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Jonathan Singleton and the Grove
By: Brianna Nightingale, CSO Staff Journalist
8/11/09

Jonathan Singleton proved himself as a talented songwriter when he partnered up with Jim Beavers shortly after moving to Nashville. Beavers and Singleton co-wrote “Watching Airplanes” and “Don’t,” which both frequented the country charts for weeks. “Watching Airplanes,” recorded first, was the first number 1 for both Singleton and Beavers.

According to Singleton, “two to three months later, we spent time trying to figure out what we did on “[Watching] Airplanes” and tried to recreate it. We dumped that idea, started all over and wrote ‘Don’t.’”

He said they have a couple of songs on hold now, including one on the upcoming Josh Turner CD. However, because of his busy touring schedule among other things, Singleton admits that he has not written in two to three months.

Jonathan Singleton and the Grove should be releasing their next record in September or October of this year. “Livin’ In Paradise,” the first single off of the album, was released earlier this year and should have a video coming out in the near future.

Although he has toured with several well-known acts, Eric Church was the most recent traveling buddy. Despite numerous memorable times on the tour, Singleton notes that their favorite venue, because they were close to home, was Minglewood Hall, which is one of the “nicer, big clubs” in Memphis. “We had been in there tons of times, but it has now turned into a beautiful club. Our hometown is about an hour from there, so that show was awesome. It was a big night.”

This was one of their first big tours, and they visited cities ranging from Detroit to Pittsburgh, up to New York and even Boston.

“Eric is from North Carolina, so we did a show there at Joe’s. There were 2,700 people, crazy rabid drunk fans, it was awesome.”

Eric Church and Jonathan Singleton have an interesting tie between them. Church’s wife, before she was married to him, introduced Singleton to Dan Huff, who has become a good friend and producer to Singleton. The beginning of their relationship, however, was a little intense for the artist.

“I went in, immediately, to Dan’s house. We were listening to music and stuff, sitting there, and he’s sitting real close next to me. I knew I had to play for him for a publishing deal. So, he’s sitting up in my face [while I played], and when I got done I was just pouring down sweat.”

It paid off, though, because some time later, Singleton went in to the studio to sign the deal. Although he only wanted to write at the time, he and a few others discussed a publishing deal as well as an artist deal.

Darryl Franklin and Dan Huff encouraged Singleton and his band into doing their own project. He said that they had formerly played tons of material as a cover band; reggae, country, bluegrass and r&b. In the studio, Huff would pick out little pieces of those music styles and put them in the tracks, so when it was finished, the band was surprised that it sounded the way it did.

“It ended up being cohesive,” Singleton said. “They had that idea from the start and that was kind of crazy to me because I didn’t see it even though I was the one doing it. The guy is really, really smart and it just ended up great to me.”

On the way things are turning out, Singleton says “I couldn’t ask for anything more. That’s why I did the artist deal; Dan Huff was involved so I knew there was nowhere but down from here.”

Getting to where they are today wasn’t quite that easy, though. Almost everyone in the music business seems to have an interesting story about how they got to where they are today.

Before all the “good stuff” happened, Singleton said that about seven or eight months before they finished singing all of the contracts, he had quit his jobs teaching guitar lessons and engineering in the studio in Jackson, TN. If it wasn’t for the landlord he had, he would have been homeless. “I didn’t pay rent for 9 months; I paid him back about a year ago.”

As he said himself, it wasn’t easy; “that’s the short version. It doesn’t include all those 99 cent menus and your electricity getting turned off.”

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