Ben and Chad Truman know a little about music. Their father, Dan, after all, is a member of the megastar country group Diamond Rio.
But they also know that while family may give them a slight edge, it offers no guarantees. They know that what they do with their band, Truman, they will have to do on their own.
"For one thing, we're in a different realm," Ben says. "Truman is pop/rock, not country."
The band will release its first CD, "Hold Onto Love," at a launch party tonight. "It'll be a block party in a little alley in Provo. It's going to be a fun night out," Ben says. "And it's all free."
Joining them will be former "American Idol" contestant Jackie Tohn.
The CD features all original songs, written by Ben and Chad, and a third member of the group, Doug Collins.
Ben and Chad have been students at BYU. Ben just graduated in finance; Chad just "finished." He's two years into a media music major and has plans to get his degree. But the guys believe that the time is now to make their move.
"It took my dad 10 years to get his degree, so I have some time," Chad says.
Truman was formed in 2005, just after Ben return from an LDS mission to Mexico. "We started to write
songs and do some playing," he says. "Then Chad left on his mission. While he was gone, I kept writing songs. We like to think that while he was gone for two years, he was progressing spiritually, but the band was progressing as well. In a way, it's like no time was lost."
The CD was recorded and produced in a studio in their hometown of Nashville.
"We'd go in and put the music together, and work on songs. It worked out really great, and we were able to keep it within our budget," he says. They will be working on distribution through iTunes, as well as Deseret Book and other outlets, and it can be ordered through [email protected]
They also have an agency in Nashville. "It's been booking shows in Texas and Minnesota, which seems really random, but they are predominantly college towns," Ben says. "Eventually, we hope to do the L.A. thing, try to land a good record deal. We've had some interest from a couple of labels. We're going to try to make a living at it."
Like any budding band, they dream of being on the radio, of No. 1 hits, of Grammys. But because they know something about the music business, they also know it isn't going to be easy.
"We're from Nashville. We know it's a competitive business," Ben says. "We know what is involved. As kids, we saw our dad and his group load everything into trailers and hit the road. We saw all the adventures and trials they had. They had it rough for quite a while."
But, Ben and Chad also believe it is something they have to try. "We'll be starting small, but everyone in this business starts small. You have to take those first steps. We are aiming high, but we know we have to work hard to get there. We're not joking. We're not kidding ourselves. We're excited to see what lies ahead."
Does having a famous father, in fact, add a layer of pressure to prove themselves? "As [Cleveland Cavaliers basketball player] LeBron James says, 'I don't believe in pressure,' " Chad says.
"The only pressure is self-inflicted," Ben says. "We know the opportunity we have. We're confident that good things can happen, that we can make them happen."
They also know they have a lot of family support. "Dad encouraged us to learn music, but he left the doing of it up to us," Ben says. "Mom was the one who made us practice the piano. Dad said, 'Listen to Stevie Wonder.' "
In fact, for a time Ben was more into sports that music. "But after my mission, I found I had a passion for songwriting. In the meantime, Chad had worked really hard on the piano. He's unbelievable; what he does with chord changes, with music theory. He brings out the talents I have in lyrics and melody. We really complement each other. There are times when I'm working on a song, and I know I don't have the guitar skills to do it justice. I take it to Chad, or to Doug, who has great guitar skills, and they bring it to light."
Their songs are mostly about relationships, he says, everything from surface attraction to deep, caring love and life. Musically, "I'm more pop/rock; Chad is more jazz/soul. So it's a good mix. But it's pretty mainstream. We're not indie. We're not grassroots. We like to say Truman is classic, fun and honest."
Their music, he says, "is all about the songs. We don't have any hype, any gimmicks. Just songs. We hope that people fall in love with the songs. When someone comes up to you and says, 'I love your song' or 'that song helped me through a rough time' — that's the best feeling in the world."
It would be great to be a lead act someday, Chad says. It would be great to make a decent living with music. But most musicians, he says, "really want to make music that resonates with people. They want to leave a mark on people's hearts. We want to be among those who do."
E-mail: [email protected]