Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Jack Ingram Has A Record And A Record

Jack Ingram is in the midst of a Guinness World Record breaking attempt to complete the most interviews in a 24-hour period. (By the time you read this he may be done.) From what I can gather, the record is 90-some interviews and Jack will shatter it with a scheduled 200+ interviews.

The reason for Jack's marathon media schedule is the release of "Big Dreams & High Hopes," a fine album that I highly recommend, which is in stores today (Aug. 25).

I watched a bit of Jack's back to back interviews on CMT.com, which is streaming video of the event. I tuned in when he talked to stations in Australia, which was pretty cool. I watched as Jack, framed by a New York bridge skyline, intelligently answered questions from DJs in Australia and then ended his segment with a somewhat inane back and forth with a jock somewhere here in the States.

For a guy that had been at it for 14 and some hours when I watched and listened, Jack was pretty durn lucid and on top of things. He was in good voice and treated each question, even the silly and repetitive ones like it was the first time he'd heard the question ever.

Texas artists who want to expand their horizons are often chastised in their home state and treated with skepticism outside of it, but Jack Ingram—long before he attempted this world record—is a man with ... wait for it ... "Big Dreams & High Hopes."

The great thing about Jack is that while he's willing to work hard to promote his record, he's also got a great record to promote.

Monday, August 24, 2009

I'm Way Overdue

Sometimes life gets in the way. It's been 11 days since I last posted a blog and I feel badly about it.

I do have some thoughts I want to share, but they'll have to wait a few more days. My day job(s), thankfully, has kept me quite busy.

More soon!

Thursday, August 13, 2009

'Spare Time Is Our Major Export'

Mac McAnallyMac McAnally via last.fm

A few months ago in what was my second post on this then newly created blog, I wrote of Mac McAnally's impending return via Toby Keith's Show Dog Nashville. Now Mac's album, "Down By The River," a wonderful set worthy of your attention, is finally out.

I recently talked to Mac for a story that runs in Billboard this week and found him as funny and self-deprecating as I had remembered him to be. “I’m going against my nature,” he said right off the bat. “I’m talking about myself today and I’m in New York City.

“I’ve actually gotten to where I like New York, but it took me a few decades,” he quickly added. “As cities go it’s a great city, but as a small town boy it just scared me to death for the first 25 years or so.”

The 52-year-old Mississippian was in New York to do press for the album and to produce some tracks with his longtime employer and friend Jimmy Buffett, who apparently has a home in New York. Who knew?

When I asked him about his first No. 1 single as an artist, which came earlier this year via his collaboration with Kenny Chesney on "Down The Road," he was typically humble. “Kenny drug me up the charts like an ankle weight," he said with a laugh. "That’s how big a star he is. He’s able to get there with me riding his back."

Mac's best individual chart performance as an artist was 1990’s “Back Where I Come From,” which reached No. 14 on Billboard's Hot Country Songs that year. Chesney also cut that song on 1996's "Me And You" and it became a concert favorite.

The album that both those songs came from was 1990's "Simple Life" on Warner Bros. Ten of the 11 songs on that collection have been cut by other artists, Mac told me.

While it's a shame that Mac hasn't had more hits as an artist, he has scored six No. 1s as a writer, no thanks to his lack of ability as a pitchman. "A couple of my buddies say that the only way they’re going to get one of my songs is to break into my car and steal them," he says. "I’m not good at pitching."

My favorite Mac story is how he told his family that he writes songs in his sleep, so it's best not to wake him during his afternoon naps for fear of interrupting the creation of a potential hit.

He swears it's true. "I’m such a stickler for telling the truth that I did write some songs in my sleep so that it wouldn’t be a made up story," he says. "For a Mississippian, where spare time is our major export and laziness is appreciated as an art form—I’ve actually written a few chart songs in my sleep—the fact that I’ve done so has lent enough validity to buy off all the rest of the naps I’ve needed to take between then and now and justify them as work."

I'm a fan of his work and I believe him. And henceforth I'll do my best to follow his foot, er, nap steps. Read quietly, I may be creating a masterpiece.

Reblog this post [with Zemanta]

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

America Loves The Funny, Fat White Dude

I may be a bit late to the party, but count me among Colt Ford's fans. I talked to Ford, who was on vacation with his family at Disney World, last week. I was impressed with him on a lot of levels—his work ethic and his ability to keep his ego in check, chief among them.

"Most country folks sing, but I couldn't so I'm rapping." That's a lyric from the title cut of Ford's album, "Ride Through The Country," which was released late last year on his own Average Joes Entertainment, but is gaining momentum thanks to his heavy touring schedule alone and with artists like Montgomery Gentry and Jason Aldean.

An intriguing amalgam of country lyrics laced with hip-hop beats, the album is faring well on Billboard's Top Country Albums chart. The sales ostensibly come thanks to heavy touring—Ford will do 200-plus dates this year—and not because of scattered radio airplay for the title cut/single, which features country star John Michael Montgomery. That's an interesting twist in a genre that is still heavily reliant on radio play.

"For whatever reason, America loves the funny, fat white dude and I'm in that category," Ford told me. "I'm just a 300-pound country boy who shops at Wal-Mart. I'm not singing a three-minute love song, but people like what I do."

There's another reason to like Ford. He's self-deprecating. That always scores points with me. "I like people," he says. "I’m not one of those introverted artists that likes to be deep and all that bullshit. It’s not brain surgery. It’s supposed to be fun. It ain’t diggin a ditch."

A country fan growing up, Ford later gravitated toward R&B and hip-hop. He eventually recorded an album with producer Jermaine Dupri (Mariah Carey, Usher) that never saw the light of day. "I'm glad it worked out the way it did," Ford says. "I might have made a million dollars, but it wouldn't have been authentic. At the end of the day, that's what music is about."

Despite his hip-hop leanings, Ford, a former professional golfer, describes himself as a country singer. "I hate the term 'country rap,' " he says. "It throws people off." What Ford does is more closely linked to the Charlie Daniels Band's "Devil Went Down To Georgia," which he performs in his shows. "That's what I do," he says.

Call him the liason between the Grand Ole Opry and BET. Ford's album includes guest performances by Jamey Johnson, Adrian Young of No Doubt, Jeremy Popoff of Lit, Bone Crusher, Attitude and Brantley Gilbert.

Who else does that? No one, which is another reason to love Colt Ford.

Reblog this post [with Zemanta]