INTERVIEW: Bryan White "Dustbowl Dreams"

Taking some time off to get away from the craziness of being on the road, Bryan White found his identity, not only as an artist and a songwriter, but also as a human being. When asked what he hopes to accomplish with this new album, he smiles confidently and says, "I am looking forward to this next chapter of my career as I have plenty more to say with my music." Inspired by his ancestors, his heritage, and pride, White is determined to once again make an impact with his music and use his platform for the greater good. Never forgetting his stellar past, he looks ahead with confidence, determination, and much anticipation to a future filled with more dreams; “Dustbowl Dreams”.
Bryan and I visited recently about the time off, his family and the music that has been and continues to be such an important part of who he is.
Bev: Bryan this project is amazing! It’s been a while since you have released an album, how long has it been since your last one.

Bryan: Well, thank you I appreciate that! I guess since the last full on studio commercial record, it has been a while. We released a greatest hits in 2000/2001 and from there it’s been a lot of EP’s and other things here and there along the way. I took a much needed break. I don’t know if I would’ve been able to handle continuing on with another couple years. I knew I was at that threshold where I kind of needed to step away and re-group and do some serious soul searching. I really wanted to get back what I really enjoy out of life and be around people I love and for a long time I was feeling sort of cut off from my family back home, and I’m sure they felt like that too in a lot of was. It was like “Wow, we’re never going to get to see him again, he’s subject to the industry” and it was really much needed time off. Some of it was forced and some of it was instigated by the record label that went under. My fourth studio album was not as well received and for whatever reason it all happened for a reason and I’m so glad it did because the results of taking that time off are far more valuable than having if I had stayed. I’ve got two beautiful kids to look at every day and I can say I’m a dad now; I’ve dreamed of that my whole life. My wife and I are doing better than we ever have and we’re doing things at a pace we can handle and life is good. It’s nice to finally have a project that is transparent and for the first time in my life be 100% honest to just write about what was going on in my life.

Bev: Transparent is a very good word, you can tell that this is a very personal album for you. What time span is represented in the writing of the material on this album?

Bryan: I wrote all but two songs on this project. I would say over a course of a two to four year period all the songs happened. It’s funny when you’re making a record at your own pace, there’s good and bad about that; the good is you’re doing it at a comfortable pace, but at the same time you never know when to quit. You have got to be the boss, you have to put a cap on it, you have to stick a fork in it at some point and for me, being a songwriter, the whole process is kind of tough; when I thought I was wrapping it up I’d write with somebody and end up writing a song thinking “wow this is really cool, we’ve got to put this on the record”. That tacks on another couple months and in some ways it is the curse of being in charge. Being a songwriter you always feel like the latest thing you wrote is the best.

Bev: Is this the first time you have recorded anything with Steve Wariner?

Bryan: Actually I’ve done a lot of things with Steve. The first thing I did was when he asked me to play drums on his first instrumental album, and that album was called “No More Mister Nice Guy”. It was his last record for Arista. He and I also did a duet called “Talk To Her Heart”; I think it was on his “Two Teardrops” album. It wasn’t released as a single, but it was just an album cut on the record. There was a big hoopla among the people at my label at the time, they sort of messed up a beautiful moment for me as it was the first time I was getting to do a duet with a hero and I forget the actual reason, but it was something like they didn’t want to confuse buyers or my fans or some kind of weird industry thing like that; it ended up being where my name is not on the song at all. I’m not even credited on the album. I have to really think about what the situation was, but it was something completely absurd but it kind of ruined it for me. It was a really great experience and I wasn’t really able to celebrate it. I think that was part of my wanting to do something with Steve again; knowing he and I were at a place where we weren’t traveling a lot, I knew I wouldn’t have such a tough of a time pinning him down. I could do it the way I wanted to do it.

Bev: I know he has always been a big inspiration and hero of yours. It is also a very fun song, written by Bob DePiero, another person I personal admire. I know this will be a hard question, but of all the songs on the CD, is one more personal to you or your favorite? I know a lot of them are close to you, but which one do you think is the most?

Bryan: I would probably have to say “Dust Bowl Dreams”, there’s something about that song that brings the full circle together. All the songs on this project are very personal to me, but that one is the most. The only way I can describe that song, is it is the most personal thing I’ve ever written and who knows I may write one that’s better down the road, but as of right now if I wanted someone to know who I was, that one would be a great one to represent who I was.

Bev: There is the auctioneer you hear on the CD and in the liner notes it says Wilford White, how is he related to you?

Bryan: That’s my grandpa. He passed away about three years ago and he was really my father figure. I really looked up to him and he was really my hero; still is my hero and just kind of the epitome of what I think a man is. He loved his kids and loved his grandkids, would work his butt off and didn’t take no for an answer. He was an auctioneer all his life and sold cattle at the Oklahoma City stockyards for thirty plus years. I guess you’d call him a legend in Oklahoma City. He’s a celebrity who used to give the cattle market report every morning on a TV show called Good Morning Oklahoma. I used to hear my grandpa every morning as I was getting ready for school. It was really cool. There should be a cartoon made based around him. He was such a jolly old kind of guy. He made a big impression on everybody around him and I want to be like that, so this is my chance to. I had that recording of him competing in St. Paul, Minn. at the world livestock auctioneers championship in 1981. The song he is on is one of the biggest songs about Oklahoma and you’ve got one of the biggest stars in the world part of it. I’m speaking about Vince Gill.

Bev: Is the song in some sense a tribute to your grandpa?

Bryan: Yes, absolutely. It obviously a badge of honor as far as the subject matter goes. That song for me is really my identity; at the same time I really pay tribute to the kind of man I look up to the most and the guy who makes me most proud to be an Oklahoman.

Bev: Did he ever teach you how to do the calling and the auctioneer type thing? Did you ever pick up on that?

Bryan: He did! I’m not great at it and I’m sure in some ways he probably wondered why I didn’t jump on that and try to pursue that. I didn’t really have a passion for it. I was always fascinated by it. I’ll tell you a funny story, one time in an interview, I think it was Regis and Kathy Lee, for some reason they had read a bio that talked about my grandpa being an auctioneer and Regis was asking me about it. Before I came out on stage, they said do you mind if we ask you some stuff about auctioneering and I panicked because I was thinking “Oh God is he going to ask me to auctioneer on national television!?” I thought we were here to sing you know and so I freaked out and I called my grandpa and woke up him up at six o’clock in the morning and I asked what do I do if he asks me to auctioneer, I don’t know how to mock auctioneer, if there is something up that I’m trying to sell its ok, I get that, it’s easier to do, but to do it off the cuff it made me panic and he sort of walked me through it and he said don’t think about impressing people, but think about the value of whatever it is you are going to try to sell and take it slow. Just don’t get in a big hurry and to me, still to this day think it was a disaster. I wish he would’ve never asked me about it and he would’ve just asked what’s your next single coming out or something! But it is one of those times that I definitely remember, but I don’t credit myself to be an auctioneer, no.

Bev: Did they actually ask you to do that on air?

Bryan: Yes they did! Not one of my finer, shining moments in life.

Bev: What was it you were trying to sell?

Bryan: Well, you know how Regis is and what kind of guy he is, everything is moving so fast and he said “can you do that bud, can you auction something off?” While I started to explain what auctioneering is all about he didn’t want to hear that, he wanted to hear some chatter, he wanted to hear a chant. And I went in to this like I’m going to show you how this works kind of thing and it didn’t come across real well because he’s kind of like start’s yelling and it was like he was at an auction you know and I don’t know…it was funny.

Bev: Changing the subject a little, are you addicted to the social networking and into Myspace, Facebook and Twitter?

Bryan: Absolutely! I’m a tweeter and I’m on twitter all the time. I’ve been doing this for a couple years now and my wife will roll her eyes and look at me like what are you doing and I’d be like well I’m just kind of twittering so the fans know what I’m doing and stuff like that; and then all of a sudden Brad Pitt’s on Larry King Live talking about Twitter and then she’s looking over at me going “Oh God they’re all doing it now!” So it’s so funny, but I love it, I think it’s cool. I think the greatest thing for me is to let your fans and the people that like what you do feel like they’re a little bit closer to you and vice versa. I can share my thoughts and simple things such as, I’m going to the studio or I’m going to write, you know and just little things like that. It’s neat to be able to communicate with people that way and yet somewhat be private about what you do.

Bev: Let’s talk a little bit about your awards and your accomplishments. You’ve gotten so many of them; what are you shooting for now?

Bryan: When I wake up every day the most important thing for me is that I want to be a good dad. I want to be a good husband. I want to be those first because to me that is going to be my legacy in life, but as far as accolades and awards, I don’t find myself thinking too much about them. My wife sometimes will say things like, with all the things we’ve been through in the last ten years when you win your next award we are going to be bawling, and I think she throws those thoughts in there sometimes to keep me shooting for them. Awards are great and they broaden your horizon, but as far as a short term goal I’m just really hoping “The Little Things” does well. It’s a great song. My focus now is to try and promote this single to the Nth degree and do the best I can to make this project a success. That is my short term goal. I’m a record producer, a writer and a singer. I would love to try and produce other acts, develop new artists and give back some of what the industry has given to me; I would say that’s a good long term goal.

Bev: Are you on a label or are you doing this as an independent?

Bryan: I am on a label and it is independent; it’s called Just A Pup records.

Bev: What all are you doing to promote the CD besides interviews?

Bryan: I’m doing a lot. I did a pre-listen radio show in Chattanooga, and I’m doing a lot of that type of intimate listener exposure, we’re doing dates here and there to promote the single, but a lot of press, TV and similar things to get the word out. Twitter and Facebook allows me to really reach out and promote as well and I’m grateful for those outlets too.

Bev: Are you going to do any videos to go with these songs?

Bryan: There is a video on my website and Myspace. I’m connected to a company called GIP Music it allows a portion of all of our sales to go to something I really believe in and all the artists that are involved with GIP music can get involved. The video is actually on that website as well. We also just did a video for “The Little Things”.

Bev: That kind of lead me into my next question, I was going to ask if you were involved in any charity projects right now.

Bryan: The organization that I most strongly support at this point in my life is called Compassion International. It is a child advocacy program a lot like World Vision. They allow you to be involved in a child’s life by helping them with their finances and helping them with food, clothing and education. For me, kids are everything, especially now looking through the lens of fatherhood. It’s something that’s most important in my life, not to be really clichĂ© but it all really starts with kids. I have had the opportunity to go on one trip with the organization and it really changed my life. I went to Ecuador and I got to meet our very first sponsor child which completely wrecked me. It was just absolutely awesome to have an experience like that. I really got to see what they do first hand and it’s really simple. The thing that blows my mind is what we spend monthly on things like Starbucks and all the little small things we spend money on. Compassion won’t let us spend more than thirty eight dollars a month, and really that is nothing but at the same time it is the very least we can do from a humanity perspective.

