Jamboree adds Tritt, McCoy to line-up

The Oregon Jamboree has added Neal McCoy and Travis Tritt to its 2010 lineup.

Both are veterans of the Jamboree. Tritt appeared in Sweet Home in 2005. McCoy, who has regularly appeared over the past decade, last performed at the Jamboree in 2007.

McCoy will perform at 4:15 p.m. on July 31 following the Bellamy Brothers. Blake Shelton is the headliner, and the Jamboree has yet to announce an opening act for the day and an act between McCoy and Shelton.

Tritt performs on Aug. 1 at 4:15 p.m., just before headliner Miranda Lambert and following opener Marty Stuart and the Oak Ridge Boys.

McCoy released his last studio album, “That’s Life,” in 2005 on his own label. The album’s first single, “Billy’s Got his Beer Goggles On,” reached number 10 on the U.S. country chart. In 2008, Rhino Entertainment released “The Very Best of Neal McCoy,” with the single “Rednecktified. McCoy released a single called “For the Troops” in 2008.

McCoy released his first album in 1991, and now his 10-album discography includes three platinum albums and one gold album. He has been named Entertainer of the Year, 1998 and 1999, and won Video of the Year in 1997 for “Then You Can Tell Me Goodbye.” He received the Academy of Country Music’s Humanitarian Award in 2005.

McCoy has performed many USO tours over the past eight years, visiting Iraq and Afghanistan multiple times.

“There’s nothing like having an opportunity to thank our soldiers,” he says. “There are great soldiers all over our country and all over the world who are taking care of us and doing their job, and we just think it’s very important to thank those folks. I appreciate not just those who are serving now, but also our veterans who have served in the past. Anyone who has served in the U.S. military, I’m very proud of.”

With no prepared set list, no two Neal McCoy shows are exactly alike.

“It makes every show fun for me and for my band because we don’t know what’s coming next,” he says. “We all have to concentrate on what’s going on. With some musicians that have set lists, everyone knows what’s coming next, and I think you just kind of get into a rut. You lose some of that excitement.”

McCoy is known for on-the-spot covers of other songs as well, including some that he has never rehearsed with his band.

“We just do whatever comes to us,” he says. “Sometimes I’ll just start singing and maybe a band member or two will know it and maybe they won’t. Sometimes we screw it up more than we do it any good, but that’s fine. Our shows are just real honest.”

“Just expect to have fun. If you’re a Neal McCoy fan, you’ll probably hear the songs that you’ve hopefully grown to know and love from us, our hits. Other than that, it’s just going to be wide open. There’s no telling what you’ll hear, but we think if you stick around for the whole show, you’ll have about as much fun as you’ve ever had.”

Tritt released his first single, “Country Club,” from the album of the same name in 1989. He has charted more than 30 singles since then, including five number ones. He has two platinum albums and one gold album to his credit.

His last release was “The Storm” in 2007 when Tritt and producer Randy Jackson teamed up to create a powerhouse collection of songs that emphasize the irresistible soul side of Tritt’s singing. It’s a card that has always been in Tritt’s stylistic deck, but one that has often been overlooked by listeners unfamiliar with the deep musical links between country and R&B, particularly in the South.

And in Jackson, Tritt found the ideal collaborator. Before he gained acclaim for his role as a judge on “American Idol,” Jackson had played bass with artists ranging from Aretha Franklin to Journey.

Demonstrating that type of range is precisely the aim of “The Storm.”

“Growing up just outside Atlanta, to the north of us you’ve got the Grand Ol’ Opry in Nashville,” Tritt said. “A little bit South you’ve got Macon, Ga., home of the Allman Brothers, the Marshall Tucker Band and Capricorn Records. And off to west you’ve got Delta blues. Sprinkle Southern gospel over the top of that, and you’re talking about where I came from. I loved all of that music.”

To make that point, “You Never Take Me Dancing,” the first single from The Storm, opens with Tritt’s bluesy moans and a seductive acoustic slide guitar, before settling into the funkiest groove this side of Stevie Wonder’s “Superstition.” The song was written by Richard Marx, who also collaborated with Tritt on “Doesn’t the Good Outweigh the Bad?” a rollicking relationship song that grew out of Tritt and his wife’s experience building a new house. “You know how they say that if your marriage can survive building a house it can survive anything?” Tritt asks, laughing. “That is absolutely a fact.”