Outlaw Country From One of The Good Guys

Updated: Jul 17

Up, and Comer TJ Hernandez is raising the 70’s country torch high w/ his debut disc “Destination Unknown”.


By Sana Mello


Music is the great equalizer. It really does not matter where you are from, how old you are  or what you do for a living. When it comes down to music, we seek understanding, validation, and often an escape from the bumpy journey, we know as life. TJ Hernandez can check all the boxes, and then some with his inspiring, and heartfelt narratives found on his debut album “Destination Unknown”..


A 20 year veteran of law enforcement, he’s seen it all, and has lived to tell. This 40 something Gen Xer grew up on the blue collar country sounds of Waylon, and Merle Haggard. Music was an integral part of his rearing as his dad was an avid traditional country music fan. There is a definite shift in the country music air. It is not exactly a Texas Twister, but traditional country music is starting to form a tropical depression in the middle of the ocean.


For those of us that have been tracking the storm, we know it’s getting nearer. TJ is a fine example of what’s coming, and has been coming for a long while now. I was able to talk to TJ for #OnTheBrink: A Country music podcast that showcases artists that are on the brink of discovery.  Here are some highlights of the conversation.



Destination Unknown is so inspiring. Can you tell me about that song’s back story?


(TJ) That was the last song I wrote for the album. I knew after I wrote it that it would be the title of the album… It relates to musicians, and  people in general. It’s about perseverance, none of us really know where we are going to end up at the end of the day. You just have to pick yourself off the floor, and keep going. That line in the song “Every day is a curse, but it’s also a blessing” is very true to me. That song speaks to me at a very personal level.


There’s another line in that song “Fight for every moment, but don’t lose sight of the stars”.. When I heard that line in the song..


(TJ) Admittedly, I approached that song from a singer/songwriter standpoint. I haven’t been in music for that long, and my destination is truly unknown. I tell everyone I’m just an old couch picker, and have no illusions of being famous or making it big. I’m perfectly ok with that. I got into this because I love music.. But for some reason some folks have caught on to my music, and it’s getting some traction. I have no idea where it’s headed.



What was it about Jamey Johnson’s  Lonesome Song  album that inspired you to give music a shot?


(TJ) It put me on the path. When I started listening to Jamey’s music it led me to all these other artists I knew nothing about like Cody Jinks who popped up on my Facebook feed. He was an independent country artist, and started getting alot of traction..The music scene has changed, years ago, you didn’t go anywhere without a label.. All of a sudden, here I am watching this guy (Cody Jinks) becoming successful with nothing but a grassroots movement.. I became a fan of Cody’s approach, and was impressed by how loyal his fan base was. It inspired me. I started writing music. I had never written before this..


(TJ) My most enlightening moment came when I saw Cody Jinks at the Ryman. It was such an awesome, and inspiring musical moment for me It was completely sold out, and he was so humble.. I could just imagine the excitement, and anxiety, and the feeling

I made it, and didn’t need a label to do it..


Check out the full audio below..And remember sharing is caring. Please share the post.video with everyone. Spread good country music around!!





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