Jace Carlton
Performing Songwriter - Freelance Writer / Photojournalist - Poet - Author

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Cledus T. Judd
Goin' To The County Fair
An Evening with Cledus T. Judd

  Reviewed by Jace Carlton
Originally published in
The Songwriter's Connection  -  August  2003

Ah-h-h-h … summertime!  Hot, dusty days and balmy nights.  Just the right combination to catch some of the great entertainment hitting the county fair circuit.  Too many great entertainers, too little time!

First up, I had the pleasure of meeting, then watching, and then interviewing the self-proclaimed "Round Mound of Sound", "Highest Paid Karaoke Singer in America", the one ... the ONLY ... Cledus T. Judd!

This guy is so down-home casual.  I was introduced to him prior to his first show by my friend, April Chase, a top manager with the Alameda County Fairgrounds.  He was just kickin' back and relaxing backstage with his crew and friends and he immediately made me feel like his newest and best friend, including a personal invitation to look him up whenever my travels take me through Nashville.  We chatted for few minutes, he promised to give me a few minutes in between shows for an interview, and then I headed out to join my son, Chris, for the show.

He kicked everything off with "How Do You Milk A Cow?" and kept us laughing, cheering and clapping for a solid hour.  "More Beaver", "270 Something", "Breath", "Where's Your Mommy", and "I Was Country When Country Wasn't Pop" were interspersed with jokes, tales about how the songs were inspired, and lots of comments poking fun at himself.

During the break between his shows my son, Chris, and I went backstage for a few minutes of two-on-one (Chris' & Cledus' personalities are so much alike that I was just waiting for the two of them to get crazy … I could just see a song coming out of that!  But we weren't able to spend enough time backstage for the wildness to come out … maybe next time).  Cledus said he just loved being the joker and sharing his unique style of humor through music.  He loves what he does, loves the people he works and associates with back home in Nashville, as well as on the road, and of course, he truly loves the crowds.

It was worth catching the second show.  For the most part the songs were the same, but the crowds were different, the jokes were different, and he included a new song that hasn't even been recorded yet.  During the first show he had pulled a piece of paper out of his back pocket and talked about this new song that sprung up out of the Toby v. Natalie controversy, was about to share the lyrics with us, but then started telling another joke and got side-tracked, putting the paper back in his pocket and moving on to the next song.  However, during the second show we got the full whammy.

Cledus took a vote of each audience to see how many were Toby fans and how many liked the Dixie Chicks.  The DC's received a luke warm ovation each time, mixed with HEAVY "boos" each time, but when Cledus asked for votes for Toby the crowds from both shows went nuts.  So, he knew he was in safe territory to introduce his newest song, even though we had to wait until the second show to actually hear the lyrics.

OK ... think of Brad Paisley's hit, "Celebrity".  Got it?  OK, now replace "Celebrity" with "Natalie".  Yep!  He did it!  And we loved it!  He's working hard to get it recorded and out on the airwaves as soon as possible.

The second show was a few minutes shorter, though, because he literally had to fly off the stage and into a waiting limo to get him to the airport about 30 miles away in about 15 minutes (you do the math) in order to catch his flight back to Nashville.  Even though the show itself was shorter, he didn’t short change his audience … he definitely gave us our money's worth.

Wait a minute … the show was FREE with admission to the fair!!  Oh, well … it was still worth it!

Copyright © 2006 by Jace Carlton


Jace Carlton lives in the Nashville, TN area and is a member of NSAI.  A Freelance Writer / Photographer, Poet, Author, and former Radio DJ, he now enjoys a career as a Songwriter, and a collaborator much in demand predominantly in the Country genre, but also enjoys occasionally writing for A/C, Pop, R&B, Smooth Jazz, and Cabaret.  As a Freelance Writer he has contributed reviews on new CD's to online newsletters and regularly contributed book and concert reviews along with personal commentary on the music industry to Nashville's Songwriter's Connection e-Zine.

Jace is also the creator of the Change Your Stars! website and its companion daily motivational / inspirational e-mail message that's read by over 14,000 people all over the world.  For a free subscription click here and you'll be added within 24 hours.  Privacy Statement

Comments regarding this review may be sent to Jace@jacecarlton.com

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