Bev: How old are your kids now?

Bryan: Four and one is about to be six.

Bev: What has been one thing that maybe the kids have done or said to you, that has inspired something musically you would had never done if they had not said or done that?

Bryan: Oh wow…that’s a tough one. This probably doesn’t answer your question, but I remember where I had two or three really great ideas come out when they were really really young and I was rocking them. I had a glider and I did so much praying, thinking and all those kind of things when I was rocking them to sleep; so many ideas came out of my gratitude. I think it is when you sit down and sit still for a moment that you start to hear things a little better and life gets a little clearer in those still moments.

Bev: I know they are still very young, but do you see them following your footsteps? Or maybe do you see them in acting following Erika’s more?

Bryan: I can tell that they are both going to be very creative and blessed in a lot of those areas. They have that thing when you hear them sing a certain song where you can tell they have pretty good control of it at their age and they hear things really well. As far as acting, Erika says that our youngest definitely has all the traits. At any random moment, he’s got a new costume on or just kind of doing a new thing in the room by himself and he’ll say “you’re going to be this and I’m going to be this and I’ll stand over here and when you come in I’m going to…” he just directs the whole scene.

Bev: Do either of them play instruments yet?

Bryan: That’s another tough question. One day they’re playing guitar and the next day their messing with the drums, and then one day they’re in the piano room messing with the piano, so you know yes and no. There’s no way of telling which way they are going to gravitate towards next or to say any instrument has been mastered at this point.

Bev: No formal lessons as of yet?

Bryan: Not yet.

Bev: Bryan, I think we could talk for hours when it comes to kids and music, but I need to wrap this up for now. I have enjoyed this time with you and always have enjoyed your music. I hope this album brings you the attention it deserves.

Bryan: Thanks so much, and I enjoyed talking with you too. I look forward to next time as well.


For more information on Bryan White visit http://www.bryanwhite.com/

INTERVIEW: Tammy Cochran "30 Something And Single"

Tammy Cochran is well known for her sentimental and heart touching songs such as “Angels in Waiting” which pulled on emotional heartstrings and now she has added another gem to her collection on her current music project called “30 Something And Single”. As an adoptive mother, Tammy has put together the words and music entwined with the emotions she found in her heart and soul as she went through the adoptive process. The end result is “Half the World Away (Shawn’s Song) a touching ballad about her new child.

Recently I visited with Tammy about the music, adoption and being on your own; both musically and as a single mom.


Bev: I am very excited to talk to you because I am also an adoptive mother of a four year old. It is exciting and very heart wrenching at times. During the adoptive process you never know what is going on.

Tammy: What is funny is I never realized how many people have been touched by adoption. Those who have adopted and those that have been adopted come up to you and tell you things and it is awesome.

Bev: I have experienced that when you tell someone that you have adopted a child, they seem to think you are a hero. I don’t look at myself that way and I would do it a hundred times over.

Tammy: I just wanted a family, I am not a hero.

Bev: Let’s talk about your new album “30 Something And Single”. This is your fourth album and second independent project; let’s talk the challenges and differences of being on a major label vs being on an independent. What do you like or dislike and what scares or doesn’t scare you?

Tammy: The huge difference is the financial backing with an independent versus a major label. Major labels have millions and millions of dollars to be able to do what you want to do. As an independent, you have to pick and choose what is the smartest thing to do with a fountain that does run dry. But I love the fact that there is more independence as far as being an artist and choosing what songs go on the album and choosing how you represent yourself as opposed to how someone else wants to represent you.

Bev: You have put “Angels in Waiting” back on this new album. What made you decide to do that?

Tammy: That song was on the first Sony album and I still receive emails from people wanting to buy that song. It wasn’t for sale anymore except for digital download and people wanted a hard copy of the album. My only choice, since it was out of print was to go ahead and re-record it. I still do a lot of Cystic Fibrosis benefits throughout the year; they always want that song available for their events and to auction off. It just seemed the smart thing to do. We did the new song with different instrumentation, we open with twin fiddles instead of Dobro, a little bit different but close to the original version.

Bev: The song you wrote for your son, you actually wrote it before you finalized the adoption process. Once you actually did have him, and you had the song, did the song make as much sense to you and did the song live up to being everything you thought the end result of the adoption should be?

Tammy: Oh definitely. Actually, when I started this adoption process in 2005, I was actually adopting a little girl from Guatemala. My facilitator got into some legal problems and ended up getting arrested for some illegal activities that she did. Because of the illegal activities that she did, it affected everyone’s adoptions that she was associated with. My adoption with that little girl ended but I believe everything happens for a reason. That little girl and Shawn were born a year and three days apart and it was like I was supposed to be there waiting for him to come along. When I wrote that song, I was in the process of adopting Shawn and all the legal things going on and the emotional roller coaster. One day I was told “we are so close to family court and bringing your baby home” and the next day they would say you are not even close to family court. It was like the worst soap opera you ever saw on TV. When I sat down to write the song, I started pouring everything into it. Shawn and I sing this song together; he is always saying “sing me my song”. It is everything. I am sad I had to go through the bad things but the outcome of having my son outweighs everything.

Bev: I can’t even imagine what you went through. Mine was so simple compared to yours but I went through every emotion possible thinking what if they back out. I knew the mother and I went through the whole pregnancy with her but still carried the fear of her backing out. During the whole adoption process, there are so many things that are nerve racking. I also have three children I gave birth too; which there are emotions that go along with natural childbirth too, but your story is so touching.

Tammy: It was definitely worth it. The song pays tribute to the birth mom, she pays the price. To give up a child is something I can’t imagine doing. I wanted to honor her in this song for the gift she has given.

Bev: Do you have any contact with the birth mom?

Tammy: I don’t have any contact with the birth mom. I have a picture of the birth Mom with my son and I have her name. So when he gets older, if he wants to track her down, that is up to him. He is definitely going back to Guatemala when he is about 15 years old and starts talking about those $300 pair of jeans.

Bev: Let’s switch gears and talk about the promotional aspect of the new CD. What avenues are you using to get the word out on the new project?

Tammy: The first single is “He Really Thinks He’s Got It”. We are getting ready to release it but I don’t know when yet. We are getting all our ducks in a row as far as radio. Again, being independent, it takes longer to do anything you want to do because you don’t a staff of a hundred people to help you, so we are working on it. I am trying to create awareness about the adoption song. I believe November was National Adoption Awareness Month so we did some press about that. I am still doing the Cystic Fibrosis fund raisers. I am out performing a lot; I do three months out of the year at the Alabama Theater in Myrtle Beach. As far as work goes, I definitely keep busy. It gets a little hard trying to do every aspect of the business instead of just going out there and singing.

Bev: Are you utilizing all the new internet media like Myspace, Twitter and Facebook?

Tammy: I am on Myspace and Facebook. I am on Twitter but I just started there and I have to tell you, I just don’t have enough time for all these social networks. I am also on Digital Rodeo. I know that so many of my friends are on these great networks and I can’t say enough good things about them, but just being one person, it is hard to maintain all of them.

Bev: What are you doing for fun when you are not working?

Tammy: I don’t really have a lot of time for “fun” fun. We go to the park and we go shopping and all that fun stuff, but as far as hobbies, my hobby is my son right now. I don’t have a fun social life right now. Everyone told me my life was going to change and I just rolled my eyes and said “yeah, yeah” but it does change.

Bev: With the economy as it is, are you trying to think outside the box? Have you come up with something that is not the “norm” for promotions to get your music out there?

Tammy: That is what we are working on now. We have some really great ideas that we don’t think have been done before, but it is time consuming. Things a major label would have done in two weeks, takes a team of three people months to get lined up. I am keeping my fingers crossed that it is different enough to get noticed.

Bev: Do you have a personal a favorite on this CD?

Tammy: That is hard, they are all my “babies” and they are all my favorites for different reasons. Of course, Shawn’s song is one of my absolute favorites for obvious reasons. “He Really Thinks He’s Got It” is one of the top choices as well, because it shows my humorous side. Most people, when they think about my music, think about my serious songs like “Angels In Waiting”. They have never really seen me do my little sarcastic humor so I am really excited to be able to share that. Even though all the songs are country, some are more country than others, I like the variety. I get to sing different styles but still in the country genre.

Bev: You brought back Tammy Wynette’s song “Stand By Your Man”. What made you decide to put that one out this time around?

Tammy: You know Tammy Wynette is one of my all time favorites. I love the classic country sound and I love strong women of country music. She seems like the epitome of a strong woman. I do a couple of Tammy Wynette songs in my live show and I receive such a great reaction from the audience. It is one of my favorite songs so I wanted to be a little different and put one of those songs on the CD mixed in with the ones I have co-written.

Bev: Where can your new CD be purchased right now?

Tammy: On my website, www.tammycochranfans.com. Right now the CD “30 Something and Single” is only available online at the website and through CDbaby.com. We are working on distribution but that is going to take a little time.

Bev: It has been great visiting with you and look forward to seeing you again. Thanks for taking time out of your crazy schedule to talk with me about your life, your son and of course the music.

Tammy: My pleasure and I appreciate all you do. We need to get together soon and let the boys play, it would be fun to visit more about the adoptions and share the special moments it has given us.


For more information on Tammy Cochran visit www.tammycochranfans.com

PRESS RELEASE: Charlie Daniels

Digital Rodeo Joins Charlie Daniels At Media Day Event

(Nashville, TN – Nov. 30, 2009) Industry executives for online Country music lifestyle site and social network Digital Rodeo recently attended a special Charlie Daniels media day in support of the legendary musician’s latest project, Joy to the World: A Bluegrass Christmas. Digital Rodeo was on hand to shoot content for its ongoing DRTV series, which offers viewers exclusive interviews, behind-the-scenes content from award shows and concert performances, industry event access, coverage of release parties, fan club events and more. Pictured l to r: Digital Rodeo Director of Industry Relations Robert Reynolds, Daniels and Digital Rodeo Director of Marketing and Promotions John Pyne. Photo Credit: Bev Moser.

About DigitalRodeo.com:
DigitalRodeo.com is the premier country news, music and lifestyle site for country music fans everywhere. Community membership is free and offers fans and artists alike the opportunity to connect with each other, upload and download audio and video, watch exclusive DigitalRodeo.com content and stay updated on what’s happening in the world of country music. For more information, visit www.DigitalRodeo.com.

