Ian Munsick Music Artist Q&A


Ian Munsick Music Artist Q&A


By Will Craft

The phrase “I guess I still could,” seemed to be the mantra of Sheridan County native Ian Munsick. While he only said this once during our chat, it’s what I could gather from the story he told me. Munsick shared with me a story about how he narrowly avoided a lifetime of wearing eye-patches, but more on that later. Essentially, Ian, yearns for the unknown. When pondering where his next adventure will take him, he also takes into consideration the euphoria of meeting new people, tastes, sounds, words, instruments, and stories to drive where he’ll end up next.

At 23, Ian is the youngest of three brothers raised in a ranching family in Big Horn and Tongue River, Wyoming. Driven by admiration for his father and siblings, Ian first tickled the ivory keys at age four. That marked the beginning of a lifelong passion. Though, he now recognizes music is best pursued when sought out in amiable collaboration. Ian originally treated his sibling rivalry as fierce competition. His two older brothers, Tris and Sam, had a head start on Ian seeing as, well, they’re older than he is. From the second his fingers first touched the keys, Munsick was “chomping at the bit to be a better player and lyricist,” and I’d say their brotherly competition has paid off handsomely.

I asked Ian, the multi-instrumentalist – a loaded question: what is your favorite instrument to play? His initial response: “Jeez man, that’s insane!” I didn’t have any expectations about his answer to the question, but damn did he show me. Munsick didn’t lay out one favorite instrument, he laid out his favorites (plural) for different purposes. He said that his favorite instrument to write songs on is the guitar, his favorite to groove on is the bass, his favorite to write melodies on is the piano, and he’s fascinated with the Mandolin. Eight strings and they’re all so close together. Well, if anyone could master it, Ian is the man for the job.

Ian didn’t waste much time before steppin’ up on stage with his father, Dave “Bingo” Munsick, and brothers Tris and Sam. Ian was performing on stage by the tender age of 10, singing and strumming along with the family band. “Music was and still is the life of our household. I was lucky enough to be surrounded by it during my childhood.” With a solid musical foundation and an insatiable thirst for music, Ian left Wyoming to attend high school in Colorado Springs before returning to the 307 for a year at Sheridan College. Though he did and still does love Wyoming for all its natural beauty, Munsick sought an environment where he could immerse himself in music in the form of opportunities and experience, so he left town once again, this time for Nashville, Tennessee.

Considered by many to be one of the nation’s major hubs for all things music, Ian felt that his heart belonged in Nashville, specifically at Belmont University. He completed his degrees in both songwriting and music business. Munsick spent much of his time making connections, writing some tunes, and having a damn good time getting to know others and himself as a musician. Aside from starting work on his own solo projects, Ian also joined with a number of artists as a bassist and background singer. Because of his work with names like Carlton Anderson, Riley Bria, and Chris Cavanaugh, Ian learned “how to be the ‘glue’ for the music and give the song what it needed rather than what I wanted the song to sound like,” and he considers these experiences to be helpful in providing him perspective into all aspects of a band.

During Ian’s senior year at Belmont, he went on a cruise. Not only that, but he played on the cruise. He was a hired gun for one of the bands headlining the Caribbean adventure. One of the other groups playing on the ship was Blackjack Billy, a country group labeling themselves as “redneck rock.” Following one of Ian’s performances, Noll Billings, the front man of Blackjack Billy, told Munsick that he liked his “swagger.” A few weeks later, Munsick was recruited as bassist and singer for the group joining Billings’ plan to “take over the world.” Touring across the globe in 2016, Ian wrote songs for himself and the group, stamped through few pages in his passport, and watched all six seasons of Game of Thrones.

Ian’s life has been inseparable from music, and his move to Nashville only kicked his musical talents and interests into high gear being ensconced in the music heavy culture there. Compared to other art forms, Ian thinks music should be more of a conversation. With all of its layers, he sees writing and playing tunes as an opportunity to reach an audience not only through lyrics but also through chord structures, melodies, and rhythms. Ideally, Munsick wants to be able to create what he calls the “perfect product,” which consists of a message, a special energy, and a lasting impression.

Ian having released a solo EP as well as two albums with the Munsick Boys, it’s safe to say he’s written a song or two in his time. I asked Ian to share his songwriting methodology. He told me that he typically starts with a melody or some chords unless he finds some lyrics first. Once he has his melody, he freestyle’s it, saying, “You already know what you want to say.” He begins with rattling off words, just sings about whatever’s comes to mind. He explained that if you trust yourself and “get out of the song’s way,” the organic process will always yield the best results.

