If you guessed by the title of Billy Yates' new single, "Daddy Had A Cardiac And Mama's Got A Cadillac," that it's not a romantic ballad, you'd be right. It's a zany rollercoaster romp of a song loaded with knee-slapping guffaws and twists galore.
"People want you to tap into their emotions with your songs. They want to feel something," declares Billy, who's had hits both as a singer and songwriter.
"Daddy Had A Cardiac And Mama's Got A Cadillac" is definitely a feel good song.
"My favorite line is Standing by the graveside, Mama was a wreck/ Until the State Farm man handed her a fat check," recites Billy with a laugh.
Billy has a lot to be happy about. He says writing hits for Kenny Chesney, Sara Evans, Gary Allan, Tracy Lawrence, Ricochet and two smashes for George Jones -- "I Don't Need Your Rockin' Chair" and "Choices" -- makes life really good. But it's his family, he explains, that makes life downright great.
"My beautiful wife, Nancy, is my staunchest supporter," notes Billy. "And now I have the best son in the world, Grayson, who's 18 months old."
Grayson's entrance into the world, combined with Billy's exit from Columbia Records in 2001, brought added emphasis to the balancing act of performing, recording, writing songs and being a family man. Columbia had signed him in 1999, after he scored a Top 40 hit with "Flowers" on another label. Billy released two singles on Columbia, but they didn't register with radio.
"With me being more of a traditional act, I feel my potential just wasn't realized at Columbia," notes Billy. "I truly love all the people there, but I knew it was time to move on."
Rather than immediately seek another label deal, Billy decided to take a crack at radio on his own. "I had songs I'd written that I thought were special, so I started my own label and turned out an album, If I Could Go Back." Marketing the CD through his website, billyyates.com, he started small.
"I'd been watching the Texas Music Chart, noticing the love of traditional country music there," he recalls. So Billy went to work to get the new album's first single, "Too Country And Proud Of It," on the Texas-based chart. His efforts paid off -- the song reached the Top 15.
Now, for "Daddy Had A Cardiac And Mama's Got A Cadillac," Billy is targeting stations nationwide and he's hired promotion people to push the new single.
"It's a fun song," exclaims Billy with a big smile, "and I have fun every day with my music and my family. What more could I want?"
-- Larry Holden