Lately, it's been nothing but career milestones for Baton Rouge native CJ Solar.
In the past three years, the 24-year-old has graduated from Belmont University in Nashville, Tennessee, signed a songwriting deal and written songs that have been recorded by Jerrod Neimann and Justin Moore.
Saturday marks another milestone when Solar headlines The Texas Club.
The performance follows Solar’s seven years of being an opening act at the venue for national headliners David Allen Coe, Chris Cagle, Old Dominion and Dustin Lynch.
“That is a club I’ve always gone to,” Solar said. “The Texas Club is the country music venue in Baton Rouge.”
Though he has lived in Nashville for the past seven years, Solar has kept in touch with his hometown. He returns for visits and shows.
“I want people to know that I’m from there,” he said.
Solar released his latest single, a rowdy country-rocker called “Just Another Day in the Country,” in January via Sea Gayle Records. In recent months, when he hasn’t been writing new songs in Nashville, Solar has promoted the song by driving from one small-town country radio station to the next. Last week, he visited Missouri and Arkansas. The personal approach is working.
“I’ve been lucky that all of the people I’ve visited have been receptive to me and the song,” he said.
Meeting DJs and radio station staff, even in the age of Spotify and ubiquitous social media, can still be effective.
“Spotify has been a great help for getting the word out,” Solar said. “They put my previous single, ‘Tall Boy,’ in a popular playlist called ‘New Boots.’ That got me a ton of fans. That’s great, but radio is such a personal thing. The DJs want to know the artists they’re playing. And every radio person has met almost every artist. They like to feel invested in the people they play.”
Solar is the first Sea Gayle Music songwriter on the company’s record label. The company released his debut EP, “Hard One to Turn Down,” in April 2016. It issued “Just Another Day in the Country” to radio and then the five-song, in-concert EP, “No Sleep Till Nashville,” exclusively to Spotify on Feb. 28.
“I’m thankful they stepped up even further into artist development,” Solar said.
Rolling Stone Country premiered the music video for “Just Another Day in the Country” in January. In May 2016, Rolling Stone Country named Solar one of its “10 New Country Artists You Need to Know.”
Solar and Sea Gayle plan to record another five or six songs this month. They could be released as an EP or become part of a full-length album.
“We keep getting more radio play and press,” he said. “The shows keep getting better. It seems like the momentum is rolling forward, full speed. In the building process of everything, we’re at a good spot.”
CJ Solar/Parish County Line
WHEN: Saturday. Doors open at 7:30 p.m. The show starts at 9 p.m.
WHERE: The Texas Club, 456 N. Donmoor Ave., Baton Rouge