Aspiring country musician sets sights on stardom

Aug. 03, 2013 @ 10:52 AM

Two guitars take a prominent place in his spacious den. He grabs his favorite, a Martin DX1R acoustic, and quickly tunes it up. He sits down on his patio and belts out an original tune dedicated to his mom, who died eight years ago of cancer.

"I ain't forgot where I come from," he croons in his raspy voice tailor-made for country music.

Chad Triplett's life is also fit for country music. A product of Wilkes County, his grandfather once ran a moonshine still. He sings about times spent at Wilson Creek, and stories passed down over the years. His family later moved to the Gamewell area of Lenoir, and he is a 1991 West Caldwell High graduate.

For the past six months Triplett, 41, has been laying down tracks at recording studios in Lenoir and Charlotte. His first CD, called "Weathered," will be released later this month through Clear Channel Media and Entertainment, formerly Clear Channel Radio. The long-awaited release will be celebrated at a concert and signing party at The Alibi in downtown Lenoir on Aug. 9. Backing him up will be his band, The Ramblin' Gypsy.

"I'm buckled down for the long road," Triplett said from his Pennton Avenue home. "I want to take this as far as I can."

Triplett picked up his first guitar only 10 years ago to pass the time away. Newly divorced from his first wife, he dived into music as a stress reliever. He counts Waylon Jennings, Willie Nelson and the boys as his musical influences, but it was a close friend he calls his running buddy who turned him on to an Ovation six-string Glen Campbell model acoustic. He learned quickly, and before long he formed his band.

"I wanted to tell stories and sing songs I love," Triplett said.

He took advantage of the Internet and started to promote his songs and tour stops. Soon, he was opening for names such as Nashville artist Jamey Johnson, Jason Michael Carroll, and Confederate Railroad.

His girlfriend, Alice Price, introduced Triplett to her cousin, Nate Pritchard, who had connections with Clear Channel. Triplett realized this was a way to broaden his audience. Without moving to Nashville, Triplett figured this was his way to make it big.

"If you're not in Nashville, songs need to get pitched to artists," he said. "This will be a way to get heard."

Triplett also has a connection with another country music artist from the area, Grammy Award nominee Eric Church. He had met Church through radio station 92.1 FM, "The Big Dawg," where Triplett is a senior marketing executive and on-air personality. Coincidentally, Church purchased land that Triplett's family owned in Wilkes County, the same land where his grandfather ran his moonshine still.

When he's not at home writing music, Triplett is promoting the radio station. He credits his bosses, Joe and Elizabeth Cooper, and Price for allowing him to pursue his music, a journey he began late in life.

"If not for them, this album would have never happened, and I wouldn't have been able to pursue my dreams," he said.