Nick is the co-host of "Country Outdoors LIVE" alongside Mary O'Neill Phillips who is also the co-host of the Outdoor Sportsman Group podcast "Country Outdoors". Many people will recognize Nick as an avid hunter and host of "Nick's Wild Ride" on Outdoor Channel. What they may not know is that Nick is also a country music artist with decades in the business. For more than 12 years, Nick performed with country music star Kenny Chesney, starting first in clubs, then moving to theatres and stadiums with him as his career took off. From Leno to Letterman, the Grand Ole Opry and everything in between, Nick says he has lived a musician's dream working with artists like Kenny and as a solo artist as well. Nick's background in the country music industry lends itself well to co-hosting "Country Outdoors LIVE".
"Country Outdoors LIVE" will showcase live acts and provide a behind-the-music kind of look into up and coming country music artists like Jon Langston, Caylee Hammack, Travis Denning, Jordan Davis and Brandon Lay. Every Friday at 7:00 pm ET on Outdoor Channel throughout the month of May, viewers will be able to watch live music from newly-released songs and albums. Nick says he's excited to be a part of "Country Outdoors LIVE" and the opportunity to bring fun programming and entertainment to viewers during this time where people are finding themselves staying home more. Nick talks about the show, and also brings it back to its roots which is the "Country Outdoors" podcast hosted by Mary O'Neill Phillips and Mitch Petrie. Currently in its second season, the podcast brings country music artists to the table that love the outdoors and provides viewers with an opportunity to get a glimpse into the lives of artists that share their passions. The live stream channels that same idea, Nick says, bringing it live to your living room as they interview and listen to artists that have a lot of stories to tell and a lot of great music to sing.
What does country music listenership look like? The country music genre is very diverse and has a huge audience. Country as a whole is very inclusive and beyond the expansion of the genre itself, it has seen surprising and wildly popular collaborations between country music artists and others in pop, rock, rap and other genres. Outside of country music, that isn't something that happens very frequently. Nick says that in recent years country music sales have been more than every other genre combined. It really speaks to the volume, he says, of people that love country music and that's a very compelling thing. If you look at the numbers and then look at a map of the country to see how they correlate, it's no secret that the core of the population is blue collar, hard working people that live in fly over states. But it's not just non-city folk that like country music. Nick talks about the amount of country music that can be found in Nashville, New York City, L.A. and beyond. Country music is universal because it's inclusive, honest and people resonate with it, Nick says. Tapping into this audience, "Country Outdoors Live" and "Country Outdoors" podcast combine both love of music and the outdoor lifestyle by bringing viewers interviews with country music artists that share their passions.
Switching gears in the second part of this extended interview, Nick talks hunting. "Hunting is not about killing. It's about living," he says. That may seem contradictory but he explains that nearly the entire human population around the globe eats meat in some way, form or fashion. Anytime you eat meat, something dies and that is a fact. As a personal preference, Nick says he fills his freezers with wild game that he hunts and harvests himself so he has a very close connection to the meat he consumes. It's the experiences he has while hunting, the people he meets, the things he does, the memories he makes - that is what gives him life. Nick says hunting allows him to live his best life and to get out and experience the world in a way that he may not otherwise get to. In that way, hunting isn't about killing, but instead living. He says it's his hope that his show, "Nick's Wild Ride", can help others see what the hunting lifestyle is about and open them up to the benefits of getting outside.
Because of the coronavirus and the virtual halt it has placed on everyday living, Nick says his spring turkey season has been a bust. Travel restrictions, quarantines and the suspension of non-resident turkey hunting permits in some states has made it difficult, if not impossible, for many people to get after the gobblers this spring. However, he is hoping to turn things around with a late May bear hunt in Montana, just outside of the Bob Marshall Wilderness. It's a spot and stalk, horseback, hardcore hunt that he says he is very excited to take on.
Looking at the way the pandemic has impacted people, Nick talks about one positive outcome possibly being a resurgence in people returning to the hunting/fishing/outdoor lifestyle. While there are no hard numbers to prove that is happening, Nick says he has heard from people in the outdoor industry that the amount of fishing tackle that is being sold right now is huge. Mom and Pop shops are killing it, he says, and that could suggest that when things get crazy in the world, people get outside. Nick says it is his hope that there are a lot of people right now rediscovering the outdoors, just as they are rediscovering their own families. A silver lining to this terrible situation could be the resurgence in family togetherness and the outdoors, which is, in essence, all of us getting back to our roots. It's really easy to get caught up in the hustle of life, he says, and this experience has served as a kick in the pants for many to reprioritize what is important.
Be sure to tune in to "Country Outdoors LIVE", Fridays at 7:00 p.m. on Outdoor Channel. Join Nick and co-host Mary O'Neill Phillips as they bring viewers live concerts on the outdoor lifestyle network. Watch country music artists Jon Langston, Caylee Hammack, Travis Denning, Jordan Davis and Brandon Lay during the month of May as they showcase live music from newly-released songs and albums. Don't miss it! Also, be sure to listen to the "Country Outdoors" podcast and binge listen to the first season, plus catch up on any episodes of the 2nd season you may have missed.