“I’m polishing a piece of coal into a diamond,” declares singer, songwriter and country hero Jaydee Bixby about his sophomore full-length Easy to Love (On Ramp Records/EMI Music Canada). “I found my niche.”
When last we heard from Bixby, the Drumheller, Alberta native was a young, modestly green sensation touring from coast to coast in support of his debut effort Cowboys and Cadillacs. He worked hard. Harder than most young men his age.
In two short years, since the release of his debut cd, what a diamond he’s become. Founded on an exquisite voice and randy hip-shaking stage prowess, the 19 year-old Bixby has taken over hearts and stereos across the nation. His career trajectory is set for the stars and “Easy to Love” is the fuel for that incredible journey.
Bixby’s career began at childhood through the schooling of his ardently musical family. Following dreams of taking the big stage, Bixby paid many dues, most notably during a stint on Canadian Idol’s fifth season where he quickly captured the adoration of the television audience.
Issuing Cowboys and Cadillacs as an assertion of his career beyond Idol, Bixby builds upon that bedrock with Easy to Love, an effort that finds an epiphany helping him blossom into both a complete, confident songwriter and international performer. Penning virtually all of Easy to Love’s songs, Bixby has found the vehicle for both his voice and ambition.
“I always thought you had to be born a writer,” Bixby admits about his formative song writing days. “I was a frustrated 14 year-old kid trying to write songs, not understanding why they didn’t sound like the ones I loved. I was trying to write about what I thought people wanted to hear.”
“But the secret,” he reveals wisely, “is to write about what you go through; what you want to hear. Everyone will have had those experiences and they can relate. That’s what Easy to Love is all about: I just had to find what I can write about: life.”
Tapping into that untouched wealth of inspiration, Bixby immediately began to create track after track of honest, captivating songs. The resulting 10 tracks confirm the emotion and grace Bixby exuded on Cowboys and Cadillacs but propel it to new heights via genuineness, experience and the inimitable way in which the crooner can relate to what he is singing when it holds such personal significance.
“I’m way more excited for every song” he reveals about Easy to Love’s inspiration. “Some of them are about ladies ’cause I’m still 19. I have ladies on the mind. But for me to have the opportunity to take the experiences I’ve had, sit down with some of my values, looking at things that happen in the world and what I garnered from my parents and put it into music makes it way more personal to me.”
Certain of his abilities but not so audacious as to eliminate the advice of mentors, Bixby immersed himself in the epitome of country’s impressive legacy in order to realize Easy to Love. Committing time in Nashville solely to collaborating, Bixby quickly completed nine of Easy to Love’s 10 tracks co-writing with the likes of Anthony L. Smith, Gill Grant, John Higgins, Ralph Murphy and David Klinger. Surrounded by fellow country music luminaries, Bixby ensured while he is a competent, enthralling writer, “Easy to Love” benefits from teamwork.
“I’m a big fan of it,” he asserts. “The album features so much great stuff because we were bouncing ideas off one another. Something that didn’t connect with one of us inspired the other. It’s a lot smoother and I find I’m the hook-line guy. I can come up with a hook and build a song around it, which was how a lot of Easy to Love came about.”
Songwriting complete, Bixby entered Vancouver’s Armoury Studios with Cowboys and Cadillacs producers John Webster and Bill Buckingham, a duo he refers to as his “personal motivational speakers” for drawing out Easy to Love’s earnestness and intensity.
Moreover, he feels that with their attention to detail, Bixby accomplished his intentions with Easy to Love: entertain, enlighten and ensure fans feel fine. Tapping into that respectful, familial essence that has made him a charming heartthrob across the globe, Bixby offers sage gratitude for his fortune while intimating that the album’s title reflects how life should be embraced.
“Music is a stress-release; escapism from the realities of life,” he asserts. “When you go to a concert, are you worrying about paying your bills the next day? When people hear this album, they won’t be thinking about responsibilities and life. They’ll have a great time with some honest music. If everybody leaves my shows or hears my albums forgetting about their difficulties and feeling great, I’ve done my job.”
“My fans, family and friends mean everything to me,” Bixby adds wistfully. “I could make a hundred albums but if nobody came out to support and listen to my music, it would be pointless. I’m grateful I have these fans and as long as they’re around, I’ll keep performing if they let me with all my heart. I’ve got food to fill my belly, gas to fill my car and friends to fill my heart. I know where my roots lie and what I’m about. That’s what Easy to Love is about.”