Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Gaining Confidence

Two years ago I didn't like the sound of my voice.  I have a great speaking voice and make a living speaking professionally.  When I tried to sing, though, I heard something so different I was uncomfortable.  I wouldn't let anyone else hear.  I was sheepish to even let those close to me hear.  Something just always sounded strange to me.  

It probably started when I was a kid, recording myself on a rickety old black cassette recorder singing my heart out.  It never quite sounded 'right' to me.  But music was, and has always been, my life.  I play piano, guitar, mandolin, drums, a little fiddle, lap steel, etc.  So I stuck to playing.

Although I know that I've always had a song to sing, I seemed to lack the confidence.  

I was working to pay bills and I had a good job--one that I loved even, and got to make a difference in people's lives every day.  I had a successful business.  And then I really got interested in songwriting.

Looking through my collection of thousands of CDs I thought for several years--what was it about a song?  What was it that certain writers had, certain artists delivered, that made these songs that I love.  What about those groups, duos and or the rare person who wrote hit after hit?  I was intrigued, so I began researching songwriting.  I would analyze songs.  Out of necessity, I began singing along while playing guitar.  At this point, though, I was definitely still in my shell and only came out rarely in front of family.  No drunken kareoke for me.

Then I started writing music.  In 2011 I started writing and recording a few original songs in garage band.  Then something incredible happened.  

My piano tuner, Dewayne Boyd, who I had known since I was a kid heard some of my songs and paid the greatest compliment that I have received to date.  He said "Jim, everyone knows I used to be in the music industry so they all bring me their stuff to listen to.  They're convinced that their grandson is the next George Strait.  And I always tell them the same thing--I wouldn't spend another dollar on it.  But, what you're doing, Jim, is different and you need to pursue it professionally."  

Fast forward two years.  I've cut demos in Nashville, but didn't release anything because I wasn't happy with it.  I worked with a producer and vocal coach, Heath Ham, in Sapulpa, Oklahoma and got control over my voice.  I started playing out in public an average of twice a week over the last year--just me and my guitar.  I've worked on my songwriting with professional writers and honed my craft.  

And most recently, I went back to Nashville and recorded a 10 track Christmas album that is traditional country.  The results are amazing, especially considering we tracked the entire band in 2 1/2 sessions, spent only 4 days tracking vocals and only decided to even do the project 2 months ago.  Most commercial Christmas projects are done in the spring. 

What I am saying is that I am at a point where I have found my voice, I have no doubts about it or my artistry and I finally have a product that meets my perfectionist standards.  I can now hear the unique qualities in my voice which are what I was cringing at, but everyone else loves.  

On December 7th, 2013, the CD will be released to the world and to you.  Next week on 11/7 we release a Christmas single to radio called Born This day, the title track to the upcoming album.  I don't know what God has in store for this CD.  I can tell you, though, that the process of creating it and attaining such artistry in such a short amount of time is completely due to the amazing cadre of people that have been placed in my life.  This is dedicated to those who love real country music and Christmas.  I hope you love it as much as we do.


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