Overdrive Magazine | Trucking Business News & Owner Operator Info
Issue link: http://read.dmtmag.com/i/391783
October 2014 | Overdrive | 45 "S ometimes you hear all the CB chatter out here on the highway: 'Well, my wife's got to take my kid to the doctor tomorrow, she's going to mow the lawn,' " says Keith Sampson. "All the stuff you hear the drivers talking about – what their wife or girlfriend has to do today – that's where the idea came from." Sampson's idea grew into a song. This wasn't unusual for the owner-operator, who's written dozens of songs. However, "The Woman Behind the Man Behind the Wheel" became special when he performed it at The Great American Trucking Show before judges who named him winner of Overdrive-Red Eye Radio's Trucker Talent Search. Sampson was one of 30-plus singing truckers to enter the competition. After online voting, he and fi nalists Jennie Simpson and Brad James performed live at the Dallas show in August. One judge, Red Eye Radio host Eric Harley, said Sampson delivered a "powerful" performance. "He carried the confi dence and talent of a pro, and it was clear that he enjoys singing," Harley says. The song choice "was a perfect way to tie his love of trucking to his love of singing. Impressive!" The experience "boosts my confi dence level 110 percent," says Sampson, who drives team with his wife, Vickie. "I've never entered a competition and never saw myself entering one because I'm a shy kind, and I would always just play for a handful of people." One person who heard his music prior to the contest is Lacey Crosson-Cornelius, who runs a Landstar agency in Gadsden, Ala. She met the Sampsons by phone about fi ve years ago while they were handling a load. Vickie mentioned to her that she was buying Keith a nice guitar for his birthday. Crosson-Cornelius expressed interest in his music, so Sampson sent a recording. Crosson-Cornelius immediately became a fan. She even added the recording of "The Woman Behind the Man Behind the Wheel" to the agency's hold music playlist. Sampson says he's dedicated the song to the women who support their truck-driving husbands, and specifi cally to Vickie. "Even though she's out here on the road with me and we have this big truck, she does her share of driving, she cooks, she cleans, she does all the paperwork, and she fulfi lls that same role that the women at home do," he says. Vickie says she's her husband's biggest supporter. At the same time, she's also his biggest critic because, as a poet herself, she critiques his lyrics. But most of all, she encourages him to continue making music. trucking Talent Search winner Keith Sampson's devotion to driving and songwriting pays off in Dallas showdown. BY KATHLEEN BUCCLEUGH Overdrive-Red Eye Radio s Keith Sampson's fi rst real experience with music was as a child, listening to his mother play gospel songs by ear on a grand piano. He'd sit down and try to do the same, playing by ear. When Sampson was 8, his uncle gave him a guitar and taught him three basic chords. "I've been hooked ever since," he says. He learned to play radio songs by ear. "I didn't know the chords of the song, but I could hear the sounds on the guitar," he says. Sampson never learned to read mu- sic or guitar tabs, but was writing songs by the time he was a teenager. Drawing inspiration from country, gospel, bluegrass and Southern rock, he now owns copyrights on about 30 of his songs, which he hopes to record one day in a professional studio. Though he has a studio in his home, it's diffi cult to record because he's a one-man show. He does vocals and plays guitar, keyboard and banjo. "It's a challenge to record music by yourself," he says. Even with his ventures into songwrit- ing, Sampson still covers other songs. He played Blake Shelton's "Boys 'Round Here" for his video entry in the Trucker Talent Search. "I kind of like mixing some of the older stuff with some of the new stuff and com- ing up with different sounds," he says. "I try to make it my own." Sampson records vocals, guitar and other instruments in his home studio. To see Sampson's winning perfor- mance of "The Woman Behind the Man Behind the Wheel," visit the 2014 Trucker Talent Search playlist at youtube.com/OverdriveMag. 'HOOKED EVER SINCE'