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Kaitlin Butts on rough times, aliens and being married to another musician

Kaitlin Butts
Mackenzie Ryan
/
Kaitlin Butts

This is Songwriters & Tour Riders, a music podcast from KOSU hosted by Matthew Viriyapah.

Kaitlin Butts is a singer-songwriter from Tulsa, Oklahoma. Her latest album, What Else Can She Do, is a collage of different female characters who tackle that question and draw from parts of the country artist's own life. The first track's title, "It Won't Always Be This Way" was a statement that she and her mother would repeat during a particularly rough period of their lives.

And that statement has proven to be true. In just the last year or so, Kaitlin married fellow musician Cleto Cordero of Texas country band Flatland Cavalry, moved to Nashville and recorded this sophomore album.

Hear Kaitlin talk about going through that tough personal time, what it's like being married to another musician, and being more weird in country music.

On sharing the rough times

Those videos were all from around 2015 to 2017 when we were going through the rougher times... and like the times that I felt things were beautiful around me even though our world was crashing down. I would hit the record button because I wanted to take in those times instead of the dark ones. When bad things are happening, you don't really record those things.

In those last couple years, I wasn't filming really much of anything unless it was a really cool moment. So I kind of put all those clips together and really wanted to tell the story that was not a highlight reel of mine, that I kept quiet about for a long time.

But it was a really transformative part of my life too. And that's what I feel like about these songs.

That phrase, 'it won't always be this way,' was something that my mom and I repeated to each other in trying to be positive. But things didn't get better for a really long time. But one night in a hotel, I remembered that phrase. I was driving after a show trying to find parking and I started singing it to myself like a lullaby. That was probably one of the first times that a melody came without me sitting with my guitar trying to figure it out.

On being married to another musician

Whenever I met him, and we recorded "A Life Where We Work Out," he lived in Lubbock and I lived in Ardmore for the two and a half years of us dating.

Long distance has never been a stranger to us because that's just how we always operated. Whenever he goes on the road, I also go on the road. And whenever I'm home, he's also home.

Some people have their 9 to 5 where they both go their separate ways, and they get to come home. And ours sometimes is like 'okay, you're going to be in Dallas this day, and I'm going to be passing through, so I'm going to come by at the gas station to say hi and kiss you.'

It's a really good dynamic and I really enjoy being married to someone who has the same job as me 'cause he gets it. Whenever I have to go and be until 2 a.m., he's not at home asking what I'm doing 'cause he's probably doing the exact same thing.

We both get it. I know that for me, it would be really hard, and I commend anyone who's married to a musician. It would be really hard to be married to someone who's not also one c'ause there are certain things where you just don't get it if it's not happening to you. And so I'm really thankful that I get to be with him, 'cause we have a lot of fun.

On aliens and being more weird in country music

I kind of fell in love with surrealism collage art recently. And I feel like I'm not super — like I'm not a cowgirl.

I feel like there's kind of a pressure to 'out-country' each other in country music.

I never really feel like I'm in the middle of that. So I kind of wanted my designs to reflect that I'm not in the rodeo. And I love to have fun with things, and the sounds that the guys made in the studio were real spacey for this last album.

There's so much we don't know, and I don't know if we'll ever know it. But I totally believe in [aliens]. I feel like they're among us. Especially after seeing the Marfa lights out in Marfa, Texas. Things you just can't explain. There's got to be something out there.

People are kind of showing off their weirdness, and I think that's something that's really cool in country music to just venture out of the rodeo stuff.


Music featured in this episode:

  1. Kaitlin Butts - what else can she do
  2. Kaitlin Butts - White River
  3. Kaitlin Butts - it won't always be this way
  4. Kaitlin Butts - she's using
  5. Kaitlin Butts - blood
  6. Flatland Cavalry featuring Kaitlin Butts - A Life Where We Work Out
  7. Kaitlin Butts - Honeywine
  8. Kaitlin Butts - How Luck Am I
  9. Kaitlin Butts - Marfa Lights
  10. Jason Boland & The Stragglers - Terrifying Nature
  11. Kaitlin Butts - White River (Remix)
  12. Kaitlin Butts - in the pines
  13. Johnny Cash featuring June Carter - Jackson
  14. Kaitlin Butts - jackson
  15. Kaitlin Butts - Wild Rose
  16. Kaitlin Butts - bored if i don't
  17. Kaitlin Butts - Gal Like Me

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Matthew Viriyapah is KOSU's production assistant and host of the music podcast Songwriters & Tour Riders.
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