By Brian M. Howle
No matter what anyone tells you, folks who watch American Idol tend to lean one particular way, no matter what. Yeah, we all marvel at the talent, but human nature – in particuarly, regional nature – will have us rooting for our “local” contestant every time. And if you deny it, you’re lying, plain and simple.
So it was really no surprise when I found myself pulling for “next-door neighbor,” 25-year-old Bucky Covington, of nearby Rockingham, NC when it got down to the final groups. The odds were against him on many levels, not the least of which being burdened with stereotypical southern taglines and misconceptions. But Bucky did us all proud and made the Final 8, before the American public went Postal and… well, that’s just my personal opinion.
But Bucky’s fortunes didn’t end with elimination from the contest’s finals. Sawyer Brown frontman Mark Miller saw the proverbial diamond-in-the-rough with young Master Covington, and quickly scooped him up, signing him to his Lyric Street Records label, and has released his first single, A Differnt World. Touring to promote the record, Covington will be appearing at the House Of Blues in N. Myrtle Beach on Sunday, September 2 (See Page 25 for details). I spoke to him via telephone about his upcoming show, his life post-Idol, and being southern in general.
Alternatives: Well, hey there, Bubba – tell me; what’s been going on …
Covington: (Laughing) Man, it’s been awhile since I’ve heard anyone say “Bubba,” (laughs) … now I know I’m back home!
Alternatives: Yeah, well, I was born and raised in the area, so I started to call you “homey,” but hearing your voice let me know it was ”gonna be fine!” (Laughs) So what’s been going on in Bucky Covington’s life since “American Idol?”
Covington: Man, things have been awesome … it was one of the best things I ever did. The perfect way to get your name out there, for sure. well, Mark Miller signed me up with Lyric Street Records, and seriously, the guy’s a genius. They put together a band for me, and man, I never knew how much work and how many people are behind every song you record. My management is great, and the fans, dude, the fans have been simply awesome.
Alternatives: Well, you had a lot of support from everywhere, but you should know that South Carolina was watching your back! (Laughs)
Covington: (Laughs) Oh, and to leave that show and come back home … see, I was in California for three months, which is not a bad thing but it’s a totally different vibe out there. But then I came back, and as soon as I got near home towards Rockingham – man, signs hanging up everywhere, radio stations are talking about me; television stations are running stories on me; it’s just totally mind-blowing.
Alternatives: What’s been the worst thing and the best thing about all the success you’ve encountered since the show?
Covington: Well, honestly, there’s not a lot of “worst part” to it … but if I had to pick anything, I guess the fact that now, anything you do becomes public knowledge. Now, that’s not a bad thing, because I’ve always tried to keep my nose clean and do right. And the best thing, is everything else!’
Alternatives: (Laughs) Oh, well, yeah!
Covington: Oh, the best thing is getting on that stage and performing. There’s just nothing else like it. I mean, I was on stage performing for dang-near free for 10 years, you know? Plus, hearing yourself on radio, seeing yourself on television, everyone knowing you know .. the pressure is all over it. But, then again, it helps in pushing you to do right, which is what my mamma always told me to do anyway. Our course, she doesn’t know about everything that went on when my Senior class went to Myrtle Beach for Senior Week!
Alternatives: (Both laugh) I’ve been to your home in Rockingham to see a few dozen NASCAR races when they still ran there. Who are “your boys” in the Chase right now?
Covington: I’d love to see Junior (Dale Earnhardt, Jr.) start doing well, what with all he’s going through – he’s a great guy; I had the chance to meet him. I like Jeff Gordon, too; we use DuPont paint in my dad’s body shop, so, product loyalty, man! And another guy I’ve met that I really like, Elliott Sadler is a really cool guy.
Alternatives: Yeah, those are great guys, you’re right about that! And folks underestimate the importance of product loyalty to long-time NASCAR fans. So, what’s in your future, Bucky?
Covington: Well, the single’s done great; it’s been in the top 5 twice, and the video went #1. Now we’re releasing the new single, Good to Be Us and we’re fixin’ to go shoot the video at the end of September. And God bless the fans and everything they’ve done for me on Different World, and I hope Good to Be Us does just as well.
Alternatives: Well, thank you for your time, Bucky. Keep up the good work and don’t forget where you come from – we’re all mighty proud of you. And we’ll be looking forward to seeing you here on Sunday, Sept. 2 at the House Of Blues, my friend.
Covington: Thank you, buddy. I can’t wait to see all my old – and new – friends in Myrtle Beach. See ya!
This article originally appeared in Alternatives NewsMagazine, August 30, 2007.