Somebody from an 11 dollar house in Alabama has cut some of the biggest records in the world and if that can happen for me, it can happen for you.– Jim Vest
We can hardly wait for you to hear this interview with Jim Vest: musician, producer, songwriter, and leader of the legendary Nashville Cats. Recorded in an easy chair from his cozy home just outside of Nashville, this is a first-hand story about a career that thrives to this day.
The author of the new book Jim Vest & the Magic of a Steel Guitar, he is one of the greatest steel guitarists in the world. Jim has also been a teacher and mentor too many musicians along the way who have experienced a sideways glance and a dose of“Jim Vest schoolin.” He is also the recipient of the Super Picker Award, given only to musicians who have played on million selling records. In fact, Jim is so good, Paul McCartney showed up in a Nashville club wearing a fur coat, just to hear him play and an unknown artist named Kenny Chesney called him“Jimbo” and used to sing demos for him. It’s safe to say that everyone in Nashville knows and respects the great Jim Vest, but in this interview, we get to know the genius and the heart of a legend.
There are a lot of parallels between the French wine industry and the country music industry. The vintners will cut back the vines to make them suffer in order to produce the best grapes. There is a part of this town that wants you to suffer a little bit. You’ve got to pay your dues. – Pam Lewis
Have you ever wondered about the role PR and marketing play in the development of a country music artist? Easy answer: it’s huge. That’s why we sat down with Pam Lewis, one of the PR queens of Nashville with offices right on Music Row. Born and raised in upstate New York, she attended Wells College and studied abroad to attend a program associated with The Sorbonne University. One of her very first jobs out of college took her to New York City where she was part of the original publicity and marketing team for MTV and sister channels Nickelodeon, the Movie Channel and A&E. In this interview, she tells the story of her move to Nashville in 1984 where she made the transition to country music at RCA Records and helped to shape the careers of stars like Dolly Parton, Kenny Rogers, The Judds & Alabama. Her partnership with Bob Doyle in 1987 formed Doyle/Lewis Management and their first client was an unknown artist named Garth Brooks. In addition to her work with Garth, Pam helped Trisha Yearwood land her first record deal which yielded the artist her first record-breaking single,“She’s In Love With The Boy.” The dissolution of her business relationship with Garth Brooks is well documented, and so is her determination and tenacity to get back on her feet through PLAMedia, Pam’s thriving PR and marketing agency. In this interview, we learn a lot about the business of country music and what it takes to succeed. For a birds-eye view into the life of a trailblazing powerhouse, hit that download button.
I appreciate the moment. I learned many years ago that happiness is the appreciation of what is happening.– Jim Messina
We were beside ourselves as we headed to the home of Jim Messina. There we were
in Jacy’s silver Toyota Corolla, winding our way down country roads just outside of Nashville, singing Your Mama Don’t Dance and your Daddy Don’t Rock n Roll at the top of our lungs. We may be interviewing country music icons on this series, but we’re FANS of the artists and music first. When you think about the career of Jim Messina, there is a lot to talk about and we couldn’t wait. His legacy of musical genius spans 5 decades and includes groundbreaking work with Buffalo Springfield, Poco, Loggins & Messina and a stellar solo career that is thriving to this day. Jim is also the creator and facilitator of The Songwriter’s Performance Workshop where he mentors songwriters and singers. www.songwritersperformanceworkshop.com. While most fans know him as a gifted guitarist, singer and songwriter, Jim Messina is a stellar producer and highly skilled sound engineer with an ear for talent. In fact he got his start in the music business at only 18 as a producer and audio engineer. Born and raised in California, Jim is now living in Tennessee where he has a recording studio in his home. As we made our way through the gates of the farm he shares with his wife, we saw Jim waving us in from his wrap around porch. We settled into big leather couches on giant wooded frames in his living room and pressed record on an interview filled with the stories of his life, the music he loves, the behaviors he regrets, and the wisdom he has learned along the way. Our time with this generous icon is here for you to enjoy and we think it just might be one of our most authentic interviews to date. Let us know what you think!
For this episode, Jacy and I got to thinking about our favorite answers to the questions we always ask during our interviews with country music icons. We decided to put together a“best of” episode that featured singers and songwriters answering the question: tell me about the first time you ever heard yourself on the radio? It’s a big deal when you hear yourself coming out of the car speakers…or even an old-school kitchen radio. This very special episode is our gift to you for the holidays, featuring Sara Evans, John Schneider(aka Beau Duke), TG Sheppard, Aimee Mayo, Sonny LeMaire of Exile, Jamie O’Neal and more as they share the excitement of the thrill of hearing their song on the radio and realizing that their dreams of success in country music just might come true. Leave a review and let us know your favorite“firsttime on the radio” story!
When I had the chicken pox, I went on stage. When I had a cracked rib, I went on stage. And that is the old Vaudeville saying“the show must go on.”– Jamie O’Neal
Music Row is pretty magical. The streets that make up this iconic area of Nashville are lined with old craftsman style houses that are now record labels, publishing houses, recording studios, music licensing companies, video productions houses, radio networks, and PR firms. It is safe to say that you can hear the heartbeat of country music on Music Row. This is where we sat down with 3 time Grammy nominee, ACM & Billboard award-winning artist Jamie O’Neal. In this exclusive interview, Jamie describes what it was like to grow up singing with the Murphy Family Band, landing the gig of back-up singer for Kiley Minogue’s worldwide tour, how motherhood blew her away, and the stories behind her smash hits There Is No Arizona, When I Think About Angels, and Somebody’s Hero. There are some cool stories about Jamie’s love of dogs, her daughter’s musical talents, her friendships with Reba, Dolly, Martina and Sara, and the work ethic she learned as a child performer. Music City Mentor Jacy Dawn Valeras gets some great advice from Jamie about how to make it in the new Nashville, and as you listen, you’ll get a pretty clear picture of what it takes to make it in country music. This is Jamie O’Neal, unfiltered.