Country Music News - September/October 2004 - Page 15
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"That Ole Gravel Road" Is Easy Street For Sammy Sadler – His Third Single Is A Rockin’
November 1 Release

Nashville, TN (October 20, 2004) – "That Ole Gravel Road" puts you on the country music singer, Sammy Sadler CDfast-track from the very first note. Ear-grabbing electric guitar, a gear-shifting fiddle and a full-bore drum line hit the ground running, and Sammy’s throaty "real-world" voice makes for a sure winner with this gem written by Roger Murrah ("Don’t Rock The Jukebox") and Billy Lawson ("I Left Something Turned On At Home"). The record hits the airwaves worldwide on November 1st.

A tight lyric about the joys of the long-lost "four-dog family" lifestyle is engaging – and Texas native Sadler pulls this driving up-tempo off without a hitch. This is the first up-tempo release and the third single from his HARD ON A HEART album.

Sammy’s fresh country sound and soulful voice have earned him the recognition of fans and critics the world over (audio clips available at Music Row Chart and Texas Singles Chart hits have led to features around the globe, including Country Weekly; Country Music Today; Country Music People (UK); Country Music News (Canada); Country Circle (Germany); Country Gazette (NL); Kountry Korral (Sweden), and Yellow Beat Radio (Japan).

Sadler has done his share of roadwork this summer, packing dance floors across Texas and Oklahoma. Here’s hoping that "That Ole Gravel Road" will prove to be "easy street" for this talented – and hardworking – vocalist.

Martha E. Moore
so much MOORE media - Celebrating 16 Years!
PO Box 120426
Nashville, TN 37212-0426
ph 615.298.1689
fax 615.298.1446

Click here to listen to a clip of "That Ole Gravel road"

Ken Mellons Interview

This interview taken from with permission.

By: Estella Pan

In this over-the-top interview, Ken Mellons talks about his new album, cooking out, and taking his clothes off. (Wait, he’s a country singer; that can’t be right!) Read on...

CIO (Estella): Have you always wanted to be a country singer?
country music singer, Ken Mellons Ken: Always, all my life, since about four years old. I was born up in Kingsport, Tennessee, but we moved to Nashville when I was three. My mom and dad would take me to the Ryman Auditorium and the Grand Ole Opry to watch the great stars – Ernest Tubb and all those guys. They would take me down to watch Porter Wagoner tape his TV shows. [My parents] also took me to a lot of bluegrass festivals as a kid. So, I was showered with some of the great music growing up. I guess by the age of four was when I really remember climbing up on the coffee table, putting on my outfits, and singing and entertaining [my family]. So, pretty much that’s what I’ve always wanted to do.

CIO (Estella): You’ve said that Keith Whitley was a profound influence on you, musically. What was it about him and/or his music that you admired?
Ken: Keith Whitley was probably, in my opinion, one of the best pure country vocalists in the history of country music. I think that’s probably what drew me to him was his vocal style. He and Ricky Skaggs were playing bluegrass festivals with Ralph back in the 70’s and I used to see a lot of those shows; that’s where I first heard Keith sing. I was a fan of his probably before anyone knew who he was. He was one of the great singers that sang with so much feeling and emotion, and all my influences are guys like Keith – Vern Gosdin, George Jones, Merle Haggard, John Anderson. There are not many singers today that do that, in my opinion. You turn on the radio and most of the artists sound alike. Here’s an example: when you heard Johnny Cash on the radio, you knew it was Johnny Cash. I don’t hear that today.

CIO (Estella): You touch on how artists tend to sound the same these days. How do you think the focus of the industry has changed?
Ken: [These days], it’s more about going in and making the tracks stand out and not the vocal. You’ve got to have great music behind [the vocal]. But, when I’m listening to a record, I want to hear somebody sing. And sometimes, if someone’s not a great singer, it’s hidden within the production. With the technology they have today with recording and tuning vocals, if you can sing somewhat decent, they can make you sound wonderful. And if you can’t sing at all, they can get you in the ballpark. It’s just not “real” anymore. When you hear Keith Whitley or Vern sing – you feel their pain in their vocals. What makes me want to pull up to the first WalMart I come to and buy a record is somebody that can actually sing and make me feel those lyrics that he or she is singing.

CIO (Estella): Do you try to emulate that in your own music?
Ken: I guess you could call it that. I’ve been a believer that God blesses people in lots of different ways – with musical talent or the abilities to do different things. You can teach somebody to sing properly and maybe how to sing somewhat, but I think you’re either born as a great singer or you’re not. And the guys that I grew up listening to, obviously I was influenced by them a lot. So when you hear me sing, I have my own style. But, I’ve taken what I’ve learned from their styles and added it into what I’ve got and it’s something I’m proud of.

CIO (Estella): Can you incorporate your influences into your own style without being a “copycat”?
Ken: You know, you can only have so many acts that sound just like Garth Brooks. But, what you need is somebody with his or her own identity or people get tired of it! Man, if Juicy Fruit was the only flavor gum out there, eventually, you’d be like, “I don’t want anymore Juicy Fruit!” Mark my word with Gretchen Wilson having the success she is with “Redneck Woman” – every record label out there will be trying to find another “Gretchen Wilson.” There are too many copycats and not enough people standing up and taking a chance with something new. My hat’s off to Sony for putting out a song like that because not only is the single a great one. But, I’ve heard some of the cuts from her album and she can sing; and she sings “country”! I saw her perform “When I Think About Cheating” on the Opry not too long ago, and she just knocked me out! And, she sings great live – she’s the real deal. There are people out there changing someone’s oil or working on engines or whatnot – those are the people who are going to run and get our records. And, I don’t know why people are saying, “We’ve got to try and sell to the people with all the money and the three-piece business suits.” If they go buy our records, fantastic! But, you’re trying to sell to the people who can relate to what the artists are singing about. I think that’s why [Gretchen’s] song took off so quick like it did, because that’s the kind of song people want to hear! It’s like starving an old dog – he’s going to growl and eventually, when he get out to feed him, he’ll bite your arm off, because he’s not getting what he wants! Either that or he’ll walk away and go somewhere else.

