Michael Warren, lead guitar and vocalist to Hard Knocks n’ Country, is proving that his country roots run very deep in Snohomish County. Originally from Bothell and now serving in a local police department, he is becoming known as a local performer and is set to drop his first single, The More You Drink on June 5th.
(Fun fact, it’s also going to debut on the airwaves on Classic Country KXA 101.1 and 1520 on the same day. Stay tuned for that.)
Like many before Warren, music pursued him first. “I grew up with music stuff, like choral and church choir. I just enjoyed singing. Started getting involved with my church’s worship team, and I just got the bug.”
Likewise is the same for his choice of career. “I just always knew I wanted to be a cop, while also staying in the area,” shares Officer Warren. There are lots of first responders in the family, cops, nurses and EMTs- basically different areas of performing public service, so it was a natural choice to make.
As an adult, he married into a musically talented family, which continued to fuel the flame of both worship and song. “I love the stories and the songs.[...] My wife Jody is very talented, and my father in law, Scott, is an especially huge influence.”
As a family, they encouraged each other and came together just to perform for friends and family in their homes.
“Around that time, about early 2017, we sold our home in Monroe and picked up a fifth wheel toy hauler.”
The band came together as organically as his musical family did. His patrol partner was a drummer and they’d talk shop between calls on duty. One day, that bug bit once again when Warren's patrol partner announced, “we should start a band!” Officer Warren, not to be deterred, ran with the challenge, and the beginning of the band began to take shape.
They began to meet when they could around what can be very hectic first responder shifts. Another worship mate joined in, with his father in law riding herd and playing as well. The very first band practice took place in the back of their little fifth wheel.
“It seemed there was a need and interest for country music. We started at open mic nights, usually trading a few sets for a few bucks and a few beers. Dreadnaught Brewery holds a dear place in my heart. They were our first paying gig. Also played at Amarillo in Monroe, Locobillies in Stanwood, the Oxford, Stewarts and Collector’s Choice in Snohomish. We’ve played at the Lime in Kirkland, and everybody knows the Red Hen in Seattle.”
He takes a pause, clearly replaying good times. “I enjoyed the heck out of all of it. It’s a honky tonk dream, if you will.”
Their talent is diverse, and they do covers as well as original music. “I’ve always had songs rolling around in my head, been writing for the fun of it. I wrote a song a couple years ago about life in law enforcement, about “the prayer” of going forth and serving.” The song’s inspiration is embedded in childhood; if you are, know, or love a first responder, the prayer is not unfamiliar to you. It’s the little but mighty winged prayer you say out loud or in your heart, watching that person you love leave for work and asking God to please deliver them back home safely again. As a young man stepping out the door, he would utter one for himself before a shift, and now he knows his wife Jody says it each working day for him as well.
The anticipated single being released June 5th isn’t quite as serious. The title, The More You Drink, holds a promise of a good time. Check out the sneak peek of it here.
“When we play, we typically do covers, and add in a few singles to test the waters. We do have a broke down set list we use to create the right energy for the venue, but we break even that up for ballads. It creates a good ebb and flow, and we know it’s also date night for a lot of couples.”
“More than that, we strive for authenticity. People can spot when it’s real. You can’t fake good camaraderie. If you find people who share that joy and passion, it makes it that much more fun for you every time. I want to share that with the people that are on that journey with me.”
Keep an eye out for more original songs in 2020, just in case you somehow miss this release and airing of The More Your Drink.
Want to know more? Michael Warren Music has a Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/michaelwarrenofficial/ and an Instagram https://www.instagram.com/michaelwarrenofficial/?utm_source=ig_embed
Or head directly to their website www.michaelwarrenofficial.com
Guitar, Brad Cotton, worship partner
(Now) drummer and keyboard Johanan Ruiz
Producer: Eli Ramos.
Allen Toelken was a contributing member as well
Scott Sonneveldt, acoustic guitar/harmonica (the amazing FIL)