Persistence is the key to success. Not giving up. – Steve Dean
We were having so much fun talking to hit songwriter Steve Dean, we had to divide it into 2 parts. Over the past few years, we’ve learned that when you are interviewing an artist in their own home, you get to know them on a deeper level and that was certainly the case with Steve Dean. Steve raised his children in the house where we recorded this interview and when you walk in the door, it feels that way. Steve and his wife have created a cozy home, where love lives. He’s a family man who is grateful that he gets to write songs every day. Steve is a Grammy nominee who has written 6 #1 songs and country artists consider themselves lucky to sing his songs. In this interview, you’ll hear the stories behind some of his biggest hits including Does Your Memory Ever Sleep At Night for Steve Wariner, Reba’s Walk On, The Oakridge Boys, It Takes A Little Rain and Rodney Atkin’s smash Watching You. Steve also talks about his deep commitment to America’s veterans through a non-profit called FreedomsingsUSA.org. where service men and women take their stories, poems, and memories to create songs that heal with help from hit songwriters like Steve. His writing room may be lined with plaques that signify his success, but in this interview, we learn that Steve values the kind of success that can’t be measured in dollars and cents. It comes straight from the heart.
The competition for songwriters in Nashville is off the charts crazy and there are a lot of great writers coming to town every single day.– Steve Dean
Welcome to part 1 of the country music success story of hit songwriter Steve Dean. This Grammy nominee has written 6 #1 songs including Watching You by Rodney Atkins…the most played song on country radio in 2007. Recorded in Steve’s writing room at his home just outside of Nashville which is filled with guitars, Beatles memorabilia, and BMI awards this episode is full of wisdom for songwriters just getting started. Born and raised in Little Rock, Arkansas, by musical parents, Steve lived in a home where music was always playing. His mother taught him how to play the piano when he was about 5 years old and Steve’s dad gave him his first guitar at 9. Teachers in school noticed how well Steve wrote stories and encouraged him to be an author. After earning a degree in advertising at the University of Arkansas, he got his start selling creative to major advertisers until one day, a colleague said: “why don’t you go to Nashville and find artists who will sing the songs you’re writing?” On February 7, 1980, Steve packed up his Toyota and made his way to Nashville where he started writing hit songs that have earned him a Grammy nomination, countless industry awards, and six #1 hits including Watching You by Rodney Atkins which would go on to become the most played record on country radio in 2007. Through it all, Steve has mentored countless young songwriters including Jacy. If you’re thinking of packing up your car and heading to Nashville, listen to this episode first. The great Steve Dean has a lot to tell you!
It’s not us that makes music. Music makes us. My love for music is what inspires me and that is the secret to my success. It’s the song.– Lorrie Morgan
This episode may be one of the most personal interviews we’ve ever recorded. Born Loretta Lynn Morgan, Lorrie is the daughter of the legendary George Morgan and his beloved wife, Anna. Recorded at Lorrie’s home in a quiet little town outside of Nashville, she welcomed us into her favorite room which overlooks a backyard that was created by her husband Randy and includes a pool, BBQ, birdhouses perched in trees, and a koi pond. You’ll hear Lorrie’s dog Puddin Marie Antoinette bark, and you’ll also hear her cry as she sits in her favorite chair recalling the ups and downs of her incredible career. Mentored by the great Jeannie Seeley, Lorrie shares what it was like to make her debut at only 13 on the stage at the Grand Ole Opry. She reflects on life at home with a superstar father, the stories behind her biggest hits, and what she wishes she knew when she first got started. Recorded on the day after her late husband Keith Whitley was inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame by Garth Brooks, this interview is a rare look into country music royalty and the heart of a hugely talented woman who was born to sing.
The first time I sang was at Pilgrim Holiness Church. I was 3 years old and there were only 20 people in the pews. I got a lot of pats on the head but the most memorable thing was I heard this voice inside of me say: “this is what you do.”– Sylvia
Recorded in Nashville at the home studio of producer John Mock, this interview with Sylvia is full of stories. Born and raised in Kokomo, Indiana, she grew up in a place called Tall Timbers Trailer Park, just 30 feet from the railroad tracks. Sylvia recalls spending lots of time perched high in a tree, inspired by Patsy Cline, dreaming about becoming a singer someday. She was only 19 when she left for Nashville on the day after Christmas and would spend that first week walking up and down Music Rowe, looking for a job. Sylvia got her start as a receptionist learning all about the music business, but it wouldn’t be long before executives discovered she could really sing. Signed to RCA records, she came on strong with 3 top ten songs including her multi-format hit“Nobody” which climbed to number 1 on the country chart, #15 on the Billboard Hot 100, and top 5 at AC radio. “Nobody” became her signature song and was the most played record of 1982, winning Sylvia the Academy of Country Music’s Female Vocalist of the Year award and a Grammy Nomination for“Best Female Vocalist.” In this interview, you’ll hear about her next chapter which includes a rewarding career as a life coach and a new album long in the making called Nature Child: A Dreamer’s Journey. Says Sylvia says: “I truly love to sing. It doesn’t matter if anybody is listening. I just love to sing and that has never changed. I’m carving my own way in life with music and I hope people love it. “ www.sylviamusic.com. Amen, sister. We do love it.
