'I'm as proud of this album as I was when my kids were born,' says country star
Chris Cagle  admits that holding one of the first copies of his just-released fifth album, "Back In The Saddle," was a watershed moment.
"I just got the disc in my hand, so it's an amazing feeling," the singer tells Billboard of "Saddle," which was released on June 26 through Bigger Picture. "You know, when you start making records, you think of what you want it to sound like, and what you want people to feel. You have to ask yourself if you want to sing a song for the next 10 to 15 years. Then you think about the presentation. You come up with an idea in your head, and then another thing comes out, so to have it here completed is a great feeling."
The album has been led by the recent success of the first single, "Got My Country On." Cagle is especially happy with how this full-length has turned out. "I'm as proud of this album as I was when my kids were born. I don't want to jinx it, but I dang sure have my fingers crossed. The difference between a child and a record is you don't put your heart and soul into it until it gets here. With a record, you put your heart and soul into it until it gets here - then it's done."
One group that is no doubt happy with the release is Cagle's loyal fan following, the "Cagleheads." The country star takes them seriously, and is pleased with their excitement over his first album in four years.
"Everyone has always known that I carry a lot of my emotions on my sleeve, and I've caught a lot of flack for it," he says. "I really don't care what they think. It's made me who I am in this business. A lot of times I get on stage, and I see these people, and they say 'We're so glad your back' or 'Your new record is awesome.' I know I'm there to do a job and be a professional, but sometimes it's overwhelming to realize that many people missed you in any kind of format. The last few weeks, we have done a lot of shows, and it has been absolutely nuts."
Cagle adds that he plans to approach his job from a more mature standpoint with this album. "This time around, it's a different attitude and a different whole look at the business. When I first got involved in the music industry on a national level, it was kind of a party -- it was basically a throwdown every night. Now, it's not. I'm on the bus with a group of men, and we have an attitude of 'We're going in and do our job, and we'll stir up a big pot of emotion, and we'll leave with kindness in our wake.'"
The album gave Cagle the chance to work with powerhouse producer Keith Stegall for the first time, and the singer says that Stegall put him at ease while making subtle suggestions in the studio. "He said to me while we were in the process of laying down the master vocal, he would look at me through the window, and say 'Bro, come here. What are you doing?'' says Cagle. "He would ask me to say the ABC's. So, I would start, and then he'd interrupt me and say 'That's country. So sing like you speak and quit trying to be more country than you are. Sing like you talk, and have fun. Let me do the rest."
- Country