Jamie Richards has spent his whole career just this side of the spotlight but, with one glance at his busy touring schedule and impressive discography, you wouldn’t know it. By not being much of a social butterfly, and not submitting to the powers that be, Richards has been able to make music and entertain his loyal fans one simple way: his way. By putting the song and the music first, and surrounding himself with like-minded people, Richards has carved out a very unique and comfortable place in the Texas scene. As he gears up to release his latest album, LATEST & GREATEST, he is looking to reach new audiences as well as reconnect with those who have followed him since the beginning.
“It seems like the environment of country music is changing,” said Richards. “It’s shifting back to what I've done all along with songs that have a message and make you feel something. I’m very excited for everyone to hear this new album. Whether you’re a new fan looking for real country music or a long-time fan waiting to see what happens next, there is a song on here for just about anyone.”
Known for being a singer that can deliver a range of emotions, Richards has climbed the ranks of country music, one rung at a time. Finding his way to Curb Records in 1999, he became a staff writer and celebrated cuts by artists such as Hal Ketchum (“That’s What You Get For Loving Me”), Ken Mellons (“Believe”), and the ever popular, “Loose, Loud and Crazy,” by Texas favorite, Kevin Fowler. Leaving Nashville in 2001 to join Wes Daily at Houston’s D Records, Texas became his “second home” and he has released five albums (NO REGRETS, BETWEEN THE LINES, DRIVE, SIDEWAYS, IT’S ALL ABOUT THE MUSIC) and 16 crowd-pleasing singles—12 of which made it into the Top 10 on the various Texas Music charts. From his first single, “Don’t Try To Find Me” (2002), to the chart-topping “Drive” (2008) and his most recent hit, “I’ll Have Another” (2013), success was imminent and his popularity knew no boundaries.
Always a traditionalist, Richards’ newest effort, LATEST & GREATEST, is a compilation of songs old and new. Featuring several fan favorites from over the years, the five new songs on the album usher in a new chapter in his storied career. With a plot line that never changes and a setting that is all too familiar, Richards stays true to his country roots by delivering music fit for the honky-tonk crowd.
“With LATEST & GREATEST, I feel I’ve put together songs that show my fans who I really am from start to finish,” said Richards. “Whether those fans are the diehards who have stuck with me over the years or younger ones who are just now being introduced to my music, the message is the same: I’m about being real and they can hear it. These are the songs that truly are a reflection of me as a good ole country boy from a dairy farm in Shawnee, Oklahoma. At the end of the record, I know they will be able to say, ‘I get it. I understand who this guy is and what he’s about.’ “
Kicking things off with “Second Hand Smoke,” Richards returns to Texas Country radio with a two-step tune that harkens back to a time when the scene was more about cowboy hats, sawdust on the dance floor and a cold beer than truck beds, dirt roads and baseball caps. Recorded in the studio with his touring band, another rebel nod to bucking the system, Richards’ “cradle to the grave” philosophy is on display in this song about not being able to forget a past love.
“There’s no great story here, just something everyone can relate to,” said Richards. “The guy in the song can’t quite shake the memory of the girl he lost and, though he acts like he’s okay, it’s obvious that she’s always hanging around like secondhand smoke. If you want to hear a country song, this one is for you!”
As his career surges forward and he tours the state playing gigs at venues packed with loyal fans, Richards continues to fight the good fight by resisting the trends that keep popping up in country music. Aiming to take it up another level with LATEST & GREATEST, his “keep it real” attitude takes center stage as this rebel with a heart peels off another layer and introduces his newest music.
“I’ve done music from the heart since the beginning and I’m not about to stop now,” he says. “I’m too much about being real to try anything new anyway. There are a lot of country music lovers out there and I’m counting on them to see through the labels and recognize that the sound and style I’ve developed is one they can relate too. After all, those are the people I do this for.”