Brother Trouble

An interview with Country Music's Jason and Mark Sutton
by Tina Hall
September 2011

Jason and Mark Sutton

Jason and Mark Sutton

Brother Trouble is made up of brothers Jason and Mark Sutton. The country music duo from South Carolina have been a staple at The Wildhorse Saloon in Nashville since winning Kenny Chesney’s Next Big Star competition in 2009. Fans might also recognize the pair from their brief stint opening for Chesney for four of his shows on the Pirates & Poets tour. Their debut video Summer’s Little Angel recently premiered on GAC (Great American Country).

Maximum Ink: What was it like growing up in SC? Do you ever miss it since moving to Nashville?
Mark Sutton: I would describe growing up in SC as probably the best place in the world. It definitely didn’t suck. We came from a blue collar family. Our Dad owned a water well drilling company outside of Greenville so we spend a lot of time there helping around the shop and trying not to confuse your Pepsi can with purple power cleaner. It sat on about 6-7 acres so we learned how to drive a pickup truck through the field when we were like 12 or something. Learned how to shoot a handgun and a rifle out there. We lived in a middle class neighborhood in a town called Taylors (just outside of Greenville) and had about 20 other families with kids to grow up with. Needless to say, the late night spot light tag games were epic! It wasn’t too far of a drive to visit grandparents in AL and OH. The people in SC are the best. Our family relocated to Pawley’s Island, just about 15 minutes south of Myrtle Beach if you’re driving. Who doesn’t want to live at the beach? The town’s motto is Arrogantly Shabby and that saying has stuck with us throughout the years. I miss SC a lot, it’s cool though cause it’s not too far away and it lets you know how great of a place it is when you go back and visit. The people, the attitude there are contagious. They nailed it on the head when they put the slogan Smiling Faces, Beautiful Places on the license tags.

MI: How do you like living in Tennessee?
MS: Tennessee is a great place. After living the last 10 years here, I call it home. Being on the music side of it, the talent here is amazing and humbling. I’ll always have a home in Tenn.-See.

MI: When did you first become interested in music? Do you remember the moment you knew you had to be a musician?
MS: We’ve always been interested in music. I don’t remember it but there are pictures of me as a toddler holding my dad’s Les Paul copy. We would go into our parents’ room and pull that old guitar out and get in a little trouble because of it. We could ever figure out why we were getting caught until one day, light reflected off of the front of it and you can see a bunch of little kid finger prints! Busted! But yeah, music always been there for us.

MI: As children, did you experience sibling rivalry?
MS: Growing up, we got along great as kids. Of course, every set of siblings will have a disagreement here and there but our parents raised us well and whenever it came down to it and we had to fight, we fought with our back towards each other. (that’s a metaphor, btw)

MI: How did the band come about?
MS: Since we are a duo act, I’ll tell you how that came about. Jason and I are brothers and we’ve played music forever. He has his voice and I have mine but together we have a sound. Our big break was the Kenny Chesney Next Big Star Competition and winning the grand prize.

MI: How would you describe the sound of the band?
MS: Jason likes to describe our act as the Red Hot Chili Peppers of country music.

MI: Whose idea was it to enter Kenny Chesney’s Next Big Star Competition? What did you learn from that experience?
MS: We got a message via MySpace from a friend that said the Contest is going on and we should enter. We said, “What the hell” and ended up winning the grand prize.It’s pretty awesome how the stars can line up when you don’t force something. We learned a lot from the Camp Chesney. I can go on for days at how awesome they are. We were fortunate enough to see the behind the scenes and get an idea of how it works on the biggest stage in the world.

MI: How have your lives changed most since the competition?
MS: Our lives really haven’t changed much since the contest, the biggest change is we get to play cooler venues for more people! 😊

MI: Did you ever imagine you’d find yourself opening even a few of his shows?
MS: We never thought we’d ever get the opportunity to open up Chesney’s shows.They were at stadiums for crying out loud!

MI: Any stories from the road to share with our readers?
MS: Yes, when we travel we have to stop and grab a bite to eat every now and then. It does not matter which restaurant, whether it be fast food or fine dining. For some reason, somebody in our group always gets their food order back incorrectly. It’s like drawing straws except you’re drawing your food that’s not right. Only one person’s food order will be wrong but it happens everywhere. You’ll be like, “I ordered a hamburger but they gave me a fish sandwich and it’s too late to fix it cause you’re all ready on the road again.

MI: What is Kenny like as a person?
Jason Sutton: Chesney is a great guy!  He’s a good ole boy from east Tennessee who loves sports and playing music. His entire staff echoes his personality by being extremely welcoming and at the same time working hard to put on the best show possible for his fans.

MI: What do you think you’d be doing right if not for this?
JS: Probably repeating, Would you like fries with that, a hundred times a day. I really can’t imagine doing anything other than this. Fortunately, the world needs clowns and I’m happy to fill that role.

MI: What are some of your hobbies?
JS: I love to fish! I’ll spring out of bed at 4:30 am if it means we’re hitting the lake.  Being from the coast we got really into salt water fishing. Now that we live in Nashville it’s all about bass fishing and I love it! I’m pumped now! Let’s go fool some fish!

MI: Anything about you that most people aren’t aware of?
JS: I have a farm. Cow’s, goats, chickens, a huge garden. I like to grow my own food.  It’s a true joy watching these little seeds grow into something big and tasty like Silver Queen Corn or Big Bertha tomatoes.

MI: What was it like to see Summer’s Little Angel hit GAC?
JS: Mind blowing. I actually saw it at a friend’s house the first time. We laugh a lot about being starving artists and found true irony in having our own video on GAC but not being able to afford cable TV to see it!

MI: Did you enjoy being at the Blaster and GAC booths at the CMA Music Festival?
JS: Absolutely! This was our first year participating in the CMA festivities on that level. It was cool because you get to meet true country music fans. Some have made it to the festival for 36 years and counting. We were able to let people know who we are this year, and it’s a very cool thing to have such a welcoming response from country music fans. They are the best!

MI: Where do you hope to see your career go next?
JS: We’re here for the long run. We want to win over fans with our live show and put out great music that they will love! Our biggest driving force is that we want to help people who need it. We feel that with persistent work we’ll do just that. If we take each step with grace and humility our biggest dreams will come true.

MI: What can your fans look forward to in the months ahead?
JS: We have a live record coming out very soon and a full studio album due this fall. We’re also adding show dates all the time so be sure to check out the tour page on our website.

MI: Anything you’d like to say in closing?
JS:Thank you for taking the time for an interview with us. And we love hearing from our fans so come by Facebook and say hi sometime! We’ll keep the BBQ warm for ya! 😉

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