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