Understandably, most of Ian’s songs have some ties to home. “I couldn’t be any prouder to hail from the great state of Wyoming. There isn’t another place on God’s green [earth] that has people so kind, hard-working, humble, supportive, and down to have a good time.” Munsick says he draws on the positivity and organic-ness of our state when he writes, sings, and when he does pretty much anything else. Of all the places he’s visited, every stage he’s played on, every road he’s driven, Ian assured me that Wyoming is the best of them all. “I’ve left home so many damn times that you can take my word for it.” When he wrote “Horses are Faster,” Ian was basking in our 307 splendor, right at the foot of the Bighorns. “It was about 6 o’clock and the sun was just starting to kiss the summits when our four horses took off across the sagebrush sea. I thought ‘Yeah, right. This isn’t real.’” Though he’d grown up there, getting poked with sticks and peeing on electric fences (okay, just one electric fence: some things you only do once), Ian was still blown away by the incredible gift we’ve been privileged to know by growing up here. And he hasn’t forgotten where he’s come from and continues to live the way Wyoming raised him every day.

“Thank you Wyoming, your boy is gonna make you proud.”


23, Born in Sheridan, WY on May 6, 1993. The youngest of 3 boys. Raised on ranches outside of Big Horn and Tongue River till I was 14 then shipped off to High School in Colorado Springs. Once I graduated, I came back to Sheridan College for a year then transferred to Belmont University in Nashville where I graduated with a degree in Songwriting and Music Business last December.

I love the show “The Office” but I’ve seen every episode at least 5 times, so those days are over. My guitar player turned me onto “Game of Thrones” on tour last summer and I binge watched the first 6 seasons in 2 months. We had a lot of downtime on the bus and getting stranded in airports. Khaleesi is such a babe. But perhaps my guiltiest pleasure is Ice Cream. Damn son. That ish is too good. Literally any flavor. From Ben and Jerry’s Half Baked to Dreyer’s Coffee, it’s magical.


I picked up Piano when I was about 4 and took lessons till I was 7 or 8. I always looked up to my Dad and two older brothers. Naturally, I picked up a guitar and other string instruments after that.

Jeez – man, that’s insane. My favorite instrument to write songs with is guitar, my favorite instrument to jam to a groove with is bass, my favorite instrument to write melodies on is piano and my favorite instrument that I am fascinated with is Mando[lin].

Munsick Boys Band

The Munsick Boys is majorly responsible for the musician I am today. Had my father never encouraged me to learn the fundamentals of music theory and my respective instruments, I wouldn’t be pursuing music as my career/life. Having two older brothers who are also great musicians and songwriters always kept me chomping at the bit to be a better player and lyricist. Thankfully, I’m old enough to realize that music is anything but a contest, but growing up that’s sort of how I viewed it. Brotherly competition. I owe a large amount of my stage presence to the family as well. My dad had me on stage by the time I was 10 or 11 singing and strumming along. Without that early exposure of performing, I’d probably be much less comfortable on stage. Music was and still is the life our household. I was lucky enough to be surrounded by it during my childhood.

The first band I as ever in was The Munsick Boys. We put our own spin on Country Western, Bluegrass and Cowboy tunes with tight 3 and 4 part harmonies mixed with acoustic and electric instrumentation. That’s where I really fell in love with lots of different instruments and vocal delivery. In high school, I had a band called Jackalope Tuesday (helluva brand). We played strictly cover songs from every genre and most every era of music. It was never a very serious thing which is why I loved it. It allowed me to be at ease and just have fun playing. Once I moved to Nashville, I played for a number of artists as a bassist/background singer, including: Carlton Anderson, Riley Bria, and Chris Cavanaugh. All of these gigs were a great learning experience for me on how to be the “glue” for the music and give the song what it needs rather than what I wanted the song to sound like. I matured a ton during those college years. I also had an acoustic trio called “E.L.I.” with two other songwriting majors. We played writer’s rounds in Nashville every week and wrote beautiful songs that would be great in film and T.V. However, none of these acts really gave me the adrenaline rush I needed. I met the dudes in Blackjack Billy on a cruise ship in the middle of the Caribbean my senior year of college. I was a hired gun for an artist on the boat and they were one of the headlining acts for the 7-day escape. Noll, the lead singer of Blackjack Billy, saw me play a set and came up to me afterward saying “I dig your swagger man.” A few weeks later, he called me and asked if I wanted to join the band and take over the world. 2016 was a huge year for us as we signed a new record deal, management deal, and played over 100 shows in 4 different countries. We’re off to a solid start. My roommates and I also have a live hip-hop band called “Mr. B and the Tribal Hoose”. Remember the name. Six freak show musicians who I am lucky to call friends. Things are starting to heat up rapidly for this project and I’m pretty pumped to see where it will land.

