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...near the end of yet another era stood a man with a guitar. Country music you see, was choking on itself once again as it always had over and over through time. This go-round, bubblegum pop was doing it, 10-year-old kids singing old Hank Williams songs and sex and bare midriffs are everywhere. Tradition was alluded to, but hardly understood. It was a thing tacked on at best. Well, the man with the guitar is JASON McCOY a Canadian from Minesing, Ontario no less. And while he doesn't claim to be country music's salvation, there is a definite sense of something old and real in the way he plays on his new album HONKY TONK SONATAS.
-- Jason McCoy --

Three years have passed since Universal released PLAYIN' FOR KEEPS. This gold record was Jason McCoy's sophmore CD. Three years have made a difference. McCoy is more of a straight singer now. He's cleaned things up some, written and chosen songs with more meat on them. "You get older," says the CCMA Songwriter of the Year award winner (for No. 1 song/video "Born Again In Dixieland"), tuning 30 in late 2000. "I'm a late bloomer. I was chasing radio before, now I'm chasing me, finding out what I do best. It's the most country album I've ever done.

Past records were a little more pop influenced. This album I finally got to put together all traditional tunes. There's a Roger Miller feel on "Kind Of Like It's Love", gives it that cheesy sound by some standards, but listen to it. It's a great song. And I never cut a shuffle before." Wisely, McCoy has converted to his initial instincts. His first album was an old Webb Pierce record, honky tonk melting into McCoy's brain with a flash long ago.

One of the standout tracks is a duet with GARY ALLAN, another edgy Universal artist. It's called "Doin' Time In Bakersfield" and like a lot of good country songs is a metaphor for the long, lonely nights on the road when you're trying to bust onto the scene. The hotels and unfamiliar bars will crush your soul if you're not careful. "I had met Gary Allan through my co-producer and co-writer ODIE BLACKMON while Gary was cutting his latest record. We share the same musical influences from the Bakersfield sound of the '60s and '70s. Both Gary and I had considered recording "Doin' Time In Bakersfield" on our own, but we each felt it would be cool to do it as a duet. The song was cut the same way Merle and Buck recorded their records, tracking with two Telecasters giving it that authentic sound." He don't lie. It's a good, new country ride, and the album title was picked from the song.

McCoy, also a pilot, just got married last year to his childhood sweetheart, who he's known for 12 years. They met as teenagers and had been well, stalling ever since. Finally though they tied the knot which has filled McCoy with enough peace and self-confidence to help him put out a great record. "On this album I relaxed a little more. All the 11 songs made sense to the album. It was nice to go around and find songs I liked. I just had some tunes I'd known of around Nashville, then went and fought for them." One such song is "My Love Will Follow You" a heartbreaker from the underground of country, written by Buddy and Julie Miller. "I love their writing. She sounds so great. They're true writers, if you know what I mean. "Don't Look Away" is another classic love song, closing the album off somewhere in between Chris Isaak and Dwight Yoakam, like a sunset.

McCoy wasn't afraid to pick up his own pen either, "Ten Million Teardrops", was written by Jason and TIM TAYLOR. "Tim and I, we're writing one day, working on this shuffle melody. While stumped for a title we took a break to listen to some old records. The first record pulled was Ten Million Elvis Fans Can't Be Wrong and …" And the rest is history, says the fanatic lover of ketchup. (He puts it on everything from eggs to steak to some things here unmentionable. "Chefs hate me," McCoy deadpans.) McCoy also co-wrote the ballad "Fix Anything" with DENNY CARR. Both guys being newlyweds they were discussing the hurdles that face all couples starting out, building a career, buying a home.

True love can overcome any obstacle, and that inspired them to write this song. When they played it for their wives' (on separate occasions) they cried...it was very emotional. "Kind of Like It's Love", the first single, was written by JIM LAUDERDALE and JOHN LEVENTHAL, and it sticks out from all those songs we were talking about at the beginning. "I'm happy where country music is right now, it's a time where people are taking risks, and that always breads better artists, and better songs. I'm just trying to find my own space, define my sound, and do my own thing." Damn straight!

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