What do music and hunting have in common? They’re both real, tangible experiences that allow people to get lost in the moment. The vibrations of a live music show can be felt as much as they can be heard. Fans in the crowd truly immerse themselves in the music. A good hunt is quite similar in that you can feel the wind in your face, feel the dirt beneath your feet, and get so lost in nature that the world seems to stop spinning. Country music singer Heath Sanders uses song lyrics to sum up what he likes most about hunting: “There’s a Matchbox 20 lyric that says I wish the real world would stop hassling me. But the real world doesn’t hassle you. Just go out there and sit in it. It leaves you alone, and that’s the beauty of it.”
That quote comes from Sander’s appearance in the third-ever rendition of the Gobblers-N-Guitars video series presented by the National Wild Turkey Federation. The culture of country music and hunting have long been intertwined. The foundation of both hunting and country music is storytelling. A good song tells a story about something that people can relate to. Meanwhile, the entire hunting community is built on sharing good old-fashioned hunting stories.
The Gobblers-N-Guitars video series seamlessly blends together adventurous turkey hunting stories and the music and stories of singers and songwriters. Beginning this year, Outsider will provide support for the series by amplifying the videos to our digital audience Episode 1 featured Justin Adams while Episode 2 focused on Brad Clawson. Episode 3 is all about Heath Sanders, who shared a hunting camp with those first two guys on a trip out to Kansas in 2021.
From Full-Time Bluecollar Work To Making Music For A Living
The music career of Heath Sanders unofficially officially began back in 2018. That’s when a video of him covering Chris Stapleton’s song “Either Way” went super viral online. The footage racked up millions of views seemingly overnight. He wasn’t all in on music at the time though. He was actually working full-time doing hard labor in an oil field every day.
His big voice and remarkable backstory immediately connected Sanders to authentic music fans across blue-collar America. Shortly after that video stirred up a buzz, Sanders was invited as a guest on The Bobby Bones Show, one of the biggest platforms in country music radio. Bones is also from Arkansas, which certainly helped Sanders’ initial cause. Heath took full advantage of the opportunity though and blew the hosts away. His country music career was then underway.
Some of the best advice Sanders received that day was from Kristian Bush, who was half of the wildly popular grammy winning duo Sugarland. He’s still making damn good music on his own these days, but he’s not just an artist though. Bush is also one of the most talented and well-respected record producers in Music City. His advice likely played a big part in encouraging Heath Sanders to take the leap of faith and pursue a career in music. Bush’s wise words are the type of pregame pep talk that would make any man ready to run through a brick wall.
A Closer Look At His Musical Career And Song Catalog
The song Sanders performed on The Bobby Bones Show was titled Bloodline. He had messed around with music in his younger years but never took it seriously. He started writing the song Bloodline back in his early 20s but thought it was terrible. It wasn’t until 13 years later that he finished writing it in preparation to sing something original on The Bobby Bones Show. The next song he wrote after that was a love song for his new girlfriend, “Beautiful Like You.“
Not long after his appearance on The Bobby Bones Show, he signed his first music publishing deal with Sony. He made sure to tell them that he was happy to move to Nashville, but he needed some time built into his schedule to go back to Arkansas and spend time outside. “I still have to sit in my boat and catch a largemouth. Still have to go squirrel hunting. I still have to go deer hunting. I have to live this to have the material to write the songs,” he said. Sony agreed.
He then later signed a new deal with Big Machine Label Group’s Valory Music Co. Sanders’s first 4-song EP was released in 2021. It includes the songs Old School’s In, Can’t Undo I Do, Common Ground, and Love Needs Makin’. His most notable song to date has been Raised on Red, a collaboration with his fellow Arkansan Justin Moore.
His story is a solid reminder that success in the music industry often doesn’t happen in a straight line. Musicians often take a circuitous route until they get their big break. Sometimes all it takes is a viral video, a radio show appearance, and a good pep talk from someone who believes in you.
Heath Sanders Joins NWTF For Kansas Turkey Hunt
The video opens with Sanders introducing himself. He talks about growing up in the Ozarks with an expansive National Forest nearby. Then he talks about how the great outdoors has always been a huge part of his life. He then discusses the influence that running squirrel dogs with his grandpa had on him growing up. He also grew up hunting bears and deer with his uncle, shooting his first big buck at age 15. With his shotgun patterned, he’s ready to hunt.
Interestingly enough, he said he never really got into turkey hunting because of bad allergies. Turns out no one wants to take you hunting when you constantly sneeze and scare all the birds away with your snot. So at age 37, Sanders settles in to try and shoot his first bird. The crew from The 1% Media had the cameras rolling as he did just that too.
Putting the bird down took a double tap, but a fired-up Sanders quickly exclaims “Damn! That’s every bit as good as buck fever!” The film segment wraps up with Sanders waxing poetic about how deer and turkeys are the ones really living in the real world. Not people. Then he dives into an acoustic performance of his song Old School’s In, which is a pretty good musical summary of what the real world still is to a lot of hard-working Americans and country music fans.