I was in Atlanta preparing to work
The Swallow At The Hollow , one of my favorite clubs on the
planet, when Duane Allen called me and congratulated me for their
Grammy nomination for "Performace by Country Duo or Group with
Next thing I knew I was jumping up and down and laughing
and screaming like I had won the lottery!! It had been 14 years
since the Oaks had recorded one of my songs, and about that long
since they had been nominated for a Grammy in the country division.
Duane said, "When we heard the news we were on the bus and we all
four started jumping around, then we all stopped at the same time
and looked at each other and I said, "You know who is really gonna
love this news?" We all said in unison, "JIMBEAU!""
I rewound my life back to the song COLORS and how it came about.
I had met Rocko Hermance several years ago during the Frank Brown
Songwriters Festival in Gulf Shores, Alabama. As I always have
done, I asked him to come up and write with me at the ranch.
He brought me this little bumper sticker of an idea I had seen on
cars during the Vietnam war -- THESE COLORS NEVER RUN. This was
several years before the 9-11 attack. We were not at war with
anyone and I didn't want to think about that happening any time
soon. Really, we weren't a very patriotically expressive country
at the time. I put on my mentoring hat and attempted to show Rocko
how I would take that idea and make a song out of it.
I am by no means a fan of war. I think it's the basest of our
actions toward one another, though painfully sometimes war
cannot be avoided. So I did not want to glorify the fight, I wanted
to honor the men and women who had already fought, losing life and
limb, in horrible combat all over the world. Barely more than
children, these boys and girls marched into Hell to preserve our
way of life -- FREEDOM.
I thought about the chills I always get from the white markers in
military cemetaries -- the great loss of life. The memories of
pictures of men and women crying at the WALL in Washington, as well
as the memories of my father who served in World War II and in Korea,
along with helping build the Panama Canal.
Since the title was THESE COLORS NEVER RUN, my first thought was:
RED as the bloodshed, BLUE as the wounded, WHITE as the crosses
on our soldiers' graves; through the rain, through the sun, these
colors never run. It fell out of the pen onto the paper that
quickly. The verses were just as fast in coming. We put down a
work tape and I moved on to the next song.
Then the horror of 9-11 happened and a few days later I had a writers
round here in town. I was short a co-writer so I sang COLORS accapella
and got a thunderous standing ovation! I thought, hey this is a keeper!
It became a part of my show from then on.
Duane called me soon after that show and said he heard through a mutual
fan, Abby Powell, that I had a killer patriotic song. I went into
Jay Verne's studio on 16th Avenue and blueprinted the song for them.
Duane said "I learned your vocal lick by lick, breath by breath, and
then I went in and just sang it my way." I said, "That's the way
you're supposed to do it." We laughed.
So it was a special joy for my good old buddies, the Oaks, to get
nominated for vocal performance of my song.
Brenda and I flew to L.A. and were taken by limo to Burbank where
Ray Herndon was playing his fab guitar behind Lyle Lovett on the
Tonight Show. We watched the taping from the green room and spoke
briefly to Jay Leno as he got into one of his beautiful old classic
cars that was in dire need of a good muffler. :)
My good friend Linda Hart threw a great big party in her castle nestled
in the Hollywood hills where Ray, James Grey and I played our little
cowboy boots off to a crowd of appreciative "in the BIZ" people. Linda
was once a Harlette for Bette Midler and has had an impressive career
in movies and on Broadway.
On Grammy night a friend of Linda's threw us another party at a beautiful
mansion in Hancock Park where we watched the Grammys on a huge screen TV.
We didn't win but what a great time we had out in California with my
friends Linda, Ray, Jeff Steele and Leslie John (our wonderful host for
We came home with a big smile on our faces. It was an honor just to
be in the race. I can now say "Grammy" and my name in the same sentence!
My mother-in-love Anita Fielder had given me a ribbon that said, "I'm a
winner". I took a gold pen and wrote "ANYWAY" right across the bottom
of it and wore it proudly!