Don’t let Larry Fleet’s humble demeanor fool you: the Chattanooga-based Country singer-songwriter is the real deal, with fans in contemporary heavy-hitters like Jake Owen and living Country legends like Willie Nelson. He’s a thoughtful songwriter with a knack for a one-liner, an ear for a good hook and a powerhouse voice that strikes the perfect balance of soul and twang. And he’s ready to show off those chops on his debut album, Workin’ Hard, out now via Big Loud Records.
Sonically, Workin’ Hard draws from Fleet’s eclectic musical influences, which include Outlaw Country icons like Merle Haggard and Willie Nelson as well as classic Soul singers like Marvin Gaye and Otis Redding. Fleet’s blue-collar roots shine across the album’s lyrics, which show him to be a hard worker, a family man and the kind of guy you’d want to slow-sip a beer with. This is especially true on the album’s powerful title track, which traces Fleet’s journey from a small-town ball player to a Country star with his own family, which now includes his newborn son, Waylon (named, appropriately, after Fleet’s idol Waylon Jennings).
Fleet recorded Workin’ Hard alongside producer Joey Moi (Florida Georgia Line, Jake Owen, Morgan Wallen) after two whirlwind years that saw him on tours with Owen and Nelson, and landing his first record deal. “Some nights I sang for money, some nights I sang for beer,” Fleet sings on “Workin’ Hard,” a sentiment made all the more powerful when considered alongside his swiftly rising profile.
While Fleet’s undeniable talent would have brought him success one way or another, he had a lucky encounter with Jake Owen in 2017 that led to a fruitful collaborative friendship. Fleet performed a mix of original music and Classic Country cover songs at a friend’s “redneck barn party,” which Owen attended. After Fleet wrapped up his performance, Owen was wowed by his talent and introduced himself.
Carolina Country Music Fest, June 10-13
Brainerd International Raceway