Jay Hollis
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Jay Hollis

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"Hollis debut CD (James) Taylor-made"

Country music, like any other media, always needs plenty of talented and capable newcomers to keep from becoming stale.

I know that as well as anyone. I get it.

But, unlike most other kinds of music, country depends on a strong sense of tradition if it is to hang onto the uniquely emotional and often rough-edged character that makes it great, that makes it the music of the American common man.

Let’s see if these newcomers get it.

“JAY HOLLIS” BY JAY HOLLIS. I was not familiar with Texoma native Jay Hollis before his self-titled debut album appeared in my mailbox. Now, I hope he won’t be a stranger.

With a smooth countrified voice and some of the catchiest songs I’ve ever heard from someone without the power of a major label behind him, Hollis runs through one of the most welcome 12-song sets to cross my desk in a long, long time.

From the opening syncopated licks of “Devil Ain’t Got A Prayer,” through the rowdy barroom groove of “Six Pack Pretty,” to the heartbreaking yearning of “Again Tonight,” Hollis never strays too far down the “redneck rock” road that he forgets the point of the album.

With “Honky Tonk Hall of Fame,” “Frozen Roses,” “The Rain,” “One More Day,” and so on, this is as strong a HOWDY! collection as I’ve heard in years.

Hollis has done something totally different with his first CD: He stayed himself, even though the temptation to be just another Kenny Chesney/Toby Keith/(fill in another shallow flavor-of-the-month name here) must have been almost overwhelming.

Also, kudos to producer (and former Asleep at the Wheel piano wizard) Chris Booher. While not particularly chasing radio hits, he helped Hollis turn out an entire album of them.

Best of luck, Jay. Best of luck. (NEXT rating: A-) - Don Chance Country Music Writer

"Chance: Paisley, Mattea, Strait great in ’08"

Talk about a lame year for country music.

2008 isn’t the most ho-hum year I’ve seen in the 11 years or so I’ve been commenting in this spot, but it comes awfully close.

Here are my picks for 2008’s Top 10 best countrified country albums.

1. “THE LIFE OF A SONG” BY JOEY + RORY. There’s no doubt that “The Life Of A Song” was the absolute best country release of 2008. Veteran Nashville songwriter Rory Lee Feek and his songbird wife, Joey, might have lost on CMT TV’s “Can You Duet,” but they certainly won with one of the most perfect country albums I’ve heard in years.

2. “ALL I INTENDED TO BE” BY EMMYLOU HARRIS. I seriously doubt we’ll be hearing anything from Emmylou Harris’ exquisite 2008 offering, “All I Intended To Be,” on the radio, but who cares? I’d rather own it anyway and listen to it anytime I want.

3. “SLEEPLESS NIGHTS” BY PATTY LOVELESS. Patty Loveless’ collection of country classics, “Sleepless Nights,” is a veritable encyclopedia of the sound of the American common woman.

4. “PLAY” BY BRAD PAISLEY. Country music isn’t just about singing, it’s about picking, too. Hot, flashy, mood-setting picking. And “Play,” by Brad Paisley, contains some of the best examples of fiery country picking in almost a century of recorded country music.

5. “TROUBADOUR” BY GEORGE STRAIT. George Strait just keeps creating new standards in authentic American country music excellence, and “Troubadour” should go down in country music history among the all-time greats.

6. “PARTY ‘TIL THE COWS COME HOME” BY AVERY MICHAELS. Louisiana singer/songwriter Avery Michaels’ name might not be a household word, even among hardcore country fans, but his distinctive music absolutely belongs wherever the American common man gets together with pals for a few good times to “Party ‘Til The Cows Come Home.”

7. “COAL” BY KATHY MATTEA. Sure, I’m a longtime Kathy Mattea fan, but that doesn’t mean her 2008 release, “Coal,” with its sweet-natured West Virginia sound and imagery, wasn’t one of the best albums of the year. Outstanding country music!

8. “BURN YOUR PLAYHOUSE DOWN” BY GEORGE JONES. George Jones records almost as many duets as Willie Nelson! Jones 2008 duet collection, “Burn Your Playhouse Down,” shows again how generous, and brilliant, he can be when sharing the mic with other artists.

9. “JAY HOLLIS” BY JAY HOLLIS. He might be a local boy, but Jay Hollis definitely has what it takes to earn a spot among the biggest in the business. His self-titled debut album was without a doubt one of the most refreshing new CDs I heard all year.

10. “CHERRYHOLMES III: DON’T BELIEVE” BY CHERRYHOLMES. With its third album, the bluegrass picking Cherryholmes family moved away from the strict confines of tradition-heavy bluegrass toward a lighter, breezier, more modern acoustic approach that preserves the greatness and character of the past, even as it makes itself at home in the 21st century. Fine music! - Don Chance Counry Music Writer


One More Day - single from
CD - "I Want To Live"



Based out of Wichita Falls, Texas, Jay Hollis doesn’t play the part of a country boy, he IS country. Jay comes from a bull riding background - champion bull rider to be specific - that offers him an insiders look into what it means to be a cowboy.

Jay's PBR fans are loyal, activated, and keep him on the charts. In the first week of releasing his first single "One More Day," Jay sat in one of the top three positions on all radio station charts playing the song. Jay's music reaches beyond the rodeo circuit. He writes songs for rural America. Songs that speak directly to the daily lives of the common folk. Jay connects!

Jay is a true county music entertainer. He doesn't just play a song, he portrays the song through emotion, music, and storytelling. He draws fans in through his stage personality and creates an environment that allows bonds to be built and life long fans to be born. Jay Hollis is the real deal.
Jay’s songs are written from the soul and Jay has been quoted in the press as being “the James Taylor of Country Music.” Jay’s music touches emotions in a way that ensures fans are listening, critics are excited, and program directors remember his name. Jay Hollis is the new artist for true country music in 2009.