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Paul Overstreet

Takes Five With Graham Lees


After graduating from high-school at the age of eighteen, Paul Overstreet moved from the bayous of the Mississippi to the music capitol of the world, Nashville, Tennessee. It was a long, hard road, but the dream of writing songs and making records was so big that the toughest roads weren't going to stop him.

Looking back now on the earlier years, Overstreet says, "It's amazing to realize that the reality is Paul Overstreetgreater than the dreams that started the whole adventure." Overstreet believes that it was his talent and vision, given to him by God, that enabled him to reach his goals as a songwriter, artist, and producer. As a songwriter, Paul Overstreet has written and co-written 27 top-ten songs, his first being George Jones', "Same Ole Me".

Paul had two dates in Europe during July Breim, Norway (Breim Festival) and Notts Americana International 2002 Festival.

Travelling from Nashville, Paul's first engagement was the Notts Americana, playing his country set on the Saturday afternoon and a gospel set for the time-honoured Sunday morning Gospel Show.  Paul offered a light-hearted tale of how as a youngster he was often marched out of church by his mother for fooling around with his brothers and instructed to cut his own switch for the punishment to be delivered. The quandary was; if you chose a switch to thick it might break your back; if it was too thin you would be sent back to pick another, therefore it was sense to pick one just right. Paul also told of his own fight with drink and stronger drugs and of his turn to Jesus in the 1980's.

fiddle player Jenny Ann Bulla
Jenny Ann Bulla

Paul Overstreet is now strongly involved with the New Christian Country music and produced the CD for Suzie Luchsinger (Reba McEntire's sister). We were treated to some excellent music form Paul and his band. Fiddle and mandolin player Jenny Ann Bulla included some sensational vocals both on back-up and taking lead vocals for a couple of hymns. A very talented young lady who has been with Paul's band for the past three years. The rest of the band comprises of Mike Chapman - bass guitar, Tom Hemby - electric guitar, Rich Kij - drums and Al Perkins - steel guitar. To add to the high profile performance, a children's choir from Doncaster's Kirksandall Junior School joined Paul and the band on stage. Saying that the children said that they didn't have a name for the choir; Paul christened them the Rich and Famous Choir, which seemed to go down well with the young girls.

After the show Paul graciously found a little time to meet with several members of the British country music press.

You have been heavily involved with New Christian Country Music for some time, producing an album for Suzie Luchsinger. Tell me about your involvement with this style of music.

"Well actually the record company called me and said that they had asked Suzie who she would like

steel player Al Perkins
Al Perkins

to work with on her next album…she had told them that she would like to work with me. They asked me if I'd do an album, but I told them that I couldn't do a full album as I was real busy, but I told them that I'd do one or two songs. We did a couple of songs and the other guy that was producing the album somehow had some sort of difficulty…he wasn't able to do any other songs. I ended doing the full project…an album called Real Love for Suzie. That was really how it came about."

We need to talk in retrospect about your song that has been the biggest hit…"When You Say Nothing At All". In 1987 it was #1 for Keith Whitley, it rode high in the charts for Alison Krauss and Ronan Keating sang it on the soundtrack of the movie Notting Hill and had a #1 on the pop charts. How do you feel about all this song?

Mike Chapman

"Well I think it is one of my favourite songs, because of the different stages of life that it's had. After Keith recorded it and had a big hit on it like he did, I just thought that was probably the biggest moment for that song. Then when they did the tribute album, Alison picked that song to sing. Of course she did one of the greatest jobs on that you know!!! Because of her performance on it…that was why it was used in that movie. Someone heard her performance and said 'I like that song, I want to use it in something'; so the guy who made the movie used the song. He had Ronan to sing it, which was awesome because that was a different style totally for the song. To me, it was like a great thrill!!!"

Alison did do an amazing job of it, getting the top of the country singles charts and also receiving the award for CMA Single Of The Year In 1995.

"Yes, I think it was a #1 for her, which was not that long after Keith had done it, which was quite amazing! Then Alison received the award for it."

So where is your own career taking you these days?

"I'm making a new album right now, of all new songs. Recently I did a Songwriter's Project Vol-One

guitarist Tom Hemby
Tom Hemby 

and I'm going to do Vol-Two. But, during this process I've just had a lot of new songs that I really like, so I'm putting them in an album package and then I'll do Songwriter Vol-Two. This one should be finished real soon! It's on our small label, so it's not going to be on a major label, so you probably won't see a lot of advertising for it. People can buy it off our website if they want to get it."

Are you pitching songs to anyone at the moment?

"Yes! You know I have a new song on Kenny Cheney's new album (No Shoes, No Shirt, No Problem). It's called "Never Gonna Feel Like That Again". I have a new song on John Michael Montgomery's album, I have a couple of things in the works."

Those guys are fairly big hitters, so hopefully we can expect something big with them.

Paul Overstreet with Jenny Ann Bulla and Al Perkins"Yeah! And I love writing for fellow artistes, so I'm doing that on a regular basis. Randy Travis has just recorded a song for his new gospel album, called "Mama Prayed"…so that will probably be on his new album. So I'm real active as a writer for other artistes."

Are you writing with co-writers rather than on your own?

"Yes, I write with a lot of other people. I just wrote with Bill Anderson a couple of weeks ago. Bill's a great writer…he always has been!

Are we likely to see you back here in the UK?

"Absolutely! If they'll have us back, we'll be here! I love the country side and I love the people…they're just super "

Thanks for your time Paul it has been a pleasure talking to you and I hope the rest of your European tour goes well for you.

"Same here. You're welcome."