Family: Married to Kendra Titlow; they have two daughters, Harley, 4, Gretchen, 1, and another little girl due Oct. 16.
Singing has always been a part of John Titlow’s life. Growing up in Blount County, he sang in church. It wasn’t until he started singing karaoke at 21 that he sang anywhere other than a house of worship.
“We would go to Prince’s Deli in Knoxville and eventually other karaoke places. The first song I ever sang was ‘Folsom Prison.’ It was the only song I felt I could do.”
For five years, Titlow spent his days working for Tru Green as a chemical spray technician. Singing was a hobby.
Then, in 2006 during the Foothills Fall Festival, a karaoke contest was held each night with the three winners vying to open for Billy Currington, the last night’s act. “Long story short, I won and got up and sang, and pretty much after that, people knew I could sing,” he says.
A friend introduced him to Zane Long, who became his lead guitarist and writing partner. “That’s how it started, and we found everyone else from there. We finally established ourselves after several musicians who didn’t work out,” he says. “We got Zane’s little brother Zach Long as bass, and Andy Francis on drums. We’ve been together going on three years Valentines Day.”
Titlow says the band is writing songs and performing as often as they can.
“Things look good. We’ve accomplished things in two years a lot of people who have been in the business several years longer haven’t done. We’ve played with Clint Black and Kevin Black and Merle Haggard in Colorado. We opened for Lynyrd Skynyrd at the Foothills Fall Festival last year,” he says. “In our first year together in 2009, we opened at the CMA Music Fest in Nashville.”
When he’s not writing or performing, Titlow enjoys spending time with his wife and two daughters. It was love at first sight for him. “I met her at Cotton Eyed Joes, but our first date was at her church,” he says of Kendra. “I pretty much knew right off the bat after that first date.”
The couple is expecting their third daughter in October.
Titlow says the band performs on average at least three days a week and sometimes more. “We have gotten in with Copper Cellar Co., and we play at Calhoun’s and Smoky Mountain Brewery locations. They give us on average eight shows a month,” he says.
On Sunday, Sept. 25, they will perform as part of the United Way of Blount County Back Roads Motorcycle Ride. The ride leaves Smoky Mountain Harley-Davidson at 2 p.m. and arrives at Courtyard Grille at 4 p.m. Riders pay $25 or non-riders can join the group at Courtyard for a $10 barbecue dinner and the John Titlow Band concert.
“We do everything and anything we can for charity,” he says. “I enjoy doing benefits and trying to help as much as I can.”
Here is John Titlow
What is your favorite quote from television or a movie?
‘“Stupid is as stupid does,’ from ‘Forrest Gump.’ It is my favorite movie. I’ve probably watched it 100 times.”
What are you guilty of?
“Everything is always my fault. I always seem to get the blame steered at me.”
What is your favorite material possession?
“My boots, all of them. They probably define who I am.”
What are you reading currently?
“A book called, ‘Heaven Is for Real.’ It is a true story about a little boy who had a near death experience and tells the story of how he went to heaven and his experience. He was 4 at the time. It is a very inspirational book.”
What are the top three things on your bucket list?
“Sing at the Grand Ole Opry, travel the country and go to Australia.”
What is one word others often use to describe you and why?
If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be?
“I don’t really think I would change anything. Several things do come to mind, but I was made the way I am and they can take it or leave it.”
What is your passion?
“Music, in all aspects. Music is my getaway and my escape and my stronghold. It is what I can relate to in anything I’m going through, whether it be sad or happy. It never lets me down.”
With whom, living or dead, would you most like to have a long lunch?
“Johnny Cash. I’d like to talk with him about his outlook on life and things he went through. A lot of the way he lived his life, I look up to a lot.”
If you could go back in time for a week, what time period or year would you visit?
“I’d probably go back to high school for a week, but not to change anything. I’d like to go back and soak in all the things at the time I let go but know I’ll never have again - just really take it all in.”
What is the best present you ever received in a box?
“Probably my wedding band.”
What is the best advice your mother ever gave you?
“Tell the truth. She always said, ‘Don’t lie. Honesty is the best policy.’ I stuck by that, and it has done pretty good for me.”
Other than your parents, who has had the biggest influence on your life and why?
“My wife is my best friend and is with me through thick and thin. I always have her to turn to.”
Do you Myspace, Facebook or Twitter?
“We do all those.”
What’s the worst job you have ever had?
“I was an auctioneer helper for one night, and I held up items as they were going through auction. It was chaotic and ran me to death. It was terrible. It was bad.”
What was your favorite Saturday morning cartoon and why?
“Woody the Woodpecker.”
What irritates you?
“Slow people when I’m in a hurry to get somewhere.”
What’s one place in Blount County everyone should visit?
“Southland Books. I enjoy just how relaxed it is and the smile you get when you walk through the door.”
If you could go back in time, what advice would you give yourself at 18?
“Hang in there, things will work out.”
What is your greatest fear?
“I don’t have a greatest fear. The reason I say that is I truly trust in God, and I don’t worry. I could say failure is my biggest fear, but if I fail, it is for a reason, and I’ll achieve in another area, so I’m not worried.”
“I still can’t quite get the hang of…
Putting sheets on a bed. I can’t ever figure out which way they go, and my wife always takes them off and puts them back on.”
If you could do one impulsive thing, what would it be?
“Go to Disney World. We would just pack up and go, which we are going to do pretty soon anyway, but I love that place.”