ABOVE: Photo by Robyn McIsaac
By TRESA HALBROOKS & KATIE BROOKS BOONE
Ryan Weaver is a high-energy, all-American, rockin’ country music artist who proudly served as an active duty Black Hawk helicopter aviator as a Chief Warrant Officer 3, United States Army, and was named the Patriotic Voice of the PBR (Professional Bull Riders) in 2017.
Weaver will headline the PBR’s 25 th Anniversary Tour event in Nashville – Music City Knockout at Bridgestone Arena on August 17-18. He will kick-off this coming weekend by playing for fans at the Plaza Party Zone (free and open to the public) from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. this Friday outside Bridgestone Arena, and then head inside for all the action accompanied by Weaver’s music. On Saturday night Weaver will open the event with a special performance and surprise for the fans. He’s excited to be home in Nashville this weekend where he will have the opportunity to perform for friends and family with his third appearance at Bridgestone Arena.
Weaver was tapped as the Patriotic Voice of the PBR’s Celebrate America campaign by Sean Gleason, CEO of PBR. The Celebrate America campaign is a season-long initiative that honors heroes, inspires youth and brings communities together. Weaver debuted his new role with the PBR last November at the PBR World Finals in Las Vegas, Nevada, the biggest global stage in professional bull riding. His new EP, produced by Wynn Varble for the PBR, is also titled “Celebrate America” and was released at that time. This past January, Weaver kicked off the PBR’s 25th Anniversary Tour at Madison Square Garden in New York City and has continued to make tour appearances across the country with them.
Weaver began his music career in 2005 while still on active duty, playing the club and festival circuit
throughout the southeast. His performances are known for their unique blend of high-octane original songs and rockin’ material combined with a heartfelt message and genuine humor.
A two-time Gold Star family member, Weaver’s personal story is like no other artist in country music today.
Growing up with a family of eleven in a small town in Floral City, Florida, he joined the Army right after high school. After several years of working as a Military Intelligence Analyst, Ryan followed in the footsteps of both his two older brothers, Steve and Aaron, by attending Warrant Officer Candidate School and flight school. He graduated top of his class in flight school, becoming a Black Hawk aviator. In April 2003, he was deployed to Baghdad International Airport in Iraq and shortly after, his brother, Aaron, was deployed just west of him in Fallujah.
In 2004, Aaron was killed in action when his Medevac helicopter was shot down by enemy fire. In 2013, Ryan’s brother-in-law, Chief Warrant Officer 2 Randy Billings, was laid to rest just one row away from Aaron Weaver after the Black Hawk helicopter he was piloting was shot down by an enemy ground-detonated explosive device. Since the loss of Aaron and Randy, Weaver has used his heartache as determination to succeed. Both of his brothers’ ultimate sacrifices continue to fuel his fire to accomplish his dreams in music.
Apart from music, Weaver enjoys sports, fitness and his own take on fashion. His first clothing endorsement with Grunt Style was for a Patriotic t-shirt line made up of 12 unique designs that he helped to create. Though most designs were patriotic in nature, he also branched out to create designs for NCAA football fans. He is currently working on a new line of t-shirts and is excited about launching with a new brand this fall. In addition, he is now working on his own brand of cowboy boots with Lane Boots out of Arlington, Texas. Lane Boots are known for their unique and high-quality designs, so Weaver felt they were the perfect fit for his brand. The first design in the Ryan Weaver boot line will showcase his background and patriotic lifestyle with a hand stitched ultra-soft leather American flag boot.
We recently sat down with Ryan Weaver to talk more about his music, lifestyle brand and why what he does is so important to him.
Q: What do you consider your personal style?
A: When I’m performing on stage, I’m a t-shirt, jeans, boots, and cowboy hat kind of guy. My jeans must be comfortable and compliment my body. I spend a great deal of time staying in shape as my shows are very high energy, so how my jeans fit definitely matters just as much as function. I wear my lifestyle branded t-shirt designs when I perform and as often as possible in casual environments. I’m my own walking billboard because I really believe in my brand. I’m also extremely excited to wear the first Ryan Weaver boot, fresh from the manufacturer, Lane Boots, during the Nashville performances on August 17 and 18.
