Life as a touring musician has left country’s Chris Cagle with plenty of lumps. Somehow, he’s taken them all and poked fun at the experience, titling his last album, “My Life’s Been a Country Song.”
The narrative has seen Cagle stumble over all the trappings of country stardom — divorce, label drama, legal battles — since signing a deal with Virgin Records in 2000, and all that turmoil did its best in derailing his still-bright career.
“Three or fours years ago, I got the point where I was like, ‘You know what? I’m done. I quit. I don’t like who I am, who I am involved with, and I don’t want to become the guy I’m becoming,’” he said. “It was a rough time in my life. I turned around and I feel like now, I’m back up in that saddle.”
Inking a venture deal with Bigger Picture Music Group (home of former Normanite Christian Kane), has Cagle re-energized. Finding stability with wife and kids on a ranch in southern Oklahoma and having his new single, “Got My Country On,” hitting high on the charts is even more electrifying.
“That’s huge! That’s big shit, and these guys are making it happen for me,” Cagle said. “It makes me want to go out and bust my butt. I want to do the right things. I want to go to the gym, love my kids, love my wife, stay true to who I am and build something I never grew up having. I wanna see how big we can get. It’s not so much an ego thing as it is a game. I want to win the whole deal.”
His next stride toward that is the aptly titled “Back in the Saddle,” which sees him coming out of the closet, so to speak.
“I’m making the record I’ve always been scared to make. To be honest, I’m a closet rocker,” he said. “.38 Special, The Doobie Brothers, Lynyrd Skynyrd — that’s what I’ve always loved. For me to take that music and cross it over with a country feel, I don’t know. I hope it works.”
It makes me want to go out and bust my butt.
The gamble is paying off; that lead single’s success and buzz on country stations nationwide point to “Saddle” being his highest-charting album yet. Even if those expectations aren’t met, Cagle is more than happy already.
“Just the fact that I did a record is what makes me proud,” he said. “I think that everyone is going to hear me happy. I think my fans want me to be happy, and the fact that they are going to hear me singing from a happy place, not a hurt place, is the thing I’m most proud of.”