INTERVIEW: Jeff Cook

Tis the Season and there is something new on Jeff Cook’s list he wants listeners and fan’s to add to their wish list. Cook, a two-time GRAMMY winner and multi-platinum selling founding member of Country Music powerhouse Alabama, is pulling out all the stops with the upcoming release of his first ever solo Christmas album, Christmas Joy.
The ten track album will feature several tried-and-true classic Holiday hits including “Run, Run Rudolph” and “Away In A Manger” as well as original Alabama material rerecorded by Cook. Legendary Rock n’ Roll Hall of Famers The Ventures join Cook, a Country Music Hall of Famer himself, on the project’s title cut, “Christmas Joy.” Jeff and I had an opportunity to visit about his excitement creating this project and visit about a few of the special aspects of the CD.

Bev: I know you have completed the Christmas album and you are very excited for the release. Tell me in your own words what this project meant to you.
Jeff: I wanted to do a Christmas album for some time; but I wanted to find songs that weren’t played as much as others. I didn’t want to pick songs people are tired of hearing and while looking, came across a new one called, “Christmas Joy”. It was written by Don Wilson. Another one that I don’t think has gotten a lot of airplay is called “Rock and Roll Guitar”. I also asked my my wife to sing on a couple songs, “Away in a Manger” and “Please Come Home for Christmas”. I can’t recall ever hearing a female do that song, so that was a little bit of a twist.
Bev: I know you have a great recording studio in AL, did you record them all there?
Jeff: Everything but part of “Christmas Joy”, which is the title track was recorded there.
Bev: Did you do the producing and all of the studio work?
Jeff: Yes, I produced everything. I guess you could say I co-produced Christmas joy.
Bev: What are you doing for promotions? Are you out touring and getting the word out using the online social media outlets?
Jeff: I’m only utilizing the online sites right now for this projectand it is going to about 900 radio stations or so to get some new music out there. Hopefully they will get requests from the fans and listeners to continue playing it; I’ve got some positive responses on it.
Bev: Do you have a favorite on the album?
Jeff: Well I tell you, I started this project with “Rock n Roll Guitar” because I thought it should be redone. I had to bring in the toys and everything you know. I guess when I did that it gave me the feeling to put some more tracks together on a CD.
Bev: I know you mentioned your wife, but is there anybody else that sings on it with you?
Jeff: Just that one with “Mickey Santa”.
Bev: Do you have anything that you will be doing that is out of the box as Christmas gets closer? Joining anybody on tour, promoting or doing anything of that nature?
Jeff: I won’t be touring. In fact I just have one show between now and Christmas because I am going to have a knee replacement first part of December. We have a lot of things that are just under the radar to get done as quick as I get over this in the later part of January.
Bev: How about anything else, I know you mentioned travel to me. Are you out singing and performing now?
Jeff: Well actually I’m going to be doing about three songs to track tonight and a speech and Q & A thing out with Alabama for educators and teachers and such.
Bev: Do you still go out and do a lot of promotional or educational events?
Jeff: It seems like I’m doing interviews everyday, in some way or another.
Bev: Have you taken anybody under your wing or have you started to produce anybody?
Jeff: I would like to do some more of that, I think I have an idea. I know it doesn’t sound like anything else when you come to Nashville; so that in itself is a big plus.
Bev: Did you use your Good Times Band on the Christmas project as you did on the last album, “Ashes Wont Burn”?
Jeff: This is just a “Jeff Cook presents…” . So I guess the answer would be yes and no.
Bev: What else do you have up your sleeve, what else do you have going on?
Jeff: I have about four and a half songs in the can for next years album. I thought I’d get a jump on it while I can, while I have the time and the engineer and everything I need because I’m going to have to take some time for the knee injury.
Bev: Is the knee surgery something that has been going on for a while or did you just injure it?
Jeff: No, it’s been going on for a long while, even back in the days with Alabama. I think I could’ve taken the time to have it done and I really should have.
Bev: With the Christmas album did you decorate your studio in the theme of Christmas to get in the mood or…how’d you do that?
Jeff: I was excited about the whole project once I did “Rock n Roll Guitar” that was the first thing I did. Actually, the first thing I did was not really song it was a resuscitation and it’s called “My First Christmas in Heaven”. I did that in reflection of when my father died. I received a poem in the mail and I rehearsed it and I threw as much of that in it as I could. It kind of grew out of that.
Bev: When I talked to you last, you said green is your favorite color. Is that still correct?
Jeff: It’s a certain kind of green. It’s a real bright green. It’s the fluorescent greens.
Bev: Is that kind of the icon for your “Rock n Roll Guitar”, one of your green guitars?
Jeff: [laughs] Yeah. I take it you heard “Run Run Rudolph”. Yeah I changed those lyrics right there.
Bev: Will you be putting any hard copies of the CD out on store shelves for people to have access to that or is it typically going to be an online where if they want it they have to order it.
Jeff: They can get hard copies from jeffcook-agb.com and they can order it online where it is available for digital download via i-Tunes, Amazon.com, and Cook's website, www.jeffcook-agb.com.
Bev: Jeff, as always, you are a joy to talk to and I enjoyed the visit. I look forward to the next time and hope you have a joyous Holiday Season and best of luck with the surgery.
Jeff: Same to you and I hope to see you again very soon. Thanks for sharing your time with me.

For more information on Jeff Cook visit www.jeffcook-agb.com

INTERVIEW: Lorrie Morgan

Lorrie Morgan is a name synonymous with amazing music and heartfelt lyrics that listeners can relate to in their own personal lives. Recently Lorrie released a new project through Country Crossing Records titled A Moment In Time. The CD is a collection of new interpretations of fourteen country classics produced by Wally Wilson and Chip Voorhis; recorded live in the studio without overdubs which has not been the norm for some time on Music Row.
Robert Reynolds and I sat down with Lorrie to visit about her new project, her life and what we can expect in the future from her.

