Archives for category: Grand Ole Opry

JIM ED BROWN Returns To Grand Ole Opry® On January 30 & 31 Following Four-Month Absence

photo - Anna OConner

photo – Anna OConner

With Cancer in Remission, Legend Celebrates New CD With Opry Store Signing

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (January 28, 2015) – Living legend JIM ED BROWN returns to the stage of the Grand Ole Opry on Friday, January 30 and Saturday, January 31, following a four-month absence for treatment of lung cancer. Brown will appear both nights during the 8:45 p.m. CT segment, and will sign copies of his new CD, IN STYLE AGAIN, at the Opry Store on Saturday from 9:15-10 p.m. Fans can listen to the performances live as they stream on wsmonline.com.

Brown was given an “all clear” by his doctors on January 19. “I am in remission,” he stated. “There are not enough thanks for the prayers, well wishes, and support I’ve received during the toughest time of my life. I am so grateful.”

The gracious star was invited to join the Opry in 1963, when Ernest Tubb asked Jim Ed and his sisters Maxine and Bonnie, to join the august establishment as The Browns. As a 50-plus year member, Brown considers the Opry his “second home,” and can think of no better place to re-launch his remarkable stage shows.

The excitement Jim Ed feels at returning to the road is matched by reviewers’ enthusiasm for his new CD:

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Jim Ed Brown discusses new project completed with a little help from some friends.

JimEdBrown_InStyleAgain_cover_lrgI’ll tell you one thing, the roots of Country music are deep and strong and great.” – Jim Ed Brown

Jim Ed Brown just released In Style Again [Plowboy Records] yesterday capping a milestone that began with his recent recognition by the Grand Ole Opry for his fifty years as a member of that distinguished group.

Helmed by Producer Don Cusic, In Style Again features his sister Bonnie Brown who was there when it all began along with sister, Maxine as The Browns in the Louisiana Hayride years when Elvis Presley would hang out at the family house in Arkansas.

The Browns 1959 hit “The Three Bells” was a million seller topping the charts when AM Radio ruled the airwaves as a crossover hit on all three major charts: Pop, Country and Rhythm and Blues when that was a rare occurrence.

Jim Ed Brown and Helen Cornelius shine on “Don’t Let Me Cross Over” as well as guest spots by Vince Gill on “Tried and True.” Bluegrass icons The Whites take on “You Again” with Jim Ed Brown.

The Bobby Bare produced cut “In Style Again” featuring Nashville guitar ace Brent Mason is included as well as new material recorded at Sound Emporium with Chris Scruggs on Pedal Steel and Dave Roe [Johnny Cash} on bass and an all-star session line-up.

In Style Again spotlights Jim Ed Brown at the top of his game with pristine production that rivals latter day works by Loretta Lynn, Porter Wagoner, Charlie Louvin and Ray Price.

There is solid interest in hearing works by the masters within the Music Row Chart stations, Americana formats as well as Indie formats where even modern Country radio has taken notice.

That could have been the reason it was time after thirty years to drop a great album, but the story really begins with a friendship with Shannon Pollard at Plowboy Records. Jim Ed Brown shared the story with The Nashville Bridge.

Brad Hardisty / The Nashville Bridge: The original Bobby Bare produced single that featured Brent Mason on guitar “In Style Again” was released over a year ago and really got things going again, didn’t it?

photo - Pete Mroz

photo – Pete Mroz

Jim Ed Brown: You know that that was a number one song around the country in the secondary radio [Music Row Charts] stations. Wasn’t that great?

TNB: Fantastic! Did Bobby Bare work with you on the new album?

JEB: The only thing Bobby did was “In Style Again.” Don Cusic produced most of the songs on the new album.

TNB: The single came out when you received recognition by The Grand Ole Opry for fifty years as a member of that distinguished organization and your life time achievements. Was that the catalyst for this project?

JEB: Well, you know, not really. The reason for the album was I was friends with Eddy Arnold and Eddy Arnold, when he passed away, he left his Grandson [Shannon Pollard] in charge of the trust and he wanted to start a record label. Knowing his Grandfather and some of the songs that Eddy had done through the years, I was talking to him one day. He is out here in Brentwood and so am I. We were just talking and one thing lead to another and the first thing you know here I had a contract in my hand and we were making records. Making something new, doing recording.

TNB: You may be riding the crest of a time when people start to look at the roots of what Country music is. What do you think?

photo - Anna OConner

photo – Anna OConner

JEB: I’ll tell you one thing, the roots of Country music are deep and strong and great. In Style Again is going to be released January the 20th. Right now there is a single out there called “When The Sun Says Hello To The Mountain.” [featuring sister, Bonnie Brown]

TNB: That was great that your sister Bonnie was able to be a part of this project.

