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Neal McCoy

Fan favorite to put on show for Saturday JITH?crowd

July 19, 2012
By MIKE PALMER - The Ticket , Times Leader

The call of "Day-o," will ring across the hills when Neal McCoy brings the crowd to life with a towering rendition of his Jamboree in the Hills fan favorite, "Hillbilly Rap".

In addition to his party anthem, McCoy never fails to get everyone singing along with his pair of BMI Song of the Year recordings, "Wink" and "The Shake." Another standard at Jambo is the apropos "Billy's Got His Beer Goggles On", the seventh Top Ten hit of his productive career. Modesty aside, McCoy has sold over 6 million albums, recorded 3 Platinum albums and one Gold Album, featuring five number one singles and earning five top 10 hits on the charts.

Along with revisiting his numerous hits and the raucous party tunes fans have come to anticipate, McCoy promised to share some of the songs from his new album Neal McCoy XII, with the fans at Jambo.

"Everybody wants to find that song that hits the sweet spot, that is pretty much them, but everybody else, too." McCoy states. "I think I finally found that song!"

With "A-OK, the song that co-producer Blake Shelton found the Longview, Texan entertainer, McCoy's quest may be over. With its bouncing beat, bright melody and yes, pure Andy Griffith whistle, the song about seeing the glass as half-full and the smile upside down in a frown, along with the Barry Dean/Luke Laird/Brett Eldridge mid-tempo, is the perfect distillation of McCoy's always effervescent show.

"I think any song that says 'It's gonna be okay, it's gonna be alright' and feels like this one does, has got to be a winner. People really wanna hear, and almost need to hear, that right nowTimes being the way they are, and something that makes people feel good? Well, anyone who knows me knows I'm all about that," McCoy explains.

Produced by CMA's reigning Male and Female Vocalist of the Year, Blake Shelton and Miranda Lambert, and renowned guitar-slinger, Brent Rowan, this Blaster Records' debut is McCoy's 12th studio album.

"We're obviously disappointed the album hasn't got off to the start we all hoped for, but it's a great record," said McCoy, who believes believes the album does not cater to the public's "diet of pop". We discussed the trend for most country music stations to play strictly a top 40 play list. New artists seeking play time as well as country stars of "the past" rely on other outlets get their new albums played.

"It's a different market, at one time you could identify every country music entertainer by their unique sound," added. McCoy, but then he has never been an artist who relied on the charts for his success. He was one of the top live performances and noted he had he was recently listed among USO's Top 10 Performers of all time alongside such icons as Bob Hope, John Wayne and Marilyn Monroe.

A two-time entertainer of the year, McCoy emphasized that he was 35 years old before he earned his first hit on the country charts. It was then and is still his contagious onstage persona that has endeared him to fans around the world as well as here at Jamboree in the Hills.

This will be the sixteenth appearance on the stage here in Morristown for the King of Jambo and although he is quick to caution that he knows the crowd is not just there for his show, Neal is determined that he is not going to disappoint the thousands of fans that have come to expect a non-stop party.

"We love our fans at Jamboree in the Hills and while we may not be the biggest attraction, we are going to work harder than anyone else on that stage to get the people rockin'" said McCoy.

His on-stage antics are world renowned, but the tour master stated Jamboree in the Hills holds a special spot on his extensive tour schedule.

"I think when people come to see you, sure they want to hear your music," he explains. "But they really wanna be somewhere that makes'em forget their troubles for a little bit; to have some fun, to laugh and remember how good life can be. I always say, they're not fansthey're friends and I want'em to have a good time."

"The crowd at Jambo is the biggest we play to all year and we love getting the feed back from the people when they are all having a good time,' McCoy added. "We're definitely not going to disappoint them."

Each year, McCoy has groups of fans who wait patiently in the throngs lined up for the photo aisle, just for the chance to catch his attention and possibly be called up on stage during his show.

Over the years there have been many costumed fans waved onto the main stage, perhaps the most memorable would be the cowboy in the string bikini. There are fans who carry a tub of ice water with them and tip the star upside down and dip his head in the bucket in a ceremony they have dubbed a "Jambo baptism."

Perhaps the most anticipated part of the show is when McCoy, now 53 years young, ascends the ladder up the speaker tower and sings from his precarious perch to the roaring crowd below.

"Let's face it, I am not a young man any more, and there will come a day, when I am 65 or 70, when I won't be able to do that any more," McCoy said with a chuckle. "It isn't getting any easier to get way on up there and I know they are going to be disappointed when that day comes, but for now, I might be able to be talked into doing it again."

The crowd for Saturday could be record setting for attendance with an all star line up. Preceding McCoy onstage will be local favorites Ron Retzer and 1170, Brother Trouble, Tristen Smith, Eden's Edge and Lorrie Morgan. Following McCoy are the Eli Young Band, Little Big Town and the Buckeye State's own Rascal Flatts.



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