Trey Lewis: Beyond “Dicked Down in Dallas”

Starting from the beginning to where they are now, Trey Lewis is living proof of what pure determination can do in order to obtain success. It may come off as unexpected, but the story of this accomplished musician began at a halfway house recovering from addiction. By teaching himself to play guitar, Trey Lewis discovered the passion of music and thus kickstarted his musical career. Since achieving over a decade of sobriety, Trey Lewis creates heartfelt, meaningful songs based on real life experiences that an audience can relate to. There is more to this artist than the notorious song “Dicked Down in Dallas” and I encourage people to listen to other songs he has created. For people who appreciate country music, there is no disappointment in what they have to offer, especially during a live performance. Never judge an artist by just one song and this includes Trey Lewis. I love seeing people who have conjured so much from practically nothing and this artist has done just that. Sit back and enjoy the laid back conversation between Trey Lewis and I as we go beyond “Dicked Down in Dallas”.

Trey Lewis consists of:
Ben Miller - Guitar/Back-up Vox/Band Leader
Terry Adams - Guitar/Back-up Vox
Matt Mcilwain - Drums/Stage Manager
Mitch Gosche - Bass
------------------------------
Trey Lewis (TL) - Lead Vocals/Guitar
Since you were not the original creator of "Dicked Down in Dallas", what made you take the leap to go ahead and execute the song despite its controversial nature?
"My friend Matt McKinney played me [the] song 'Dicked Down in Dallas', but it was just a verse and a chorus. At the time I didn't really think anything of it. When COVID-19 hit, I started really hanging out with my co-writers and we would get together and do bonfires. Somewhere along the lines Matt McKinney, Brent Gaffard, and Drew Trosclair [ended up being] the three writers on the song. They wrote the song and finished it. One day we were going to Chili's or Outback and we played it in the car. My roommate Mitch Wallis said, 'Dude, if this was a song on iTunes, I would buy it.' I jokingly said, 'I'll record it.' Honestly I never thought that it was going to do what it's done to my life. I thought it was just going to be a funny song amongst the songwriter community in Nashville, [TN]. How it started was Matt Burill, our merch guy, has a podcast called 'In the Round' where they interview singers/songwriters. He had asked me to come play some of my music on [the podcast], [including] 'Dicked Down in Dallas'. I said, 'Cool. I'll do it.' By this time, it [had become] such a bonfire song [when] hanging out with all my songwriter friends that everybody in the bar knew the song. There's a guy named Nick Tressler, who owns Raised Rowdy, which is another social media platform to help unsigned artists and promote music [in general]. I played 'Dicked Down in Dallas' at Live Oak [in Nashville] and the whole bar was singing it. Nick made a video and posted it on Raised Rowdy the next day. From there, the guy that does my content got [the video] posted on 'Call Her Daddy' Facebook group. Matt McKinney had [also] got it posted on Old Row Instagram account. [After that] I just started posting videos on TikTok and then it just kind of blew up from there. It's just been a whirlwind of stuff. My whole statement is, 'Come to the show a 'Dicked Down in Dallas' fan. Leave a Trey Lewis fan. '"
 
Describe the creative process when it comes down to writing original songs? 
"I've been writing since 2012. I've really been doing it seriously for the past 3 years. [Doing it] everyday, wrapping my head around it and getting down to the science behind it all. The whole process for me is I usually fixate on something for a while before I get out what I want to say. I try to find the hook first or like how I am going to get to it. It really just depends. I think art comes out in different ways all the time. Sometimes [the] melody comes first. I had a song called 'Told You' that is about addiction that I wrote by myself. I woke up in the middle of the night and wrote all the lyrics and then just went to bed. I woke up the next day and put music to it. I honestly think that's something from the universe that falls out of the sky. Other times I do a lot of co-writing in Nashville. [When I] have [an] idea, they'll say something and then we just kinda put the puzzle pieces together. Yeah, that's kinda how it works for me."

Country music has been stereotypically defined as "pandering" to a certain demographic of audiences. How do you hope to break that trend and stand out from other country artists' music?
"[Some] people [may] say it's 'pandering', [but] I think a lot of those guys that write about dirt roads and trucks [do it because] that's their life [and] that's what they live. Ya know? That's how they live and why people buy and like it. It is what it is. I feel like a lot of my songs that I write are about overcoming whatever or just being yourself. Sometimes I feel like I write too much of that stuff. Sometimes I feel like I do need a dirt road, mud truck song that gets the crowd pumped up and that's good to raise a beer to. Sometimes if I turn on Spotify and I hear the first line is 'Dirt road. Big truck.', [I think] 'Yep. Heard this before.' At the same time, I understand where those guys come from because I lived that life too. I grew up in Alabama, so I get it. I always just want to write songs that my fans can relate to. If that's a dirt truck and a cold beer, then let's do it. [Writers have told] me 'Why don't we say 'cold beer' [in this song]?' [My response is] 'Man, I don't really want to talk about drinking beer because I don't drink beer.' There's other ways to write a party song without saying that. I don't want to be like Will Smith, big Willy-style 'Miami'. There's another way to do it to make it cool. Try a little bit harder. I love the song 'Buy Me a Boat' and it's in our set. We play one of Luke Combs songs 'Beer Never Broke My Heart.' 'Fishin' in the Dark' is in our set [as well]. Those kinds of songs are there for a reason [and] they're a form of art too. Ya know what I mean? It just is what it is. It's all art." 

What has being in the music industry taught you that you didn't know starting out? 
"We've had some long nights playing gigs, but I just look at 'em all like a learning experience. Being where I am now has taught me, 'If you really love something and you really wanna do it, then just keep doing it.' It's perseverance, patience, and all those things that I definitely didn't possess when I got sober at 19 [years old]. I bought a guitar when I was living in the halfway house and taught myself how to play it. I really loved how it made me feel and knew that it was going to be [a good thing]. [Later on,] I started recording music and doing all that stuff. My first gig was in a bar probably like two sizes of this [interview] room playing in the corner for 3 years, two nights a week. I moved to Mexican restaurants and BBQ joints. [Eventually] I started a band. There's been some terrible gigs, and breaking down on the road, but it's all taught me so much and I've learned so much for it. I'll never forget the get together we had the night 'Dicked Down in Dallas' came out. Our distributor had called and said, 'This thing is going to debut at #1 on the iTunes chart.'"

Do you feel the genre of country music has progressed beyond stereotypes to include LGBTQAI+ artists?
"I would hope so. I don't know if y'all remember, [but] there was an artist named Ty Herndon [from] the 90s and he's gay. After people found out he was gay, his career was over. He was a fucking awesome singer [and had] great songs. I saw the other day the Brothers Osborne lead singer is gay. He came out and nobody gave a fuck, so I thought that was really cool. I don't think any of that stuff personally matters to me. I did grow up in Alabama, but my brother [and] my aunt [are both] gay. I honestly think that music one day will just be all one big genre. Of course there's people out there that can be arrogant. My whole thing is, if something I do [off], or onstage, [aside from singing about dicks and buttfucks,] makes [someone] feel uncomfortable, then I'm not going to do it. If someone being gay makes me feel uncomfortable, then that's my shit that I need to learn how to deal with. It is what it is. I think it's just going to take time for things to change, but I know where I stand on that."
Newest album by Trey Lewis
Video Link on Instagram:
3/31/21 at George's Majestic Lounge - Trey Lewis 
https://www.instagram.com/p/CNRCP0Zhrsz/

To keep up with Trey Lewis, follow them on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, YouTube, Spotify or visit www.treylewis.com !

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s