Tommy Mann Jr.
The Orange Leader
Neal McCoy is at home whether its a microphone in his hand or a fishing pole.
McCoy, a native of Jacksonville, Texas and current resident of Longview, returns to Southeast Texas for a free concert at the Orange County Riverfront Festival on Saturday, March 16, as part of the Bassmaster Elite Series “Sabine River Challenge.”
The “Sabine River Challenge” is a four-day fishing tournament being held March 14 through March 17 on the Sabine River featuring many of the world’s top bass anglers, and McCoy is no stranger to such events.
“We’ve played several of these kind of events and they are a lot of fun,” McCoy said of BASS affiliated events and his performances during a telephone interview. “People that fish are usually a good natured bunch and like to have fun and enjoy music. And I like those people too.”
McCoy is no stranger to fishing having grown up in East Texas.
“I’ve pretty much fished my whole life,” McCoy added. “Growing up in Jacksonville, I could walk to a lot of places and fish on a pier or in a boat. There’s a lot of big fish in some of those ponds too.”
McCoy is best known for his two No. 1 singles, “Wink” and “No Doubt About It,” both from his February 1994 release “No Doubt About It.” He has several other Top 10 singles to his credit, including “The Shake,” “You Gotta Love That,” “For a Change,” “The City Put the Country Back in Me,” and his most recent single, “Billy’s Got His Beer Goggles On” which was released in 2005.
McCoy has two platinum albums and one gold record to his credit. His most recent CD, “XII,” was released through Blaster Music in March 2012 and featured Blake Shelton and Miranda Lambert as co-producers of the album with Brent Rowan. Both Shelton and Lambert also sang backing vocals on the album’s first single, “A-OK.”
McCoy said he is ready to start work on his next album, which is a project close to his heart.
“I’m actually going to Nashville and I’m supposed to start work on Monday on my next project,” McCoy explained. “It’s going to be a Charley Pride tribute album and I’m really excited about this.”
McCoy credits Pride for giving him his start in 1981.
“I did shows opening concerts for him for about four or five years, before I went off on my own,” McCoy said with a slight laugh. “Then it took about another seven years before I finally had some success. It’s been a long climb, but I owe so much of it to him.
“We’re still really good friends,” McCoy continued. “He’s given the world a lot of great music. He has 36 number one hits. I don’t know how we’re supposed to pick 12 songs for the new record. I’m kind of surprised no one else has ever done this. He was sure excited about it when I told him.”
McCoy hopes to have the tribute record to Pride completed by the end of May and out by the summer. He also said other well-known country vocalists, such as Darius Rucker and Trace Adkins, have expressed interest in the project and may have guest appearances on the disc.
McCoy is no stranger to Southeast Texas having performed at venues across the region several times over the years. He knows the people of Southeast Texas know good music when they hear it and he expects a big turnout at next Saturday’s concert and Bassmaster Elite Series event.
“There’s been a lot of good country music artists come out of that area over the years, and the people of that area have been around it for a long time,” McCoy stated. “That’s why there is such a strong support for country music in Southeast Texas and, when you combine that with the Bassmaster tournament, well, the more people out there for the concert the better. It’s going to be a fun time for everyone.”
For more information on McCoy, visit www.nealmccoy.com on the Internet.