Holler Country Music
feature

New Artist of the Week: Catie Offerman

By Jof Owen

link icon

Link copied

The delightful ‘Happyland Trailer Park’ has been something of a mixed blessing for us here at Holler HQ. The only track so far from Catie Offerman, we fell hard for her refreshingly breezy brand of straight-talking pop country right off the bat, playing the song over and over again on the office stereo.

The only trouble was, now we didn’t have enough Catie Offerman to fully assuage our new found hunger! Seriously, how many times can you play one song?! Well, hundreds as it turns out, but still, we needed MORE! We were like frantic penguins fighting over a bucket of fish. Catie Offerman had us hooked on her sugary treats and our cravings started kicking in again as soon as the song began to fade.

‘Happyland Trailer Park’ is one of those songs that makes you wonder what your life was even like before you had that song to listen to every day; a sunroof-open arms-in-the-air celebration of just being alive and being yourself with the most iconic “yep” since Duane Eddy.

"A lot of my friends have talked about having mild depression the last couple of years, but one of the things that have kept me going in the uncertain times is finding adventure in the unknowns," Offerman says. "I follow my heart. It gets me in trouble, but it also leads to the most amazing experiences of my life. I think in these times we're living in, everyone deserves to find that place."

One of the genre's most skilled players and promising modern traditionalists, she started taking piano lessons from the church's pianist at 4 years old and picked up a guitar two years later. She grew up on a horse ranch in Texas, and her father home schooled her in the barn's tack room; playing music gave her a sense of purpose. By the time she was 9 years old, Catie played accordion and fiddle and was classically trained on every instrument she played.

When she was 11 she joined her accordion teacher’s polka band, playing polka festivals for a few years, before switching over to fiddle when she was 14. After that, she picked up the mandolin and started taking Texas swing fiddle lessons with Ray Price's fiddle player, Bobby Flores, and then ended up joining his Western swing band. She was still only 16 years old when she moved to Boston with her dad to attend Berklee School of Music on a scholarship, which she graduated from three years later.

She moved to Los Angeles to pursue a possible television opportunity but realised her heart wasn't in it, so she jumped back into songwriting and traveled through Sweden and Denmark, writing songs and honing her craft. The fresh music helped her land an offer for a record deal in LA but the timing didn’t feel right to her.

If the timing didn’t feel right back then, it certainly does now. After she made the move to Nashville, she signed a publishing deal with Universal Music Group and then a record deal just before the pandemic hit in 2020. She used the unexpected downtime to write more songs and experiment with different producers before she landed with Dann Huff.

"I kind of see myself as aspiring to be a female George Strait," she says. "I want to be as vulnerable as I can and lighthearted because life is short."

Could we love her any more?! Catie Offerman is our New Artist of the Week here at Holler, and we sat down with her to chat to her about growing up in Texas, her love of country music and what inspires her.

Where are you from and how has that influenced you?

I’m from New Braunfels, TX and grew up on a ranch outside of town out in the hill country. Life was simple, my friends were the animals and music is what connected me with the world and people.

Not to make me sound like a recluse, but when you’re an only child that’s home-schooled in the tack room of your barn, you don’t really have the same upbringing or mindset as other kids. I’m not going to lie, sometimes it was a little lonely but I didn’t have to compare myself to anyone else and honestly that really helped shape my music. I wasn’t trying to be the next Faith Hill or Miranda or Patsy, it was just me!

What music did you grow up listening to?

Everything! A lot of classical when I was really little. I used to fall asleep to Bach every night. I always listened to old school country records at my grandparents' house - Bob Wills, Buck Owens, Willie Nelson, Randy Travis, Ray Price, George Jones. Alison Krauss, Nickel Creek and Rhonda Vincent were some of my favorite go-tos. I loved anything that was timeless. I still do.

How did you end up in country music?

I like to say that music found me. Country music is in my DNA. I’ve tried other avenues of music but country brings me back home every time.

You went to Berklee school of music, are there a lot of country singers studying there or did you notice you were something of an anomaly?

I actually went to Berklee for fiddle so I wasn’t really in with the singers as much. There were more country players than singers. Molly Tuttle was in my Bluegrass ensemble and she’s incredible. If you don’t know her, change that!

What inspires you?

So many things inspire me - other artists, my family, my fiancé, the desire to try new things I haven’t experienced, other cultures, even the fact that we only use a third of our brain! There’s so much more out there and I want to find it, chase it, better myself, and find happiness in the journey along the way.

Who is your all-time favourite singer?

Alison Krauss has the voice of an angel. Bob Wills makes me tap my toes and George Strait is my idol.

What’s the most unexpected place music has taken you?

There have been a few. Never expected to play in Russia or Finland years ago. Also didn’t think I would randomly play fiddle with Lady A on TV appearances the past couple of years. Never thought it would lead me to Nashville and also help me find my fiancé (through a metal friend at a show). Music is quite the journey and it’s always keeping me on my toes.

If you could time travel back to any time when would you travel back to?

I would go back to when my grandfather was still alive and I’d tell him all about what music has taught me and thank him for giving me that fiddle back when I was 9.

Which person from history would you most like to meet?

Bob Wills or Johnny Gimble sure would be fun. We could twin fiddle it up!

Would you like to go into space?

Only if I was 1000% sure to get back home so probably not. I’d rather visit a nice sushi restaurant and mall down here on earth!

What advice would you give to the younger you?

Just be YOU! There’s a million of everyone else!

What’s next for you?

I’m excited about going out on the road with Caitlyn Smith in May. I’m a huge fan of hers! Also really excited to play my first CMA Fest this year! It’s always been a dream of mine.

'Happyland Trailer Park' is out now!