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Stayin Kind

Stayin Kind

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The Stayin' Kind Paul Tukey Fifteen years after arriving in Nashville as the town's next Next Big Thing, he proceeded to strum his Les Paul Gold Top through enough near-miss record deals and broken promises to fill one of those big old tattered, stickered suitcases for the cliché of a bus ride back home. You just know, from outside looking in, that he's paused proudly and defiantly, outside looking in, at more pawn shops than most visitors to Music City ever knew existed. That Jamie Lee Thurston still owns that glossy six-string gift from his Daddy all these years later is a testament to his, well, staying power. His latest album, aptly named Stayin' Kind, is yet another unabashed affirmation that this son of Vermont isn't, shouldn't and, truth be told, couldn't go anywhere even if he wanted to. "Here's to the ones that just won't run, stand there proud, stick to their guns," he writes in the title cut from this 14-song set. "In this walk away world, they still walk the line. Leavin' don't even cross their minds." With searing licks and an urgency to his seasoned vocals, the song literally reaches out from the record and grabs listeners by their hearts and minds. It's a rocker, yet delivered with the rawness and revelation of one of his heartfelt ballads. It's also a hit in waiting, another piece in the unsolved puzzle as to why this guy isn't a household name outside of his home state. This album, in fact, is full of those what-if and why-not questions that leave you head scratching just as your foot is tapping. From the tear-your-shirt-off-and-party opening song Best Damn Night to the closer, Like the Wind, the album is built like a baseball lineup filled with all-stars from top to bottom. Like the Wind, in fact, is one of two long-awaited treats for JLT fans who recall that, once upon a time, Jamie Lee was signed, sealed and yet undelivered by a Warner Brothers Records that suddenly veered off the tracks toward reorganization. An entire album, produced by Travis Tritt's original hitmaker Gregg Brown, sat on the shelf on Music Row for too many years. "It was time to bring a couple of those songs out of hiding," said Jamie Lee with his ever-present infectious laugh. "I remember I Tried was a song that my A&R rep (at Warner) said after a show she thought was a smash . . . Well, now we'll see." FOR THIS NEW RELEASE, he decided to park the epic ballad I Tried in the four hole, batting cleanup after three opening songs - Best Damn Night, At a Bar and Drink a Little Whiskey - that will load up the dance floor with revelers. Nobody . . . absolutely no one . . . writes about, or delivers, the party more than JLT. Yet in I Tried, sprinkled throughout with ample echoes of Skynyrd's immortal work, he seems to earnestly lament not being able to change his ways and give up a dream for an otherwise perfect relationship. More than decade after that song was written, he's still exploring many of the same themes that confront anyone who constantly finds himself in honkytonks for a living and a lifestyle. "I've lived quite a life so far, been singing in bars since I was 3, been around a whole lot of relationships that make for good song content," says Jamie Lee. "I also have things I believe strongly that I like to sing about. I believe that if you're going to do it, sing it or play it, you've got to MEAN IT." Indeed, after getting the ya yas out in Songs 1 through 3 - and once again in It's You, a signature comical ditty about the constant Mars vs. Venus, him vs. her conflict - a gentler, more mature side of this now veteran Nashville thoroughbred emerges for the duration of the record. Nowhere is this more evident than Why Wouldn't I, which is to this ear the finest song Jamie Lee has ever penned. Working in Nashville with one of his closest collaborators, Little Texas guitar player and frontman Porter Howell, Jamie Lee's inner eternal boy - FINALLY - allows that there's room in his heart and life for an honest-to-goodness full-time commitment with the girl who has irretrievably swept him away. The song's tenderness, delivered in disarmingly sincere baritone, is as show-stopping for listeners as it must have been for the writers. "Why wouldn't I believe there's a heaven? And there's more to life than workin' and dyin'. Why wouldn't I feel that angels are real and faith moves a mountain. That you can if you try . . . why wouldn't I? Jamie Lee follows that up, back to back, with yet another evocative sample of his personal evolution. That he still has the freedom like the rest of us to continue to pursue a dream after all these years - and that it too often comes at the price of others' lives, limbs and sanity - colors the surprising Ghosts in his Eyes. Opening in the barroom, as so many JLT songs before it - He drinks whiskey, takes it with cocaine . . . It dulls the memory and almost kills the pain - Ghosts quickly veers into uncharted political and emotional territory with a melodic chorus that echoes long after the music ends. "It ain't over, for this haunted soldier, coming home. It's a tug of war and peace is hard to find. 'Cause he's got demons running wild . . . and ghosts in his eyes." Post traumatic stress disorder is hard to sell in any song, but Jamie Lee and co-writer Vip Vipperman (George Jones, Randy Travis, Trace Adkins, Reba McEntire, John Michael Montgomery) make it work with aplomb. "It seemed to me that people always write about the troops kicking ass, but no one writes about what happens to them 'after' they got back from defending our country, getting shot at and trying to stay alive," says Jamie Lee. "It's starting to come out more now, but there's still a long way to go for the government to take responsibility for what they put our armed forces through, and not just say thanks and see 'ya later." The passion spills to a slow boil. "It's a complete travesty in my opinion. These people put their lives on the line for their country, and they don't get the respect from the government that they deserve for it. Which means, taking care of their needs 'after' they have served and getting the benefits they have earned. Hell, the government gets full pay for life for one term of service, and the military gets 50 percent for theirs. That's complete bullshit." IT'S THAT SINCERITY AND LOYALTY that has made Jamie Lee Thurston a member of a small, tight fraternity of a different kind of warrior. However one defines success for a recording artist, Jamie Lee is certified, undeniably gold when judged by the company he keeps; the writers and players on Stayin' Kind would need a fleet of UHauls to move their collective hardware. With bassist Mike Brignardello (Trace Adkins, Hank Williams Jr.), guitarist JT Corenflos (Kelly Clarkson, Gretchen Wilson), drummer Steve Turner (Lou Rawls, Glen Campbell), and keyboard player Gary Smith (Dolly Parton, Barbara Mandrell, Ricky Skaggs), it's a second-to-no-one's lineup. Toss in Billy Panda for an acoustic turn, or Robby Turner and Eddie Gossien on steel, and you've got a recipe for magic. "Jamie Lee has paid his dues and earned the respect of all the best players in town," says Paul Scholten, owner of Studio Q where these tracks came to life. "These guys all know that, if it weren't for a break here or there, Jamie Lee would be as big as anyone who's ever come through this town. I mean that." Jamie Lee has heard that sort of thing before, again and again, since he was a raw, wide-eyed Vermonter with a dream. A triumphant tour-de-force from song 1 to 14, Stayin' Kind proves, yet again, that leavin' shouldn't even cross his mind. October 15, 2013.


Konstnären: Jamie Lee Thurston
Titel: Stayin Kind
Genre: Country
Releasedatum: 2012-11-30
Etikett: CD Baby
Media-Format: CD
UPC: 884501834926