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      A dynamic, singing, songwriting duo
      Steel Magnolia. It’s a name that implies gentle beauty buoyed by an underlying strength and force of will. It’s a perfect moniker for Country Music’s hottest new duo as soulful, blonde, vivacious Meghan Linsey and her electrifying partner Joshua Scott Jones exemplify the combination of talent and... read more
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      Steel Magnolia. It’s a name that implies gentle beauty buoyed by an underlying strength and force of will. It’s a perfect moniker for Country Music’s hottest new duo as soulful, blonde, vivacious Meghan Linsey and her electrifying partner Joshua Scott Jones exemplify the combination of talent and tenacity it takes to succeed.

      Seasoned voices, dogged perseverance and a healthy dose of Southern charm proved to be a winning combination for Steel Magnolia in winning CMT’s Can You Duet? (produced by the creators of American Idol). Meghan and Josh, partners both on and off stage, captivated the judges with their unique vocal blend and charismatic stage presence. In reaping their prize, the duo signed a record deal with Big Machine Records (label home to Taylor Swift), and entered the studio with acclaimed producer Dann Huff (Keith Urban, Faith Hill, Rascal Flatts) to begin working on their debut disc.

      “Josh and Meghan are two of the most exciting musicians that I have heard in the last 5 years,” says Huff, who has worked with the best in the business. “Their passion and devotion to their music truly inspires me to be a better producer. I love them!”

      Steel Magnolia’s first single - the Top 5 hit, “Keep On Lovin’ You,” - introduced Country radio to the duo’s fresh sound, earning them two 2010 Academy of Country Music Award Nominations as well as two 2010 CMT Music Award Nominations – a mere 8th months after launching on the music scene. “It has that soulful thing and that comes pretty naturally to us,” says Meghan. “I think we’re bringing something different to the table.”

      “Our voices blend uniquely,” Josh adds. “Meghan has more of a low end and my voice is kind of in a little higher register, which normally isn’t the case with a male/female duo. It’s usually the other way around. So it’s a weird blend, but it works.”

      Though obviously elated at taking top prize in the latest season of the popular CMT competition, the duo admit they almost didn’t enter. Both had come to Nashville to pursue solo careers. “I was doing my solo project and Meghan was doing her solo project,” says Josh. “We were playing writer’s nights and we’d incorporate a song that we had written into our set and people really liked it. We just got the best response when we sang together. So we pushed our egos aside and just went with it. Now here we are.”

      Both young artists had grown up knowing they wanted to pursue a career in music. “When I was only nine or 10, my mom got me a karaoke machine for Christmas and I spent hours in my room singing to Tanya Tucker, Whitney Houston, a variety of different artists, anything with soul or feeling. I’d work on it for hours and hours and hours,” recalls Meghan, a native of Ponchatoula, LA. “I’d just stay in my room and I’d lock myself in there until I could sing every song just the way the singers sang it. I think it really helped me develop my voice. If you try to sing like so many different kinds of singers, you take something from each one. It helps you develop your own sound.”

      By the time she was in high school, Meghan was opening for Brad Paisley, Toby Keith and other major acts and looking forward to the day when she’d make her home in Music City. “I started coming to Nashville when I was 14, I was writing songs and recording,” she says. “ I’d perform at fairs and festivals and I was only about 14 or 15 years old. I knew exactly what I wanted to do. When I turned 18, I graduated high school and I just got in my car and drove to Nashville. My mom came with me and I got an apartment. I went to Belmont University for one semester and started working in a karaoke bar.”

      Josh grew up listening to Waylon Jennings, the Judds and Willie Nelson before he discovered the Beatles. “My roots were really into country and then I got into the Beatles,” says the Charleston, Illinois native. “I’ve listened to every Beatles record ever made over and over and over again and
      hat really mixed with my bigger influences. Waylon Jennings is probably my biggest influence and I like Dwight Yoakum, Conway Twitty, Patsy Cline, Willie Nelson, all that. For me, that’s how it all started.”

