Gary James' Interview With Meghan Linsey Of
Steel Magnolia

Before the release of their début album, Steel Magnolia received nine, count 'em, nine major industry award nominations, including Vocal Duo Of The Year at the CMA Awards. They spent the summer of 2010 touring with Brad Paisley. It's no wonder then that people in the know are predicting big accomplishments from Steel Magnolia.

Steel Magnolia is Joshua Scott Jones and Meghan Linsey. Meghan spoke with us about Steel Magnolia.

Q - I see you're coming to the New York State Fair. This must be the summer tour of fairs for you, as New York's Fair is not the only one you've played or are playing.

A - (laughs) Yeah. Exactly. It's been good. We've been playing lots of fairs, lots of festivals. Tonight we're doing a show with Ronnie Dunn, Miranda Lambert. We get to play with a lot of different acts all summer, meet a lot of people and really most importantly just get out there with the fans. Each fair is a whole demographic of different people, maybe not necessarily Country music fans. You use the opportunity to win some people over. It's been good. It's a lot of fun. We're excited to be out playing as much as we are.

Q - Which is harder, singing or promoting the singing?

A - Promoting the singing for sure. (laughs)

Q - I thought you would say that.

A - Absolutely. (laughs) In fact, I don't know that I knew when we signed the deal, how much promotion goes into it. There's definitely more promoting going on than singing, it seems like.

Q - Let's say you and Josh didn't enter that Can You Duet competition, where do you think you'd be today?

A - I don't know. It's hard to say. I think everybody has their own way.

Q - Are you from Nashville?

A - No. I grew up in New Orleans. I was born in New Orleans and grew up kind of outside of New Orleans, Ponchatoula. Moved to Nashville seven years ago. (2004) I was eighteen.

Q - You and Josh met at a Nashville karaoke bar. You were a host there.

A - I was.

Q - What was Josh doing there? Just coming in to sing?

A - Yeah. He had just taken a job there. He moved from Illinois a couple of weeks before I met him. He actually was selling radio ads at the time. He came in after work basically to hang out. I think he got up to sing a couple of songs.

Q - Who came up with this name Steel Magnolia?

A - (laughs) That was me.

Q - What does it mean?

A - I don't think it meant anything at the time, to be honest. We'd been playing around town. Honestly we didn't necessarily think we wanted to be a duo. We had just written a couple of songs together. Other people were kind of telling us, "hey you guys, you should probably sing together. It sounds pretty good." We're on our way to a gig one night and we're just saying maybe we should come up with a name. We were, I don't know, just throwing out all kinds of stuff. Any billboard I saw, I would just throw it out there. (laughs) I don't know. I grew up in Louisiana. Obviously loved the movie growing up and said "hey, why not Steel Magnolia?" And Josh is like, "Oh, that's cool. We can change it later." So, it stuck.

Q - You have a band that travels with you?

A - Yeah. You mean our road band that plays with us?

Q - Yeah. How many musicians in the road band?

A - We've got lead guitar, bass, drums and keys backing us and Josh plays guitar. So, we have a four piece behind us.

Q - It used to be if a band wanted to get signed, they had to pay their dues playing the bar circuit. Has that changed?

A - Oh, I don't know. I mean, I think it's different for everybody. Reality TV has definitely taken over of the music industry, it kind of seems like. You still have bands that build up followings. I think everybody has their own path. I never in a million years thought I would be on a reality TV show competing for a record deal. That wasn't in the initial plan, but, you know we stuck it out in Nashville. I think we worked just as hard as everybody else that has a record deal. It's worked out pretty good for a lot of people. You see shows like American Idol and Kelly Clarkson and Carrie Underwood and all those huge stars that come from that, so it's been cool.

Q - As a woman, what special problems do you encounter on the road?

A - Lack of bathroom space. (laughs) That can be an issue. I live with ten guys on a bus. So, between that and constantly picking up, that kind of thing. We're all kind of tight in the area now.

Q - Can that be intimidating?

A - (laughs) No. Not at all.

Q - Do you act like one of the guys?

A - Yeah. I slip into that for sure. I've always gotten along better with guys, so that probably works to my advantage. But I kind of catch myself and act like a lady here. (laughs) It's easy to slip into that. But I think it's a good balance to be able to hang out with the guys and still be a lady.

Q - Growing up in New Orleans, did you know anybody else who pursued a professional career in music?

A - I think I was in a talent competition as a kid with Britney Spears. It wasn't like I was great friends with anybody. It was just by chance growing up in the same area.

Q - Where do you see yourself and Josh in five years?

A - Probably a headline tour. I think that's what you dream about as an artist. You just try to build and build and build, so you get to that point.

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