There is a cool moment, preserved for posterity in TV syndication, when Joshua Scott Jones and Meghan Linsey, the duo known as Steel Magnolia, make the connection that changes their lives. Its cattle call audition day for season two of the show, "Can You Duet?" Josh and Meghan are secretly ambivalent about the whole thing, skeptical that the judges (especially that big-time record executive on the left) aren't going to get their very unique sound.
But a few bars into the first verse of their song "Ohh La La" we see that record executive have his first Ah Ha moment. A blank face cracks into a grin. Then comes the chorus, with its rising swell of surprise and passion. Naomi Judd points at her own goose bumps. And by that point, the record executive is wearing a 100-watt smile.
His name is Scott Borchetta, and his YES vote that day began the journey that would put Steel Magnolia in the winners circle of "Can You Duet?" and on his label, the feisty and independent Big Machine Records. The eagerly awaited debut album you have here also makes its first impression with "Ooh La La," and if you have a musical bone in your body, you too will be smiling halfway through. Spirited, romantic and elusively different, its the perfect three-minute distillation of Josh and Meghans fresh, soul-leaning approach to country music. They do not sound like twins in close harmony; rather theyre a study in contrasts that shows how two bold and identifiable voices can mesh together, making something bigger and better.
In the year since winning the show, Steel Magnolia has gone on to win over many more influential fans and supporters. Their bracing take of "Keep On Lovin You" by country soul powerhouse Chris Stapleton broke through as the highest charting debut single by a co-ed duo in Billboard history. The song has been downloaded more than a million times and landed in a major motion picture. Josh and Meghan spent the summer of 2010 touring alongside Brad Paisley on his massively popular H20 Tour. And even before the release of their debut album, Steel Magnolia snagged nine major industry award nominations, including Vocal Duo of the Year at the CMA Awards. No wonder then, that youre seeing Josh and Meghan on every "Whom To Watch" list in country music.
Josh and Meghans path to newly hatched stardom was paved with surprises for both. "Ive got to be honest," says Josh. "I never in my wildest dreams thought Id be in a duo with my girlfriend. But it was an undeniable thing, and people connected to it." And as for Meghan, she says "we both had to swallow some pride and get on the wagon, because there was definitely something special there. Other people could see that. In fact everyone around us could see it but us."