Waylon and Georgette

Ashland University alumni Waylon O'Donnell and country music star Georgette Jones' new single "Hey Brother" will debut on Friday, August 28.

ASHLAND -- To be completely candid, I love and appreciate music -- to the point where I have now integrated it into my daily routine. 

My neighbors can most likely vouch for the vibrations generated with my voice due to the likelihood of them detecting my taste for catchy ditties while I am shampooing my mane.  

You can spot me cruising down the highway in my Honda with my windows rolled down singing along to a stereo blasting a playlist ranging from Aretha Franklin’s cover of “You’ll Never Walk Alone” to Juice WRLD’s “Lucid Dreams.”

If someone even breathes a word regarding karaoke, my head pops up in interest like a plastic rodent in a whack-a-mole game.

Here’s the point I’m trying to make: I AM A FAN OF MUSIC.

So, when the chance arose at the beginning of summer to record a song with Georgette Jones, an icon of classic country music, I pounced at the opportunity without a second thought. However, I didn’t realize the amount of work that went into professionally recording, producing and distributing one song.  

Jones, on the other hand, is accustomed to the process. After all, she is the only child of country music superstar couple George Jones and Tammy Wynette; music runs her blood.

A song is like a bottle of wine -- the flavor takes time to develop. But if you’re patient, you’ll soon notice those familiar goosebumps assembling on your forearm.

I proposed the song “Hey Brother” to Jones; a contemporary electronic dance tune originally released by Avicii, a Swedish DJ, in 2013. Jones told me that she never had heard the song before I showed it to her.

“When you sent that song and I listened to it, I immediately (went) to my Apple Music and I started listening to that artist,” Jones said. “What a beautiful song; it was so pretty!

“I was excited to get the chance to record something that was different than all of the other stuff that I normally record.”

The first thing we needed was a backing instrumental track. I wanted to make sure that all of the instruments would be played live, so I contacted the talented Ava Talevska; and she masterfully crafted exactly what I had envisioned.  

I wanted the song to evoke the classic country genre, but maintain its modernized tonality and ambience. Jones’ husband Jamie Lennon, who has been playing the steel guitar since he was 9 years old, generously added his skillset to the mix.

When it came time for me to record my vocals, I was filled to the brim with excitement and energy. I consider myself a perfectionist; so I commandeered the microphone on three separate days, singing the same song over and over again for hours at a time until I finally got a one-take track with which I was content.

After we completed the bulk of the canticle, Jones agreed to sit down with me and discuss a variety of topics, including her upbringing, her journey to becoming a registered nurse, musical inspirations, coveted travel destinations as well as the newest single release “Hey Brother.” 

You can listen to the entire 27-minute conversation here.

Our song “Hey Brother” will officially be released on Aug. 28, 2020 and will be available on iTunes, Spotify, the Google Play store or wherever you listen to music. You can pre-order the song, here.

Overall, this project would never have been possible without an astonishingly proficient list of contributors. Here are the names and accreditation of all involved in the endeavor:

  • Mixed and mastered by J Forrest 

  • Cello, bass guitar, acoustic guitar and percussion played by Ava Talevska

  • Steel guitar played by Jamie Lennon

  • Vocals by Georgette Jones and Waylon O’Donnell

  • “Hey Brother” was written by Salem Al Fakir, Tim Bergling, Veronica Maggio, Vincent Pontare and Ash Pournouri

I’d like to especially acknowledge again the one-and-only Georgette Jones. Check out her latest album “Skin,” which features the likes of Vince Gill, Dean Miller and Dale Watson. 

Thank you for your genuine modesty and benevolence. This has truly been a dream come true for me and I will be forever grateful.

I’m looking forward to the next song we sing together!

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