Cledus T. Judd, the Georgia native who has won fans with parodies of songs by acts such as Tim McGraw, Shania Twain and Toby Keith, is back at it once again, with "Parodyziac," out today on Warner Brothers.
Judd told Billboard that nobody is more surprised about his return to records than he is. In fact, he was just about to walk away from his comedy career and concentrate on his radio career at WQYK in Tampa, where he co-hosts the morning show.
Cledus T. Judd's New Single, 'The House That Broke Me'
"I never thought I would get to do it again," he admits. "I thought that my time had came and went. I had a great run, and had a lot of success. I went up to my daughter's in Kentucky one day, and I told her 'I think I'm going to retire. Since you've been born, I've chased money, and I've wanted to be famous, so you could get on YouTube and show all your friends your daddy, and you would be proud of me. I'm tired of the traveling, and I just don't know if I'm funny anymore."
What his seven year old daughter said was enough to keep him in the game. "She said 'Dad, here's the deal. If you quit being funny, then I'm not going to be happy anymore. She said 'You're funny, and you'll always be my daddy. So, you just keep singing, and wherever you're at, I'll just come and sit in the front row, and cheer you on.' Right then and there, I went on a mission. I started writing, I started calling. I was eating lunch one day in Tampa, and it was Peter Strickland and John Esposito at Warner Brothers, and I thought I had a Blake Shelton cut. They said 'No, but we would like to offer you a record deal. You deserve a record deal. You've sold as many records as three-quarters of the artists on this roster, and funny is funny, and we want to bring funny back. We want to know if you want to be an artist on Warner Brothers.' I cried like a baby sitting at the table, and I ran out and forgot to pay the bill. Two hours later, I had an offer, and two days later, I was an artist on Warner Brothers. It was a godsend, for sure."
The latest song from "Parodyziac" is a somewhat sobering "The House That Broke Me," a cover of Miranda Lambert's "The House That Built Me." He told Billboard that the house in the video was actually his former home. Next up will be "Honeymoon," a parody of Little Big Town's "Pontoon."
"That's going to be the next video. Laura Bell Bundy is going to produce it. I think it's the funniest song on the record. I know that Little Big Town had a fit over it. Gary from Rascal Flatts played it for them on the bus a few weeks ago, and he texted me, and said they had a fit over it."
Judd says that while the work that people hear from him and collaborator Chris Clark might be considered simply funny business, they take it very seriously. "I'll put our writing of these parodies up against any great songwriter in town -- on the level in which we do them. My 'Wind Beneath My Wings' or my 'Dance' might be 'Honeymoon,' but I take as much pride in writing that as Hugh Prestwood does with 'The Song Remembers When.' We don't take them lightly. We spend a lot of time working hard on them."