Hungry, motivated, talented and resilient are all words that can describe Paxton Peay. A native of Pheba, MS just 15 miles north of Starkville – the home of Mississippi State and legendary club, Rick’s Cafe – Paxton has become one of our favorite up and comers in town.
For artists like Paxton who come from a small community, it’s very important to have support from the community. He came up as a baseball player and valued helping the family and doing whatever job needed to get done, which included spending hours on end behind the wheel of a tractor where he first fell in love with the sounds of 2000s country like Jason Aldean and Luke Bryan. Early on, Rick Welch, owner of Rick’s Cafe, gave Paxton a chance. First in the front room, then the legendary 800 person club room which Paxton has now sold out a few times. To have a base like that in your hometown that will ride or die with you, sing back original songs, and most importantly buy tickets to your shows, is important and not a regular occurrence for someone in Paxton’s position. That’s another reason why we think he’s special and someone you should be watching in years to come.
We first met Paxton in the early months of 2021 as the world was beginning to come out of the dark days of the pandemic. Through the power of the internet (shoutout Club House) Paxton was able to connect with folks like us here in Nashville, which led to his first “real” trip up to town to play my round at Live Oak. It was there that he was introduced to some other new faces like, South Carolina native Conner Sweeny and East Tennessee’s Johno Clayton, two guys who have become some of Paxton’s closest friends and co-writers.
It can be so important to find “your people” when first coming to Nashville and Paxton did a great job of doing just that – building friendships that turn into business relationships of gigs, songs, and above all good times. While everyone in the crew does venture out of town each weekend for cover or bar gigs, Paxton might be the artist gigging the most. He is currently a regular on the college town/bar circuit in the southeast, cutting his teeth with his boys in the band and playing for folks that may not even know who he is yet. He’s taking a similar path that many acts out of the deep south (Muscadine Bloodline, Trey Lewis, Jon Langston, Riley Green and more) came up on.
What makes Paxton special is his determination and willingness to put in the work to get better. Playing 3-4 nights a week for 4 hours straight is not for the faint of heart, but you gotta pay your dues, and Paxton seems to get that. Over the last few years Paxton has grown exponentially as a writer, artist and performer. You can see in his prior releases ‘Missin Mississippi’ and ‘So Damn Bad’ that the writing is getting there, with the help of some solid co-writers like our longtime buddy Jordan Rager, young guns James Mason and McCoy Moore and early Nashville homies like Johno and Conner. Paxton has found a group that he vibes well with and continues to pen solid country songs.
With all that said, his newest song “Hey Buddy”, co-written with James Mason and McCoy Moore, is in my opinion some of Paxton’s best work yet. The premise is Paxton sending a message to a friend who passed away in a tragic accident back home in Mississippi.
“I’ve never been more proud to be a part of a song that doesn’t only mean so much to me but other people in the community as well,” says Peay. “This song is as real as they come, and for other people missing someone I hope this helps with the pain,” adds Paxton.
I had the pleasure of sitting down with Paxton on last week’s podcast; check it out for some more on his backstory, “Hey Buddy” and more! If you’re a country music fan who lives in the southeast be on the lookout for when Paxton may be coming to your town!
Follow Paxton on Social Media and stream his music on Spotify