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Entertainment News

Monday, 22 February, 2010 11:33 AM

CMA New Artist Spotlight: 'Derek Sholl'

Photo by Goldy Locks (The Factory Photography)

Derek Sholl

By Bob Doerschuk
© 2010 CMA Close Up News Service

As a toddler back in Torrance, Calif., Derek Sholl knew what he wanted to do with his life from the moment he uttered his first word: “Ball.” This former pro baseball player might have added “sing” as an afterthought. After all, that’s what he does on his newly released self-titled album, produced by Austin Deptula, Chris Estes, Greg Hunt, Tim Johnson and Gary Leach and distributed by The Orchard.

Sholl’s renditions of Alan Jackson and Randy Travis hits in the clubhouse and in the dugout won encouragement from his teammates to think seriously about pursuing Country Music during the off-season. When an Achilles tendon tear thwarted his shot with the Kansas City Royals, he followed that advice, though as a full-time occupation.

As a solo performer and with a band in Las Vegas, he caught the ear of Jay Leno, who signed Sholl to open for him at The Mirage.

The qualities that won Leno’s attention transfer into all 13 tracks of Derek Sholl. First among these is an upbeat personality and infectious, self-deprecating humor, especially on “Poor Man’s Miracle,” one of Sholl’s five co-writes with Sarah Thiele, and the Connie Harrington and Lee Thomas Miller song “Now and Her Driveway,” on which his comic timing is razor-sharp. Yet he’s also capable of delivering a romantic lyric, as on his singles, the mid-tempo “Here,” written by David Brainard, Greg Becker and Dan Crouch, and the power ballad “But It Was,” by Joe Doyle and Tim Johnson, though with a pebble-skimming, grinning feel that’s about as Country as sandlot baseball on a summer afternoon.

Sholl has also collaborated with Random House by tying his video for "When They Come Back," which he wrote with Tim Johnson, to their campaign for their new book, Shadow of the Sword, by Jeremiah Workman.

IN HIS OWN WORDS Q&A

MUSICAL HERO
“James Taylor.”

DREAM DUET PARTNER
“Martina McBride.”

LUCKY CHARM
“Anything with horseshoes on it — especially my horseshoe necklace.”

FAVORITE FOOD ON THE ROAD
“Hands down, Outback Steakhouse.”

SONG YOU SING IN THESHOWER
“The national anthem.”

FAVORITE READING
“The sports page.”

CD IN YOUR STEREO
“Jamey Johnson, That Lonesome Song. ‘In Color’ is one of my new favorites!”

PET PEEVE
“My food getting cold and waiters/waitresses that don’t write down your order then screw it up.”

MOMENT YOU’D LOVE TO RELIVE
“High school football. Not to change anything, just really loved those Friday nights under the lights.”

GREATEST PERFORMANCE
“Probably my first national anthem before an Anaheim Mighty Ducks game. Barely rehearsed (except for the shower time), a little unsure about the vocal range in that song, and somehow pulled it off.”

On the Web: www.DerekSholl.com

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