JEB: Maxine [Brown] was going to come into Nashville but she was unable to. She was under the weather and Bonnie came in and did Maxine’s part as well as her part and you know what? You can’t tell the difference in them. I won’t deny that’s me because it sure sounds like me, doesn’t it.

TNB: Having Bonnie on there was a great idea. You also did a duet with Helen Cornelius, right?

JEB: Also, Vince Gill is on there. The Whites are on there.

TNB: The album sounds great! Are you going to try to get out and do some more shows in 2015?

photo - Roberto Cabral

photo – Roberto Cabral

JEB: Oh yeah. I am already booked on quite a few shows for this year. In fact, I start like February the 9th I think it is at The Florida State Fair so there on the 9th and then quite a few dates. I’ll do about 40 dates this year maybe 50.

TNB: Great, is the Grand Ole Opry going to be in that group?

JEB: You better know it, because I love the Grand Ole Opry.

TNB: Do you know what date you are going to be on there yet?

JEB: I do not. I’m thinking not this weekend but maybe next. I’m thinking seriously about it.

TNB: That would be great. I was going to say we have had a lot of members pass away. Little Jimmy Dickens was kind of the Elder Statesman. That puts you pretty close to that position in the Grand Ole Opry now.

JEB: Well, you know what? I don’t know what position I’m in Brad but, I love the Grand Ole Opry and as long as I can, I will continue to do the Grand Ole Opry.

TNB: It’s kind of a big Elvis year too. They have the 80th Birthday thing going on and I think you have some of the best stories I have read about Elvis hanging out at your house back in the Louisiana Hayride era.

JEB: He was a good friend. You know we helped get him started. I hear that they are selling both of his airplanes and some of his other things and that is a big auction. Elvis was a great Entertainer. If I would have known he was going to be as great as he was, I would have got him to sign a life time contract whenever we were working together.

TNB: When you get out on the road, are you going to do any shows with Helen Cornelius?

JEB: I will. Helen Cornelius will be at the Florida State Fair. We will definitely be doing some shows together.

TNB: Also, will you be continuing your radio show Country Music Greats Radio Hour?

photo - Pete Mroz

photo – Pete Mroz

JEB: I sure will. I love that show, it gives me the opportunity to play some old records and some things from the people that’s passed and tell some stories not only about the songs but about the Artists that recorded them. It is a fun show for me.

TNB: I wish you all the success.

  • Brad Hardisty, Nashville, TN     thenashvillebridgeathotmaildotcom

Friday night, Due West will hit the stage of The Grand Ole Opry for the first time. Due West is built like a brick house from the ground up, all three, Tim Gates, Brad Hull and Matt Lopez are accomplished musicians, songwriters, vocalists and performers.

 Due West have been paying their dues over the last few years, from playing on three stools in an intimate venue to rocking some of the biggest stages between Nashville and the Rocky Mountain West.

all photos courtesy Black River Entertainment

Currently, their single, “Things You Can’t Do In A Car” is #43 on the Mediabase charts.

 For Due West, it looks like the time is now.

 You could start with songwriting skills that quickly earned all three Publishing deals and help define their fresh, unique sound. You could start with Producer Garth Fundis, whose credits include Keith Whitley, Don Williams, Trisha Yearwood and Sugarland. Anyone who has heard them sing will tell you that the place to start with Due West is with their vocals, collectively a three-lane road to magic.

 It happened the first time they ever sang together when old friends Matt Lopez and Brad Hull met Tim Gates at a party. The three started harmonizing and the other attendees—Music Row stars, newcomers, and friends—kept asking how long they’d been a group. It’s been happening ever since as they’ve toured the country, visiting radio stations and playing for appreciative audiences along the way.

 “We’ve been told that when we sing harmony, it’s something special, “says Brad, “and we’ve learned to believe it.”

Tim Gates

“It just seems like anytime we play live,” adds Tim, “we usually end up with some long-term fans.”

 That phenomenon is about to get much bigger as Due West puts the finishing touches on new material, being released on Black River Entertainment in 2012, that is already garnering industry buzz.

 “The energy is definitely there,” says Matt. “We’re at a new label with new music. This is all about new beginnings.” They’re especially excited about the chance to work with legendary producer Garth Fundis and engineers Chad Carlson and Chuck Ainlay. Carlson and Ainlay engineered all of Taylor Swift’s work and some of Ainlay’s most recent credits include producing and engineering Miranda Lambert’s Four The Record and engineering Lionel Richie’s Tuskegee.

 Producer Garth Fundis says of the time spent in the studio, “This is one of the most fun and creative musical experiences I’ve had in a recording studio,” he says. “And we’ve only just begun.”

