615 Notes | Laurel Moore
On the eve of the release of their debut EP (June 30, 2023), country music duo BoomTown Saints played a 15-song set to a full house at the legendary venue 3rd & Lindsley in Nashville. Just five years prior, no one could have predicted that a friendship that started at a local gym would lead Chris Ramos and Ben Chism down this path. Chris told 615 Notes, “And now here we are. It’s crazy how we’re here. We didn’t expect it, but we’re not taking it for granted.”
Chris — who had been playing piano and guitar since childhood — was working in the pharmaceutical field at the time. “I was in the corporate world making good money and didn’t have any plans on leaving it.” Meanwhile, Ben had just graduated from college with a degree in biology. He was playing gigs as a solo artist that summer, with plans to go to medical school in the fall. In need of a bass player for an upcoming show, he reached out to Chris. “I had met Chris at the gym several months before, and asked if he could help me find someone since he knew a lot of musicians in town.” When he couldn’t find a bass player on such short notice, Ben asked Chris, “Can you just hold a stick and make it look cool?”
Chris agreed to do one show, and Ben gave him a list of 45 songs to learn in just a few days. The crowd loved them, and they were invited to play a second night. Hear them tell the story in the video clip below.
Thanks to the momentum they were experiencing with their music, Ben decided against going to med school. He and Chris formed the band, Hopscotch Mafia. “We wanted a name people would remember that also indicated you’re about to have fun!” After a couple years of playing as a cover band, their talent and work ethic caught the attention of one of Music City’s biggest movers and shakers — Gary Kraen — a VP with the Nashville indie radio station Lightning 100.
Chris says they owe their success to Kraen. “Gary believed in us and took a risk. Because of his reputation in Nashville, we were able to bypass a lot of the typical steps.” With Kraen on their team, the duo found themselves on a fast track. In the video clip below, Ben explains how they came up with the name BoomTown Saints to reflect their new identity.
When Muscle Shoals-based management company 8 Track Entertainment got on board, the team went to work deciding on what song the BoomTown Saints should record as their first single. In the summer of 2022, they released All Trucks Go to Heaven, followed in 2023 by Dive Bar Heart and Blacktop Don’t, which is currently on country radio.
Those three singles, along with an acoustic “laidback” version of All Trucks go to Heaven and a new ballad, How to Lose A Lady, are on the BoomTown Saints debut EP (available now on all digital platforms). The other tracks are outside cuts, but Chris and Ben were co-writers on How to Lose A Lady. It was their first writing session with Keith and Adrienne Follesé, who, according to the duo, “are basically our adoptive parents!” Chris describes the driving ballad as “a tale of somebody who realizes what he did wrong to lose the love of his life.” Ben adds, “And he’s trying to tell everybody, ‘hey, this is what you don’t do.’”
Watch them perform the chorus of this song at their EP release show!
Chris and Ben have co-written a handful of other songs that will appear on their full-length album, which will be out later this year. Their summer tour schedule will have them crisscrossing the country to play to their growing fan base in Alabama, Colorado, Connecticut, Pennsylvania, Massachusetts, Las Vegas, Alaska, and Oregon.
As they continue on their musical journey, the band’s faith in God is their guiding light. “Our families taught us about God and the Bible when we were young… We know we’re here for a short time. And when we go home [to heaven], we want to be welcomed with open arms. We try to live lives that will allow us to do that. It drives everything we do.”
· Song to cover: Sugar, We're Going Down by Fall Out Boy
· Movie: That Thing You Do (Chris); River Runs Through It (Ben)
· Place in Nashville: “church” (Chris); “my house” (Ben)
· Restaurant: USA Sports Grill (Chris); Chuy’s (Ben)
FUN FACTS AND TRIVIA
· Hobbies: Smoking meat and grilling (Chris); Hunting (Ben)
· Biggest Musical Influence: Boyz II Men, Brian McKnight (Chris); Kenny Chesney (Ben)
· Little-known fact: “The thing I write the most is worship music. I wrote a musical about Jesus that was performed in a number of different places.” (Chris) “I am a giant nerd when it comes to horticulture, lawn and turf. I love landscaping.” (Ben)
· First Concert: Earl Klugh (Chris); Hootie and the Blowfish (Ben)*