Bridgette Tatum said she’s ready to perform at the July 17-18 Florida Keys Brew BQ festival in Marathon, no matter how hot it is compared to her home outside of Nashville.
“I call it a ‘water weight’ show,” she said, laughing. “By the time I’m done performing, I’ll have lost all that water weight.”
Tatum wrote the 2009 country hit “She’s Country,” made famous by Jason Aldean. She has a ton of other hits, too, but she’s also a very talented and award-winning music producer. In 2019 and 2020, she was named best producer in the Nashville Industry Music Awards (NIMA).
The Keys Weekly had a chance to speak with Tatum about her life, her successes and fishing.
Here she is in her own words:
My feelings about “She’s Country” are mixed. I remember when I got the news that Jason Aldean had recorded the song and it all happened so fast — he was going to record the song, shoot a video and perform it at the Country Music Awards all in the space of a week. To be at the CMAs and be able to watch your song performed on the stage, that was pretty phenomenal. It was very exciting. I wrote the song to put “Cackalacki” in the lyrics but they came back and made us find a new line. South Carolina was staying no matter what so that’s where “Party all nighter from South Carolina” was put in its place! I’m grateful. God gave me something that has sustained us for years; the song still does its job. I look at the song from the perspective of a parent. I’m proud of that “kid” that grew up big.
I got a rough deal as a kid, growing up in South Carolina. But I was well taken care of by my “other” father Jesus Christ. I got my start in gospel music in South Carolina. I was inspired by a local gospel band and Jerry Reed & Roger Miller. When I was 15, my grandmother bought two guitars at a yard sale. She gave my cousin the better guitar because she didn’t think I would be as serious about music. I thought, “Really?” We had enough money for two guitar lessons. I learned how to play Fleetwood Mac’s “Landslide,” and took it from there.
When I was still a teenager, I spent the day with a cowboy from Texas, a friend of my mother’s. To this day, I don’t think he knows what a massive influence that day had on my life. I rode a horse, I met bow-legged cowboys and listened to his mixtape of Clint Black and Garth Brooks. Brooks’ “If Tomorrow Never Comes” changed my vision of songwriting which I had already been doing for years.
Right now I’m finishing some production work on Dave McElroy’s single “Vibin’” that is set to come out soon. (McElroy is best known for his hit “Trucker Hat.”) I’m working with various new artists like Priscilla Block and Ashley Cooke that suddenly blew up on Tik-Tok during the pandemic. The new wave of artists coming through are pretty cool and interesting.
I am very proud of my NIMA awards. There’s not enough females in this business. A lot of women in Nashville are over in the corners, and I want them to know they are way more capable. I want them to see my wins, and realize they can do it too. Women can absolutely do that and more.
The dream was never music; that was always going to be my job. The dream was watching my horses out in a field. I have been blessed that God lets me live here on this farm outside of Nashville. I’ve been putting it back together a little bit at a time. I am living inside my dream. I have two horses — Buttermilk and Jack. They’re both boys and sweethearts.
People have asked me, if you could only play one more song, I would pick my “Hold On To Me.” It’s closer to my gospel root for sure. Lots of people respond to that song, but every song has a purpose. They break your heart, heal your heart, make you dance or make you raise a beer. They all do different jobs.
I love fishing. I love it, love it, love it. I can’t wait to go fishing in the Florida Keys. I love being out in the middle of the ocean. You don’t need your phone. It’s you and the sky and the water and whomever is on the boat. There’s nothing like catching just what we need and taking it somewhere they’ll cook it for you. That’s some good eating right there. That’s a good day.