I started to write lyrics seriously in high school but in the form of hip-hop verses and hooks. I love good hip-hop music for its honesty and willingness to leave the artist emotionally exposed. That’s rare in popular music these days. Once I had a couple hundred verses and hooks in my back pocket, I moved on to writing in the singer/songwriter style, which I still feel is my strength as a writer/artist. Upon moving to Nashville, I’ve been blessed with writing songs with hit songwriters and lyrical geniuses. They’ve made me more aware of my lyrical content as it relates to the world as well as my songwriting process, to which I will say, my best songs come to me in a very natural way. If it takes me more than 5 or 10 minutes to write a verse or chorus, I walk away and come back to it. A stream of consciousness is the name of the game. At least in this phase of my career.

Blackjack Billy will be releasing a project this spring. I am proud to have co-written and co-produced a couple songs on there. I’ve got to learn so much about the creation process from Jeff Coplan and Noll Billings who are pros and some of the best in Nashville in terms of creativity in writing room and recording studio. Mr. B and the Tribal Hoose will also be dropping an album this spring. I can guarantee that it will be something the world has never heard before and needs desperately. The message is one of positivity and inspiration to the kids of our generation. As for my solo stuff, I’ve been grinding since November writing and recording new songs that have developed from traveling the world, love that could never last, and missing the wide open spaces of the 307. The release of this project is TBD, but it’s been over 2 years since my debut EP “Catch a Glimpse” so it’s about damn time I get some more original tunage out there.

Wyoming is the greatest place on planet earth. I’ve left home so many damn times that you can take my word for it. There isn’t another place on God’s green [earth] that has people so kind, hard-working, humble, supportive, and down to have a good time. Nature has blessed WYO with a stupid amount of beauty. I love introducing myself to people, and when they ask “where are you from?” I just smile and say “Wyoming,” knowing that their response 9 times out of 10 will be “Wyoming? I’ve never met somebody from Wyoming.”

King Ropes: Please know that I am not nearly the Cowboy that my brothers are. I love cowboy culture and The West, but I really just dig King Ropes hat swag. I get compliments on my hat wear literally almost every day. When they ask if I rope, I say nope, but that’s my home. I love the fact that Sheridan has such an iconic and unique brand in Kings. I will #KingRopes till the day I drop. Shout out Mary King for the hookup.

My song “Horses are Faster”, to me, sums up Wyoming musically and lyrically. I wrote that song right before I moved to Nashville. I was sitting on the back deck of our house outside of Dayton with a painting of real life right before my eyes. The blue of the Big Horn Mountains complimented the bright green alfalfa pasture that made its way seemingly into the arms of the great 13,000 foot monsters. It was about 6 o’clock and the sun was just starting to kiss the summits when our four horses took off across the sagebrush sea. I thought “yeah right….this isn’t real”. There are traces of Wyoming in all my songs, but that song is what epitomizes home for me.

Obviously, my Mom and my Dad. I’m really close with them and they have shown me an absurd amount of love my whole life. Tough to leave them, but we all know it’s what I gotta do to make this dream come true. Those Mountains. The fresh air. That smell of leather. Fun fact: I strictly use the leather pine tree air fresheners just to get a little close to God’s Country.

My brother Sam and his fiance Callie had a baby girl in November. When I came home this past Christmas to visit and play the Munsick Family Christmas show, I knew it was gonna be tough to leave. I would just stare at her for hours thinking, “You are me, I am you” hahaha. My brother sends me pictures of her smiling now and it brings the feels. Can’t even imagine how different she will be when I come home next.

Crazy Stories

  • I remember one time my brothers told me to pee on an electric fence, so I did.
  • I remember one time my mother had just bought some baby chicks. so I picked one up and was “protecting it” a little too hard. I looked up at my Mom and said “juice!”
  • One time, my friends and I were having a stick fight at the park and I got hit with a sharp one about 2 centimeters away from my right eye. I pulled the stick out and some wood still lives in there. Coulda wore an eye patch and had a real niche music career. I guess I still could.
  • Blackjack Billy played the CMC Rocks Country Music Festival in Brisbane, Australia this past spring. Goodness. We’ve had some success over there with a couple Gold Records, but I had no idea what I was getting into when we got on stage. We played right before “Florida Georgia Line,” so the crowd was amped. The lights came on as soon as the first crash cymbal struck to open our set and I looked out into the crowd and about pooped myself. 20,000 Aussies singing back the words and getting down to some Redneck Rock n’ Roll was something I never thought I’d see. We played a few festivals that summer that were about that size but the energy and hunger that Aussies have for country music and the raging that comes with it will not be trumped easily.
  • I couldn’t be any prouder to hail from the great state of Wyoming. I am blessed to be pursuing a career that changes lives of listeners while doing what I love to do the most.When I get messages from people saying that my music has made their day a little easier or reminded them of good times in their past, that is the best reward I could ever ask for. So, thank you, Wyoming. Your boy is gonna make you proud.

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