Buddy Jewell’s New Video Is a Slice of Camaraderie Between Veteran Country Acts [Watch]
If watching Buddy Jewell's new "Sweet Southern Comfort" music video feels like tagging along for a series of long-overdue catch-ups between old friends — well, it's because it is.
Jewell's remake of his 2003 country hit comes apropos of the song's 20th anniversary, as well as the 20th anniversary of the year he won the very first season of televised singing competition Nashville Star. The new edition of the song is a collaborative effort with Clint Black, the Bellamy Brothers and Shenandoah's Marty Raybon — all legends in their own right, and each with a special connection to Jewell, personally and musically.
Black was the first person that Jewell got in touch with once he decided he wanted to enlist guest performers on the new version of "Sweet Southern Comfort." A mentor to his Nashville Star class and the producer of the self-titled album that originally featured Jewell's song, Black has been a key player in Jewell's career, and the life of this particular song, from the get-go.
"Clint and I stayed in touch over the years and I consider him a friend, so he was the first call, it was a no-brainer," Jewell tells Taste of Country. "Clint was an integral part of it the first time around. He had to be in it."
Raybon and the Bellamys, while not as closely tied to the history of "Sweet Southern Comfort," were artists that Jewell had known and been a fan of for years. It wasn't until he'd confirmed them all to contribute to the new version of the song that he realized that between the four of them, they covered four decades of country music.
"It just dawned on me one day when we were in the middle of the process. I thought, 'Oh my gosh, that's kinda God's hand on it,'" he recounts. "The Bellamys from the '70s, and coming up through the '80s and '90s with Clint and Marty, and me in the 2000s. So it's been a really special project to be involved with."
Filming the music video was tricky. Attempts to get the four artists together in the same place at the same time proved impossible, so he worked around his collaborators' schedules and filmed different kind of clips of each. But the finished product — finding Jewell in different settings with each, enjoying conversations and quality time together — comes across as a series of intimate get-togethers.
One scene shows Jewell visiting Raybon's tour bus, the Shenandoah singer coming out to give him a hug. That wasn't by design for the sake of the video's storyline — it was simply the easiest way for them to meet.
"He was the hardest one to get pinned down — not his fault, he's just so busy — and I finally said, 'Ah, just let me meet you at the bus somewhere,'" Jewell says. The various clips show Jewell deep in one-on-one conversation with his guest stars, and the conversations they were having weren't for the benefit of the camera.
"When Marty and I were talking, he's a very avid follower of Jesus Christ and so am I, so we were talking about things specific to our faith. And also there was a time where I was doing a thing with Marty out in the studio and there was a book store across the street ... my youngest son Joshua was with us and Marty had bought Joshua a book he was looking at in the book store, so we were talking about that," Jewell explains.
"And Clint and I were talking about the Nashville Star days and what all was going behind the scenes," he continues. "Clint is just so intelligent. He was talking to the videographer about lighting and what kind of camera he was using, things like that."
The bucolic scene where he filmed with the Bellamy Brothers was actually a family property: Jewell's daughter's in-laws owned it, and they'd planned to film at a pavilion at the back of the property. But when the videographer spotted a barn on the property, they decided to film there instead.
"So there we were, [and I was] talking to [Bellamy Brothers band mates] Howard and David about, gosh, hearing 'Let Your Love Flow,' I guess in the eighth or ninth grade, and that song," Jewell relates. "It was good to get to visit with all of them. I'm glad it came off as very natural. It looked like that to me in the video."
Jewell is at work on new music now, and he says he's been crafting it little by little — but after spending time working on the new version of "Sweet Southern Comfort" with three country music legends, he says he's feeling invigorated.
"They're all so upbeat and positive. And so you can't help but be inspired and upbeat after you walk away from conversation with those guys," he says. "I think that's one of the reasons why they've been around as long as they have been. They inspire people with their music and in their personal lives as well. Absolutely, I'm inspired by them."