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Stories - Colors
Oak Ridge Boys

2004 Grammy Nominee
Performance by Country Duo or Group with Vocal

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 Vocal."

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 the trip).

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!

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