East Alton native Tommy Karlas to perform country debut album at Godfrey


After 20 years of writing songs for some of country music’s greatest artists, East Alton native Tommy Karlas will release his debut album in October.

At the age of 19, Karlas moved to Nashville, Tennessee in hopes of starting a career in writing country songs – he signed his first contract a week later.

“I kind of had a five to seven year plan, which is the typical range to get your first publishing deal,” Karlas said. “I kind of wanted to write songs, I didn’t want to be an artist. I ended up getting my first Music Row publishing deal after a week.

Music Row is home to hundreds of record company, radio station and recording studio offices in Nashville. Karlas said it was here that he and many other country artists met to write or record music. “There are around 300 to 400 songwriters who have different dates with each other,” he said. “When you become a professional, you learn to activate it when you need it. There aren’t a lot of writers’ blocks or anything.

Karlas said he was signed by several smaller publishing houses, but that in September he will sign with Sony Music, one of the biggest country artist labels.

“I worked my way up to bigger and bigger companies. So that I can get signed there and have the reach that they have, I hope I can write songs for these great artists like Luke Combs, ”he said.

His concert at the Hatheway Cultural Center at Lewis and Clark Community College in Godfrey is scheduled for Saturday, October 16, where he will perform his new album “Put It In Drive,” which features a culmination of songs he wrote over the past 20 years. last years. . Growing up, Karlas said he used to perform on the Lewis and Clark stage and was thrilled to be back.

“Whenever I was in high school, I did a lot of talent shows at Lewis and Clark Hatheway Hall,” Karlas said. “Every time I’ve moved to Nashville, I’ve always dreamed of putting on a show there. It’s kind of a full time to be able to come back to that theater… and release my album that day in my hometown.

One of the songs from her upcoming album “Lessons” will be released as a single on Tuesday August 31st.

In addition to his performance, Karlas will be joined by other local artists Charlie Brown, of Wood River, and Billy Hurst, of Grafton, who will open the show. Tickets can be purchased on Eventbrite website for $ 30 a ticket.


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