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Relaxing in the green room before their recent CMT Cross Country taping, Jack and Miranda gave CW's David Scarlett an exclusive interview about how their music and Texas roots have brought them together through the years. Here's a bit of what they had to say.
CW: Talk about each other for a minute. Miranda, tell me how long you’ve been aware of Jack … and a fan? Have you seen him live a bunch of times?
M: He was a rock star to me and I was just startin’ out, just findin’ myself as an artist and writin’ songs and listenin’ to his albums and seein’ him live. To me, he had everything I wanted to be. So I got hooked. I was so hungry for music…I wanted to see anyone at anytime and be in anyplace where there were people doin’ what I loved to do. And just so happened Jack played a lot where I could actually drive there … so [laughs] we went!
CW: Jack, talk about her some…what is it about her?
J: I knew the first time I saw her play. I don’t think it was the first time we met. But the first time I saw her play, she was opening a show in the middle of nowhere, man. I actually saw her play for the first time, ‘cause my van was broken down beside the stage. And I was so pissed off that we were in the middle of east Texas. She thinks I was a rock star. In my mind, I definitely was a rockstar, you know [chuckles]. You know, what am I doin’ here, man? Wonderin’ about my career … where is this going? [Laughs] And I remember seein’ this girl hop up onstage, and there were like five or six acts on the bill.
M: I wasn’t even an act though. I just showed up.
J: That’s the thing … she was the youngest, she wasn’t even on the bill. No band, just her dad playin’ guitar. And I just remember watchin’ goin’, “Now that’s cool. Now, there’s someone I could sink my teeth into … she was playing interesting songs and her delivery … it just wasn’t BS. It was like … all right. It made my day. I was sittin’ there … overheated in more ways than one. And I finally saw something that made me go … yeah, that’s cool. That’s what I’m talkin’ about. For me at that time in my career, a lot of what I was doing had nothing to do with what you and I have talked about—the records and the No. 1s and the No. 1 albums and the platinum tours. It was all about … who’s gonna move this thing? Who’s gonna shake things up musically? And so, as I was out there fightin’ that fight..I was always makin’ notes in my mind … of who was gonna help me. Who was gonna be on my side of the fence. And I knew right away that she was. I didn’t even know that she was a fan … I just knew right then that I was a fan.
M: If I’d have known that, I’d’ve probably peed my pants! [Laughs]
CW: Any anxiety about playing with somebody for the first time … even if you are a huge fan and you respect them a lot … just tryin’ to make sure that everything flows the way you want it to?
M: Definitely. I’m actually kinda nervous. And I’m usually not.
CW: If you had your preference … are you glad you’re taping it tonight … or would you like the adrenaline rush of being up there on the high wire … you’ve got one shot … let’s go for it?
M: I’m glad we’re taping it! [Laughs] I think it’s a little of both. You want it to have a live feel … you don’t want to go … stop … stop … we’ve gotta start again.
J: I don’t mind taping it … but I think neither of us would be scared if this were goin’ out to the world live. That’s where we come from.
M: I guess what makes me nervous is knowing that we’re taping it, actually [Laughs] If we just went and did a show … I’d just go do another show. But this is gonna be around for a long time!
CW: Talk about Big State Festival [Oct. 13–14 in Bryan-College Station, Texas. See bigstatefestival.com]. Anybody on the bill you’re really excited about seeing?)
M: There’s a lot of people I haven’t seen. I don’t get out much. I’m a huge Lyle Lovett fan, and I’ve never seen him at all live, so I’m excited about that.
J: Something like this is really interesting to me, because a lot of ground I’ve covered before this last year and a half was people askin’ me what kind of music I do … after I played a show … and having me try to explain that I play country music. But not necessarily the kind you might hear at a Tim McGraw show. Part of the excitement of something like this is that this festival will provide a complete picture of what country music is. Everyone from Willis Alan Ramsey to the Drive By Truckers … to Tim McGraw. It has to do with great songwriting and telling stories. That’s the way I look at it. If 30,000 of those fans are huge Tim McGraw fans, they’re gonna walk away bein’ fans of a whole lot more than they ever knew about.
CW: There will be a barbecue competition at the festival. Coming from Texas, is it brisket or nothing for you?
J: She goes hunting a lot more than I do. …
M: You can barbecue anything! [Laughs] I like chopped beef.
CW: Gonna make the rounds at the barbecue competition?
M: Well I hope I get to. Yeah. Especially being in Texas. ‘Cause when you eat Mexican food and barbecue outside of Texas, it’s just not the same. So I’ll be sampling that for sure.
CW: Tell me about Miranda being escorted off stage at one of your shows.
J: She asked me if I knew who she was … if I recognized her being from the front row of my shows … when we met later on. I knew her when she was at the front row of shows, ‘cause she got up onstage. …
M: Uninvited. … [Laughs]
J: I was all for it ‘cause I’d see her play and I knew who she was. And I knew she could sing. But I forgot to tell my road manager … who was also head of security …
M: Who was tackling me! [Laugh]
J: I was like … ”Oh cool, here comes Miranda … there goes Miranda … see you later.”
M: I was goin’, “No Wait! Jack knows me!” He was goin’, ”She’s all right … she’s all right” I didn’t care, I was onstage with Jack Ingram!
For more on Jack and Miranda, check out the Sept. 10 issue of Country Weekly.