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CRS is many things-but most fun among them is the chance to meet the best of the best upcoming artists- the superstars of tomorrow in many cases. Artists including Reba, Garth, Alabama, Brad paisley, and even Taylor Swift among so many others have been introduced there, with new faces like Zac Brown and Kellie Pickler taking their shot this year. Most interesting though are the possible new faces of next year, the artists with enough courage and confidence to show up on their own, with their talent and their dreams their primary calling card.

This describes Richard Jaymes, a Florida-born performer of Cuban and Cherokee descent, who wrote, recorded and produced all ten tracks on his upcoming debut album Dollar and a Dream. Unafraid to speak his mind, the first single, also titled Dollar and a Dream addresses all the key issues of the current economic crisis: the Wall Street Meltdown, corporate greed, government bailouts and of course, living beyond our means.

Jaymes describes his music as “raw soul”, and he hopes to inspire and delight fans of country music who want a little blues-rock fire with their twang- and a lot of truth and bite in their lyrics.

Dish sat down with the multi-talented Jaymes at CRS recently, to find out a bit about the man and his music, with any luck poised for great success.

Dish: How did the songwriting thing get started in your life? Were you a child prodigy?

Jaymes: I started playing guitar at 13. And I always loved country because of the songwriting and stories. My grandmother was heavy into Hank Williams Sr., and she had the old tape reel-to-reels that I remember hearing it on. It was great. I first started writing actually, when an English teacher taught me something that I never forgot. He said, ‘No matter what, when you’re writing a story, a song, whatever it is, write it down. Anything’s better than a blank sheet of paper. Even if you think it’s the stupidest thing in the world, it’s a start. If you write it down, you can always come back. It just gets the ball rolling.’ I think there’s something subliminal looking at that blank sheet of paper, that stops you. As soon as he told me that, it opened up the doors for me.

Dish: Do you have a notebook?

Jaymes: I do. I’ve got quite a few of them. I’ve really gotten into writing on my laptop, so I can record everything on there. The MacBooks with the mics, and it’s great. I can even make my own demos right there.

Dish: Do people in the airplane think it’s really weird, this guy singing into his computer?

Jaymes (laughs): He’s humming, ‘Ooo’. Yeah, they have to call the stewardess on me.
Dish: But seriously, do you just get inspired and do it?

Jaymes: I’ve been in situations like that. I get a lot of melodies in my head. Sometimes I wake up, you know, right out of my sleep, and I’ll have a melody in my head. I’ll hum it or write something on the guitar. An old trick I heard Lenny Kravitz does is, he’ll call his machine, and just hum whatever. That’s kind of the backup to the backup. I guess so long as the tape doesn’t run out, he’s all good.

Dish: I know that you were signed to Atlantic at one time, in a band called Southern Comfort. What happened to that?

Jaymes: Southern Comfort, So-Co, it was kind of like a Black Crowes, bluesy rock kind of thing. But Grunge came out. So it may have been bad timing. Chalk it up to experience and move on. We moved on. We’re here now.

Dish: So tell me about your record. What does it mean to you?

Jaymes: The title track “A Dollar and a Dream,” I wrote it about a year ago. It’s about the state of the country with the economy. I have a lot of friends and family who are going through hard times with layoffs and losing their homes and all these years of working, and then it comes down to this. One of the main lines, you know, “A Dollar and a Dream,” we live beyond our means; we have to learn how to do that and become better from that. I think that’s what’s going to happen with the country. It’s a learning process. It’s going to make us better and stronger.

Dish: It’s better not to be in debt. So what about the collection of songs on the album?

Jaymes: I’ve got one ballad on there called “Soul Shine” that I did. It’s a real late night demo. I wrote the song, and it was supposed to be something you put aside, you know, write down on a piece of paper. Anyway, I sung it and played it on an acoustic, and used it just totally the way it was. I called a friend who lives close by and plays fiddle, and he came over and added a little bit of fiddle to it. But it’s all straight up. Not perfect, but I like it.

Dish: What’s perfect?

Jaymes: Well, so many of these records nowadays are so polished. I guess it’s in the eye of the beholder.

Dish: Polished and perfect aren’t the same.

Jaymes: I wouldn’t use those words to describe me at all.

Jaymes:  Well, with the songs on there, I mean, literally, five of them, half the record was done where we, the guys I was playing with at the time, we set up in a room, turned the mics on, and let it roll. And that’s it. In one room, not even dividers.

Dish: Yeah, the indie attitude.

Jaymes: Yep.

Dish: I’m glad. We’ll see if there’s a place for indie artists on a mainstream label.
So what’s up next for you?
Jaymes: We are planning a summer tour. That’s in the works right now. When I perform,
I’m colorful, to say the least. I like to have a good time, to a point. And I like an up tempo show for the most part. I have that one song that I told you about, “Soul Shine,” but the record is mostly up tempo.

Dish: What are your hopes for the future? I mean, in every realm.

Jaymes: I want to take this record as far as we can, and I want to continue writing songs, not only for myself, but for other people. That would be my goal.

Dish:  And what about family?

Jaymes: I have a son, Justin, who’s 11. He’s fantastic. I couldn’t be any luckier with him. We’re going to see if I can get him out on the road with me in the summer when he’s out of school. He’s doing really well in school. We just got his report card.

Dish: Cool. And in the future, what would you like to see happen?

Jaymes: Well, my main thing is, for one thing, hoping that he grows up to be a better man. No worries, everything goes the way it should with him. Hopefully, I continue my career and do the best I can. Bring a little indie to country.

Dish: When you make a name for yourself as an artist, it always adds to the appeal of your songs, too, so I think this is probably a really great move for you.

Jaymes: Well, a dollar and a dream.
For more about Richard Jaymes, go to / Issue 99 - September 0288
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