Trailblazer ….. “a person who makes, does or discovers something new and makes it acceptable or popular” …..and that dictionary definition absolutely sums up what Jeannie Seely has achieved over the years for female country artists. Since moving to Nashville in 1965 with just $50 to her name and making her Opy debut the following year, her career has helped pave the way for so many others and turning 80 years old today ( 6th July) is not going to stop her! Far from it….in fact she is celebrating the start of her ninth decade ( and her six decade career) with the release of a new single, a reworking of “Not A Dry Eye In The House”, the first track from her upcoming album “An American Classic” ( Curb Records) available on August 14th, recorded at music city’s Ocean Way Studios and produced by Don Cusic.
Written by Dallas Wayne , who recorded it himself for his 2001 album “Here I Am In Dallas” ( it was also covered ten years later by Meatloaf ) this birthday release sees Jeannie duetting with her good friend Willie Nelson who also plays guitar on the track……he is just one in a long list of country legends who contribute to the album as you will see from the track listing below. Jeannie first met Willie back in 1963, while she was working as secretary for a publishing house in Los Angeles, and their long-term connection and enduring friendship shines through on this moving song which reminisces about a lost love…..leaving behind them only “memories, wood and stone” . In fact, Dallas Wayne described this version perfectly in a recent article for The Tennessean as sounding like “ an intimate conversation between two old friends” .
A lilting ballad which works so beautifully as a two-hander, an appropriately haunting steel accompaniment kicks in from the start, before we hear Jeannie’s vocals which are as rich and soulful as they have ever been alternate with Willie’s emotionally delivered lines, the two artists coming together to harmonise beautifully for a brief moment at the very end. Fiddle, piano and gentle drum brushes add to the atmospheric arrangement, but the listener’s focus is very much drawn to the lyrics and vocal delivery of these two wonderful interpreters…..lyrics which are full of clever wordplay, as the song title suggests comparing the relationship to a theatrical performance, such as in the opening verse ……“You played your part to perfection …….you brought the house down when you walked out of the door”.
A wonderful taste of what we can expect from Jeannie’s new album, which includes reworking of both her 1974 top ten hit “ Can I Sleep In Your Arms Tonight, Mister” and her first hit “ Don’t Touch Me” for which she won a Grammy in 1967 for “ Best Female Country Vocal Performance”.
Happy 80th Birthday to a living legend on behalf of the Think Country team…..thank you for everything so far, and for what lies ahead, Jeannie!
Jeannie Seely – “An American Classic” Track List:
- “So Far, So Good” – Songwriters Penn Pennington & Mitch Ballard– (Recorded with The Whites, (Sharon and Cheryl)
- “If You Could Call It That” – Songwriters Dottie West, Steve Wariner and Bobby Tomberlin– (Recorded with Steve Wariner)
- “To Make a Dream Come True” – Songwriter C.W. “Buddy Kalb” Jr
- “Teach Me Tonight” – Songwriters Sammy Cahn and Gene De Paul
- “Can I Sleep in Your Arms Tonight, Mister” – Songwriter Hank Cochran
- “All Through Crying Over You’” – Songwriter Jeannie Seely– (Recorded with Rhonda Vincent)
- “When Two Worlds Collide” – Songwriters Roger Miller and Bill Anderson– (Recorded with Bill Anderson)
- “Not a Dry Eye in the House” – Songwriter Dallas Wayne– (Recorded with Willie Nelson )
- “Peaceful Waters”- Songwriter Don Cusic
- “Old Flames (Can’t Hold a Candle to You)” – Songwriters Pebe Sebert and Hugh Moffatt– (Recorded with Waylon Payne)
- “That’s How I Roll” – Songwriters Tim Atwood & Brent Ronen– (Recorded with Lorrie Morgan vocals and Vince Gill on guitar )
- “Don’t’ Touch Me”- Songwriter Hank Cochran
- “Dance Tonight” – Songwriter Paul McCartney– (Recorded with Ray Stevens)