CMT may have dubbed Don Pedigo “The hard-rocking heartthrob from the heartland” but there’s so much more to his raw honest talent and authentic mid-western charm.
Born in Freetown, IN, Don grew up listening to a healthy mix of 70′s Southern California songwriters, 80′s Midwestern rockers and his mother in the living room playing gospel piano. It was when his father turned him on to the Beatles, Bob Seger, CCR, Jim Croce and a host of other influences that Pedigo was inspired to pick up a guitar and start writing his own songs.
“I’ve learned that 90% of songwriting is spontaneous,” says Pedigo. “The best ones come to you in 15 minutes. Then there are others that jumble around in your head for months until they come out sounding like something. But in the end you’re proud of them all.”
Pedigo’s new album, Cross Eyed, is his second full-length collection of songs and the first (of hopefully many) to be mastered by five-time Grammy Award winning producer Ray Kennedy. The material spans varying musical styles, from pure country to rock reminiscent of fellow heartlander John Mellencamp and contemporaries such as Pete Yorn. Lyrically, Pedigo’s music speaks to his own life’s experience.
“The title track, ‘Cross Eyed Sunday Morning’ is about a guy who wakes up a little hungover for church,” says Pedigo. “He knows he needs some redemption, but could do without the finger pointing. He’s a little disoriented, and I’ve been there for sure.”
On “Jonah” Pedigo explores spiritual awakenings. “It’s about someone who’s keeps on trying when life knocks him down even when he himself is the one doing the knocking. It’s about having faith in the world and in one’s self no matter how dark the days.”
Another track, “Motorcycle Song” was inspired by Pedigo’s uncle riding him around on the handlebars as a kid as well as just feeling the freedom of life. “Not so much about rebellion as free spirit,” says Pedigo. “Do what you want to do and if it’s not working, fly away and move on to something else.”
While still in Indiana, Pedigo’s unique songs and Chet Atkins finger-picking guitar style led to an acoustic album which caught the attention of John Mellencamp guitarist Larry Crane. Crane then enlisted Pedigo to tour as a supporting act as well as playing in his backing band. While on tour Pedigo met a publisher, who convinced him to move to Nashville to write songs for her publishing company.
In Nashville he was hooked up with legendary songwriter Earl Bud Lee (“Friends in Low Places”,”Who Are You When I’m Not Looking”) who nurtured Pedigo’s inherent song crafting ability. In 2006 Pedigo made an album called What I Was Running From with Buddy Miller sitting in on guitar, and in 2007 released a track produced by Larry Crane called “Mama’s Wedding Gown.” The video for “Mama’s Wedding Gown” was a finalist on CMT’s “Music City Madness Singer/Songwriter’s Competition Top 20 Video Countdown.”
Don’s maturing songwriting and continued life’s experiences with his wife and two daughters have all led him to the making of this special record. “I’m in a zone right now where the songs are just clicking and everything is sounding great,” says Pedigo. “I’ve made other records but to me Cross Eyed is my first. It will be the one I’m remembered by.”