Jamie Richards is not a man who fears the machine or cares what “they” think. With boldness, Jamie dares to go where most have drifted from; traditional, honest, down right real country music. With his sophomore release, Between These Lines, he exposes a little bit of his soul and turns out a masterpiece that reflects the road he has traveled.
Born and raised in Oklahoma, Jamie grew up on a working dairy farm owned by his family. He cut his teeth on gospel music singing with his mother while she played the piano. “I got my talent and love of music from my mother and my bulldog mentality for never giving up from my dad,” says Jamie.
After eight years of getting his musical education in Oklahoma honky-tonks, Jamie ventured out East to Music City. With little more than a couple hundred dollars and a lot of pride, he rolled into Nashville but found that the city doesn’t always welcome real country singers with open arms. Everyday Jamie watched great singers leave town, discouraged by the corporate nature of Music Row and the pop-influenced sound that was being made mainstream. Unaffected by the manufactured nature of Nashville, his bulldog mentality and perseverance paid off. His mastery of the songwriting craft caught the attention of Curb Records who offered him a position as a staff writer.
For almost five years, Jamie played the part of prolific staff songwriter for the mega publishing company, securing cuts with major label artists and several motion pictures. During his tenure, he was offered several record deals. All of the opportunities started out with the same promise but ended with the fear that Jamie was “too country.” Never one to compromise his beliefs, he dismissed their ideas of turning him into another cookie cutter country hat act.
“I feel I understand what country music is; it’s not just a passing fad for me. I don't do what I do because I'm trying to be like anyone else. I do it because it’s all I know, and I love it. My singing and writing reflect that. I never just woke up one day and decided to be a country singer.”
At the same time that Nashville was turning up its nose at traditional country music, a legendary record label in Texas, D Records, was looking for the next voice to bring back the roots of country. In 2000, Wes Daily reactivated the label, hoping to follow in his grandfather’s footsteps. “Pappy" Daily, founder of D Records, was famous for launching the career of George Jones. Jamie fit what Wes was looking for to a “T;” straight-up, life-telling, soul stirring country music.
Jamie’s debut album, No Regrets, was an instant hit, producing two Texas Music Chart top ten singles. He found his home in the camaraderie of other Texas/Oklahoma artists, collaborating or performing with artists like Kevin Fowler, Walt Wilkins, Jason Allen, and Cooder Graw. With open arms and warm hearts, Texas has embraced his honest and edgy songwriting approach.
In Walt Wilkins, also a Curb writer, Jamie not only found fellowship, he found a man who had traveled a similar road and whose soul was also being summoned home. In the fall of 2003, they began work on Jamie’s new album, Between These Lines. Though stylistically the writers differ, their shared Nashville experience coupled with their TX/OK upbringing brought the two together. Walt not only co-wrote four of the tracks on the album, he also co-produced the album with Tommy Detamore at Cherry Ridge Studio in Floresville, Texas. Of Jamie, Walt says, “He is my favorite singers, period. End of discussion.”
The album’s tracks range from rowdy, like the debut single, “Wasted” to the beachy feel of “Someday.” Written with Wilkins, “Someday” speaks about the desire to getaway; in this case, the Gulf of Mexico. In Jamie’s more serious “Back in Oklahoma,” his father’s memories take him back in time on a journey through his father’s life.
“I believe things that happen in my life drive me to write. I always feel better when I get it out and down on paper. Writing is just something I have to do.”
“Every Single Day” stands as Jamie’s self-portrait and most revealing piece.
“Every Single Day. I’m out here runin free. Just waitin’ for someone to come and rescue me. I get so damn tired. Of bein’ on my own. And I’m hopin’ I won’t always be alone. Every single day.”
Finally, after the years of struggle and disappointment, Jamie has found a place that craves the art he creates. He may not be at the Grand Ole Opry in Nashville, but he’s played the Opry in Texas they call Gruene Hall. It’s a refreshing change of scenery from the cut throat trenches he’s lived through. He may have taken a longer detour than most to get here, but this Oklahoma story teller’s music finally found a home.
Information courtesy of JamieRichardsBand.com.
Jamie Richards Links
The Official Jamie Richards web site