Jonathan Singleton & The Grove
Roots-rocking bluegrass sound!
Since signing his breakthrough publishing and production deal two years ago with Crosstown Songs Nashville, multi-talented singer/songwriter Jonathan Singleton has been caught up in a creative whirlwind that’s left him little time to be chilling at the airport “Watching Airplanes”—the name of the track he co-wrote (with Jim Beavers) for superstar Gary Allan that became one of the biggest country hits of the past year. The first single from Allan’s 2007 release Living Hard, “Watching Airplanes” spent more than thirty weeks on the Billboard Hot Country Songs chart, peaking at 2. For the week ending February 19, 2008, the song was 1 on the Country Aircheck/Mediabase airplay chart.
While the widespread success of “Watching Airplanes” is establishing the Jackson, Tennessee native as a prolific, first call Nashville songwriter for other artists, he is also currently in the studio, about ten tracks deep into a new project with his own eponymous band Singleton. The album, scheduled for release this fall, is being produced by major Nashville hitmaker Dann Huff and is the first of five recordings Singleton will make under his agreement with Universal South Records. Singleton’s songwriting deal is with Crosstown Songs (aka Diver Dann Music) and his production deal is with Diver Dann namesake Huff, whose incredible list of credits includes Reba McEntire, Kenny Rogers, Faith Hill, Wynonna, Carrie Underwood, LeAnn Rimes, Keith Urban, Rascal Flatts and Bon Jovi.
Huff has long had the Midas touch for creating mainstream pop/country hits, but he is moving a bit left of center in creating a dynamic new vibe with Singleton, creating a more roots-rocking, bluegrass sound for the singer and his longtime band’s latest recording. “Being part of Dann’s publishing and production companies is the perfect place for someone who writes the way I do,” says Singleton, whose lyrics focus on the here-and-now simplicity of everyday life. “Dann’s very in tune with where I’m coming from as a writer and singer, and he’s never felt inclined to do the straight down the middle pop thing with me that he does so well with other artists. The new songs have more of an edgy old school country rock flavor that’s got both of us very excited. My main criterion for a good song is one that makes me want to pick up the guitar and play again and again. It’s never about what’s commercial or how it will reap a certain audience, but all about having that gut instinct that it just feels good.”
After nearly a year away from being the lead singer and guitarist for his band—which up till recently was known as The Grove—due to his ongoing commitments in Nashville, Singleton, who currently lives in Franklin, Tennessee, is gearing up to do a full slate of live gigs in the coming months everywhere from Nashville to Kentucky, Mississippi and Chicago. Despite several personnel changes since officially forming in Jackson back in 2000, The Grove has never wavered from its trademark sound of raucous rock/R&B sound with a little country thrown in the mix. Squeezing as much emotion from the burnt frets of his guitar as his gritty smoke and soul-covered vocal chords, Singleton cut his teeth with The Grove not only as a writer, but also as a charismatic live performer. Over the years, the band played steadily at Barley’s Brewhouse in Jackson while also touring and opening for several major artists. They also released two independent CDs, including More Than People (2002).
Singleton was born into a family with an audience - his father was a preacher in the Church of Christ and his mother was a talented singer/songwriter who declined a small recording deal to look after her children. At age 16, the naturally gifted guitarist formed his first band with his brother Josh. The Smoking Jackets was a blues-rock band that at one time was the official touring band of the NASCAR circuit, showcasing for several record labels (including MCA and Island Def Jam) before evolving into The Grove. Singleton later attended Northeast Community College in Booneville, Miss. where he and the other members of his band were a part of the school’s Campus Country program, a scholarship program designed to prepare young musicians for life in Nashville.
2008 has continued to be a great year for Singleton. He was nominated for breakthrough songwriter of the year by “Music Row Magazine.” Also, Singleton earned an Academy of Country Music nomination for single of the year for “Watching Airplanes.” Billy Currington’s new single “Don’t” was penned by Jonathan Singleton and Jim Beavers. Jonathan Singleton and the Grove’s forthcoming record is in the works. The guys are currently getting a few notches in their belt around the country playing gigs. Opening for the likes of Joe Nichols, Phil Vassar, Carrie Underwood, Jason Michael Carroll, Blake Shelton, Eric Church, and many others. Singleton recently prerecorded the “Legends and Lyrics” series, to air in December. The PBS original series found Jonathan on stage opening for Patty Griffin, Kris Kristofferson, and Randy Owen. We look forward to having much more to report later.
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