Our goal has always been to take you with us as we go inside the homes and onto the back porches of country music icons as we discover what makes these talented people tick!
-Candy O’Terry & Jacy Dawn Valeras
Welcome to a recap of some of Candy and Jacy’s favorite 2022 interviews. Chockfull of behind-the-scenes stories that didn’t make the final cut, this episode includes Jacy’s terrifying flight from Nashville to Palm Springs, California to visit Candy, what it was like to be served espresso in a room full of guitars at Anthony Resta’s 1920’s hunting lodge/studio in Laurel Canyon and the thrill of interviewing industry heavyweights TK Kimbrell, Mike Borchetta, Julian Raymond and Kim Campbell LIVE from the Rhinestone Stage at the Glen Campbell Museum. Plus, there’s the trip to the craftsman-style home of songwriter/producer and former American Idol judge Kara Dioguardi, the green room meeting during CMA week with actress and singer Rita Wilson(which ended in tears), and the revealing 2-part interview with multi-Grammy winner Pam Tillis who Jacy met in an elevator ten years ago. Download this fun episode for your next car ride. You’re welcome!
You can’t record a good song. You have to record a great song. I don’t want a song, I want an event. I knew that’s what it would take to get me off the ground.– Pam Tillis
This week, we’re sitting down with Pam Tillis who is not only the daughter of country music legend Mel Tillis but an icon in her own right. Pam is a proud member of the Grand Ole Opry and a 2-time Grammy winner with 6 number-1 hits and 14 top 10 singles. With more than 30 singles charting on Billboard, Pam has sold more than 7 million copies of her studio albums. A 15-time CMA nominee and a 9-time ACM nominee, Pam’s music dominated country radio in the’90sand she remains one of the very best singer/songwriters in Nashville. In this interview, you will get to know the very personal side of Pam who shares details about her“country chaos” childhood, making her way in country music as a demo singer, the art of songwriting, finding the best songs to record, and sage advice about what it takes to succeed in Nashville. Recorded at the Glen Campbell Museum in Nashville, this interview includes a very special reunion for Jacy and Pam who worked together for years. This interview is so packed with Pam’s stories, we’re splitting it in two, so don’t miss our next installment which includes the stories behind her biggest hits and what Pam considers the secret ingredient to her success in country music.
If something fills your soul like music fills mine when I’m singing on stage, the feeling that I feel driving back home is I don’t wanna go back home, I wanna go to the next town and that’s how I’ve always been. -Julie Roberts
Welcome to the story you probably never knew about platinum-selling singer/songwriter Julie Roberts. We jumped in the car for a ride to her home just outside of Nashville expecting to get the scoop on her comeback record: Ain’t In No Hurry and ended up hearing a story steeped in incredible highs and the lowest of lows. From a childhood marked by an abusive alcoholic father to the strength she learned by watching her beloved mother, Julie Robert’s story is all about resilience. Once the receptionist at Mercury Records, Julie burst on the scene as a brand new country artist in 2004 with her smash single: Break Down Here. Despite more than 2 million records sold, Julie’s hopes and dreams were crushed six years later when she lost her Nashville home in the hundred-year flood, was diagnosed with MS, and dropped by Mercury records. In this interview, she shares all these stories and more, including her MS recovery, her happy marriage, and the singular joy she experienced with the birth of her son Jackson through IVF. Recorded in her living room, just a few feet away from a stunning grand piano and vocal microphones ready for rehearsal, Julie Roberts is re-energized by her collaboration with legendary producers, Shooter Jennings and Erin Enderlin. Her album Ain’t In No Hurry is loaded with songs that bring out the best in her soulful, powerhouse voice which has a special way of breathing life into any story song. Joined by Jamey Johnson on Music City’s Killin’ Me and Randy Houser on A Little Crazy’s Kinda Nice, Julie Roberts is playing big at the top of her game. Take a listen as we reveal the heart of a kind woman who sings because she loves it and is just plain happy to be back.
