Gary Stanton and Charlie Muncaster both came to Nashville in search pursuing their musical dreams. Both gentlemen had developed their own separate reputations as singers and songwriters in the Mobile, Alabama area. Their paths would eventually intersect, and the two would form the duo Muscadine Bloodline – which is making a mark in Music City with pristine harmonies and upbeat delivery.
But even though their individual stories began in the same town, they never met each other until they both arrived in Nashville.
"Gary and I started hearing about each other in high school," reminisces Muncaster to Billboard. "I was one grade above Gary. We were two the only guys in our hometown that were taking advantage things like Facebook as a platform putting out videos. That's how we knew each other. We had a lot mutual friends. It's kind scary how many mutual friends that we had before meeting – after we left Mobile. It was a year after the both us left town that we actually met."
Once they did meet, an instant musical bond was formed, says Stanton. "We started playing together in about 2014, and were doing a lot acoustic shows. We were having a lot fun, and that started the building blocks what we were going to create. In 2015, we ficially started the duo. We were playing a lot cover sets at college bars. We just wanted something more than that, so we wound up moving to Nashville, and started putting out original music. Then we started getting involved in the songwriting community in Nashville. Two and a half years later, here we are, and we just released our second EP, Movin' On (which topped the Billboard Heatseekers chart in May). "It's been really cool to see the growth from it."
The two complement each other rather well, affirms Stanton. "We are both good at things, certain tasks that go into building a business and creating a duo. Where I lack, Charlie is good, and where he lacks, I'm good. We don't step on each other's toes. We do what we know works with each other, and it's like a ying-yang thing – where we both fit."
Muncaster is quick to return his partner's praise. "In my opinion, I think that Gary is one the most talented songwriters in Nashville. I love being able to learn from him every day. Just to be able to sit in the writers' room with him is a blessing. He's also a talented guitar player, so those two things together and his singing, it's easy to work with a guy like that."
And work is what Muscadine Bloodline is all about. Whether opening up for Jon Pardi or Devin Dawson, playing festivals or the club circuit, the duo is constantly on the road – a setting they feel suits them best.
"It's where we make 90 percent our income. I think as much as we love getting out there, seeing the fans, and being able to perform these songs – it's definitely just a lifeline," admits Stanton. "It's where the heartbeat starts pumping, out on the road. When you're doing things in a grassroots way like we are, where we don't have label backing or anything like that, being an independent band – you gotta do what you gotta do. We try to work hard on social media through interaction, doing the meet-and-greets, and trying to cultivate a real fan base. You are just trying to build markets, one by one."
Not too long after they moved to town, the duo found out that they had a fan who was willing to help them along their career trajectory. "We were new to town, and we got a Facebook message from Luke Laird," recalls Muncaster. "At the time, we had no idea who he was. We just knew that he said he was a songwriter. We Googled him, and were amazed to see how many hits he has written. We messaged him back and said, 'Yeah, I think we can talk!'"
The three did a lot more than talk. The duo signed with Laird's Creative Nation, and they say there's no place they would rather be. "They have been like family since day one," Muncaster relates. "They helped us fund these EPs. Just being able to get in front the quality writers that are at Creative Nation has changed the game, when it comes to the quality the music that we are putting out."
The next project for Muscadine Bloodline is a new video for their title track from their EP, "Movin' On." The video process is one that has its pros and cons, Muncaster admits. "It's obviously a lot fun once you get it all together, but the lead-up is pretty dang stressful – just staying on top management, and trying to help as much as we can when it comes to finding locations. There's a lot to be considered, and we try to keep our hands involved as much as we can."