Singer-songwriter Steve Moakler has spent a portion of his time in Nashville working behind the scenes and penning songs for others, including Dierks Bentley’s triumphant hit “Riser” (with Travis Meadows). But in 2016, Moakler started appearing center stage as a solo artist more often and even made his debut at the Grand Ole Opry on March 19th.
“I got an email from my management company and I had to rub my eyes a few times and re-read it because I couldn’t believe it at first,” says Moakler, who released his self-titled EP in 2016. “The Opry is one of America’s greatest traditions and to be invited to play a couple songs and be a small part of that history was a huge honor for me. I couldn’t stop smiling up there!”
Among his selections that night was “Suitcase,” which is premiering above. Written by Thomas Rhett, Luke Laird and Barry Dean, the track appears on Moakler’s EP, which was produced by Laird. The lyrics deal with aspirational concerns: job promotions, speedboats, and the accumulation of wealth, and how those things seem unimportant compared to the love he feels by his partner’s side. Moakler brings a welcome touch of grit to the proceedings, supported by generous doses of woozy pedal steel.
“As soon as I stepped into the the circle, all the nerves lifted off and I felt in awe of where I was standing,” he recalls. “‘Suitcase’ will always make me think back to when I first heard the demo, traveling around the country in a Winnebago playing little concerts in backyards. So to get to sing that song on the greatest stage in country music just a few years later was surreal.”
On May 25th, Moakler will be back in Nashville with a performance at downtown music venue 3rd & Lindsley.