|Goin' To The County Fair
with Cledus T. Judd
Reviewed by Jace Carlton
Originally published in
The Songwriter's Connection - August 2003
… 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
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
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
with jokes, tales about how the songs were inspired, and lots of
pocking 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
were the same, but the crowds were different, the jokes were different,
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.
controversy, was about to share the lyrics with us, but then started
another joke and got side-tracked, putting the paper back in his pocket
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
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
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
Wait a minute … the show was FREE with admission to the fair!!
Oh, well … it was still worth it!
Copyright © 2006 by Jace
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,
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
Jace is also the creator of the Change Your Stars! website
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