Scott Rouse speaks about Charlie Daniels CD

songs from the longleaf pinesAs John mentioned in his earlier post we recorded an interview with Charlie Daniels for this week’s edition of The GrassCast. Prior to the interview I had a chance to email a few questions to Scott Rouse the producer. At the time I was just gathering background information for the interview, but we felt Scott’s comments were interesting and valuable enough to include them as an introduction to the podcast. At some point we’ll conduct an interview with Scott for The GrassCast. For now, here’s my question and answer with him about Charlie’s CD.

Who’s idea was this record, yours or Charlie’s?

Actually it was the Rector at my parent’s Church in Oak Ridge, TN, Craig Kallio. We’re Episcopal and 2 years ago I was in LA because I was nominated for a Grammy as producer for the Bluegrass Christmas album “Christmas on the Mountain” and when I found out the idea I was gonna pitch David Corlew, Charlie’s manager, had fallen through I didn’t know what I was going to meet with him about when I got back to Nashville. So as I’m standing there thinking about that my cell phone rings and its my Mom. And she says “Scott, I just talked to Craig Kallio and he thinks you need to do a Bluegrass Gospel album.” I about fell over because that would be PERFECT for Charlie and I would pitch THAT at my meeting with David Corlew.

Who selected the various artists and guests? Was that something Charlie came to you and said “I want to have these guys on my CD,” or did you suggest it?

I suggested the GrooveGrass Boyz as the band because that’s my A-List of of musicians that I use for most everything. We talked about Doc and Earl and Mac. Actually when I told Corlew the album I was wanting to do on Charlie the first thing out of his mouth was “Do you know Mac Wiseman?” and I said “Yeah man. He’s one of my best friends.” And Corlew said “If Mac Wiseman will do it, I know Charlie would love to do it.” So right then I called up Mac and before I has a chance to say a word he said “I was just thinking about you. Who are we doing a record with?” That’s true. That’s why Mac is such an important part of the album. Cyndi Wheeler sang with The Del McCoury Band on “I’ll Be Home for Christmas” on the Christmas on the Mountain Album. We talked about who he Charlie should do a duet with and all the bluegrass guys kept bringing her name up so we got her. She’s a grasser but she does this really warm jazz style vocal with bluegrass instruments and it just sounds wonderful. I’m actually cutting an album on her now and Blue Highway is the band.

Was Keep On The Sunnyside actually recorded live? And if so, how did that happen?

It was actually Charlie’s idea. And its live. It just happened so fast. And that’s the way Charlie is. “Hey Scott, let’s try this!” or “Scott, do you know Chris Thile? Let’s go over and see if he’ll be on this album.” There are only about 5 people who call me “Scott.” My Mom and Dad, Doc Watson and Del McCoury. Everybody else calls me “Rouse”. So when Charlie says “Hey Scott!” It really gets my attention. Plus the fact Charlie sounds like God would sound if he was from North Carolina.

Any other general comments as the producer?

Of all the people I’ve worked with as a producer, since I was 19 and I’m 42 now, Charlie is the most energetic “Let’s do this!” artist I’ve ever worked with. And his charisma is infectious. And you can hear it on the album. And he’s surrounded himself with the same kind of people, from his manager, David Corlew to Bebe Evans and Angela Wheeler and everybody else that works with him at his offices. Everyone involved with the album from the musicians to the studio owners just couldn’t get enough of the guy. You really have to experience someone’s personality like that in person. It sounds corny, but hanging out with him really makes you see things a little differently. He’s not kidding about the things he says about God. He’s what my father calls “A true believer.” Before Charlie went to Iraq we were talking and I said “Do you realize they are really having a real war over there and you’re gonna fly right into it? Doesn’t that scare you?” And he said “Scott, God will watch out for me from here to Iraq and back just like he does when I walk from my truck over there and back.” And he said it with that tone he uses when he’s reciting the 91st Psalm on the album. Let me tell you, THAT will get your attention! He’s such a powerful personality, and I think he’s using that in as many good ways as he possibly can.