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BoomTown Saints. It’s a name that brings to mind both the passionate intensity of a Southern Sunday church service and the explosive energy of a thriving hometown no one wants to ever leave. It’s the perfect moniker for Chris Ramos and Ben Chism, a musically adventurous duo who combine a myriad of influences into their own unique creative footprint in country music. 

   Chism’s warm Mississippi drawl provides the Southern charm in the duo’s lead vocals while Chris Ramos’ eclectic musical background fuels their progressive, ear-grabbing sound. It all comes together on BoomTown Saints debut EP, released June 30 on 8 Track Entertainment. The initial single, “All Trucks Go to Heaven,” earned the “DisCovery Disc of the Day” from Music Row legend Bob Oermann, who praised the record as “brilliantly accomplished” while the accompanying video won fans on Taste of Country and CMT.com. The duo gained notice as one of a handful of artists featured in Billboard’s “What’s New in the New Year” and wowed fans from all over the world when they made their CMA Music Fest debut in June.

   The current single, “Blacktop Don’t,” continues to earn BoomTown Saints enthusiastic supporters. With one listen, the infectious groove hooks the listener and the lyric reels them in.

   The song captures the energy that defines the BoomTown Saints’ sound, and it was discovering that spark together live that transformed Ramos and Chism from two talented individual musicians into country music’s hottest new duo. Chism hails from Southaven, MS and admits he wasn’t aspiring to a music career during his childhood. “My brother is six years older than I am and he picked up a guitar when he was 11 and I was five years old. It sounded terrible at first and I was like, ‘Dude, can you please stop? I’m trying to watch Rugrats,’” Chism recalls with a laugh. 

   His brother eventually developed into a great guitar player and Chism began to see the appeal in a music career after coming in second in a talent competition with his rendition of Kenny Chesney’s “How Forever Feels.” He started developing a local following, and despite going to college and majoring in biology, he decided to take the plunge and move to Nashville to pursue music.

   Everyone has heard the phrase “Nashville is a ten-year town,” meaning it usually takes a decade to get any traction in the business. Well after a decade, Chism was starting to feel battered and about to surrender. He met Ramos at the gym, struck up a friendship and recruited him to play bass at an upcoming show. “Before the night was over, we were booked to come back,” Chism recalls.  “Chris added a whole different element to what we were doing.  He grabbed an acoustic guitar and went out there and he did something that I’d never seen done before with an acoustic guitar. He got people hyped up. The crowd was riled up! I knew there and then that this was different. This was going to be something.”

   Ramos colorful stage personality developed during his Florida childhood, just south of Tampa. The area was a musical smorgasbord and Ramos lapped it all up. “I learned a ton of different instruments,” he says of his early days before moving to Nashville. “When you hear BoomTown Saints, you can hear the broad influence. You can hear where there’s a R&B flavor on that or see where there’s a classic rock influence on that song. The key thing for us is—and we talk about this all the time—is when you’re in a duo, it’s about humility. It’s about letting the other person shine when it’s time for them to shine. In doing that, we’ve allowed each other to really influence our sound and when the other person puts their flavor on it, it makes something unique.”

   Both accomplished songwriters, Chism and Ramos really enjoy collaborating with each other and bringing other Music Row craftsmen into the mix. A prime example is “How to Lose a Lady,” a cautionary tale about what NOT to do in a relationship. “We were writing with Keith and Adrienne Follesé. Me and Chris look at them as mom and dad,” Chism says of their relationship with the veteran writers responsible for Tim McGraw’s “Something Like That,” among other hits.  “Adrienne came up with the title, ‘How To Lose A Lady.’”

   “Dive Bar Heart” was penned by Ashley Ray, Ryan Beaver and Benji Davis. “‘Dive Bar Heart’ isn’t a fast song or a slow song. It’s not a ballad or feet stomper. It’s kind of right there,” Ramos says of the thoughtful tune occupying its own unique space on the EP. “When you listen to it all the way through, it becomes one of your favorite songs because of the story it tells. It’s very descriptive and it paints a picture. You know exactly where this person is in the song.”

   Every song on the EP was produced by veteran songwriter/producer/artist Noah Gordon and veteran producer, Gary Kraen. Fans have already embraced “All Trucks Go to Heaven” and the new EP includes both the originally released version as well as a stripped-down acoustic rendition.

   That upbeat attitude infuses the music of BoomTown Saints with a positive spirit that is resonating with fans. “We were playing a show last month and when we started playing ‘All Trucks Go to Heaven,’ everybody picked up their cellphones, and started waving them back and forth. That was such a great moment. We don’t take those moments for granted. We are having the time of our lives.”

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