Mendon Hale has released the music video for his latest single “Hand on the Heartland". The song, which is the title track of his recently released EP, is a Country-meets-classic rock tune that pays homage to his Midwestern roots while opening up to the listener on who is truly is, “A simple, straight-shooting guy that’s here to sing what [he] knows.”
“Being a true Midwesterner, I related to everything about "Hand on the Heartland" and just had to record it. So, we went into the studio and laid it down with the other players and I fell in love with the way it turned out,” Hale stated. Written and produced by Marshall Altman, along with Seth Ennis and Dylan Altman, Mendon hopes that after people listen to the song, they realize that Middle America, aka “flyover country” , is just as important as the nation’s coasts filled with big cities.
“There are real, hard-working, patriotic people that feed and help keep this country running strong,” he shares. “Whether they are farmers, mechanics, medical workers, police officers or painters, they are all proud to call the Heartland ‘home’, just as I do.” The video shows Hale where he’s most comfortable, strumming his guitar in an open field while soaking in the “small town lifestyle” in the Midwest. In between takes, Mendon was able to spend time with the cast and crew on set, which he says is one of his favorite memories from the day.
“I loved meeting everyone that played a part in the video, getting to know them and hearing their stories,” he reveals. “I also loved being able to do a little fishing while filming, that was a win-win. Working with the animals on the farm was a blast. I kept working even after the shots were finished and doing chores even when the camera wasn’t on. Often, my director, Simon Clark, and his team had to come get me as I had wandered out in a pasture with some cows,” he continued.
“Hand on the Heartland” can be heard on the artist’s recently released EP of the same name, along with other repeat worthy tunes like “I Got the Girl,” and “Raising Humans.” Mendon hopes to see his fans, who he calls “Hale Raisers”, on the road to perform his Country anthems for the people who support him the most before heading back into the studio to make another record. “I plan on hitting the road and playing shows with my band and going back into the studio for a follow up album of songs that I have written myself, and some with some other friends of mine.”
The straightforward nature of his sound and song choice might seem baffling to some, given a sorted history in rock music. But for Hale, it’s the first time he’s felt lyrically and sonically on-par. That confidence, something most artists never master, can be heard in his EP "Hand on the Heartland", featuring a collection of tunes encapsulating Hale, both as an artist and person. “I’m a simple, straight-shooting guy.I’m here to sing what I know, and the songs I’ve chosen for the project should give listeners a pretty goodidea of who I am.” His choice in name has all the qualities of a star in the making, but the story behind it reads like anything but that of a traditional Country artist.
“I spent years of my life in a musical partnership that just wasn’t me, and never was, all the while going by my real name. Ironically, I feel more myself as Mendon Hale than I ever have before.” A combination of the two towns (Mendon and Hale) to the east and west of his hometown of Sumner, Missouri. He’s the son of two musically inclined parents, his mother played piano, while his father helped Hale cut his teeth on the guitar at a young age, teaching him some basic chords toget started. “My mom always leaned more Country, and my dad more Classic Rock, I guess you could say my sound was a bit predestined.”
Mendon started writing in high school, and joined a band with some of the guys from his baseball team in college. But it was his musical experience post-college that shaped Hale most, ultimately leading to his career in Country music. Though he experienced much success with the group, including extensive international touring (they shared the stage on both headline and supporting tours with Blink-182, Sum 41, SimplePlan, Reel Big Fish, Less Than Jake, Goldfinger, and more) and an RIAJ Gold Album (Japan), Hale left the group feeling less than himself.
“There’s a lot I learned about myself. Namely, who I wasn’t. I felt the band had changed me so significantly and… I had to find my way back to who I truly was.” Set on exploring a path Hale felt confident fell in line with his calling, he recorded and released his first Country album in 2020. The multi-instrumentalist self-produced "Gravel Roads" despite releasing it with little promotion, quickly saw the rewards of returning to a genre he was clearly born to. “We had a lot of support from the bootstrap fans we already had,who were so enthusiastic and encouraging, and a few of the streaming platforms showed the project some editorial love. I knew, with that release, I was finally on the right track.”
Ever eager to continue his ascent, Hale leveled up when recording his most recent project - enlisting the help of famed producer and longtime friend Marshall Altman (Aaron Watson, Frankie Ballard, Amy Grant). “Marshall brought a lot to the project, as well as my career. I sent him my songs, and he sent me several more from outside writers. I didn’t want to record anything that wasn’t true to who I was. The first song Marshall brought me was ‘Cheap’, and within 15 seconds I knew he understood exactly what I was going for.”
From the upbeat, driving “All the Way to the Bank,” to the patriotic and anthemic “Hand on the Heartland,” to the heartstring tugging “Raising Humans” (his love for his dog), Hale's pristine vocals and belief in the stories he tells lay claim to the fact that Mendon Hale has found his place with this EP release" Hand on the Heartland". While most artists spend a lifetime honing their craft and finding their sound, Country artist Mendon Hale’s traditional Country/Rock vibe cames so effortlessly and unmistakably as if owned by this rising star.