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Steel Magnolia Chat About New Music, Touring and Good Tweets Gone Bad

Steel Magnolia
Rick Diamond, Getty Images

This fall, Steel Magnolia will open for Reba McEntire on the All the Woman I Am Tour. Edens Edge and the Band Perry will also join in on the fun, making Joshua Scott Jones part of a male minority on the road. The singer tells Taste of Country that’s fine with him, but not because of what you might be thinking. He’s glad to give fiance and bandmate Meghan Linsey a break from the testosterone fueled summer they’ve had opening up for Brad Paisley and Blake Shelton.

The duo’s new song ‘Bulletproof’ is perfect for this tour, as it’s about a woman flushing the memory of an ex down the drain. It’s Linsey’s first chance to really shine; previously, she’d split lead vocals with the capable Jones at best, or found somewhat of a backup role. “I think people are gonna hear it and go, ‘Who’s that?’ you know,” Linsey says. “So it’s something different that we haven’t done yet.” The recently CMA nominated duo have proven they’re not afraid to take chances musically.

As they navigate a new industry together, the couple also work to keep their relationship strong. There are trying times, but as you’ll soon see, they do their best to appreciate each other’s eccentricities.

We’ll start by asking about that adorable little dog Charlie that you posted a picture of on Twitter. How old is Charlie?
Meghan
: Awww … isn’t he cute. Charlie is 19 weeks this week. So he’s a baby. He was a birthday present for Josh, but I think I selfishly kind of got him for me and then gave him to Josh as an excuse to get a dog.
Joshua
: Yeah, she did. It started out being … Well …
Both
: It’s a long story [laughs].
Meghan
: I got the dog home and I said, “Surprise! Happy Birthday!” So, yeah, we have a new dog now.

Does he come on the bus with you?
Meghan
: Yeah, he’s actually sleeping right here right now. He’s always out. He loves the bus. He loves the guys.

Is he potty trained?
Meghan
: He’s getting there, that’s the hard part [laughs].
Joshua
: No, he’s not. [Meghan laughs again.]
Meghan
: It’s hard because he’s little and he’s a puppy, but he’s getting better.

You learn a little bit about how you’re going to be as parents when you get a dog, and you can see that maybe Josh is gonna be the disciplinarian, where Meghan, you’re going to be the apologist.
Joshua
: Yeah, you hit that nail right on the head.
Meghan
: This is like our fourth dog, but … we realized you can’t take a Weimaraner that’s 90 pounds on the road with you. So it’s at Josh’s parents’ house. And then I rescued a dog back in October and kind of rehabilitated her, and now she’s staying with my parents because she freaked out by people. I try to rescue dogs as much as I can. It’s ridiculous.

You guys are fun to follow on Twitter because you do interesting things. Like last month Josh was going to call three fans at midnight. How did that go?
Joshua
: It went pretty awkward, really [both laugh]. You never know who you’re gonna get, you know, so I’ll be talking to like somebody who I have absolutely nothing in common with. It will be like a 16-year-old chick and I’m sitting there going, ‘”So how’s school?” I’ve been out of high school for a while, so … But it’s fun. I think it’s spontaneous and fans like that connection. And we love the fans so much, and it’s fun to get that interaction.

So just to recap: You called a 16-year-old girl at midnight?
Joshua
: [Meghan screams with laughter] Let me take that back. Like I said, you don’t know by the Twitter name or number who you’re about to cal,l and that’s kind of fun. But yet, that’s how rumors get started, so let’s back peddle a little bit.

Are you working on writing new music for a new album?
Meghan
: Yeah, we have a lot of stuff that we’ve been writing over the last couple of years and a lot of stuff that didn’t make the first record.
Joshua
: We wrote with some great writers. We wrote with Jeffrey Steele recently. We wrote a great song with Charles Kelley, Dallas Davidson. It’s a nice community there in Nashville, songwriters and everything, so we’ve gotten a lot of opportunities to write some great music, and listen to some great music. The second record, we could make one now if we wanted to, but this record has just been out since January and we’re still trying to give it some space for it to grow on people. And I think the single ‘Bulletproof’ is gonna show a different side of us.

