LOUISA It began years ago in Texas when David Prince’s wife snapped a photo of him wearing a cowboy hat, sunglasses and odd expression.
“That photo was taken in Texas on the 4th of July at midnight. Theresa took that picture and it was just insane looking. “We called it Laid Back Country Picker. I made it my picture on my MySpace page, back when MySpace was a thing,” Prince said with a chuckle.
The image went relatively unnoticed until a little more than one year ago, when the image of the Lawrence County resident was applied to a T-shirt.
“Tyler Childers wore the shirt and the rest is history,” he said, explaining Childers was photographed wearing the shirt while standing with Willie Nelson, causing tremendous demand from online buyers.
“Tyler with Willie Nelson … that really put it into overdrive,” he said.
A guitarist from the age of five, the self-described “70s rock guy” applied his considerable guitar chops as an anti-industry artist and developed a live show.
“There was no music. There were no songs. There was a shirt and that was it. The T-shirt came first,” Prince said with solemn conviction.
Adding to the imagery, Theresa Prince also developed a persona for the Laid Back Country Picker shows simply known as “Honey,” and easily recognized for her on-stage wardrobe and hairstyle.
“I think that was her idea to wear the house coat and curlers. She doesn’t talk but she sings high harmony, plays guitar and looks disgusted all the time,” Prince said, explaining “Honey” is part of the four-piece band along with brothers Hayden and Kenny Miles … or Chris Justice, or Trevor Litteral.
“There’s eight of us who make up 15 different bands. That’s just the economics of it these days.”
Among the most unexpected honors to the character, Prince said he was tickled when Lexington’s Country Boy Brewery asked to create a namesake beverage with his name attached – a coffee flavored beer.
“Because I love coffee! We did a taste consult and I told them that was what I liked. I hope they do another batch and put it in cans. It would be cool to see the name on a can, you know?”
Having spanned the days from when his rock band would play anywhere for anyone with a dollar to today’s market which pays well for a 90-minute performance, Prince says he is still adjusting to fame as it finds him.
“With Laid Back, it’s just a license to ramble.”
Signed to Tyler Childers’ label, Hickman Holler, Prince said he hopes to again record as Laid Back Country Picker with a gang of Nashville studio musicians next spring. Upcoming shows include a December 22 appearance at the Paramount Arts Center in Ashland.