The Outer Banks Troubadour
I’ll admit, even as recently as six months ago, I’ve not heard of Jamie Trent myself. And shame on me. If you want some good Outer Banks music, Jamie is one heck of a singer/songwriter based in Lynchburg, VA. He is the guy that Southern Shores Realty turned to a few years ago when they wanted to license the song The Outer Banks and You for a national ad campaign.
“Yeah, that was a song that I wrote for my wife Tammy on our anniversary a few years back,” Trent laughed as we spoke on the phone. “She jokes that I was a sell out because I licensed it.”
Trent, now in his mid-forties, has been coming to the Outer Banks since he was 5 years old. He, like so many of us, have fallen in love with this place.
“Growing up, my wife Tammy never came to the Outer Banks. Hers was one of those families that went to Myrtle Beach instead.”
Then Jamie and Tammy got married, and Jamie brought Tammy to the OBX. And they’ve been coming ever since.
The Outer Banks and You is only one of several Outer Banks, or coastal themed songs that Trent has penned in the last few years. He’s also written High Tide, Destination Ocracoke, The Outer Banks of Caroline, See You on the Rip, Throwbacks and Keepers, and Grouper Therapy.
When asked to label his genre of music Trent stops to think for a moment and then said “That’s a good question. One of the people that I’ve written with is a guy by the name of Arlis Albritton, a songwriter based in Nashville (Albritton has written songs for Luke Bryan and Jamie Johnson). He’s got this term that I’m gonna steal. He calls it “Coastal Americana.”
Ok. Makes sense I thought, but as someone who needs to relate one thing to another, I asked Trent what “Coastal Americana” exactly was.
Again, another pause. “Well, it’s acoustic, with Americana and coastal music mixed in.”
To me that meant singer/songwriters like Jimmy Buffett.
“Yes, he certainly was an influence on what I do,” Trent said. “But even more so my influences were Jackson Browne and James Taylor. Those were the two that got my wheels rolling to be a songwriter, rather than just a performer.
So now this “Coastal Americana” started to make sense to me, but I wanted to know what brought Jamie Trent to this place in time. What got him into music.
“I guess it started when I took chorus in middle school, but I had also come from a musical family. Music was all around me. In fact, my uncle was in a popular band in Virginia back in the ‘60s called The Galaxies.”
Trent was also in a couple of high school bands and performed in talent shows. As a self-labeled introvert, Trent recalled the days when he and his friends would sneak into his parent’s attic until the wee hours of the morning writing these “really terrible break-up songs.”
Ultimately Trent joined the US Navy, and when he retired he became a “glorified wedding singer.”
“So I’ve been around music in some sort of way for 30-35 years.”
So why Outer Banks songs? I asked Trent.
“Well, I once got a piece of advice that has really worked for me. I was told to stop writing for the radio, but instead to write what you know and what is personal and passionate to you. Chances were that if it was personal to the songwriter, then it will also be personal to the listener. That’s why I started writing Outer Banks songs.”
Each of Jamie’s songs have some sort of story attached to them. In fact, the song we started out this article with, The Outer Banks and You, the one licensed to Southern Shores Realty, was his first licensed song.
“Boy, I gotta tell you,” Trent laughs, “After that, I thought this songwriting thing was easy. Write a song. Get paid. It didn’t take me very long to be humbled back into mediocrity.“
The more I talked with Trent, the more his humbleness came through the phone. He has had quite a bit of success along the way.
“My first song, High Tide, there’s a bar named The High Tide somewhere in the Virgin Islands that plays it.”
Destination Ocracoke was a song that came very easy says Trent.
“I had driven down from the other side of Virginia, about 5 1/2 hours or so. The traffic on Highway 12 was horrible. It took almost another 2 hours to get to the Hatteras Ferry. But man, as soon as I stepped off that ferry onto the island, the creative juices started flowing immediately.” It wasn’t too much later that the basic song had been written.
“I knew it was a good song,” says Trent. “But I wanted it to be a GREAT song, so I called songwriter David Kent to help with some of the rough edges (Kent had written Blake Shelton’s #1 hit “Austin”). Called probably isn’t the right term though,” Trent says. “It was more of me pleading with him to help!”
Once the duo completed Destination Ocracoke Trent reached out to The Outer Banks Community Foundation to have the song used for fundraising purposes.
“CNN even aired it for something 3 straight weeks.” Said Trent. “But the cool thing was being part of something that’s bigger than yourself. Honestly, that has been my biggest joy.”
The Outer Banks of Caroline was written after a recent vacation here on the OBX.
“Man, I gotta tell you, I wrote that song after the family and I took an airboat tour with Jamie Moore. That tour provided the backdrop to what I wrote about in that song. I can’t wait to go back this year.” Trent said.
But, it was See You on the Rip that I wanted to know more about. That song had quickly become one of my favorites.
“Well, I started writing the song with Jay Clemente. Both Jay and I spent a couple of nights on the phone with Meredith. It was like 3 hours each time to get some terminology down. Things like that. Meredith was so helpful, and such a nice guy that we had to give him a writing credit on the song!”
Jamie Trent has another passion. It’s a program called Songwriting with Soldiers. The program pairs vets and their families with professional songwriters, and together they’ll write a song about the vet’s experiences.
“Usually, it doesn’t have to be a traumatic or dramatic experience. It could be about good times or funny times. It attacks PTSD from a different angle,” explains Trent, who himself is a disable veteran. “It’s a different outlet rather than cramming 80 people into a room for a group therapy session.” (For more information go to songwritingwithsoldiers.org)
Having just completed his 2020 vacation on the Outer Banks, I asked Jamie what new song will come from that?
“We’ll see.” Trent said. “But I am excited about some current projects too. I’m working on a couple of songs with my buddy Arlis Albritton. One is called “Coastal Conditions” that I think is going to be something special. I have also written another song with Arlis. This other one also involves both Dave Smith (Jimmy Buffett’s guitarist) and Jennifer Shenberger from Radio Free Outer Banks. It’s a novelty song called Tube Socks and Crocks. It came from my admittance on the Positively Outer Banks Podcast, that yes, I have worn socks and sandals,” laughs Trent.
For more of Jamie Trent’s music, follow him on Facebook and on ReverbNation.com/OBX. Jamie is also in heavy rotation on RadioFreeOBX.com[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]
Greg Smrdel, while his physical body lives in Ohio (for now), his soul will always remain on the Outer Banks.