Robert: Lorrie, you have taken something that is often, maybe, overdone. Or too often approached with the wrong agenda and you have done it so right. You want to tell me a little bit about your thoughts on that?
Lorrie: I would love to! When Wally Wilson talked to me about going in the studio and recording a country classic, I was really skeptical, I was like “You know I don’t know, everybody and their brother is doing one” and it’s kind of been way over done and so I said why don’t we put our heads together and think of a special way to do it, you know and make it come off a little bit different. So we decided we would go and we would do it like old school and as you know and what some people aren’t aware of, technically the way records are done now is the band goes in one day and the artist comes in the next day and then the background vocals, it’s all put together so technically or technical that we’ve lost a heart of making music. So we decided that we would take everybody in and be all in one room, nobody’s in a booth, nobody’s in a small area, we’re all in a circle in the studio no over dubs, and that was a really cool part for me because you know how professional and particular, Nashville musicians are so precise with everything and they agreed to do this. Which was you know what I thought a really gracious gesture on their part because they don’t want to be out there with a mistake on an album or anything just like nobody does but they all agreed to come in with no over dubs and I said “Look, I’m not doing any over dubs so y’all can’t do any over dubs”, and we had the best time. We did seventeen songs in two days. Harold Bradley was on the session and he was on so many of the original recordings, he said, “Lorrie this has been so much fun”, he said, “it has been so emotional for me like the old times,” you know it makes recording fun. We had strings and background vocals it was like living and making a real record.
Robert: You have phrased it all very well, I think people, fans and consumers of your music don’t realize that now-a-days you can almost make anybody sound good. There are all kinds of studio tricks and smoke and mirrors that can make just about anybody come up with a record. An actor can sound amazing on record now, even if they’re not great musically or vocally. It’s not running anyone down but in the old days you had to be really spectacular to even put out a record because there was no choice but to do this process,
Lorrie: Right, you had to be able to sing because if you couldn’t sing it was like well you can’t sing and we’re not putting you out, but now if you have just even the look they can put you out and pro tool you up and make you be whatever. The true test is when you can put anybody into an acoustic room and say sing and if they can pull that off then they’re a singer.
Robert: We’ve always known or most people know you are a real consonant professional, you are a real singer and you’re appreciated for it. I love your voice, I think you grabbed some of the finest songs and I think part of the secret of this record is, these songs, they are timeless.
Lorrie: Well as you know it is hard to pick those songs that you want to record and especially when there is thousands to choose from these old great country catalogs and we literally listened to thousands, maybe not all the way through but we went through days and days. Me and Wally were sitting there going “I like this one, I like this one, I like this one” finally we got it down to like twenty five and I told Wally I can’t go any more you’re going to have to pick the final seventeen I just can’t, I can’t eliminate these and so I was really pleased that we didn’t just do, we did songs that were surprises, like not just your typical girl song. You know what I mean? I like doing that, and I like a challenge it was a challenge to complete all these songs , seventeen songs in two days and it was a challenge to be able to pull it off and from a woman’s point when it’s sung in male perspective.
Robert: I haven’t thought about it until now but its usually two songs in seventeen days!
Lorrie: Yes it is! It’s unbelievable. You do two songs in two months, and we did seventeen in two days. So, it was incredible it was a lot of fast work.
Robert: There are a lot of great old stories like Sinatra giving the engineers a take or two and saying that’s it I’m done for the day, you better have captured it, I’ve done my part.
Lorrie: That’s right and you know what I think ? That’s how it should be. I think an artist can over sing and when you over sing it you lose that special sound and feel; and I like that feeling of the band. It makes me perform better.
Bev: Tracy Lawrence joined you on one song, can you tell me how that came to be.
Lorrie: Well I’m a huge Tracy fan, huge Tracy Lawrence fan and always have been from the time I first heard him sing. I love Tracy! He’s good friends with Wally, the producer of the album and we were in recording and Wally said…He’s good friends with Wally Wilson and he came by the studio to see Wally while I was recording and I was in the studio thinking who in the heck is that guy in there in the studio and I mean in the booth in there and he was standing with his head down and he was listening and I was thinking who is that?! And I walked in there and it was Tracy! I was like what are you doing here?! And he was like, “I just came by to see Wally I didn’t know you were doing this really cool project.” Wally said “Y’all I’d love to do a duet on this album” and I was like you want to and he said “Yeah”. He looked at the list of songs and he said let’s do this one and the next day he was in there singing with me.
Bev: Tomorrow night is George Jones at the Opry, you’re going to be on that. Tell me how, especially with the album you have out now and bringing back the old songs; how does that make you feel, the memory of singing some of those songs, and being a participant in the legends of country music shows.
Lorrie: You know, first off, I’m glad we’re having the legends. I think it’s important to honor these people while they’re still here. To me it’s a show that I think has been long overdue and plus I have worked with George for quite a long time and I’m still associated with George through our country crossings connections we have down in Alabama, which has been a really cool thing for me to be back in his life. Any time I can be at the Opry is a great thing for me. I’m happy that George is going to be there. I’m happy I get to do some older songs because I have a passion for that era in country music. That’s the music that made me fall in love with music. Working with George was an extreme, a great and trying, education for me in the music industry, because I had no idea that any of that kind of behavior went on because I grew up with my dad George Morgan, who was the total other end of the spectrum. Perfect dad, didn’t drink, you know it was calm and George was high strung in the time that I worked for him, all of his really, really wild days. When I left the George Jones show I decided that was it and I was getting out of the business. I don’t want it to turn me in to this. I got out of the business for a couple years because of my experiences with George. As I’ve gotten older and I have been able to realize you don’t have to be that to be in this industry. I started appreciating George a lot more too because I know he was influenced by a lot of crazy situations. And George is here, he’s still alive and he deserves to be honored for his triumph and overcoming of his demons and so I’m glad to be a part of his celebration and his legacy, tomorrow night.
Bev: When you perform a show such as this, does choosing and performing these songs put you back to a certain time and place?
Lorrie: Oh yeah for sure! Well of course when I do “Picture Me Without You” it puts me back to when I worked with George and sang harmony with him every night on that song. I think I’m doing “Are you lonesome tonight”, which I love the simplicity of that song, it’s acoustic and vocal. To me, it’s just a beautiful song. Plus, I love Patsy Cline; to me she is just the epitome of a female country singer. I get to perform “If You’ve Got Leaving On Your Mind” and I can remember the first time I sang that song I was on Nashville Now, years ago. I had gone back into the archives and found “If You’ve Got Leaving On Your Mind” and ever since I did it on Nashville Now I always wanted to record it. I was able to get that goal accomplished this year.
Bev: Early next year, you will be in New York to begin rehearsals for the Broadway show Pure Country, the 1992 film starring George Strait. You are cast as “Lula”, the role originally played in the movie by Lesley Ann Warren. Starring opposite of you is fellow country star Joe Nichols in the role of “Dusty”; What are you afraid of most with your involvement on Broadway?
Lorrie: Loneliness. I’m afraid of that. I’m not afraid of the criticism, I’m not afraid of being critiqued, I’m not afraid of you know anything other than being so extremely homesick for my boyfriend and my kids and of course my mom who is seventy-eight now. I’ve got five dogs and a bird, I know they’ll come to see me but it’s just that you know lonely feeling. That’s the only thing that scares me. I’ll overcome that, just a little apprehensive.
Bev: How many shows a week?
Lorrie: Eight of them. Eight shows a week, I think we’re dark on Mondays. I think there’s two matinee’s on Saturday and Sunday, then Monday’s off.
Bev: You’re not going to have any time to be lonely.
Lorrie: No, they’re going to wake me up and put me on the stage. The good thing about it is I’ll be able to rest during the day and I won’t have a lot of outer activities going on, I’ll just be focused on this job, getting it done, making some money and coming home.
Bev: Have you had the opportunity to sit and talk with Joe Nichols at all?
Lorrie: I have not.
Bev: I’m going to go back to the album in a way, I know you said you let them pick the last few, has there ever been a song you really wanted to record and a label said no to that you have on the backburner that someday you want to get out there?
Lorrie: Yeah, matter of fact I recorded it but it didn’t make it on the album and I thought it should’ve been a single for me. It’s an Angela Kaset song called “The Heart That Jack Broke” and it is just so me and represents so many women; and I am a huge, huge, Angela Kaset fan. I just love everything she writes but that is one particular song that I regret, that I really didn’t fight to get on the album. I have a feeling I will record it again.
Bev: Once the Broadway show is done and you’ve got the new CD project out that you’re promoting ; what do you see for the future of Lorrie Morgan.
Lorrie: Resting! After Broadway I’m going to take a little vacation to Italy. I’m going to Italy with my boyfriend and after that you know I just want to continue working. I love working the road, I’ve got a great band. As I said earlier, I don’t know if it was that interview or previous but I have that motherly guilt right now. I can go and I can really have fun and I’m not going they should’ve done their homework tonight, have they have a basketball game tomorrow night, I don’t have that right now. While I miss those days I’m happy that I’m able to really focus right now on some things that I need to do.
Bev: Speaking of your kids, your son, Jesse, how is he doing with his music career?
Lorrie: He’s doing awesome! He’s actually going to be doing a show at The Palace for some kind of tribute to his dad. Jesse has not let me get to much involved in his career because I’m very strict. I think he should do something a certain way and I told him any time you want me to help you, any time, you come to me and ask me; because when you do come to me I’m going to tell you so be ready. When he’s serious about it I’m ready to jump in both feet with him. But until he asks for my help I’m just letting him feel his own way. He’s got a great album he recorded.
Bev: I’ve seen you sing together twice, once at CMA Fest and again at the benefit that you did at Cannery Ballroom for Chris Kent. When you sing together it is so fun to watch you and you sound great together too.
Lorrie: He’s got a great album that he recorded, it’s not what I would’ve picked for him to do but he’s got a great album, he really does. It’s really a different cool album. Again, if he asks for my help then I’ll do it but not until he’s really…
Bev: Does your daughter sing as well?
Lorrie: No, she is a comedian and she’s a funny, ad-lib, funny kind of person. She gets stage fright, she just clams up. She’s actually got a pretty good voice, but she’s going to nursing school in January. She’s been to mortuary school, then cosmetology and now to nursing. She can fix up the dead people and if she kills them she can fix them up and embalm them. [laughs].
Bev: She’s how old?
Lorrie: She’s twenty eight. You know everybody her age have had babies and are getting married, they have a career. Morgan is hanging back in life and it’s like she hasn’t found her place yet. Which is fine ; you know, it’s hard to know at twenty-whatever what you really want versus what you need.
Bev: Lorrie, I have a feeling we could talk for hours, but our time is about up. Thank you so much for sharing so much about this project, the kids and all the exciting things you have going on with your life. Robert and I both wish you the best with this amazing new CD and look forward to seeing you again very soon.
Lorrie: Thank you both very much I loved visiting with you both and appreciate you taking time to come see me.


For more information on Lorrie Morgan visit http://www.lorrie.com/

INTERVIEW: Lynn Anderson

Lynn Anderson is best known for her Grammy Award-winning country crossover mega-hit, "(I Never Promised You A) Rose Garden." She also was one of the most popular female country singers of the 1970s and continues to be a fan favorite to this day.
I was honored and blessed to be able to spend some quality one on one time with Ms. Anderson, who is not only one of my first influences in country music but is a loving, big hearted and amazing woman who I admire for the many things she has done over her career.

