In a career that has spanned well over five decades, talk to Jim Ed Brown and you will find an artist with a renewed sense of vigor and vitality. The legendary Grand Ole Opry star has just released a new single, "In Style Again," which is his first release since 1989.
"Isn't that something," the singer of such hits as "Pop A Top" and "Morning" tells Billboard. "Radio stations from all across the country are flooding the office with interview requests, which is great. It's been a long time since I had that. You feel like a child with a new toy, and it's really good." He recently received his first encore on the stage of the Opry in years with the tune. "The response was unreal. The song really seems to be making an impact with a lot of folks."
Brown credits his manager, Caitlin Parson, for coming across the song. "She was out at the Bluebird one day. A writer was there, and he said that his wife didn't like the song, but he was going to sing it anyway. She liked it for me, and brought it to me," he said.
It didn't take long for him to identify with the lyrics -- or decide to record the song. "I wanted to do it Immediately," he said. "I liked the song and what it said. A lot of people have been saying those things for a long time not exactly in style in so many words, but once you get past 40 years old, you start looking back at your life, and you say 'Golly, it's passing me by,' and you would like to go back and re-do some things. I thought it fit me, and I think it fits a lot of people."
The singer said regardless of whatever your vocation or position in life is, people can relate to the lyrics of the song. "How many retired football players are there who are looking back, wishing they could be 25 and be playing again? It also fits life – you may have had a great run in life, but you lose one of your partners, and you look back and think 'Wouldn't it be nice to go back and repeat that."
The record was produced by recent Country Music Hall of Fame inductee Bobby Bare. "Last year, we were talking, and I said 'Bobby, I want you to produce a record for me.' He had been doing some things with his son and some other people. He said 'Give me a call,' so I found this song, and I called him. He did a great job on it," he confirms, while adding that a new album – his first since a MCA-Dot album in 1985 – is in the works. "I've been working on an album for some time, but this song came along, and I had to get in and do it quick."
In addition to his still-active touring schedule, and performances on the Opry – where he will celebrate 50 years as a member in August, the performer keeps busy with a radio show. "I host Country Music Greats Radio Show – a two hour syndicated show I do each week. We're in about 180 markets, and I get a chance to play some of the songs I dearly loved from some of the people that have been friends of mine. I'm able to bring some of them into the studio with me as guests from time to time," he says. "I really enjoy it."