Opry Legend Jim Ed Brown Releases New Single “In Style Again”
On Tuesday night, Jim Ed Brown, like he has for fifty years, stood in the famed circle at The Grand Ole Opry. He announced to the crowd that, for the first time in a long time, he was releasing a new single and he was doing it at the age of 79. See, that’s the ebb and flow of any career, but particularly a career in popular music. Over the course of three decades (the 50’s, 60’s and 70’s), Jim Ed Brown was a proven hitmaker. But strings of hits just don’t last forever. While the hands on the clock refuse to quit spinning, the record players and the radio stations often times stop the “spinning” in its tracks. They routinely start “spinning” tunes from younger artists, the next generation of hitmakers. But this country music staple, this Grand Ole Opry icon, is still at it . . . with a brand new song in which he professes “I’d like to be in style again someday.”
It’s funny. I have been broadcasting live backstage at the Opry for years and Jim Ed Brown is definitely one of my favorite legends of that stage. If there is a seat open in the dressing room I broadcast from, he never hesitates to plop down in it, get comfortable and stay a while. He is open, nice as can be, accommodating and, at times, wickedly funny. He has said things to me . . . hilarious things . . . that I have sworn I would never repeat. And, I won’t. So don’t even think about it. The damp interrogation room and the low-lying lamp are not going to work!
I always look forward to seeing Jim Ed Brown and spending some time with him. And I was really excited about seeing him that Tuesday night. I had looked on my Opry app (yes, shameless plug. Download it today on your IPhone or Android) and noticed that Jim Ed was going to be on the show. Just the day before, we received a copy of his new single at the radio station and I decided to take it down to Nashville with me. My plan was to show Jim Ed that I had gotten it and, yes, listened to it.
Hilariously, he, right as I was about to say, “I have a surprise for you,” walked into the dressing room and said, “I have something for you.” Yep! He brought me additional copies of his new single. The new single “In Style Again.”
The song was written by Lance Miller and Austin Cunningham II and the words really hit home the point I was making earlier about the cruelty of time. Take a look as the 2nd verse and chorus . . .
Who gave the world the right to turn the page
And leave me here feeling twice my age
There’s nothing quite as far as the fall
And the changes are so cruel
Once you’ve had it all
I’d like to be in style again someday
No one wants to feel like they’ve been thrown away
Yes, nothing lasts forever, but it hurts to be replaced
By a younger, fresher, pretty face
So if only for a while, I’d like to be in style again, someday
It’s interesting. Jim Ed Brown’s first single in years has so many meanings and possible interpretations. In fact, I commented to him that I thought the lyrics of the song were so sad. Jim Ed quickly responded, “Well, not really.” I suppose, for an Opry legend like Jim Ed Brown, it’s actually a love song . . . an ode to the “style” he’s enjoyed for fifty years in the canon and history of country music. I get it. And I love his interpretation.
And, I must say, on that Tuesday Night at the Opry (Tuesday, May 7th, 2013), I loved his performance of it.
I was sitting there. Section 6, Row K, Seat 1. Jim Ed explained to the crowd that “for the first time in a long time” he had a new record and that he was going to perform it. Earlier, Keith Anderson led off the Opry show and Jim Ed was on stage to close out the first 30-minute segment. In fact, he was sandwiched between Anderson and the new duo Love & Theft, both of whom have topped the charts or been near the top of the charts in recent memory. Anderson reached #2 with his ballad “I Still Miss You.” Love & Theft climbed all the way to #1 with their smash “Angel Eyes.”
But that night, it was the legend who brought the crowd to its feet. Yes, sandwiched between the “younger, fresher, prettier” faces, Jim Ed Brown lamented “I’d like to be in style again someday.” And he performed that song with 50-years worth of seasoning and salt. It was tremendous. Moving. Sad. Joyous.
And the crowd, hearing the song for the first time, completely got it. They absorbed the impact of the moment. As Jim Ed closed with the final line, “So if for only a while, I’d like to be in style again, someday,” the Grand Ole Opry was already standing and cheering. And the legend was overwhelmed.
See, it was his HIS new single that night that got the biggest ovation. Yes! It was Jim Ed Brown’s new single that touched the most hearts and moved the most souls. As he stood in the circle, like he has for fifty years, and realized an encore of the chorus was in order, it hit us all. If only for a little while, he was most definitely in style . . . again.
Jim Ed Brown’s new single is available on iTunes and his official website.