Joshua Hedley, the first country act signed to Jack White’s Third Man Records since Margo Price, releases his debut LP, Mr. Jukebox, April 20th, the same day he’ll make his Grand Ole Opry debut. And with “I Never (Shed a Tear),” one of nine tracks Hedley penned on the album, there’s no mistaking the kind of country music to which he’s best accustomed. Sounding like a hybrid of Hank Snow and Jim Reeves, “I Never (Shed a Tear)” is steeped in country-crooner tradition, fresh and invigorating yet heartbreakingly earnest.
Backed by female voices that echo the legendary and ubiquitous Anita Kerr Singers, the Florida-born Hedley sings, “We never were in love, there were never stars above on the night when I never said ‘I do’/ You never wore my ring and you never meant a thing,” but it’s seemingly a ruse in the cold, hard tradition of tunes such as Willie Nelson’s “I Never Cared for You.”
“Classic country is like a suit,” Hedley says in a statement, insisting he’s not a throwback because as a singer he sounds the only way he knows how to. “Nothing about a men’s suit has changed in like 100 years. Classic never goes out of style. Something can’t be a throwback if it’s never been out of style. I just want people to remember they have feelings, and that they’re valid. Not everything is Coors Light and tailgates. There are other aspects of life that aren’t so great that people experience. They’re part of life, part of what shapes people.”
Mr.Jukebox was produced by Skylar Wilson and Jordan Lehning and also includes Hedley’s take on the dreamy “When You Wish Upon a Star.” The LP is now available for pre-order. Hedley’s 2018 tour schedule includes stops at SXSW, High Water Festival, Stagecoach and Pickathon, as well as album release shows in