Bev: I think I have told you before you were the very first concert my Dad ever took me to.
Lynn: Yes, how many years ago was that concert?
Bev: Oh gosh, I was probably ten years old. It was in Sioux City, Iowa in a little arena and I admit I probably didn’t know who you were. I remember we were right up front and I went home and I was in awe.
Lynn: I thank you so much. I have been doing this for so long and I have heard a lot of these stories, like “you were my Mom’s favorite” or “you were my Dad’s favorite”. My personal favorite is “you were my Grandfather’s favorite from the Lawrence Welk show.” I am sitting here realizing that I have been doing this since 1967 which means 42 years, that’s a long time.
Bev: Looking back, what is one of the most cherished moments that you remember the most?
Lynn: I think that probably the neatest moment in my career was when the guys came home from Vietnam. I was with the USO and Bob Hope one evening where there were about 2,000 Navy guys in the front and 2,000 Air Force on one side and a couple of thousand Marine Corp on the other side. When I started to sing Rose Garden they all stood up at attention and saluted all the while I sang the song. It stopped your heart. When I finished the song, an honor guard of the United States Marine Corp paraded up to the stage and presented me with an American Flag that had flown over a Marine Corp Aviation Station in Thailand called MCAS The Rose Garden. There were a lot of US Marines that had served there. I still have that flag.
Bev: Did you know that it bore the name prior to that?
Lynn: No. It was kind of a secret station, a place where Marines or other servicemen went that were injured or needed repairs to their aircraft; so it was a secret place in the middle of the jungle somewhere in Thailand. I believe it was Nam Pong, Thailand. Having those guys stand and salute was awesome.
In March I get to do it again in the Rose Bowl, in Pasadena, California. There are a bunch of them coming back from Iran, Iraq and Pakistan. The United States Marine Corp is doing another similar presentation at the Rose Bowl and I get to sing it again. The song has become entwined with the United States Marine Corp which is an honorable thing. When you sing three minutes of music, you never know where it is going to go.
The American Rose Society named a rose for me, actually two. There is a Lynn Anderson rose and there is also a Rocky Top rose. I think I am the only one with two roses.
Bev: What color are they?
Lynn: The Lynn Anderson rose is a beige color with hot pink around the edges and the Rocky Top rose is orange for the state of Tennessee. There are several ladies in our business that have roses named for them. There is a Reba McEntire; which is also an orange; there is a Minnie Pearl which is of course a miniature rose.
Bev: Talking about “Rose Garden”, when it became a pop crossover, was that intentional, did you try to do that or did it just happen? That was back before we had so many crossover artists and you were one of the first ones to do that.
Lynn: I attended a meeting with CBS marketing that Clive Davis headed. Clive Davis sat down all the heads of marketing from each region and he said “gentlemen, we understand that this is a number one country record but I am telling you that this is a number one pop record. I am going to be talking to each of you in the next week or so, and if it is not number one in your market I am going to want to know the reason why”. He reached out and touched me and said “this is a number one pop record, I am not going to be satisfied in your market if this is only a country record, because I think it is more” So Clive Davis reached out and said “okay boys, this is what I am expecting from you” and they came through.
Bev: When you receive honors such as the 100 greatest songs of country music, how does that make you feel? What goes through your mind when you hear those types of accolades?
Lynn: I am amazed. I have had a really blessed life. My mother is a wonderful songwriter. I have been involved in the Country Music business since I was five or six years old and people like Merle Haggard and Buck Owens would come to the house to sing with Mom and Dad. Later, I met and fell in love with a guy named Glen Sutton, who wrote 56 BMI award winning songs and is a Hall of Fame Songwriter. He’d come home with “I Don’t Want To Play House” and I go “God, it is great, is it for me?” and he said “that’s for Tammy”; same with “D.I.V.O.R.C.E.” and “Take Me To Your World”, those kind of things. So those songs were part of my life. From about the time I was ten years old I have been hearing great Country Music and been involved with the people that made that great Country Music. For the last 26 years I have lived with Mentor Williams. He wrote “Drift Away” and that song is arguably the most recorded, most sold song in the history of ASCAP. Mentor’s brother, my brother-in-law, Paul Williams is the new President of ASCAP. Recently if you bought a Happy Meal at McDonalds you got a kid’s CD with “Drift Away” on it, right next to “Teardrops On My Guitar”. We met when his song was getting an award at the same time as “Rose Garden” was receiving an award. It is amazing how my family is all so deeply involved in the music business and at a pretty good level.
Bev: Out of all the people that you have performed with, do you have a favorite?
Lynn: I just got back this past weekend from the 50th anniversary of a John Wayne movie called “Rio Bravo” and it was John Wayne’s birthday party. I re-met Deana Martin who is Dean Martin’s daughter. This question is really hard because I have sung with everybody from Minnie Pearl to Ringo Starr and Paul McCartney. I think Dean Martin is definitely one of my all time favorites though. I did three years with him on a series called “Music Country U.S.A.” which I think was the forerunner to country music videos. Deana was always real interested when we went out on location. I remember doing “Rocky Top” on top of Lookout Mountain in Tennessee and Deana was very fascinated by the fact that we used tracks. The Dean Martin “Roasts” are in reruns now on television but not the Dean Martin show itself. Because they used tracks to do Music Country U.S.A., it means that they might be able to actually re-release Music Country U.S.A... It was me and Jerry Reed, God bless his soul and Ray Stevens who were the hosts of that series. We had everybody on there. We traveled and did videos all over the country before videos were done. I am keeping my fingers crossed. I am going to L.A. on Monday and I will see Deana again at the Gene Autry museum for an event there and we are going to try to get that Music Country U.S.A. series back out again, wouldn’t that be cool?
Bev: Would you utilize the internet? You tube and other applications are so popular right now.
Lynn: I don’t know how to deal with that. I know that there is so much of my stuff on You Tube. My song, “Rose Garden”, was utilized several years ago to enact a new law that is literally called the “Rose Garden Law.” It was passed around the time when samplings first happened. A group called ConCan redid “Rose Garden” and they called it “I Beg Your Pardon”. It was a computer synthesizer recording where they made up the words to the verses and then they dropped my vocal in the choruses. It was very obviously me, but they didn’t ask my permission and they didn’t pay me but they sold three million! So the people who owned the masters took it to Congress and they played the Concan version and then they played mine and pretty much everybody in Congress was familiar with the song. They enacted a law and when someone uses a sample of someone’s voice you must indeed make a contract and pay them. There is so much new technology out there now, it is almost impossible to keep up with it.
Bev: Let’s talk about the Lawrence Welk show. I am sure you have some hilarious stories about things that happened on that show.
Lynn: Well, there are a lot of great quotes from Lawrence Welk. I really give him credit for my career, although, obviously I would not be here if not for my mother and Dad and their talent. At that time, in the mid-sixties, there was no Country Music on TV. So my one country song on the Lawrence Welk show was basically it. If you wanted to hear Country Music you had to turn on the Lawrence Welk show and hear me.
He was a great teacher, a very tough teacher. He had to “schlep” around 40 people of all genres. He had everyone on there from Polka to Tap Dancers to Opera singers and each one of them thought they were the “hot stuff”. He had to balance all these egos. He told me that most people go to work each day and they have one boss to answer to. If you please your boss that day you keep your job. If you are in the entertainment business you have thousands of bosses. If you displease one of them then you have lost a customer or boss. Everybody you meet, everybody you work with, each one of those people have an opportunity to either accept you or turn their back on you. So as an entertainer we have a little harder job than most. Most people think that hour on stage is so glamorous; they don’t realize it took you two days to get there. You had to schlep six artists and all their egos and the musicians and all of their family problems and all of the stuff that goes into it. People don’t realize that it is hard work. What is fun is when you are able to stand up on a stage with Paul McCartney and sing or with Poco.
Bev: Was Lawrence Welk as funny as he appeared to be on TV or was that a persona that he did for the TV audience?
Lynn: I think he was hilarious, but I think a lot of it was inadvertent. He was a parody of himself. I will use Charo as an example because they become a parody of themselves. It is as though they become somebody that has an identity that is easy to identify and therefore easy to make fun of. At some point in your career, it is a great thing if you are actually able to create a persona because other than that, you are forgettable. If you are the coal miner’s daughter, then that’s you, you are that and nobody else can be that. It was easy to laugh at him and I do not mean that in a negative way. Bob Hope had his ski nose and that became his persona. Dean Martin always had a drink in his hand and that was part of his image. I think my cowboy hats are part of me. Kenny Chesney is the island guy. Different people have different things that are identifiable. I feel kind of sorry for the new kids on the block, it is very difficult. They seem to be given only one chance and one CD and if it does not hit, they are gone. They don’t have an opportunity to really establish a personality, a persona. It is a lot tougher out there now than when I started.
Bev: On a totally different subject, are you still showing horses or do you just have them on the ranch for pleasure now?
Lynn: My horse won the Texas cutting horse championship for the year of 2007. I just got his buckle, I am not wearing it today but I think I have it with me.
Bev: Do you actually show or do you have people that do it for you now?
Lynn: I don’t show as much as I use to but I still do some. I will ride in the “Roundup for Autism” in September in Texas. I will ride in the National Cutting Horse Championship in December. This week I have been working with about ten girls who are running for “Miss Rodeo” of Taos, New Mexico.
I rode yesterday. I still ride. I love it and it is my golf and tennis. I have some lovely horses which I have raised and trained, they are all my babies. I have all quarter horses now. I have had other breeds over the years, I have had some Appaloosas, I’ve had some Arabians, and I have had a couple of pretty nice Egyptian Arabians. I gave my last Arabian to an artist here in town in exchange for a painting. He dresses up as “Zorro” and rides him in all the parades. My horse is called “The Black”, that is his nickname, he is a gorgeous horse.
Bev: Do you breed on your ranch also?
Lynn: Not anymore, I use to. Horses that I have bred and raised have won about $6,000,000 in prizes. I have done very well with my quarter horses, specifically the cutting horses. They have gone on to win a lot but I probably can’t afford their grandkids at this point.
Bev: If you had to choose between music and the horses, could you do it?
Lynn: I could not. I think I can always ride off into the sunset singing. When I go out, I’ll go probably singing “Happy Trails To You” into the sunset in Taos, New Mexico. I play music when I want to play music. I ride the horses and work with kids, I have been very lucky to be able to combine those things that I love, literally all my life and still be making a living at my age.
Musically, I am still going to Europe, I have a record that is sitting at number six in Norway this week. I am supposed to talk to someone this week about doing a duet with someone in Australia. I went to Australia probably ten or fifteen years ago and rode in an international cutting horse competition. I had to ride a strange horse, everybody came in from all over, and everybody rode horses they had never ridden before. I was lucky enough to win but all the time I was there, they kept telling me about this Australian artist that I really needed to listen to. You know who that was?
Bev: Keith Urban?
Lynn: Yes, Keith Urban, before he made it in the States. I thought he was pretty good,
Bev: Have you told him that story?
Lynn: No, I have not had the opportunity to tell him that. He was very famous in the Outback before he ever got to Texas.
Bev: When you think of yourself as a role model, does it put any added pressure on you or does it give you a lot of pleasure?