CIO (Estella): You’ve got a new album to be released this summer. What types of songs were you looking for when you started working on the new album?
Ken: Well, I found six outside songs and I wrote six for this project. The six outside songs were ones that I could sell as an artist and a vocalist. I look for songs that I can relate and that other people can relate to. During the time of writing songs for this project, I had gone through a divorce. So, a lot of the songs, especially the ballads, are centered around experiences that I was going through at the time. You get some uptempo songs like “Jukebox Junkie” [Ken’s smash single from 1994]. Not that we recorded songs exactly like that, but “Climb My Tree” and “Sweet” are fun songs. Then, there are those sad, cry-in-your-beer ballads that we did, too. So, we tried to capture variety of things that would touch several people out there in different ways.

CIO (Estella): Tell us about some of the songs that are going to be on it.
Ken: Yes. We recorded it all here in Nashville; we cut it last summer. Our version of “Paint Me a Birmingham” will be on the album. Our next single that was released a couple weeks ago called “Climb My Tree” is on there. Vince Gill came in and sang harmony with me on “Paint Me a Birmingham” as well as another song called “All I Need is a Bridge.” Rebecca Lynn Howard, who is a phenomenal vocalist, sang with me on some songs. Then, we brought in George Jones to do a duet with me on a song I wrote called “Institute of Honky-tonks.” So, it’s a very traditional, hardcore honky-tonk album, and I’m very excited and proud of it. I got to co-produce this album and be hands-on to make the album I’ve always wanted to make. I think it’s the best work I’ve ever done in the twelve years that I’ve been doing this.

CIO (Estella): Being in the business as long as you have, how has your musical style changed through the years (or has it)?
Ken: I think this is the best work I’ve ever done because for one, I’m older. When I first started making records, I was twenty-seven. You mature vocally. I mean, look at George Jones. He’s seventy-four years old and he’s singing better now than he ever has! So, it’s like a fine wine – it gets better with age, in some cases. I think when we went in to [work on this album], there was a lot of “magic” in the studio with not only the musicians but with the harmony singers; it just all fell together. If you’re a fan of real traditional country music and you’re a fan of mine, go out and buy the album, listen to it, and see what you think of it! And if you don’t like it, take it back to WalMart and tell them you want your money back!

CIO (Estella): You mention “Paint Me a Birmingham.” Many fans have asked what happened with your version of that song, with it now being a big hit for Tracy Lawrence.
Ken: We recorded “Paint Me a Birmingham” last summer. We thought we had a great record and some “magic” was there. The record label decided to put it out as the first single in August. And, it’d been out there for approximately eight weeks or so, getting a great response at radio. The next thing I know, I get a phone call from DreamWorks saying they had just signed Tracy to a record deal and that he had recorded an older album for Warner Brothers two or three years ago that had his version of “Paint Me a Birmingham” on it. Since [DreamWorks] had bought the album, they were going to put his version out on top of ours. They said, “You need to pull your version from radio.” And I went, “Well, hey, we’ve had this thing out here for two months and it’s getting some response. I’m not going to pull the record. If you want to put yours out, put it out.” So, a lot of stations were playing what they called “Battle of the Birmingham’s” thing – they would play my version and [Tracy’s] and let the listeners call in and vote. The [stations] we know of that did that, we won 99% of the time. But basically, it turned into this political thing. But, Tracy went on to have a hit with it and that’s what happened.

CIO (Estella): Your live shows continue to rake in fans. What’s your secret to keep fans coming back?
Ken: I think one of the reasons we’ve had a following of very loyal fans through the years is this: our live shows are very high-energy, very in-your-face – we’ll tip the piano, take our clothes off or whatever. We’re very spontaneous, but our music is still “country.” A lot of fans have said, “We LOVE your shows, because it’s so entertaining, but the music’s still ‘country.’” We want to touch fans’ lives in a positive way for the hour and a half or so we’re out there. We want them to forget for a while – if they’re going through a divorce or their job’s not going well or whatever. I know as a fan, when I was going to see Hank Williams, Jr., I was entertained! I didn’t think of anything else but that show! I’ve always tried to do that and hopefully will continue to do to that.

CIO (Estella): Do you have a website fans can visit to see if you’ll be coming to their town?
Ken: Yes, it’s

CIO (Estella): Recently, you were a guest on Celebrity Kitchen With Lorianne Crook, a show aired on GAC (Great American Country). Is cooking a hobby for you?
Ken: You know, I enjoy cooking out probably more than anything – outside on the grill, I guess I do pretty good at. I’m not really one to be in the kitchen all the time making dishes or anything. But, I do enjoy it. And, it was fun getting to do that [show], because she’s known me since way back in the day, and to get to go on there and see her was more fun than anything. But, to help her make the cake was fun too!


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