Photo credit: Rachel McIntyre Smith and Margie Smith
Nostalgic would probably be in the top five words people would use to describe me based on how much I can rattle on about the joys of my childhood and no-so-joys of the teen angst that followed. So when I caught wind of ‘Glory Daze’ by Rachel McIntyre, I knew I was going to be a fan. Country through and through, but as we discussed – country that leans towards being less polarizing than what you’d hear from the likes of Luke Bryan. We also talked about her grandaddy’s trips to Cracker Barrel, the lyrical ways of rose-colored glasses, and of course, ‘Glory Daze,’ which will be available on all major music and streaming sites on September 30th.
Kendra: It’s clear that your life was going to fall into a creative space because as a kid you seemed very determined from piano lessons to writing scholarships, but then you also learned new skills musicians seemed to have and that’s the art of content creation. Do you think that added layer of creating and maintaining social media accounts can sometimes be daunting for those who just want to write and perform, or is this just the new norm for artists coming out today that they don’t even think twice about having to make a TikTok?
Rachel McIntyre: I think it’s both. For better or for worse, I think that it can be both daunting and expected for artists to churn out content. Independent artists have to wear so many hats: booker, manager, band leader, songwriter, etc. Now we have to be content creators on top of that. For some, it’s the straw that breaks the camel’s back. Thankfully, I studied social media marketing, videography, and photography in college so I really enjoy creating content.
My music has been able to connect with a lot of people through social media. I love it because I feel like it takes out the middleman. Twenty years ago, an independent artist would’ve had to pay a HUGE amount of money to launch a marketing campaign to get 400,000 impressions on their new single. I was able to get the same amount of impressions for free using TikTok. I can deliver my music straight to my audience.
Kendra: Speaking of, you had a viral moment with the title track of your September release, “Glory Daze,” which has a line that I instantly jotted down because I loved it so, “Do I miss being young or the ignorance?” Being in a state of constant worry seems almost as normal to me as perhaps making content seems to an artist because of the constant news cycle of doom. I often think, was the world this bad when I was a kid and I was just distracted by MTV…or is it just really bad now? When do you think we start to lose those rose-colored glasses in life?
Rachel McIntyre: First of all, I’m so happy you related to that lyric. Seeing people connect with those really vulnerable lines makes me feel a lot less alone. Back to your question, I think we start to lose our rose-colored glasses when we go through something that really doesn’t go how we think it should’ve gone. I’m not sure anyone who has been cognizant the past few years still has rose-colored glasses.
Kendra: ‘Glory Daze’ as a whole covers a handful of themes but as someone who is very much a nostalgic person, that’s what I’m drawn to most on the record. For you, is there an album or a song that will almost always take you back to what’s likely the most comforting chapter in your childhood?
Rachel McIntyre: A song that always takes me back is “Let Me In” by The Sensations featuring Yvonne Baker. After my grandmama died when I was six, my grandaddy spent a lot of time at our house. He made us breakfast in the morning before school. He took care of us when we got sick. He drove me to Cracker Barrel after school. He built an adorable yellow playhouse for my sister and me.
Grandaddy really loved to teach us about his life growing up by playing old TV shows, classic movies, and retro music. He had this CD with hits from the 1950s/1960s and our favorite was “Let Me In.” We’d play it almost every time we were in his car. It instantly makes me think of eating Hershey’s nuggets in the backseat of my grandaddy’s Cadillac.
Kendra: Going back to the lyrics, what I loved most is that this album reminds me of The Chicks and Kacey Musgraves in that it’s country but it’s not the typical country that’d come to people’s minds. It’s got that small town, Americana charm but I feel is more universal in that you touch on themes that even I, an elder emo from a tiny dot on the map, can appreciate. Which, if you had to compare ‘Glory Daze’ to an aspect of a small town, which would you say it’s like and why?
Rachel McIntyre: That’s a really interesting question. I think ‘Glory Daze’ is like a lot of aspects of small-town life. You know how in small towns nothing ever really changes? The grocery store is the same. The school is the same. It kind of seems frozen in time. In that way, it’s really comforting. It makes you feel forever young somehow.
But then, one day something changes in town (a new store opens up, an old building is torn down, a road is updated), and it sends everyone into a frenzy? It causes you to panic because suddenly you remember something in town that doesn’t exist anymore. If you refer to it, young kids and newcomers won’t understand. All of the sudden, your age catches up to you. That’s what ‘Glory Daze’ is like. It’s about the day I woke up and realized that I was 25, not 17.
Kendra: Now you started working on this record back in the fall of 2020. A lot can and did happen in the past two years. Were there any songs that you were working on then that perhaps didn’t make it on this record that we might hear on a later release?
Rachel McIntyre: I started working on this record in the fall of 2020 without realizing it. I recorded my debut single, “High School Reunion,” with my producer, Dran Michael, thinking it would be a stand-alone single. After I recorded that song, I released two other singles named “Baggage” and “Blue Hawaii.” Neither of those songs are on the EP.
I didn’t even start thinking about making an EP until early 2022. After I realized that I wanted to make a record called ‘Glory Daze,’ it only made sense to include “High School Reunion” as the last track on it since it fit with the theme so well.
I really like my other two singles (“Blue Hawaii” and “Baggage”) but they don’t flow with the theme of the project. I want the EP to tell a story. The theme of ‘Glory Daze’ is nostalgia and hometowns. It tells the story of adult life not living up to adolescent expectations. All of my favorite albums follow a theme, and I want to do that in my work as well!
Kendra: Side note time – with September being a Back 2 School month, I’d love to know your favorite field trip or just school memory.
Rachel McIntyre: I love this question! Growing up, we took Halloween very seriously in my house. Every year, my mom would create these incredible costumes for my siblings and me.
There was a costume competition at my school, and we placed in it every year. We were obsessed with old TV shows. When I was in third grade, my sister, two of our friends, and I dressed up like ‘The Beverly Hillbillies.’ My sister was Elly May Clampett and carried around our dog Baxter (who was dressed up like a goat). Our two friends dressed up like Jedd and Jethro. I was Granny Clampett, and I chased Jethro around with a cast iron skillet. I really embodied the essence of Granny Clampett during the competition. I scrunched up my face and talked just like her. It was so much fun. We won first place. I’m pretty sure most of my classmates had no idea who I was dressed up as.
It’s funny looking back on it because I was a really bashful kid. I think Halloween just unleashed something from within since I was pretending to be someone else. I never felt embarrassed about it either. I’m really lucky to have such a fun mom.
Kendra: Lastly, with ‘Glory Daze’ out on September 30th, and a handful of dates this fall already on the books – are you already looking ahead to 2023?
Rachel McIntyre: Yes and no. I’ve started booking some things for 2023. I’ve already got some fun releases planned for the start of the year! However, I’m really wanting to savor my debut EP release. I’m so excited to have my first physical CDs and merchandise for sale. I’ll be launching my first-ever radio campaign. I’ll be performing a bunch. I know that we are at the tail end of 2022, but I’ve got high hopes for the last few months.