Lynn: I have received a couple great compliments I will never forget. I had somebody back stage one time say “I wish you were my Mom” and somebody else said “when I grow up I want to be just like you”. Then I have my cowgirls that I work with all the time and that is fun. I get to do that for about a month or six weeks before each rodeo competition. It is hard to be a role model because I’ve not always been perfect. I have slipped, slid, stumbled and crawled in the mud a few times. If you are in show business, you can’t get away with anything. At a low point in my life, 20 or 25 years ago, there was a bad story about me somewhere and I confronted the person who wrote it and I said “I haven’t recorded for five years or so, at what point do I get to make a mistake without it being in “the Globe” And he said “oh, two or three years after you die”. I thought that was the coldest thing I’d ever heard. But it struck me; I realized that what I do is going to be looked at even though at that point I hadn’t had a record on the charts for a while. I was surprised to hear my name on Jay Leno. I thought “leave me alone”. But when you put your name out there and it becomes known in any way or recognizable, or your face is recognizable, you lose the privacy in your life. It is something that I had to learn. There are a couple of kids out there that seem to make more publicity by being bad than they have by being good and having hit records. My Daddy told me a long time ago that it doesn’t matter if they are talking about you good or they are talking about you bad as long as they spell your name right. I don’t know if that is true. I would love for the rule to be “if you can’t say something nice, don’t say anything at all”.
The written word doesn’t contain a smile. I have had things I have said online be misinterpreted because you can’t print a smile or an inflection. People take it wrong. A lot of what I have said has been said with a smile.
There is room in this business for all of us and we each have our own specialties and we each have things that we do better than another woman in the business. We each have things that are identifiable that we contribute and it is not a competition.
Bev: Let’s talk about another TV show, Starsky and Hutch, how fun was that?
Lynn: That was great fun because I got to do stunts and all that stuff. It was great fun to do a little acting. The fun was I literally got to throw myself out of cars and roll around in the dirt, get shot at and be an actress.
I think that singing, if done right, is part acting because you are putting your emotions into the song, you are becoming the character. That is why you have to be careful what you sing because people identify you with the content of that song. I know there are some folks that have to literally change their style because they are labeled as being a certain way.
I won the Cowboy Hall of Fame award last year and that has put me in with a lot of the Western movie people. You don’t have to be sixteen to do that, it puts me in a position where I might get to work with someone like Tom Selleck. One thing that I have not done in my career that I would really like to do is a movie, a cowboy movie.
Bev: Do you still write songs?
Lynn: I write a little bit. I am writing a song with my Mother right now because we are in the middle of another CD. The western CD we did about two years ago received seven awards including the “Cowboy Hall of Fame” award.
Bev: How old is your Mom now?
Lynn: My Mom is 82 and what I am going to do with this new album is I am using a couple of cowboy actors on it. There is a fellow named Barry Corbin who was in “Dances With Wolves” and he headlined a TV series called “Northern Exposure” and is now on “The Closer”. He is going to come in and play the part of the trail boss. It is a difficult line to walk when you are doing Western music. When Warner Western was in business, I went in and talked to them because I wanted to do a cowgirl album. They said “there is no cowgirl music, it is all cowboys, nobody cares about the women”. So we have to write our own songs but in this particular song, it is not becoming and reasonable for a woman to be the trail boss. So I have asked Barry to come in and play that part and act that part for me on the record. He is perfect. At 82 years of age, my Mother still has a crazy, silly sense of humor that I love her for. We are trying to envision the roll of the women in the expansion of the West.
Bev: Do you do anything internet-wise? Facebook, Twitter
Lynn: I have my webpage, it is LynnAndersonshow.com and I do a lot of talking back and forth with a crazy group of fans that gather there. I have not been into Twitter or Facebook because it is kind of an invasion of privacy. My husband is pretty private so I haven’t done that but we are totally reworking the website right now.
I have actually had people show up at my house with guns. One time several years ago, I got on the phone with the Chief of Police and he told me that if they come in your house, you shoot them and call me. This is when I was living in Brentwood and I could see my gate which was about a ¼ mile away, I could see his truck was parked crossway so that I could not drive out. I couldn’t just get in my car and leave. I had several horses and I probably could have run out and jumped the fence but it was pretty weird and then that same person was arrested at a concert several months later carrying a gun. He wanted to kill my husband so he could have me.
Bev: Has there ever been something that someone has told you that has stuck with you as far as advice?
Lynn: I was told to never spend money to make myself a star. That if you were good enough, people would pay you. I see a lot of people now that are so desperate for it that they will spend $10,000 to go in the studio with someone that says “I can make you a star”. I see so much despair and heartbreak. I do not believe you can buy stardom. If you got it, you got it and if you don’t got it, you don’t got it! You can’t buy it. It doesn’t matter how many voice coaches, how many dance teachers, I encourage people to not go and spend a lot of money, it just can’t be done, makes you look foolish.
Bev: What has been the most embarrassing thing to happen to you?
Lynn: One of them would be when my dress fell off on the Brady Bunch. I had this really gorgeous Bill Blast designer gown and it was tight, tight! Thank God it had a little jacket over the top. I took a deep breath to hit a high note and that thing dropped. It was on the Brady Bunch Variety Hour on live TV. What was funny is Paul Williams was on the show, who is my brother-in-law now. It was this big gown and it fell to the floor, and nobody realized it because it was a ball gown that was big enough to hold itself up and the jacket was right there. AND, you finish the song.
And then there was a time when my hair fell off at the Louisiana State Fair Rodeo. I still hear about that. I was appearing at the Grand Stand Show and often I would appear at the Rodeo. They asked me to do a ride in and promote the appearance at the Grand Stand. Ordinarily, I wore my cowboy hat. At that point in my life, I would wear what they called a “fall” which is a hair piece that you stick on with a couple of hair pins. With my hat on, I could jam that thing on and hold the hair. These guys thought it was great fun, they knew me enough to know I am a pretty good cowgirl so they gave me the rankest horse in the bunch. I said give me something that can run fast, look pretty, I am going to do a sliding stop and a spin in the spot light, wave and run off. Well, I did my little run, did my little sliding stop and at that point the spot light had hit the horse, the horse went straight up and started to fall over backwards. So what you do is you throw all your weight forward. When I threw all my weight forward, my hair went flying about ten feet in front of the horse. I ripped out all the hairpins, did my rodeo queen wave and out the other end. The rodeo clown went and got my hairpiece with a pitch fork and carried my hair down the entire length of the arena going “Lynn, is this your dog”. All the people were either clapping or laughing; they didn’t know what to do. I have never gone back to the Louisiana State Fair without someone saying “do you remember that night your hair fell off?”
Bev: We have talked about some of the dark moments, the low points in your life. If you had to give someone advice now, what would you say?
Lynn: There are a lot of things I would go back and do over. There were a lot of things I had no control over, things I would like to fix. There are things that you have to turn over to a higher power. There is a little prayer that I say “God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can and the wisdom to know the difference”. There are things you can’t control, you have to live through them, walk through the other side. Along with the sunshine, there has to be a little rain sometime. I think that is why that song has been around so long because it is so true. You can’t walk through life without having some bad times, there is always going to be down times.
Bev: Do you think, with starting at such a young age, having a family involved with it, do you think you had a natural talent from the start or do you think because of the music business that your parents encouraged you to work within it. Or is it a combination of both.
Lynn: I think it is a combination of both. I think that I am genetically inclined. My mother is a wonderful songwriter. On my dad’s side, he is a salesman. His part in it is the business side and the practical side. I feel that being raised by my family it was part nature and part nurture. Having Merle Haggard and Buck Owens in my home and listening to those times and getting to sing. Before that, my mother and her sisters all sang harmony together every weekend for as long as I can remember, that whole family sang together. We would get together on Sunday afternoons and everyone would sing, play instruments, play whatever and everybody would sing harmony. That part came naturally but the luck part was getting to gradually meet people like Merle Haggard and Buck Owens, the California country contingency. When we moved to Nashville, it expanded. I just had some incredibly lucky breaks.
Bev: Let’s talk about some of your charities.
Lynn: I founded with Bonnie Garner and Tom T. Hall’s wife, Miss Dixie, My Special Riders, which has now evolved into “Saddle Up”. It, it began at a birthday party for my little girl. I had another mare and we were giving buggy rides with her. One little boy had spin bifida and he wanted to ride that horse so bad. We kept pushing him back because we didn’t want him to get hurt. We finally put him up there, one person held his right leg, the other person held his left leg and I led the horse. His mother called me back that evening and she was ecstatic, said “I have never seen this kid so excited in my life that is the best day he ever had. He has not stopped talking about it. Can we come back and do it again.” So that is how the “Saddle Up” program started in my front yard at a birthday party. There is now Rocky Top Riders in Dallas Texas, which is named for Rocky Top. There is a new program in Taos, New Mexico that I also work with. There are several other organizations like N.A.H.R.A, National Association of Handicapped Riders of America. If you walk into the NAHRA headquarters in Colorado, there is a song called “Ponies” that we did years ago that is their theme song.
My grandmother told me many years ago that there is nothing better for the inside of a kid than the outside of a horse. There is something so empowering to the kids, even a kid that can’t walk, you put that kid up on a horse and suddenly there are legs that move and he can guide the horse left and right and he can walk where he wants to go and suddenly they start to smile. And suddenly they are bigger than everybody.
Bev: Do you prefer the smaller venues or the larger venues?
Lynn: I just did a venue in California called Stage Coach. It was huge. Everybody has been there from Brad Paisley, Miranda Lambert and all the way to Ralph Stanley. I got to sing with Poco. It was huge. I loved it and hope I get invited back. Working in the bigger arena, I sang in the big arena at the Mohican last time, didn’t get to work in my favorite room but then after I did my thing I got to go in the arena and sing with Ringo Starr! I am at a place now where I can go from singing with Bill Monroe, singing with Poco to going and singing with Men At Work and Ringo Starr. Music is a universal language. Last year I was asked to present an award at the Norwegian Grammy Awards. Getting inducted into the German Hall of Fame was exciting. I won an award in Australia. I have hung in there long enough to travel the world in both horses and music.
Bev: Speaking of all your awards, do you have a place where you display them all?
Lynn: You know what is awful, when I moved to New Mexico several years ago my CMAs and my Grammys got stored. I live with Mentor and we have a lot of awards and I don’t mean to sound bad, but I need to pull the awards out of boxes and put them someplace in the living room. We do have the plaques displayed up and down the hallway and the most recent big was the Germany Hall of Fame and that is on the fireplace in the living room.
Bev: Do you have a favorite color that you have a lot of?
Lynn: Pink. (as she pointed to a hat at the side of the table) It is a special version for breast cancer that will be auctioned and the proceeds will go towards the Loretta Johnson foundation, who co-founded IFCO. This is the first time that I have given up one of my pink hats.
Bev: This is one that you have personally worn and used.
Lynn: I have worn this many, many times. There was one that was suppose to come in for this that said dedicated Loretta Johnson and IFCO, but it hasn’t gotten here so it looks like this one will be the one. I will wear it out on stage and then give it from there. I also have a jacket that is a pink Manuel and it goes for the YMCA auction, the Martina McBride auction. I founded that auction years ago, I did the first one.
Bev: Speaking of Martina McBride, she did a version of “Rose Garden”, how did that make you feel?
Lynn: Martina used four of my guys including my band leader, Steve Gibson who is now the music director at the Opry. The band knew it upside down and backwards. A radio station in California (KTLA), did a composite where they switched one line after another, one line of Martina, on line of me, it was an amazing compliment to have her chose that song and an amazing compliment for her to ask me to sing it with her on the Opry when she debuted it. I walked on stage and handed her a rose. It was like passing the torch. I was very honored that she chose that song to be in that album and she chose it to be the first single. I told her “honey you can borrow it for about a year and then I get it back”. That was a fun moment on stage at the Opry with Martina.
Bev: Lynn, I am so honored and feel very blessed to have shared this time with you and to have been able to discuss so many things with you. Thank you.
Lynn: The pleasure was mine, and thank you for such a wonderful conversation.

