriter Ben Rue had a couple of dreams he could have chased - playing baseball or music. Fortunately for his growing country music fan base, he chose the singing dream.
On his latest album, Back to the Nights Ben continues chasing those country music dreams with an impressive collection of catchy tunes, including the chart-climbing single, "Making Out," which details an ex-girlfriend that just won’t let you go.
AXS caught up with rising country singer Ben Rue, as we talked about his new album, his love of baseball and the influence of 90s country music on his career.
AXS: Growing up you kind of had two loves with baseball and singing. Did you always lean one direction or the other?
Ben Rue: I have two older brothers and we were always playing sports. So, from the age of seven or eight, I was playing baseball. Then I ended up playing baseball in college and a year in an independent league after college. I was already writing songs and playing guitar in college. It wasn’t until I was let go from that team [independent league] that I came back to our family farm in Oregon and I really didn’t know what to do. I finally picked up my guitar again and this time really had the passion and wanted to give singing a shot, and here we are (laughs).
AXS: What were you listening to growing up outside of Portland, Oregon that inspires your music today?
BR: Even though Portland itself is not a big country music town, the rest of Oregon is rural, and as a state, country music is very much alive. So, I grew up listening to Garth Brooks, George Strait and Alan Jackson. It's their singing and songwriting style that I try and weave into my own music.
AXS: Today, the sound of country music seems to be branching out into various styles. How do you describe your style of music?
BR: It is funny that there are all kinds of sublets of country music these days (laughs.) I like to say that my style is contemporary with 90s country music flare. It’s that rural, country good ol’ boy music that I used to listen to while driving the combine at home. I like to have a little bit of fun with my music.
AXS: What’s this collection of songs you have on your latest album, Back to the Nights about?
BR: I took my time on this album. It’s got a ton of what I think (laughs) are really great songs on this one. It has the fun roll your windows down, cruising through the country kind of songs and the real-life break-up songs that people go through every day. As well as some real meaningful songs. I pride myself in songwriting and maybe saying things a little different than you heard before. At least that’s the goal.
AXS: You have a fun single off the album, “Making Out.”
BR: That song is a coy little response to one of those girls that break up with you, but keeps on tugging on your heartstrings. The kind of girl that won't let you move on, that keeps pulling you back in but does not really want to be with you. The song is the response to someone like that, to say I'm ok with moving on (laughs). I think it's a song we can relate to in one way or another.