It is not often that I become enthused by the release of a new music CD, but ever since I heard that my long-time friend Grand Ole Opry star Jim Ed Brown will have a new project, I have looked forward to it.
His new project “In Style Again” released January 20 from Plowboy Records is gaining him tremendous attention. The 13-track disc features guest stars Vince Gill, The Whites and The Browns and reunites Jim Ed with long-time duet partner Helen Cornelius.
Jim Ed is one of the nicest and kindest performers I have come to know in my entertainment career and he is one of country music smoothest vocalists.
As a youth I loved listening to his many hits with his sisters as The Browns like “The Three Bells.” Their harmonies still move me as some of the finest ever recorded. Fans of these sounds will be excited to know Bonnie joins Jim one song, “When The Sun Says Hello To The Mountain,” which was released to country radio last November.
“I had the opportunity to tour Europe (in the early 70s) and I found a song that was perfect for the Browns,” he said. “The Browns had retired … so I held on to it… I asked the Browns to record, Bonnie was in complete agreement, Maxine could not travel so Bonnie came in and did Maxine’s part and her part.”
In the 1970s and 80s, Jim Ed’s wonderful partnership with Helen Cornelius gave us such a string of hit songs – “I Don’t Want To Have To Marry You” and “Saying Hello, Saying I Love You, Saying Goodbye” and won them 1976 Duo of the Year.
“Carl and Pearl Butler had a big hit on (Don’t Let Me Cross Over) and ever since that time I always like the song,” he said. “Helen Cornelius and I we were singing around one day and started singing this song and we thought it fit is very well. If you like the magic of Jim Ed and Helen you will like this song.”
I was honored to have appeared with Carl and Pearl years ago and call them friends, there is no one else I would rather hear singing that song than Jim Ed and Helen.
Brown’s signature lush vocals caress traditional Country songs that feature the talents of top-tier Nashville session players John Hobbs (Piano, Organ), Michael Baker (Guitar), Glen Duncan (Guitar, Mandolin, Violin), John McTigue (Drums), Dave Roe (Bass), Chris Scruggs (Guitar, Pedal Steel), Gary Prim (Keyboards), Daryl Hornburger (Steel Guitar), Michael Baker (Acoustic Guitar), Brent Mason (Electric guitar), Dennis Crouch (Upright Bass) and Greg Morrow (Drums).
Another song featured on the project is “It’s a Good Life.”
“I have lived this life to the fullest and I have done my best to do everything thing that I could the right way. I have worked hard,” Brown said. “Sometimes you have to fight, sometimes I have been sad, sometimes I have been happy, sometimes it just takes its toll on you as you are going down through this world. It is so great when you sit back and watch the world walking by and know you have did your best.”
There are impeccable background vocals on “Watching The World Walking By,” “Laura (Do You Love Me),” “Lucky Enough” and “It’s A Good Life” by Bergen White, Lisa Silver and Kira Small McConaghy. The title track was produced by Brown’s close friend and Country Music Hall of Famer Bobby Bare, while the balance of the offering was produced by Don Cusic.
“I asked Vince (Gill) to come over and do the song (Tried and True) and he did,” Brown said. “He is doing the harmonies on it.”
Brown took a hiatus this winter to concentrate on his health after being diagnosed with cancer. Jim Ed returned to his doctors for a follow-up CT scan Jan. 19.
He said he is feeling good and looking forward to receiving a clean bill of health.
“The support of my family and the outpouring of positive thoughts and prayers from my fans has given me an incredible boost during this emotional time,” Brown notes. “I’m grateful for every day I can spend on God’s green earth – and thankful to everyone who gives meaning to my life.”
He has just returned to host the nationally syndicated Country Music Greats Radio Show (heard on more than 200 stations per week) after a four-month absence.
The results of the CT Scan were that Jim Ed’s cancer is in remission.
I encourage you, if you’re a country music fan, to add this collection to your music library. The disc is available for purchase through Amazon, iTunes and other retailers.