You have toured with some pretty big people, like Brad Paisley and Blake Shelton, and you’ve got the Reba McEntire tour coming up. What tour has the best food?
Meghan
: I’d say the Brad Paisley tour, for sure. The thing about the Brad catering is you can choose to eat really healthy or you can eat like terribly bad. So at least you have an option.
Joshua
: Yeah, like at lunch you’d have all your nice lunch meats and you go through the line and they have some fried chicken, then a salad bar and maybe some mashed potatoes. And then at dinner, a lot of times on Fridays especially … it’d be really extravagant. You can get your nice prime rib. Stuffed shrimp. It was hard to stay any kind of thin on the tour.
Meghan
: They had this whole thing going to on the Brad tour where you could sign up to join two teams of ‘The Biggest Loser.’ So [laughs] there’s all this amazing food but everybody’s in a competition against each other to try to loose weight.

Does having some level of fame and success create distance between people that were friends growing up?
Joshua
: I get these messages on my phone all the time that say, “Too famous to call me back, what’s up?” I just wrote a blog that went out on AOL that’s called ‘Road.’ The last episode was talking about how busy you are and how I’m so busy at the end of the day I don’t even want to call my own mother. So we try to fit everybody in … and a lot of times with old friends it’s like, I want to talk to them, but I don’t have the 30 minutes to an hour that I’d really like to sit down and talk to somebody to catch up.
Meghan: It’s a funny thing to try to explain to people who aren’t right in the middle of it because it’s just a different kind of job.
Joshua: But I’ve kept a lot of the same friends. I brought one of my best friends out on the road with us. He does our production, and he’s learned a lot and become part of the team and everything, and we’ve been friends since junior high. So I’ve kept the same friends over the years, and that’s one thing that’s really important to me.
Meghan
: Yeah, our keyboard player is an old friend of mine. We kind of grew up together in church and stuff, and so he ran into my mom at Walmart and wanted a gig and we worked it out [laughs].

Congratulations on your CMA nomination.
Meghan
: Yeah, it’s always cool to be nominated for an award, so it’s exciting. We’re excited.

What will you do with it when you win?
Joshua
: We’ll put it on our mantle.
Meghan
: [laughs] Yeah, our non-existent mantle. We’re gonna have to get a mantle soon, I think. We’ve kind of outgrown our place, you know, but we’ve been on the road for so long we haven’t had time to move. So our place is like a storage unit now.

Technically you would get two awards, one for the each of you, so you could have one for home and one for the road. Or maybe give one to a mom?
Meghan
: Yeah, that’s kind of where all my important stuff is. It’s at my mom’s house. She has all my 4-H awards and all that stuff growing up. Report cards … I feel like it would fit in with all that, right?

I wouldn’t have pegged you as a 4-H gal growing up. That’s surprising.
Meghan
: [laughs] I was the president of the 4-H club.

Josh, can you name the 4 ‘H’s’ without Megan’s help?
Joshua
: No.
Meghan
: Is it sad that I don’t really remember them? It’s like “honor, health,” something …

No, it’s like “head, heart, hoofs and” …
Meghan
: Hoofs? Is it Hoofs? I don’t remember. Oh my God, isn’t that terrible?
Joshua
: Head, heart, hooves and hay!

Josh, were you involved in any groups growing up?
Joshua
: I was my freshman class president … so that was pretty cool. I raised a lot of money. Some pretty serious chili suppers I put together.

You both have a political background, then? Maybe that’s something for your future?
Meghan
: Yeah [laughs], I don’t know.
Joshua
: This country needs it, man. Right now they need one big chili supper.

Watch the Steel Magnolia ‘Bulletproof’ Video

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