Music was always my first love. I had an aching, a longing to get on a stage as a very young age.– Rita Wilson
Get ready for an up-close and very personal interview with Rita Wilson. Recorded in the green room at CMA Fest 2022, this is a rare look at one of the entertainment industries’ most versatile artists. From her early career on legendary TV shows like The Brady Bunch, Happy Days, MASH, Bosom Buddies and Three’s Company to leading roles in film and on stage, Rita’s inner-glow shines through in any genre. In this interview, she admits that there is no greater joy than pouring your heart into a song. Her latest album is a labor of love, co-produced by Grammy winner Matt Rowlings. Packed with timeless duets from the 70’s, Now & Forever features Keith Urban, Tim McGraw, Willie Nelson, Jackson Browne, Vince Gill, Elvis Costello, Jimmie Allen and Leslie Odom, Jr. The lead single features Josh Groban intertwined with Rita’s flawless vocal on the Fleetwood Mac classic, Songbird. In this interview, Rita opens up about a success story very few women in show business experience. This episode includes stories about her parent’s immigration to the United States, performing at the Grand Ole Opry, her breast cancer diagnosis, her devotion to her family and how songwriting came late, encouraged by Kara DioGuardi. But it is Rita’s answer to our final question about the key to her success that left us speechless. There were tears in Rita’s answer and we left knowing that we had just interviewed a person of great character. For a deep dive into the trajectory of a superstar, just hit that download button.
When I set my mind out to do something, I do it.– H. Jack Williams
For this episode, we’re at Anthem Entertainment in Nashville with singer/songwriter H. Jack Williams. Anthem is one of the world’s leading independent music and entertainment content and services companies with publishing, production, the iconic Anthem Records, Film & Television, Music Licensing. As we prepped for this interview, we couldn’t help but be amazing at hiscareer: nearly 50 years of writing songs and making music with icons like Richie Havens, The Who, Uriah Heep, Lynyrd Skynyrd, Greg Allman, Peter Gabriel, Montgomery Gentry and most recently, Kevin Costner for his band Modern West and for his hit series Yellowstone. But what is even more amazing is that Jack is still alive to tell his story, because he was so badly abused as a child. Adopted at birth through an illegal adoption operation run by the infamous Dr. Catherine Cole in Miami, Florida, Jack was raised in Eureka, Florida. His mother was a swimming teacher at the local YMCA. His father worked at the post office and was a card carrying member of the Ku Klux Klan. In this podcast, Jack explains that his early childhood was idyllic, but as he approached his early teens, his skin darkened and his father began to beat him with a garden hose, especially after he was passed up for a promotion by a black man. Jack ran away at 16 and at 17, joined the Marine Corp and became part of elite Force Recon. Now 70, this wise renaissance man is experiencing an incredible 2nd act as a recording artist with the release of his latest album Halfway to Hell which includes 10 songs he co-wrote, including two with Kevin Costner. In this episode, we learn that H. Jack Williams’ middle name should have been persistence, because he never, ever gave up on his dream to create music and relationships that pass the test of time.
Dear God, please send me a southern, good looking Christian millionaire who I can be in love with and he can be in love with me…and there I was, having dinner with Glen Campbell. — Kim Campbell
Welcome to part two of our interview series on the life and music of Glen Campbell, recorded before a live studio audience at the Glen Campbell Museum in Nashville, Tennessee on April 21, 2022. This episode is your chance to experience what life was like behind the scenes, including the kinds of details only his wife Kim Campbell can share. Married to Glen for 34 years, the couple had three children together, and all of them are accomplished artists in their own right. In this interview, Kim shares her life as a dancer in New York City and how she met Glen on a blind date and married him 6 months later. Kim is very honest about Glen’s addiction to drugs and alcohol, sharing that it was their deep Christian faith that pulled them through, making it possible for Glen to be sober and the best husband and father she could have asked for. In 2011, despite a diagnosis of Alzheimers Disease, Glen set out on an unprecedented tour across America. He thought it would last five weeks but would go on to sell out 151 shows over 18 months. With his children Cal, Shannon and Ashley performing on stage with him, and Kim in the wings, the family was able to make Glen’s Good Bye Tour a glowing chapter in his success story, garnering an Academy Award nomination and the Grammy in 2015 for Best Country Song for I’m Not Gonna Miss You. From that first blind date to Glen’s death in 2017, this interview is a deep dive into the life of a country music icon, told as only a loving wife can tell it.