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Entertainment News

Sunday, 21 October, 2007 12:10 PM

CMA New Artist Spotlight: Jason Meadows

PHOTO BY MELINDA NORRIS

Baccerstick recording artist Jason Meadows

By Bob Doerschuk
© 2007 CMA Close Up News Service

America got to know Jason Meadows as the young man with the chiseled good looks, self-deprecating charm and rugged but tuneful voice who made it all the way to second place in the third season of "Nashville Star." But though he looked and sounded right at home on a sleek stage set, bathed in a high-tech halo of spotlights, part of his charm was that sense that there was someplace else closer to his heart.

That place is Oklahoma, where living close to the land nurtured his twin interests in music and rodeos from the moment he was old enough to sing and ride. Meadows developed quickly in both areas, sharpening his skills as a calf roper with the Oklahoma Youth Rodeo Association while soaking up every note his cousin and grandfather would play on guitar, fiddle and harmonica.

By age 16, Meadows had developed his own vocal sound, based on Hank Williams Sr. and Jr., Merle Haggard, Buck Owens, Conway Twitty and other influences but shaped through his own emerging gifts as a songwriter. His reputation grew to the point that Reba McEntire, on the basis of recommendations from trusted friends, brought him to Nashville, where he scuffled on construction jobs to pay for the time it took before Nick Pellegrino agreed to produce his demos.

Those recordings won Meadows his shot on USA Network's "Nashville Star," which in turn opened the door to his album debut, 100% Cowboy, on Baccerstick Records. If that title doesn't say all you need to know, then the title track will, from the opening guitar, slithering like a rattler in the dust, to the pride behind the lyrics he wrote: "I'm not one of them posing pretty boys." And you'd better believe it.

IN HIS OWN WORDS:

Who is your musical hero?

"Chris LeDoux is someone who shines in my eyes as a musical hero. He stayed true to who he was. No one ever influenced him to the point of compromising the fiber of the man that he was. He was high energy and he put on one heck of a show. He played his own music with a fury and a fervor that you can't teach someone. It's either in your determination and grit or it isn't. That's exactly what I like to do. I just want to do a great show and have a great time right along with everyone in the crowd. Even Garth Brooks learned from Chris LeDoux."

Which song would you like to cover?

"We've been doing a song in my live show and we changed the words a little and turned it into 'Play That Country Music Cowboy,' a Country Music version of the funk song 'Play That Funky Music.' People just absolutely eat it up. I don't know whether it will ever appear on one of my albums or not, but it's a fun thing in a live performance setting and the audience goes nuts."

What CD is on your stereo?

"I don't really have a lot of CDs, but there's one in my truck by a guy named Randy Archer. Boy, do I love it. It is so Country. It has that old Country feel to it like the old Conway [Twitty] stuff . the Buck Owens-type REAL Country Music."

What book is on your nightstand?

"I have two. I have the Holy Bible and a book by Joel Olstien titled Life's Changes. It's a series of totally positive, motivational stories that basically coach you in positive thinking. If you think positive thoughts and believe, then positive things will happen. Negative thoughts can have the opposite result."

What do you sing in the shower?

"If I sing in the shower, it's probably whatever was the last song I heard on the radio before stepping into the shower. Songs have a way of sticking in my head like that."

What is your pet peeve?

"Someone telling me one thing and then going and doing another. That just aggravates the tar out of me. I try to stay true to being a man of my word and I hold everyone around me to that same standard. If I tell you I'm going to do something, then that's what I'm gonna do."

What actor would portray you in a biopic about your life?

"Whoooo, that's a tough one. I'd have to select Kevin Costner, not only as an actor, but as a person. He knows and understands the 'cowboy way.' He appreciates cowboy tradition, he truly loves music and he incorporates both into his everyday life. Someday I would love for him to direct one of my videos."

What moment in your life would you relive if you could?

"The night that I met the love of my life is a moment in my life I would relive if I could. That was such an interesting night because we had never seen each other before in our lives. We met in a honky tonk and we both instantly felt the same way about each other. I pulled out all of my best lines . something like 'I think your daddy was a thief 'cause somebody stole the stars and put them in your eyes.' She fell right for it, man. I think of that night often."

What song do you wish you had written?

"Wow. The first song that comes to my mind is probably 'The Dance.' Lyrically, it's one of the strongest songs I've heard and it has made an impact on so many people. That was really a once-in-a-lifetime chance to write a song like that and impact as many lives as that one has. It stands alone and speaks for itself. I hope my music affects people's lives one day in that same sort of positive way."

What word or phrase do you find yourself saying over and over again?

"Well, there are several that rank about equal to each other: 'You know?' and 'Yeah Boy' and 'Ahhh-ight Then.' I really have to watch myself. We just grow up saying things and they're effective at the moment and we use them whether they're grammatically correct or not. Sometimes they're just fun, and they work at the time."

Do you have a lucky charm?

"I used to. It was my Skoal can. I used to carry it in my right rear pocket of my Wranglers. If I wanted something to happen in a lucky way, I would put it up in my front left shirt pocket. That's where I'd carry it during roping competitions, for example."

Who is your dream duet partner?

"Dolly Parton is definitely my dream duet partner. I've always been a huge fan of her singing and I've always wanted a chance to sing a song with her. She just has the sweetest voice. I've actually held back a song for her to sing with me. I have it tucked away and I'm saving it for Dolly and me."

If you wrote an autobiography, what would the title be?

"My Life: Country as a Dirt Clod."

When they look back on your life in 50 years, what do you hope people say about you?

I hope people say that I've had a good career with my music and that I've changed people's lives and inspired people to do good things. I want to be that George Strait 50 years from now. Now that's a career! We all long for the day we have 51 hits under our belt, but those are some mighty big boots to fill. I'd be grateful if I accomplish half of that . of course, I wouldn't turn down the other half."

On the Web: www.jasonmeadows.com.

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