By Crystal Harrell / Photos By Kurt Schawacker

On April 25, the Palm Canyon Roadhouse in Palm Springs served as the venue for Rolling Stone Magazine’s installment of ‘Rolling Stone Writers’ Room’ ahead of the Stagecoach Country Music Festival.

The event was moderated by Rolling Stone’s Senior Music Editor Joseph Hudak, and featured an intimate storytelling setting with country crooners Charley Crockett, Stephen Wilson Jr. and Drayton Farley as they provided insight into what inspires their music, and performed songs to an excited crowd packing the venue.

“Be sure to toast them after each round and give them your full, undivided attention because like George Dickel, they are American classics. And while we may be 2,000 miles away from Cascade Hollow where they make George Dickel, they’re going to help us bring a little bit of that tradition here to Palm Springs,” announced Hudak before the three musicians took the stage.


Hudak asked each artist about their writing process and the methods they use to craft songs.

“It’s easy to start a song. It’s a lot harder to finish one,” said Charley Crockett.

“I have my set of traps that I go to and I check pretty frequently, and they come. Most of the time, I come up with some kind of idea. Like Charlie said, it’s kind of the start of the song, really. It’s the idea, and then it’s up to you to finish it. And that’s a much harder process, but the idea is everything,” added Stephen Wilson Jr.

“The process was never something that I started thinking about when I was writing songs. Over time, I’ve come to learn my own process and the best I can tell for me is we can’t always relate to our successes as a group of people, but mostly we can always relate to the harder times and the struggles. We don’t always get to share the highs, but we mostly share the lows,” expressed Drayton Farley.

Farley then performed “Pitchin’ Fits,” which he prefaced by explaining that this song practically wrote itself and was penned in under an hour during a dark time in his life.

“I just got a notebook, and I started writing my thoughts down and poured it out. If you read these lyrics without listening to them, it almost feels like a journal entry rather than a song,” explained Farley.

Following Farley was a performance by Stephen Wilson Jr. with his grunge country track “Cuckoo”. Sharing with the audience that he was raised by a single father who was a boxer and seeing how much he worked just to survive inspired the sentiment of the track, Wilson transitioned into a strange interaction he had with a construction worker who insisted he looked like Aerosmith’s Steven Tyler.

“He said ‘I thought you were Steven Tyler for a second,’ and I was like, ‘you thought I was a 75-year old rock star?’ I mean, he’s badass and all but damn. He’s like, ‘no, I thought you were young Steven Tyler.’ Then my brain disintegrated because I would have had to have been Steven Tyler, the time traveler,” quipped Wilson before playing.

Charley Crockett revealed he finds inspiration in the struggle of life to help craft his lyrics.

“I think that’s what all the greatest songs are about: struggle.When you’re up here doing what we do, you’re not on the left, you’re not on the right, you’re on the road, and that’s a hard way,” shared Crockett.