VIEW LINEUP: March 11th • March 18th • March 25th • April 1st
Friday, March 25th
There is a cool moment, preserved for posterity in TV syndication, when Joshua Scott Jones and Meghan Linsey, the duo known as Steel Magnolia, make the connection that changes their lives. It’s cattle call audition day for season two of CMT’s Can You Duet? Josh and Meghan are secretly ambivalent about the whole thing, skeptical that the judges (especially that big-time record executive on the left) aren't going to get their very unique sound.
Josh came to Nashville as the leader of a rock trio and earned some notice on local radio. Meghan had her sights on a singing career and moved to Nashville as a new student at Belmont University. After about a year, she focused on singing and her job at a downtown karaoke bar. If you’ve heard one biographical detail about Steel Magnolia you know that they met at karaoke, where they got to hear each other sing for the first time. (The now famous meeting became the slightly fictionalized storyline for their debut music video, “Keep On Lovin You.”)
Their on-stage/off-stage chemistry also started giving rise to original songs. The very first one they wrote together, “Edge of Goodbye,” became a calling card and made their debut album. As they worked and wrote, the dynamics of their duet style worked itself out.
Online » Steel Magnolia on bigmachinerecords.com || Videos » Last Night Again and Keep On Lovin' You
“I’ve always been a big believer in tradition,” declares James Wesley. “A lot of the old ways are the best ways: family, God, treating people right, doing what you’re supposed to do. I think it’s time to come back to what’s real. That’s what country music is about.”
James Wesley puts those core values into his music with a whiskey-smooth voice and a timelessly winning way with a great country song. Wesley sings directly to real people about real things that profoundly affect real lives—and from his small-town upbringing to his blue-collar work ethic, he has a deep understanding of what those folks are longing to hear.
“I know there’s more people out there than just me who want to hear something that grabs you and makes you go, ‘Wow, that’s me—that’s how I feel, that’s my day, that’s my family,’” he says. “When you swing a hammer every day, when you’re out there doing what you have to do, you learn a lot of compassion for the people that do it day in and day out.”
Wesley grew up in tiny Mound Valley, a community of about 200 people in Southeastern Kansas. He first discovered country music via his grandmother’s record collection, which included heaping helpings of classic crooners like Marty Robbins, George Jones and Ray Price. “We’d go over there on the weekends,” he recalls. “She’d have the console set up and the records stacked up and we’d listen to them as they dropped. Those guys back then, they could sing. I thought, ‘That’s what I want to do.’”
Online » jameswesleymusic.com || Video » Real