Getting to meet your heroes can be a mixed bag. If you’re lucky enough to do so, there is always the risk that they won’t live up to your expectations, or even be rude when you approach. Of course, there is also the chance of a wonderful experience with sincere gratitude expressed when you share your admiration.
In the bluegrass world we get so many opportunities for face-to-face interactions with top performers, something we should never take for granted. All but the biggest stars make themselves available after shows, to the extent that frequent visits are possible for artists you follow closely, with friendships developing over time.
When we reported recently that Sam Moore of Sam & Dave fame was a guest vocalist on the latest Nu-Blu single, Jesus & Jones, I owned up to my own fan fascination with his work in the 1960s. As the saying goes, I had all their records, and viewed them as some sort of entertainment royalty. So when I was scheduled to speak with Moore today about the single, I’ll admit to a bit of trepidation.
But there was no need. Sam was a pure delight, and the sincere joy he takes in music, and in having a chance to remember his friend, George Jones, was palpable. He told me that he hadn’t listened a lot to bluegrass before cutting with Nu-Blu, though he had listened to Vince Gill and enjoyed his music.
“I’m very honored to be in bluegrass. Though I wasn’t real familiar with the music, I wasn’t anxious about it because it’s a family thing… traditional, not acting fancy and jumping around, and all that. I consider Nu-Blu to be family now. They were very gracious to come and ask me to sing with them. And they are very talented!
I can sing jazz, but I’m not a jazz singer. I’m not a bluegrass singer either, but being asked to participate in something way outside my comfort zone was a real honor.
As I listened to the song, I felt a little Gospel in there, and I told them to let me try it the way I heard it. I put a little of that Gospel sound in there, and they loved it.
Tell everyone in bluegrass that Sam Moore can sing Gospel bluegrass!”
Back on July 16 we posted an audio snippet of Jesus & Jones, but without Sam’s contribution, which you can hear below.
Moore also spoke lovingly of George Jones, who is celebrated in the song.
“George and I walked the red carpet together walking into the CMA awards one year. George had recorded Patches with BB King, and as we talked about it, it amazed me how his hair was absolutely perfect. It looked like a cap. I’m wondering how does he keep it like that when he moves his head. He really did look like a possum when he took those glasses off!
I loved that man. He and I were very alike in our behavior. Both of our mouths would get us in trouble. But he was like me… always be yourself, and always tell the truth. No reason to apologize for being yourself.
When they did the first all-star tribute, he sent a note asking me personally to come and sing with him. Unfortunately, he passed before the show. We were to sing She Thinks I Still Care.
Everyone loved him.”
Jesus & Jones is available now as a digital single, and will be included on the next Nu-Blu album.