      Barely in his teens, Josh began writing his own songs and got his first taste of the stage. “I wrote a song and I performed it at church when I was 13-years-old,” he recalls. “I actually went to an all black church. I was real nervous singing in front of everyone, but it went over well. The name of the song was ‘Get Together.’ It was the first song I ever wrote. It was right after the Rodney King incident happened and people were rioting everywhere.”
      Josh pursued his music, but like most aspiring musicians, he was also paying his dues with a 9 to 5 job. Prior to moving to Nashville, he toiled in radio sales, but still managed to incorporate his creativity into his day job. “I’d write little jingles for the companies before I’d even meet them,” he says of courting prospective clients. “I’d look through the phone book and I’d find like a café or a law firm. I’d write a song and then I’d take it in and play them the song. I didn’t go in and meet them first and ask if I could write a song. I just went ahead and wrote a song and then I’d go in there and try to sell it. The song was free. They’d just have to buy some air time.”

      While working at the station, Josh would travel to Nashville to perform at the famed Bluebird Café on weekends. After awhile he decided to move to Music City and the company transferred him to a station in Nashville. One night visiting a downtown karaoke bar, he met Meghan. “We started hanging out and we started dating first and the music thing happened not too long after that,” says Meghan, “about six months later we wrote our first song.”

      They also discovered a special rapport when they sang. “Vocally it was always a real natural thing,” she says. “We have this connection when we sing. I know where he’s going; I always know, even when he doesn’t go to the same place as the take before. I kind of feel where he’s going to go with the note. I think that’s real unique and cool.”

      "It's extraordinarily rare when you have two great singers with such individuality that are able to create a unique vocal blend,” says Scott Borchetta, President & CEO of Big Machine Records. “Usually one voice leads and one has to follow. Not the case with Steel Magnolia. This is truly special."

      Songwriter friend Amanda Williams encouraged the couple to try out for “Can You Duet?” Though initially hesitant, Meghan and Josh auditioned and received enthusiastic response. Soon after they found themselves earning a legion of fans as they competed on CMT program. “We made an agreement before we went in to not worry about what anybody else was doing and just worry about every song that we did, make it the best it could be and really stay focused on each performance” Meghan says. “The hardest part about it was probably not getting a lot of sleep, just the stress of being on national TV, singing in front of a panel of judges.”

      In the long run, it all paid off as Meghan and Josh won the competition and inked the deal with Big Machine. “I think we definitely have a core audience that’s already been set up because of the show, which is awesome,” says Josh. “Our fans have been great. Every time we get on MySpace or Facebook, it takes hours to go through the requests, messages and the comments. It’s incredible! A lot of new artists have to break through that barrier, but I think we’re really fortunate to have been on the show, and the backing from CMT has been great too.”
      Steel Magnolia wrote 7 of the 12 songs on their highly anticipated debut album, in stores on September 21st.
      “Working with Dann Huff has been incredible,” says Meghan. “As soon as we met Dann, it just felt like I’d known him for years and he treats us like his kids. It’s just real comfortable and he’s just a great producer. I think he brings something to this project that I don’t know if anybody else could have. He’s taken our sound and made it work and still stayed true to who we are in the process. I think that’s really cool.”

      “It’s country with our own edge,” Josh says of the Steel Magnolia sound. “We’ve been at it a long time. We are just real people and that’s what country music is all about. We’re just happy to be here.”

      Meghan, a 23-year-old, New Orleans native began performing at a very tender age. By the time she was 15 her love for the stage had already landed her spots opening for some of country’s biggest stars such as, Toby Keith, Brad Paisley, Travis Tritt, Gary Alan, Blake Shelton, and others. Since moving to Nashville in 2004 (days after graduating from high school), Meghan has grown tremendously, devoting as much time as possible to the music she loves.

      Josh, a 28-year-old, singer/songwriter/rocker hailing from Illinois also began performing very early on. After a borderline homeless stint in Los Angeles playing clubs like the Viper Room, The Knitting Factory, and the Lava Lounge, Josh decided to return to his Midwest Illinois roots and relocate in Nashville. Within a few months after moving to town he had gained the respect of hit songwriters and his single “Long Lovely Night” was picked up by program directors at Nashville’s Progressive Radio Station, Lightning 100.

      Since the forming of the dynamic, singing, songwriting duo in 2006, record labels and publishers are starting to catch wind and are asking a lot of questions. The sound is soulful, the songs undeniable, and the music is taking people by storm.

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