Photo courtesy of Night Owl Country Band.
Photo courtesy of Night Owl Country Band.

The Night Owl Country Band has been soaring since last fall and has now officially landed in Nashville, Tenn., the mecca of country music.

"We are just enjoying the ride," says Matt Lee, lead singer. "We will worry about everything else when it comes down the road."

Living in the moment and enjoying the ride is one thing. But an even greater aspect is the attention the band is drawing to the community of Hope. 

"People are always stopping and talking to me and I really appreciate that," says Matt Lee, lead singer. "I think they really appreciate what we are doing and the hard work we are putting in."

Since the group played the Nashville Opry last fall, the guys have enjoyed appearances on Indy Style and KORN Country. Now they are set to release their first album, which includes the band's Hope-inspired song "Surprising Town," at 10 p.m. this Saturday at the Beach Tiki Bar & Grill in Greensburg. 

Everything seemed to fall into place following their Nashville debut last year. 

Now, the band is nominated for five awards by the Nashville Universe Awards, a community-based group of artisans, fans, and industry members who honor independent artists. 

The Night Owl Country Band's nominations are for Musician of the Year - Tim Dooley, Male Vocalist of the Year - Matt Lee, Songwriter of the year - Matt Lee, Song of the year for "Cool Gentle Wind," and Duo of the Year. 

"It is still very humbling," guitarist Tim Dooley says. "Like everyone else I am really excited and feel really good about the direction the band is going."

In December, the band received some songs to record and perform that were written by Mike Morgan and Jeff Elliot, songwriters long-associated with the country music industry. 

Among the submitted tunes was "To Have My Baby with Me," a song that was originally offered to the band Alabama, who put it on their hold list. 

"Alabama never got around to recording it so we did," Lee says. 

Soon after receiving the songs, Lee received a call from Jay Vernali, a friend of Morgan's and owner of Jay's Recording Studio in Nashville, which is nestled between the offices of Brad Paisley, Keith Urban and Carrie Underwood. 

Vernali was a bit hesitant about how to book the band's studio time as he was cautious about the band's readiness, Lee says. The band said they would be ready. And they were.

One of Lee's best memories, he says, was the first day in the studio with Vernali.

Sitting at the soundboard with Vernali while his fellow band members Tim Dooley, Brett Denney, and Steve Pardue in their respective sound booths, Lee recalls Vernali's mouth dropping agape following the initial soundcheck.

"He said, 'Wow,'" Lee says. "I pointed at him and said, 'I told you we would be ready."

It took only two days to record the band's debut album "Here to Somewhere." 

While in Nashville, the band was invited back to play at Alley Taps, and have also been booked Memorial Day weekend at Shipwreck Cove and Jimmys Bar and Grill, which is huge, Lee says.

"There is no better feeling," he says. "These places in Nashville that have music day in and day out are not just having us down once and done, but are continuing to book us. That puts a big smile on my face."

Lee credits much of the band's success to not only hard work, but tireless self promotion and determination. 

Equating the pace at which the band is soaring to a frantic pace, Lee is confident they are close to being where they are meant to be. 

"I feel like we are burning the candle at both ends and all we have to do is get right there in the middle," he says. "And we are there. We are really close."