With a supercharged Dodge Charger and armed with a traditional voice built for country music, John Schneider blazed onto the Nashville music scene in the early 1980’s and went on to become one of Billboard’s top solo artists of that time. He racked up four No. 1 songs, eight Top 10 songs, three Top 10 albums and one No. 1 album. Known currently for his role as the dastardly judge on Tyler Perry’s “The Haves and the Have Nots,” he previously appeared in hit shows such as Smallville, The Dukes of Hazzard (as Bo Duke) and many more. Most recently he took on Dancing with the Stars – and America watched he conquered his self-admitted discomfort with dancing and took the stage week after week, surviving to the very end. And though he didn’t win the mirrorball trophy, he says he “had a ball,” and created great and lasting friendships.
Schneider enjoys acting and has done so with great success. He is still enjoying it, along with writing and producing films at his Louisiana-based film-studio. And though he may still be recognized as “Bo Duke,” his singing chops are just as polished today as are his acting skills. When hearing Schneider sing it becomes evident that he was given a gift for doing so. Though perhaps known best for his acting, many are unaware of his former success as a recording artist – and his love for making music. But for those who’ve not heard – it’s not too late. Just over a year ago Schneider launched a new adventure turning the page and making music his number one priority again.
His new adventure was a 52 song undertaking called “The Odyssey Project” which he informed us about at the 2018 Country Radio Seminar (CRS). At that time, he was still seeking songs for his project and was thrilled to be working with such great songwriters as Jim Martin, Chuck Cannon, and many others. We were thrilled for him as well and the challenge was on. Having songwriters in our own camp – Schneider was given a song from our editor, which ended up landing on the Odyssey project on the Vagabond CD (cd no. 5 in the project). Below is his personal take on that turn of events, as he has posted on CD Baby.
Too Close for Comfort – How it became part of the Odyssey Project
by JOHN SCHNEIDER
We were at CRS 2018 being interviewed about “The Odyssey Project” and I happened to ask Jessi Maness, who was interviewing me if she had any songs that she’d like me to hear. Like any really good songwriter in Nashville she did and handed me a CD. Now I don’t know that a single was ever birthed this way out of CRS and I am very proud that this one came about this way. I put her CD in my backpack and went back to Louisiana. Somehow (I probably had 50 CD’s in that backpack) hers got put in the trash. I have an odd kind of memory because when I was taking the trash out I saw a few CDs on the top. One of them was hers and I remembered that I hadn’t heard it yet because I recognized the handwriting on the label. Well… I washed the CD off in the sink and dried it on my shirt and headed to the dumpster. On the way to the dumpster, I stopped at the truck and put the CD in. When “Too Close For Comfort” came through the speakers I knew it was a hit. I did have one request for Luke Maness, Jessi Maness, Billy Phillips, Jonathan Singleton (the four co-writers) and that was that they extend the bridge so that whoever I got to sing the female part of the duet with me would have equal say in this great story about life. They did just that and wrote a fantastic extended bridge that Heidi Newfield sang perfectly. Now I know how Kenny Rogers felt when he stepped in front of a mic with Dottie West to do one of their great duets. What an honor!
THE STORY CONTINUES
Fast-forward to CRS 2019 – and John has not only released his incredible project, but he also worked with those he calls “some of the greatest people in the industry.” Not only were there great songwriters and musicians who appear on the album, Paul Leim, who produced Schneider’s earlier works in the 80’s, returned to produce Schneider’s Odyssey project as well. The two make a great team.
Sadly, in the midst of leaving his friends behind when Dancing with the Stars ended, and while trying to tour in support of the Odyssey project, Schneider fell on hard times personally – with a near loss of his home and film studio in Louisiana. This, in addition to seemingly never-ending divorce proceedings, have been taking their toll. Thankfully though, all has smoothed out – due in great part it seems to Schneider’s own faith – and also in part to some caring people who’ve entered his life.
In accordance with that, Schneider reported on Facebook that ‘the lyrics of “Too Close for Comfort” had never held so true for his own life, as they had this year – when experiencing the near-losses. (For more info, visit John’s Facebook page)
As for the song “Too Close for Comfort,” Schneider and Hiedi Newfield performed the song on the Grand Ole Opry on Friday, February 1, 2019 to a packed house and to great reviews. If you visit John Schneider Studios Facebook page and scroll a little, you can see the video footage.
Sports & Entertainment Nashville wishes John Schneider, Alicia Alain, Paul Leim and all the Schneider team a great and successful year! We’ll be pulling for every song on the Odyssey project – and hope that radio will find the same joys in listening to it as we have.
For more on John Schneider, visit his website or follow him on social media. You can also hear his music on Spotify, CD Baby or other streaming services.