For more information on Lynn Anderson visit http://www.lynnandersonshow.com

INTERVIEW: Nash Street

Grassroots Country is a self-ascribed title which Nash Street attributes to their love of contemporary country music and bluegrass instrumentation. The band consists of Daniel Hare on upright bass, sisters Hannah and Caroline Melby on fiddle and mandolin respectively, and Clay Lezon on lead guitar, all ranging from ages 19-24. Recently added to the group is Ben Matthis who brings vocals and guitar to the unique sound of this young band. The original group comes from Starkville, Mississippi; the band strives to artfully bridge the gap between country music and traditional bluegrass. On January 24, 2008, the band was awarded for their diligence when they won the 2008 Colgate Country Showdown. Nash Street won the title “Best New Act in Country Music”.
I was there when they won the prestigious award and sat down with them recently to catch up on life after winning and to see what has transpired since and what is looming in the future.
Bev: It is so great to see you all again, tell me what all has been going on since you won Colgate Country Showdown?
Daniel: Well, there’s been quite a bit. Where do we start? Do you want to talk about right after the win?
Hanna: Right after the win we had a lot of momentum going and we tried to go with that. We took a year off from college, because it was hard to balance school and work; it proved to be really beneficial because we wrote a lot, got to tour and gained a lot of exposure in magazines, which was really fun to see.
Caroline: Since then we have recorded three songs and we’re working on an album, because our current one is two-years-old. Right now we are working on that, writing music and we have been in Nashville quite a bit. Hopefully we will be moving up here soon.
Clay: One of the big things we did was right after our win was to define who we were as a group and what our sound was. Now we are writing songs that truly show who we are and expanding our form and putting it into our current project, it is a lot of fun.
Daniel: When you are put on a national stage, such as the Colgate Showdown, more people know who you are. Before that you are not a recognized act, but a situation such as that gives you a bit of a reputation and you also have a tremendous amount of prize money which you can do whatever you want and can use it to benefit the group. There are so many fantastic musicians out there that are not in that position, which do not have that wonderful opportunity to get their name out there and also have the financial means to better their career. We hired a publicist who believed in our product and was also adequately able to help sell our product.
Bev: Think back to the Colgate Country Showdown, what was the scariest thing that happened during the competition?
Clay: During the finals, everyone was so excited to play at the Ryman Auditorium, but I wasn’t too bad about it; I was just looking forward to it. Nothing really hit me until we got down to the floor, and backstage and we’re getting ready to go on and the group before us was finishing up and I realized three of the four members were present and Hannah was not there. So we’re about to walk on stage for this national show, a live show, and we did not have all the members of the group. We look up and she is in the balcony just looking over and waving and it’s like “[gasp] oh no!”
Hannah: I had been watching the other people because we had become friends with all of them and I wanted to watch them play. We had rehearsed it that we were number five, but then they had moved us up to number three or four and so I was not even planning it and all of a sudden I heard next up Nash Street, I was panicking!
Clay: She ran all they way down and just as we were walking on stage she scurried up to the stage and scooted on. That was when the nerves really hit me. That was my nervous moment right there.
Bev: During the minutes just before they called your name, what thoughts were going through your heads?
Hannah: I think none of us really expected to win because there were so many great acts. I was thinking it was a toss-up, anyone could win at this moment and I think when they called our name at first it was like a second of “WHAT!?...Could you repeat that!?” and then it was sheer excitement and shock and a you do not believe it kind of feeling. It really was over-whelming. To be such an amazing contest and then you’re standing on the Ryman and then Leann Rimes calls out your name and then you see the check it was just one thing right after another.
Bev: As you are song writing, do you have certain kinds of songs you’re looking for? Is there a theme to your upcoming project?
Hannah: I don’t think we have gotten that far yet. The three songs we have are a mixture. Caroline and Clay are the main two writers and one of the three songs we recorded is called “Honeysuckle Kiss” and it is a real southern love song. We have tried to write a lot and it is finding that fine line between blue grass and country and we are trying to wash that line out.
Daniel: We’ve heard advice on both levels; one side says “you have defined your sound you have to become bluegrass or country” and then we have heard you do not really have to do that. We like to mix it up and have something surprising on every track. I know personally, I do not like to sound the same. I am not influenced by one type of music and it is hard for me to listen to a blues song or classical music and then write a strictly bluegrass or strictly country song. I think we try to write a smorgasbord of music.
Bev: Speaking of influences, who are your top influences?
Hannah: I would say Nickel Creek would be a good one because their music really brought young people back into bluegrass and Little Big Town has great harmonies.
Caroline: I think Sugarland has influenced our performance because they are such great entertainers and you want to bring that excitement to the audience. Watching them you are just drawn in and cannot wait for the next song. We tend to think the audience can relate to the songs and when they do, and we hear them tell us a particular song really touched them or this song made them laugh, and then we achieved what we wanted.
Clay: I would say being a guitar player; I would say a lot of guitar players are my influence. Before I joined the band, it was artists like Eric Clapton, BB King, blues musicians and now it is Cody Kilby, Ryan Sutton and I find I like more acoustic bass. Tommy Manuel, The Beatles, All different types of music. I don’t consider myself a songwriter, but you pick up on the different songwriting styles.
Daniel: I really connect with anybody in music that can really put their heart and soul into their music, it does not really matter what kind of song it is. I enjoy listening to AC/DC, Johnny Lange, the blues, and bluegrass. Anybody who has fun with what they are doing and believes in what they are doing then it really comes across in the music. I like to think I am putting that out in our shows where I enjoy myself on stage and people enjoy our music along with us.
Bev: What are the most obscure and strangest questions you’ve gotten so far from fans or people attending your show?
Daniel: A girl had asked me to sign her chest and I was like fourteen at the time. I was like uhhh, I will sign your stomach. That was a fun one. One lady wanted to run her fingers through my golden locks of hair at one show!
Hannah: I told her she could!
Daniel: Hannah was just like “oh yeah go ahead” and I just look at her like what are you doing!? And this lady just ran her fingers through my hair. I had long curly hair at the time. It was a little weird. Clay square danced with a lady at our show, he put down his guitar right in the middle of a lick and he jumped down as we were playing and started square dancing.
Caroline: It was right in the middle of a song and it was kind of a dead crowd and he said next person that gets up and dances, I’m going to come down and dance with you and this lady jumped up and immediately started dancing. So he sat his guitar down and ran down there.
Bev: What’s next on the big agenda? Do you have anything really big happening?
Hannah: We have a pretty big show coming up in Huntsville, Alabama called Big Spring Jam. It has a bunch of stages as I understand it, we are opening up for Sara Evans and John Anderson, and it is going to be a really great show. It is close enough to home that some our fans, family and friends can come.
Bev: Are you all from the same town?
Hannah: Well, close. Clays from a town an hour away from us.
Bev: So how did you all get together as a group?
Hannah: The band was formed in 1996 when the gentleman who taught me fiddle decided to get a band together. We played square dances, churches and similar events. Daniel joined the band about four years later and played the bass and Caroline would follow the band around (she is my little sister) and finally she decided that she was just tired of sitting there in the audience and decided to pick up the mandolin, so she joined. I was in Wal-Mart and found Clay and was like “Are you playing with anybody?” we were looking for a new guitar player and he said no; so I asked “what are you doing tomorrow
Bev: Do you have a projected date in mind for when you will have this project completed?
Daniel: Not a specific date; but we’d like to aim for early 2010.
Bev: What has been the most exciting thing you have experienced as a group; as far as the publicity and getting your name out there?
Hannah: Recently we played our hometown at a Mississippi State University’s football game. We did the half time show with the band and that was really cool. It was one of the most exciting things I have ever done. To hear them playing songs that you wrote and watching the crowd. There was something like 52,000 people there and it was the largest crowd MSU has ever had. It was also special because it was the first home game, so of course everybody comes back and we saw friends and family that we haven’t gotten to see in a long time who were also there and we got the chance to hang out with them as well.
Bev: What has been the most unexpected thing that’s has come of all of this that you really had no idea could ever happen?
Caroline: Hannah’s broken wrist.
Bev: How did you break your wrist?!
Hannah: I just slipped and fell on a muddy hill. I had been wearing spike heels all night and when I put some flip flops on, that’s when I fell.
Daniel: One of the most surprising things we have done is when we played on WGN in Chicago. We did a news show and we spent a couple days driving around sight seeing. As a kid that was one of the things I never thought I would get to do, so that was really a lot of fun. It was icy cold but it was a great time.
Clay: The most unexpected thing for me is being recognized by people. We have begun to randomly be approached by people and that’s weird for me. I am used to just playing music and just enjoying music and then actually being recognized and people saying “hey we saw you on television and you did a great job”; to me that’s weird.
Hannah: It is a good weird. It is really neat because then you know that you have touched someone. You know they have heard your song and really like it or they can relate to it. That is a special feeling when you see them smiling.
Daniel: We’ve all been touched by music, but then we realize that some of the music we make actually touches people in the way musicians touch us, that is pretty neat. That is unexpected. That is a different level than just playing music.
Hannah: Seeing people sing your songs, that is cool. I remember listening to a Garth Brooks live album and you know how he stops and you can just hear the crowd sing it back to him. I have always wondered what that must feel like. We do not have that kind of Garth Brooks status, but even with a small crowd when you see people out there singing your song that is very cool!
Bev: Have you been involved in any videos yet?
Daniel: We recently did a promotional video to send out to festivals and to create interest in bookings. It was a fun performance and all of our friends were there cheering us on. They were singing songs and the camera was panning on them. It was a lot of fun.
Bev: Was there anything during the making of the video process that surprised you? Something that you didn’t know how that worked?
Hannah: The whole thing!
Caroline: I got tired of doing it over and over and over again.
Hannah: I guess for some reason, I just thought you played the song live.
Daniel: You find yourself acting. There are things you just would not normally do if you were on a stage performing.
Bev: As far as photo shoots, is that something you are all comfortable with or is that something that has taken a little bit of getting used to?
Hannah: (pointing and laughing at Clay) Clay’s just been the one who says “I’ll just be in the back.”
Clay: We have done a few photo shoots around the house and around our town, but now we do take a lot of photos. I guess it just comes with it. It is funny in a way, because when we go to take photos with our families I will notice I am doing the same smile.
Bev: Are you pre-releasing any songs right now as you continue to prepare for the CD?
Caroline: The three songs we recorded are on Itunes.
Bev: I assume you also use Facebook and the Myspace?
Hanna: And the website www.NashStreet.com
Bev: Do you do any chat’s or forums that you actually get on there and participate?
Clay: We haven’t done that yet, but we were talking about that a while back and finding different ways to improve our website.
Hanna: We check them almost every day. Fans will send us emails or write on our wall and we respond to it. We love to get mail. We have our music available on Itunes and Café Press.
Hannah: We have not done twitter yet. We were going to, but somebody already did Nash Street, So we will have to do Nash Street official or something else I guess.
Bev: Do you think all of the social websites take away somewhat from being anonymous? Or do you want to be very approachable?
Clay: I think you can draw the line on being approachable. You can be approachable in many different ways. I am more of a private person than twitter will allow; for example I like the idea of using it for a promotional aspect like when Sugarland said they taped two tickets under the table at a Starbucks downtown or something like that. As far as “I’m eating breakfast” it’s like who cares. Nobody cares about that sort of thing.
Daniel: We like to do be approachable. We enjoy spending time at our merchandise table and actually be able to talk to people and share with them our musical experiences and all we’ve done. I have met a lot of friends here in Nashville just being able to talk to people.
Bev: Everyone, it has been wonderful catching up with you. I am excited to visit with you again this Spring when the new CD is completed and hopefully catch a show or two before then.
Nash Street: Thank you for coming to visit us and we hope you do come out to a show soon!
For more information on Nash Street visit www.NashStreet.com or www.myspace.com/NashStreet

INTERVIEW: RAZZY BAILY

In an excerpt from the biography on his profile, it describes Razzy Bailey as “an exciting performer, and a songwriter/producer worthy in rank among the all-time classic American songwriters and producers, someone whose brilliant songs transcend the borders of music. He is one of country music's most eloquent and enduring poets, and one of pop and southern rock music's most gifted artists. He also has the qualities that any rhythm and blues ratios worth his blood, sweat, and tears must have: compassion, urgency, unrestricted vision, and a soulful heartbeat.” I don’t think I could have described this man any better. I had an amazing chat with this man during CMA Music Festival this year and took the opportunity to learn about what makes him most happy and discovered a mutual passion we share.

