Singer/songwriter Chuck Allen Floyd leaves Nashville to prove he's 'Good on the Inside' 

Chuck Allen Floyd
10 p.m. Thursday
The Deli
309 White, Norman

While it certainly takes talent to make it in the music business, the next most important quality is endurance. That's something Chuck Allen Floyd has learned firsthand.

Although Floyd's first two albums have done well " his 2008 debut, "Tonight an Angel Fell," put three singles into the Texas Music Charts charts, and "I Love You Drunk," off January's "Good on the Inside," is ascending the charts as well " it hasn't been a smooth ride to recognition for the former lawyer.

"I've never regretted quitting practicing law even once, but I have wondered if I did make a dreadful financial mistake," Floyd said with a chuckle.

It's a lot easier to laugh now, but it hasn't always been that way. After two relatively unsuccessful stints in Nashville, Tenn., the singer/songwriter found his niche back home in Oklahoma, where he's making a name for himself.

Floyd's cut from a similar cloth as George Strait, playing a neo-traditional blend of country with a little Western swing, some rock 'n' roll and the crisp, heartbreaking balladry of artists like Gene Watson. Floyd spent several years writing for Clint Black's publishing company in Nashville, building a backlog of more than 100 songs. While he cautions that not all of the tunes are good, it's clear from his records that he's not only a capable writer, but one who works well across a variety of styles.

While he attended East Central University in Ada, Floyd started a band called Southern Chill, which quickly developed a following. He transferred to Belmont University, and the band relocated to Nashville. After finishing school, Floyd abandoned his stage dreams and returned to Oklahoma, where he earned a law degree from the University of Oklahoma. Passing the bar in Texas, he started practicing law in Amarillo.

It took but six months for him to realize he "liked law school, but not law," and still hadn't gotten music out of his system. Nashville was calling.

"I had some savings and I figured, 'Hell, I might as well go,'" he said. "So I quit, sold the house in just seven days and I was on the way."

Floyd opened his own graphic-design firm so he could work on songs into the night, spending years among the legions at Nashville's open-mic nights. He was on the verge of quitting when his wife convinced him to go to one more audition, for the legendary Bluebird Café. There, he caught the ears of tastemakers and suddenly landed meetings.

After three years in what Floyd describes as "the world's longest job interview," someone recommended he see Mike Sebastian at Clint Black's Blacktop Music. Floyd auditioned for Sebastian that day.

"He says, 'That's great, pal. We may sign someone later in the year, so you keep coming back,' and I go, 'I know you don't know me, but I've been doing this dance for a while. I'm going to bring you two new songs a week until you sign me. I'll be in here every Wednesday with two new ones for you.'"

Floyd signed that deal a month later.

Although he's yet to have a song on a big artist's album " "I've had songs almost recorded by almost every big name you can imagine," he said " the publishing deal gave Floyd some validation and drove him to keep writing. He collected some of the tracks on "Tonight an Angel Fell," and shortly thereafter moved back to Oklahoma, which marked the start of his winning streak. Floyd has won country division of the Billboard World Music Contest the last two years running, and the way things have gone on the Texas charts, his future looks brighter than ever.

"I don't want it to sound cocky because I don't think it's that at all, but I am confident " in the music and in all my band members," Floyd said. "I know they can do what they need to and I think I can do what I need to do. It's a matter of keeping on and making sure that you're being good enough to " I hate the word 'fan' " to the people who come to watch you. You want to make sure you're being attentive to them." "Chris Parker

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