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L.A. Beat

Jaydee Bixby is more than just another Bieber

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 It would be easy to lump rising country star Jaydee Bixby, who plays Essies, March 3 into  the same fluffy pop category as the Justin Bieber’s of the world,  what with his clean cut, fresh-faced innocence, and harmless stories of growing up, girls, music and trying to find himself.
“You can‘t even compare what I do and what he does,” Bixby said.
“He’s a whole different level of something. You rarely hear of overnight successes anymore, so the fact he haJaydee Bixby  at Essies. Photo by Richard Amerys done it is very good for him,” he praised.
“When I was on Canadian idol, I had hair like his. He must have been sitting there in Winnipeg watching me on Canadian Idol and said ‘I want hair like that.’  Before the Bieber hair, it was called hockey hair.  Well, I don’t know if that’s true,” Bixby laughed from Langley, getting ready for his band to pick him up to begin a tour of Western Canada.

“When I was in junior high, I wasn’t too good with the girls. I just  can’t relate to a 15-year old girl and what she’s feeling, but I can relate to someone who is 20-years-old and just moved out on his own. I can only write about what I know,”  enthused Bixby, 20, who moved out to Vancouver from his home town of Drumheller last year to pursue his music career, which has, so far, resulted in two albums “Cowboys and Cadillacs” and  the latest “Easy To Love,” which has resulted in four singles including the “Tailgate,” the latest single” “Dream Bigger” “ Broken Locks,” and his cover of  Tom Cochrane’s ’80s hit “Boy Inside the Man.”

“I think that was my first number one in Edmonton. I did Burton Cummings’ ‘Break It To Me Gently,’  on ‘Cowboys and Cadillacs’ and was thinking of another cover. My manager, who used to book bands with Paquin in the ’80s still golfs with Tom Cochrane. Tom was talking to him about how well Rascal Flatts had done with ‘Life is a Highway.’ So he suggested  ‘Boy Inside the Man,’” Bixby related adding he was unsure about it at first as the song is written from the perspective of a man in his 30s looking back.

“I didn’t know if I had the age to sing that. People would say how can you sing that? So Tom rewrote it for me. It took him about 30 minutes. He’s a genius. He’s so easygoing,” Bixby enthused adding Cochrane is only one of  the many people who have helped him along the way. He co-writes with John Higgins of the Higgins’ band.

“John is just all round a sweet person. In the beginning, he’d stop by the motor home, because that’s where I was living at the time, and we’d get together and write stupid songs, and good songs or we’d just sit and have a conversation.  And the Higgins band  and their family are all great,” he continued adding because his regular lead guitarist extended  his vacation in Thailand, Higgins will join him for the first part of the tour.

“That’s the only reason I’m in the music business. I like to play and my band likes to work. I like playing live, it’s even better than being on the radio, because you can actually see people’s reactions to the music we make. And I might as well do it now while I have the energy to do it,” he enthused adding he also loves hearing feedback from his  fans, both good and bad.

“I’ve been lucky to have good people around me,” he said adding they tell him the truth.
“That’s how you know  you’ve been too long in the music business when you are surrounded by yes men,” he said.
“If people say they like my songs, even  when they don’t, how am I going to get better?” he asked.
“I've got pretty thick skin. You get thick skin when you’ve been on Canadian Idol,” he said.

“I’ve been lucky. I didn’t do it the old fashioned way, but now I get to rub shoulders with guys  I grew up listening to, and they look at me as a country musician, not as that guy from Canadian Idol,” Bixby continued, adding he has a lot of older fans who remember him performing classic songs on Canadian Idol  from the likes of  Johnny Cash, Ray Charles and , of course, Elvis. 

“I’m the ultimate Elvis fan,” he said adding he is looking forward to Lethbridge, though he can’t remember the last time he played here.
“I like to try out new material on audiences and  for  the older crowd there will be some Hank Williams Jr. and  Elvis. Elvis is why I wanted to become a musician,” he continued.

“ I’d like to be known internationally, but if the worst happens and nobody buys CDs, I figure I could have a regular gig at a bar in my home town and make enough to pay the rent, I’d be happy with that. I’ve been around the business enough to  to know what I need to do  to get to where I want to be,” Bixby said.
He started out  playing malls,  and nursing homes with his dad, where people really enjoyed  the Elvis songs he played them.
“They just  real appreciative that you’re there. You don’t have to play the stuff on the album, they’re just happy to see you. Before my grandpa passed away, he was in the Drumheller Lodge and I used to go and play for him,” he said.
For now he is looking forward to recording his third CD.

“Third time’s a charm right? At least that’s what I’m hoping,” he said adding his songwriting has matured, and now he is working with some of Nashville’s best songwriters like Gil Grant and Anthony L Smith.
“I’ve put more heart and soul into them. I don’t want to say there’s more wisdom in them, and I can look back now at the songs I wrote when I was 14 and yes, they were cheesy. There have been a lot of changes over the past three years.  I haven’t had my heart broken, but I’ve met some nice girls and a lot of good people” he said adding he has written songs in a relaxed manner as well as under pressure.

“ When I recorded the last CD, I had nine, and you can’t have an odd number of songs, so I had to either not use one, ore write one more to make it 10. So and they said we have one more day left in the studio, so I called John Higgins, and we wrote ‘It’s Over Now’ the last song on the CD. It’s definitely a cool experience,” he said.
Tickets are $15 in advance, $20 at the door, for the March 3 show at Essies

— by Richard Amery, L.A. Beat Editor

A version of this story appeared in the Feb. 23, 2011 edition of the Lethbridge Sun Times

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Last Updated ( Thursday, 10 March 2011 01:50 )  
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