Bev: Have you been enjoying the CMA Music Fan Festival?

Razzy: I sure have. It is the first one I have been at in a few years. It is a lot different than it was, it is a lot better. We were just talking about how hot it used to be. You would just get out there and melt. It is much more comfortable.

Bev: What have you been doing the past year or so?

Razzy: I have had a recording studio for ten years now and I have been doing a lot of things in there. I have been doing a lot of writing and producing, working on my own things. We have been working on this new album for about two years off and on, not every day. We have been making decisions about what songs we want to put on there. I have been doing some dates, writing some songs, the regular old “Razzy” thing.

Bev: Are you producing other artists or just producing your own projects?

Razzy: I produce some people as well.

Bev: Any names you want to drop

Razzy: No. I haven’t produced anybody with names lately. In the beginning I did some of the early stuff on the guys that did “Your Daddy’s Money”…Ricochet.

Bev: Do you have a studio in your home or a studio that you use elsewhere?

Razzy: I have a studio that was originally a house and we turned it into a studio. My studio is in Goodlettsville, 225 Cartwright. The whole thing is a studio.

Bev: Have you gotten into the MySpace, Twitter and all?

Razzy: Yes, we are on MySpace, Facebook, Twitter.

Bev: Do you twitter yourself or do you someone else do it for you?

Razzy: I have someone else doing most of it because I am just learning how.

Bev: You come from a completely different era. How do you see all this technology with Twitter, Facebook and so on affecting the music world?

Razzy: I love it. I love the technology they have and I think it is a whole new opportunity for independent artists. There are a lot of people that wouldn’t sign with a major label if they could, because they are doing so well on the internet selling their products.

Bev: Are you a promoter of one or the other; would you prefer to be on a label or would you prefer to be independent?

Razzy: At this point in my life and what I am doing musically, I prefer to be on my own label because the majors tell you what to do and they kill your creativity in a lot of cases. They have a preset idea of what they are going to develop you into. I would resent that a lot at my age. I like to do what I feel good about, what I feel natural with and what I feel like I can communicate to the audience.

Bev: What do you enjoy doing in your time off?

Razzy: I like photography. I like to get out and ride through the country or ride the town. Hypothetically, if we were talking about New Orleans, I would try to get some local scenes that would represent New Orleans. Just some things that are native to that region. I like to photograph crazy things. I went on a spin there for a while that I was photographing doors, all types of old and rusty doors and things on barns. I like to do candid shots because people can pose for the camera, but that is their camera face.

I went to visit my wife’s father, he passed away but he was in the nursing home at the time. We went on Sunday and they had a guy come in and preach. There was a row of old ladies just sitting in a row in chairs by themselves and they all had on these crazy colored socks and shoes and things like that. I just took a shot of the row of their feet and it is such a cool shot.

Bev: That is so cool, that is the kind of stuff I like, things that no one else would notice.

Razzy: If I may, I would like to tell one more photograph story. I got interested in photography in the early 1980s and started taking pictures and it seemed like my songwriting improved. I made the statement to my wife at the time and said “it doesn’t make sense but it seems to me like since I got interested in pictures, I can write songs better.” Sure enough, there is a correlation there. What it is, is the concept. You study the concept of what you want to get in the camera and you get in the habit of that. Then when you write a song, you know how to keep that concept.

Bev: I agree 100%. It is a picture in your mind and you put it into words. Do you publish any of your photos or sell any of them?

Razzy: I have had a lot of people ask me to over the years and they wanted to do some art shows on me and show them up in Hendersonville. Just seems like I never really have time to get them together, but maybe one of these days I will.

Bev: Getting back to the music, what projects are you working on?

Razzy: I have finished my album and now we are trying to get the promotion out on the album and make people aware of it. We use the internet a lot to promote it. Hopefully we will be doing more dates. We are getting more dates on the book. I want to get out and play shows and promote the album.

Bev: Do you prefer to play festivals, the big venues or do you like small, intimate venues?

Razzy: I like to play listening rooms, I don’t mean where people can’t talk. I am sort of burned out on bars and the cigarette smoke and all that stuff. I have done that for so many years that I just as soon play where there is no cigarette smoke. I like to play places where they dance, but not the Honky Tonks. I enjoy casinos, because if you play there for a week, you just do your shows, go upstairs and get some rest and you don’t have to do as much traveling.

Bev: Over the years, have you had one song that the fans request most often?

Razzy: I would say it is “9,999,999 Tears” even though I didn’t have the hit on it. That is a song that gave me my break. People still talk about it. The other ones are “Friends” and “Midnight Hauler”. Those are the most requested ones.

Bev: Is there a favorite that you have that you like to perform that maybe is not a requested song?

Razzy: It is usually the newest thing I have written. I love to do my new songs because I get excited when we write one. We write all the time.

Bev: You say “we”, do you have a co-writer that you write with most of the time?

Razzy: Different ones, me and Ben write some together. I was writing with Jennifer Brantley. We were doing a lot of co-writing and before her I was writing with another girl that moved back to Louisiana. Now I write with a guy named Joe Downey. I don’t like to write with the people that have been going to the songwriter things. I don’t think it is a good thing for the new novice coming to town to belong to those songwriter deals. I think they really confuse them, so when I sit down to write, they say you can’t do that and you can’t do this. I say why can’t you? Why can’t you write the song the way you want to write it? That has always been my way, to write the song the way I feel it, and not go by what some instructor, that has never had a hit song and never been acquainted with a hit tells everyone how to write and how not to write. I have been to some of those meetings and they will take a good song, not a bad song and chop it down so bad. They take pleasure in ripping it apart. I have always been the type of person, I work better on compliments. I don’t mind when people say I don’t really like this song, I like something else better. I can take criticism but I can’t take solid put downs all the time. I say “what’s the use, this guy just doesn’t see what I am doing.”

Bev: When you write, do you have a specific method you use? Do you jot down notes as you are going or when you sit down you are like an open book and you just let things flow out?

Razzy: I do it both ways. A lot of times I get a hook line in mind, I will see something happen or hear someone say something and I think that is a good line for a song, I write it down. Most of the time, I just pick up the guitar and then just sort of let myself channel and something will come to me. I heard one writer say he gets up every morning and turns on his laptop and words just start coming to him. I am the type person that if I had a writing appointment for next Tuesday from 2-4pm, I would have something to write about.

Bev: Out of all the people you have worked with in the past, is there a favorite that you like to perform with?

Razzy: Willie Nelson. Willie has been such an inspiration to me. I liked Willie Nelson music back in the 1970s when nobody would listen to him. They would say he sounded like someone stepping on a cat’s tail. I lived down in Macon, Georgia at the time and I started listening to Willie back in the 1960s. He had a song called “Black Jack County Chain” and he got a lot of play in the little town we lived in. I don’t know if it ever made it to major radio or not but after that, every time I heard a Willie Nelson song I would say “oh wow”.

There was a lady in a record store in Atlanta that found out I liked Willie Nelson and she was doing some of my independent stuff for me on the jukeboxes. Every time she would get a Willie Nelson sample in, she would save it for me. She would say I can’t sell it so I will give you all the Willie Nelsons I get. By the time others got caught up to Willie, I already had a good Willie Nelson collection.

Bev: How young were you when you started? How did that all happen?

Razzy: Are you talking about playing music in clubs? I was about 15 probably. I always wanted to be a musician and Daddy played the guitar a little bit. He always inspired me to do that. When I was 12, Momma got me a harmonica and I started playing it some. Then I finally got a guitar and started learning to play it. There were a lot of musicians that lived in a 10 mile radius of where I lived, hobby musicians and I would get together with them. Then, Daddy got me lined up with two different radio stations so we started doing two regular radio shows, one in Roanoke, AL and one in West Point, GA. We would do one and then drive to the other. Then there was another guy that had a radio show and he heard me play and he wanted me to play at dances with him. So we started playing dances. Back then they called it “Round” and "Square” dancing. They had Jitterbug and Rockabilly. It just kept going from there.

Bev: Compared to how you started and how the new young artists, what do you see as being different?

Razzy: I wasn’t around a whole lot of other people that was trying to get started. I was just trying to get started myself. Now I knew Freddy Weller and Joe South. They were at Lowry Music. I took songs up there and I understood it was a process you had to go through. You had to keep trying and keep doing something but now, the people I work with in the studio are very impatient. They get really mad if they don’t get a deal right away.

I worked with a girl for eight months and we cut an album. I took it and shopped her to RCA and those labels down there and they said because of the economy they weren’t signing anyone even though they liked her singing. I went back and she got real mad at me because I didn’t get her a deal. She said she had to have a deal. I told her that if she had to have a deal, then she would have to do it herself. I told her I could get her an independent deal but she didn’t want that, she wanted to be on the majors. That is typical.

The last eight to ten kids I have worked with, I tell them it is going to be hard. It is a thing that no matter what you tell them, they don’t do it and then when they find out they don’t make it overnight, most of them get discouraged, get mad. I think because of the nature of promotion today, people do get a lot quicker breaks. If the guy is real good looking and got muscles, tight fitting jeans, he has a chance-it is a visual thing. If you look at guys years ago like Ernest Tubb, they would have never made it. Ernest Tubb was a great artist; he had a great longevity until he died.

Bev: Going back to your new song. You have a single out on it now?

Razzy: The new single is “Hank Wrote That” and it was written by me and Ben. I have already mailed it out to some stations to see how they react to it. We are getting some air play on that one too.

Bev: Are you doing the digital downloads?

Razzy: Yes, they can order the CD from CD Baby, Amazon or Top Spin. We have them in Ernest Tubb Record Shop, they have four shops. We are promoting the single by video on You tube. Top Spin Media has signed me and I will be their first country artist to promote.

Bev: It has been a pleasure talking to you. I cannot wait to see some of your photography work and I look forward to the music.

Razzy: Thank you! I would love to see some of your work as well.

For more information on Razzy Bailey please visit www.razzybailey.com.