With A True Honky-Tonk Country Feel, The Song’s Story Goes Deeper – Showing Botz’s Lifelong Struggle with Alcohol and The Heartbreak It Causes
With a lot of today’s modern country music often glamorizing cold beers and heartache in an ever-continuous chain as a way to deal with pain – Songwriter Tommy Botz is instead bringing his true-to-life struggle and its consequences to life through his music. Though prominent in many of the songs off his latest release “Family & Friends”, a powerful light is shined on his struggle with the bottle and the lives it can impact in his latest number one single “Maggie”, out now.
With the perfect amount of country twang, brilliant guitar and fiddle work and a deep crooning vocal arrangement a’la vocalist Billy Sullivan, it can be easy to forget the sad story behind the struggle in Botz’s lyrics in “Maggie”. From family life to living in a train car because of the bottle, the song paints a picture of the fall from grace many can suffer from the effects of alcohol and its tightened grasp on those afflicted. The heartfelt refrain says it all “Maggie I’m sorry, tell the kids goodbye // You know I gave it a hell of a try // Maggie I’m sorry, you don’t understand // That a drunk will sell his soul for just one bottle if he can” and goes even deeper with harrowing lines like “What do I do with the memory, that haunts me every day // Lord forgive me, I couldn’t see what the drink was taking away”. But with the songwriters true-to-life story of redemption in recent years, “Maggie” plays out not just as a story of woe but more as a warning to those who should seek help in dealing with the struggles of substance abuse.
Tommy Botz has come a long way. Now sober for 14 ½ yrs, he’s lived in a halfway house after having “crawled through the doors on May 3rd 2004 of The Ed Keating Center a homeless drunk with nowhere to go”. There he met a kind old man named Jack Mulhall who told him that if he followed some direction he would never have to live like that again. “I wasn’t always a homeless drunk. I had dreams and goals like every young man has. I always loved country and gospel music.” says Botz, whose early interest lead him to become the lead singer in two bands – The Chevells and The Caesars 5 early in his music career, winning a Battle of the Bands and winding up with an RCA recording contract. But after the loss of their guitar player and their contract being pulled, Botz’s drinking got worse and soon penitentiaries became a way of life.
From broken marriages to lost jobs, no car, and no licence – living to drink and drinking to live became his routine. Finally, with several years of sobriety and working under his belt – he made the decision to go for his dream and finally record some of the over 200+ songs he had written over the years.
“One night while I was praying I heard in my heart – go for you dream and I will put someone in your life who believes in your music”, and after contacting Ante Up Studios owner Michael Seifert, the two began a collaboration that would become his 6-song EP “Family and Friends”.
As he continues to receive praise for his songwriting talent in the hopes that his music finds its way to Nashville and a potential collaboration with further established artists, “Maggie” and all of the songs off “Family and Friends” are sure to build a true fanbase for Tommy Botz in the coming year!
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