I consider myself a chameleon of sorts when it comes to my style outside of performances. I’m open to trying different pieces and styles depending on the occasion. I love to dress up for date nights with my wife to attend a variety of local events like the Franklin Wine Festival or Habitat for Humanity’s Hammers & High Heels. Most of my jackets or suits have a rock and roll type flair or style to them. A perfect example would be the black pants, purple and black metallic jacket with a purple button down shirt that I wore to walk the Red Carpet during the CMT Awards. Top that off with my Larry Mahan 100x Custom cowboy hat accented with an American feather and my cowboy boots, and I’m just as comfortable as can be. In contrast, I’ve also put on pastel plaid suspenders and bowtie over a white linen shirt and pants for the Steeplechase. Though that’s out of my comfort zone, I’ve learned that trying new looks and styles can be so much fun.
Q: What is your favorite part about being involved in fashion design?
A: Just like my music, my clothing designs represent a part of who I am as a person and artist. I’ve been fortunate to work with partner companies that are excited about my active approach to the creative process. It’s been interesting to see these companies respond to my ideas, as I’m willing to get my hands dirty with them.
My favorite part is when I am in public and I see someone wearing my brand. It’s a lot of fun to walk up and introduce myself and thank them for their support.
Q: What is one thing you think every man should have in their closet?
A: I’ve gotten more use from my black blazer than any other fashion item in my closet. It’s a great multi-use garment for many different occasions.
Q: Who are some of the artists that inspire you (past or present)?
A: I’m a huge Garth Brooks fan. I didn’t really get in to Country Music until the early ’90s when Garth was selling out arenas then and now. I’ve not had the opportunity to see him live yet, but every performance I’ve seen on TV or video has been nothing short of incredible. The second-hand stories I’ve heard over the years about how he treats people, his business prowess and watching him command the stage makes me an even bigger fan. I’m also a huge fan of artists who have broken the mold like Chris Stapleton. Then, there is country legend Charlie Daniels. That man treats every person he is talking to as if they are the most important person in the room. There’s a lot to be said about how someone treats others from which they have nothing to gain, especially in this business.
Q: If you could do a duet with any artist, past or present, who would that be?
A: Keep in mind that I am considered a high-energy rockin’ country artist, so I’d love to work with someone like Carrie Underwood or Reba McEntire as well as artists like Bruno Mars or Justin Timberlake.
Q: What are you most excited about when it comes to performing in the city where you live?
A: I call Nashville my home now, but I distinctly remember what it felt like when I would visit Music City before I moved here. As a country music artist, this town gave me a lightning bolt charge every time I visited. When I moved here in 2012, I had already been chasing my dreams in this business for six years in the Southeast club and festival circuit. Two years later I performed at the Ryman Auditorium, Bridgestone Arena, and then at the Grand Ole Opry in 2015. Nashville music fans get to see the best that country music has to offer and to perform on those stages, knowing who had come before me, meant everything. Coming back to Bridgestone Arena this weekend will be yet another incredible experience in front of family, friends and fans that have supported me throughout the years.
Q: What is your pre-concert routine / warm up? Do you have any before rituals that you do before each show?
A: I like to spend a little time on my own to get my adrenaline pumping and then the band will get together in what we call the “Weaver Country Huddle” where my band leader (and best friend) Trey McCampbell leads us in prayer. When he’s done, I remind them of something that is truly an important lesson I’ve learned through the losses and struggles in my life: “This is the last show we are ever going to play. Leave everything you’ve got on that stage no matter what, because the only thing that we have is this moment, the next is never given.”
That’s our mantra whether we are playing for a crowd of 10 or 50,000.
For more information on Ryan Weaver, visit www.WeaverCountry.com. You can catch Ryan Weaver’s performance this weekend with the PBR Music City Knockout tour on August 17 and 18. Visit www.PBR.com for tickets, details and complete schedule.
Tresa Halbrooks is the Founder and President of LEGACY Consulting, PR & Events, a premier public relations and event production company based in Franklin, TN. Tresa Halbrooks has produced some of Nashville’s top celebrity and charity events as well as public relations and branding campaigns over the past 23 years.