June 12, 2008
By David Huff
Jason Meadows - Country Fever 2008 - Jun. 12-15
Earns His Fan Base
Music and rodeo have been Jason Meadows’ two greatest passions since he was six years old. While few if any entertainers have the talent to make a living both on stage and on horseback, Jason is on that short and noteworthy list. Fortunately for country fans, these days the music takes center stage.
The combination gives this handsome singer the rugged authenticity that helped carry him from his family’s farm in Calera, Oklahoma to Nashville, and from regional clubs to his exceptional national debut with the disc 100% Cowboy.
Along the way, he so impressed former barrel racer Reba McEntire, the Oklahoma superstar made it her business to help set him up in Nashville. He turned both the audience and judges of the hit USA Network Nashville Star TV series into fans with his persona and ownership of the center stage spotlight. That’s not to say it was easy. The handsome Okie had to draw on every bit of his background – strength, character, vision and perseverance in the face of huge odds – to earn the national acclaim he richly deserved. It’s a testament to the depth of his talent and his drive within.
Meadows’ debut album captures everything that makes him compelling both as a singer and as a person. Its first single, “100% Cowboy,” is the perfect calling card, a powerhouse of a song with an unblinking look at what it is to be a modern-day cowboy. Its subject matter comes naturally to a performer whose leisure-time pursuits involve fast horses, faster dirt bikes and embodies the life the song personifies.
Raised in the tiny town of Calera with a brother and two sisters, Jason was just six when he got his first guitar. “My sisters and I would listen to old records by Hank Sr. and Jr., Conway Twitty and George Jones. When I started to sing along with the music, they both began to realize I actually could sing.”
Jason would visit his grandfather’s place every summer, honing those musical skills and making memories he still treasures. “I couldn’t wait to get there,” he says, “because my cousin played guitar and grandpa played harmonica and fiddle. I would try to learn as much picking as I could.”
The singer pursued his interest by taking every music class he could, riding his talent and training to statewide medals in music competitions. By high school, he was singing at fairs, round-ups, street festivals and other events. Meanwhile, he was developing an interest in animals nurtured since he was young as well.
“I played basketball in high school,” he recalled, “but sometime around my senior year, I was making more money team roping than playing basketball.” The next decision, though, was the big one. He was 16 when he tried out for a band and got hired, debuting at a local dance next to the rodeo arena. “I had the greatest time that night. The positive response I received from the crowd really lit a fuse in me.”
Soon Meadows was performing several nights a week as a solo act. He was then recruited to sing lead in the country act, Heart Talk. Not long after he joined the group, Reba McEntire heard about the band’s talented singer and sent representatives to hear him at Twister’s in Pittsburg, Kansas. The positive feedback prompted a meeting the Oklahoma singing legend. She encouraged him to move to Nashville.
Leaving a comfortable life behind him, Meadows went from a three-bedroom brick home to a two-bedroom apartment with twice the rent – and into construction work. McEntire found him work singing demos. Though he made some inroads with publishing houses, the road to acceptance was a long one. At one point, the cowboy contemplated a move back home. Then, while performing at a party, he met producer Kerry Bay, who recognized his talent and began writing and recording with him. When Bay’s producing partner Nick Pellegrino came into the picture, the pieces all came together.
The producer saw potential in the music, and worked with Meadows to take his music to the next level. They began shopping his demos to labels and almost immediately heard suggestions that Jason try out for Nashville Star. He resisted at first. “Finally I just took the shot, and I’m glad I did. I was hoping to get into third or fourth place and get some exposure, but I just kept pushing and wound up in one of the show’s top two slots.”
Meadows would finish runner-up on the show, but his matinee idol looks combined with strong singing and songwriting skills, captivated the show’s judges and audiences. He quickly earned a fan base so big that when Jason did a hometown concert at the Choctaw Coliseum in Durant, Oklahoma, drawing a venue-record crowd of nearly 7,000.
-Record Label: Baccerstick Records
Daniel Karlish - guitar
Robby Wilson - bass
Doug Frasure - drums
Ericson Holt - keyboard
Nick Pellegrino - guitar