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Livingston pitcher hangs up baseball glove for guitar
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Livingston pitcher hangs up baseball glove for guitar

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Rob Wolf

Livingston Braves player Rob Wolf plays guitar in the home dugout at Jack Weimer Memorial Park in Livingston recently.  

LIVINGSTON — After a long day on the mound and talking to scouts during a baseball tournament last year in Colorado, Rob Wolf’s teammate Scott Tatum, who also plays with Wolf on the Livingston Braves, was adamant they find a place to do karaoke.

“I pitched that day and later on that night I was with Scott and he came up with the idea to go to a karaoke bar,” Wolf told The Livingston Enterprise.

Little did he know that random suggestion would impact his future.

While on stage with the mic in his hand, Wolf came to a realization.

“I made the decision there that I had more fun singing at the karaoke than I had pitching that day,” Wolf said.

And, his pitching was getting him noticed. 

“That day I had like two or three D-II or D-III colleges come up to me and were attempting to recruit me,” he said.

This summer, Wolf has been a workhorse on the mound for the Braves. He’s been one of the Braves’ go-to starters and patrols the space in centerfield when he’s not on the bump.

He enjoys baseball, but he’s made the decision to move to Nashville next month to pursue a career in country music instead of playing college baseball.

“I had to make a decision between baseball and singing,” he said. “I was like, well, if I’m going to have more fun (singing), then that’s what I’m going to follow.”

The plan

Nashville was the natural choice for Wolf for a multitude of reasons. First, it’s the self-proclaimed country music capital of the world.

“It’s Music City, it’s where the stars are born,” Wolf said. “It’s where the greatest come from — Nashville.”

Second, Wolf’s sister, Jackie, lived in Nashville while attending Belmont University. Last year, she graduated with a degree in music business and made connections along the way with studios and studio-backed artists.

The two plan to move together and form a brother-sister country duo appropriately named “Rob and Jackie Wolf.”

Wolf and his sister aren’t rolling into Nashville without a plan. The family is visiting Nashville to find a place to live before they move in August.

Once they get settled in, Wolf said he wants to find bars and restaurants to perform at a couple nights a week.

“Go to as many bars as you can and sing,” Wolf said when asked about his plan. “I’d love to sing every night, but it’s hard to do that, so I’m going to try to sing twice a week.”

Solid musical background

But Wolf is not going off to Nashville on a whim — he’s got a solid musical background.

He and Jackie have already been writing and recording songs at home, but Wolf said they plan to record as much as possible when they are in Nashville.

Wolf is no stranger to performing. His dad, Scott Wolf, said he and his sister had been singing and performing since they were children.

“We’ve always known that he’s loved to perform since he was a little kid,” Scott said.

Performing comes naturally to Wolf, Scott added.

“Never showed any nerves with it and always seemed to have a great time,” he said.

Wolf’s natural musical aptitude followed him as he grew up, eventually performing with the chamber choir as a student at Park High.

At Park’s graduation last month, Wolf performed one of his own original songs. When he writes, Wolf said he starts by writing a poem before adding a catchy chorus and then the chords to accompany it.

Wolf learned to play guitar a few years ago and quickly learned to play cover songs from some of his favorite musicians, Scott said. Wolf said some of those influential musicians include Garth Brooks and John Denver.

Eventually, Wolf frequented open mic nights. Soon, he was asked to come back and play a whole set of his own.

Wolf’s first recurring gig was at Sage Lodge, where he played during prime hours from 6-8 p.m. on Friday nights.

Family support

Wolf has had full support from his family in his musical pursuit. In fact, he didn’t even have to ask his parents for their blessing.

“It was really the other way around,” Scott said. “We went to him and said, ’Hey, you know, if you want to forego college and pursue a career in music, we’ll support you with that.”

Scott said he “thought it was great to explore his passion of music.”

He encouraged his son because he’s young and this is the right time for him to see if he can make it, whereas college will always be there.

“He can always go back to college if he wants to pursue a field that requires a college education,” Scott said.

But right now, Wolf’s eyes are on music.

“You do what you love and you’re making people happy when you sing, and it’s fun to look at them and see their reaction,” he said. “It makes me really happy.”

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