 The Nashville Bridge caught up with Due West just a few days before their turn on the Grand Ole Opry Stage to find out a few things about the Nashville tri-powered roof raisers!

 What should we know about Due West?

Matt Lopez

Matt: Due West is a vocal trio.

Tim: We love what we do, and have a good time doing it.

Brad:  Due West is a group of 3 guys who came from 3 different small towns in the Western U.S., but met in Nashville and became instant brothers from a musical standpoint.  We LOVE vocal harmony and we’ve talked about how amazing it is that when we “lock in” on a chord, we can not only hear it but we can feel it… We hope that the harmony we sing will pay homage to the great vocal groups of the past and pave a way for harmony to be a part of the future of country music.

Favorite concert stop so far? What happened?

Matt: The Gallivan Center in Salt Lake City was my favorite so far. It was a large super-energetic crowd, and a nice big stage to run around on!

Tim:  “The Crystal Palace” (The home of Buck Owens) in Bakersfield California.  Not only was it our first time playing there, but it was our first full band show this year after a long run of radio visits. It was a huge honor to play on that stage. 

Brad Hull

Brad:  We recently played a promotional show at a Kentucky Ford dealership in front of a few hundred radio station listeners.  The promotion would be giving away a 1 year truck lease to the grand prize winner and we were there to play our song “Things You Can’t Do In a Car” from the beds of 3 brand new pick-ups as the entertainment part of the promotion.  The gig was fun, but the coolest moment was when an unsuspecting crowd member won the grand prize.  Something in her eyes seemed to let us know how much of a blessing this prize was to her and how much it was needed in her life.  Obviously, I think anybody wouldn’t mind winning something like that, but we could tell that this was more special than that.  I looked at Matt and Tim as the M.C. called this woman’s name and there couldn’t have been 2 bigger smiles in the whole place!  I looked over at our tour manager and he had big tears in his eyes.  It’s cool to see our music change people’s lives, even if it’s indirectly, that’s the reward.

Biggest musical influences?

Matt: The Beatles, Diamond Rio & Boyz II Men

Tim:  Keith Whitley, Steve Wariner, George Strait and Randy Travis

Brad:  My musical influences span over a few different genres and really come from any musical experience that moves me, but I would say that George Strait and Brian McKnight would be two artists that I’ve really latched onto and drawn influence from. 

If you could only pick three albums out of your collection, what would they be?

Matt: James Taylor – Greatest Hits, Michael Jackson – History, Mark Nesler – I’m Just That Way

Tim: Bellamy Brothers – Rebels Without A Clue/ Steve Wariner- Life’s Highway/ Keith Whitley- Don’t Close Your Eyes

Brad:  George Strait – #7, Brad Paisley – Part Two, Dierks Bentley – Modern Day Drifter

Which guitar or piece of gear you can’t live without?

Matt: My Larivee D10-E acoustic guitar.

Tim: Definitely my iPhone.   

Brad:  A good tuner.  I can’t STAND to listen to out-of-tune guitars!  I think that makes me a little paranoid and keeps me tuning constantly.

Favorite song you have written so far?

Matt: “Love’s Lookin’ Good On You” – recorded by Lady Antebellum.

Tim: “Day Over Beautiful”- its a song that I wrote about my wife. 

Brad:  “So Long, My Friend.”  It may never be heard by the masses but I can never play that song without feeling the emotion I felt when I wrote it, I think because it came from a true, personal place.

Favorite place to eat in Nashville?

Matt: Chuy’s Mexican restaurant.

Tim:  Sushiyobi

Brad:  Sushiyobi.  Matt and Tim told me for YEARS that I would love sushi if I’d just try it, but it was my wife who finally got me to try it.  Of all the sushi restaurants I’ve been to across the U.S., Sushiyobi here in Nashville is still my fave!

What are your thoughts about playing the Grand Ole Opry for the first time?

Matt: Because it’s such an amazing honor and privilege, I’m trying to play it way down in my head; so that I don’t get freaked out and keel over dead on the stage!

Tim:  Just like my first kiss, or the first time I sat behind the wheel of a car, I get butterflies.    It’s gonna be a great experience!! 

Brad:  It is a dream come true for me.  I love the history and tradition of the Opry and I honor that.  I can’t wait to step inside of the “circle” and soak in that moment.  I have a lot of friends from my home town in Arizona who, without me even saying what a big deal it is, knew instantly that the opportunity to play the Opry is a HUGE deal!  They will all be there on Friday night to cheer us on.  I cannot wait!

– Brad Hardisty, Nashville, TN     thenashvillebridge@hotmail.com