Excerpted from the magazine for Billboard.com.
Artists often say they have their whole life to record their debut album, and only a matter of months to create the follow-up. Buddy Jewell had the opposite experience with his sophomore set, "Times Like These," which was released April 26 by Columbia.
As the first-season winner of USA Network's country talent competition "Nashville Star," Jewell's debut album was produced by Clint Black and rushed into production to take advantage of his newly acquired fan base. The result was a self-titled set that debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard Top Country Albums chart in July 2003 and spawned two top five singles, "Help Pour Out the Rain (Lacey's Song)" and "Sweet Southern Comfort."
Jewell recalls the first album's production as a whirlwind. "On Monday we started figuring out what songs we were going to record, and by the end of the week we had picked out our songs. The following Monday and Tuesday we went in and tracked them all, took off Wednesday and came back in on Thursday and Friday and did all my vocals," he says. "I was finished with my part in two weeks."
It was a different experience on "Times Like These," which Garth Fundis produced. "Obviously we had the luxury of taking our time and giving it some more thought. Sometimes that's great, and sometimes that's like trying to jog in molasses," Jewell says. "When you have that much time you have the ability to overthink it. I'm hoping we didn't."
In contrast to his debut, Jewell wrote or co-wrote four songs on the album. The first single, "If She Were Any Other Woman," is No. 36 on the Billboard Hot Country Songs chart.
With his first album debuting at No. 1, Jewell is aware that expectations are high for the new set and is cautiously optimistic that his fans will respond enthusiastically. And unlike some artists whose careers were launched by the reality TV phenomenon, Jewell isn't trying to distance himself from the experience.
"It's kind of like asking people to look at Don Knotts and not see Barney Fife," he says. "I don't know if I'll ever get away totally from being the first winner of 'Nashville Star,' and I really don't have a problem with it. As long as [people] respect me and treat me like they would other artists, I don't care if they remember me as the 'Nashville Star' or not. I'm proud to have won it."
Jewell has a slate of tour dates scheduled into October, with a few festival appearances lined-up in May and June. Among those Tennessee's Rhythm in the Hills (May 27), Louisville, Ky.'s Hot Country Nights (June 1) and Comstock, Neb.'s Windmill Festival (June 9).
Excerpted from the April 30, 2005, issue of Billboard. The full original text is available to Billboard.com subscribers.
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