Bucky Covington has been waiting not-so-patiently to release his second album for more than two years now. Asked what he'd like to say now that he's back with his just-released Good Guys, he didn't mince any words.
"Just a big thank you to the fans," he chuckles. "We been gone for two years handling a bunch of absolute nonsense and waiting on lawyers to -- if I can say it -- get the hell out of the way."
After his original record label, Disney's Lyric Street imprint, closed up shop in 2010, Covington was left with a contract that was still binding but no company to work for. He's now with a new team, taking a much more hands-on approach to his career and loving every minute of it.
With Good Guys, the former American Idol contestant shares production duties with Sawyer Brown singer Mark Miller, and longtime fans will be thrilled that the pair have stayed true to Covington's original sound.
CMT: It's been five years since your debut album. Being a guy who wants so badly to make music and get it out there, how hard is it to scrap a follow-up album that fans are expecting?
It is very frustrating. I didn't scrap the whole thing because there was a lot of it that was really good, but there was still too much of it that I didn't agree with. So you get caught. It's like, "Do I buck the system and get dropped, or do I just go along with it and not be me?" And, of course, the fans will see through that and will call you out on it. So I think we made the wise decision. I hate like hell it took two years to make it happen, but it turns out sometimes it does. So God bless the fans for remembering us.
I like the title Good Guys. What's the significance of that to you?
First of all, I feel like I am a good guy. Sometimes it might even get in the way of firing the right person. (laughs) But I've become the spokesperson for an organization called Help the Good Guys. In short, we raise awareness and immediate financial relief for firefighters and their families who have been injured on duty. We've been with this organization for about a year now.
Mainly what happened was, there's a firefighter down in Birmingham, Ala. He walks into a building to save someone, the building falls down on him and 50 percent of his body is now burned. So the six months that it takes him to get back in order, he can't make his mortgage. He's about to lose his house, his kids are going to have to change schools, his entire way life was getting stripped from him just for doing the right thing. And that ain't cool. So we got with these guys. The organization is great. You can go to helpthegoodguys.com and find out all the information and read all kinds of stories.
My album, Good Guys, [was released] on Sept. 11. And the reason we're doing that is because you can't say "Sept. 11" without thinking "firefighters." You just can't. It's their day. So what we're doing is a portion of the proceeds from that first week's sales will go to Help the Good Guys to help firefighters, and we're very happy about that. These are an amazing bunch of people. We're talking about guys that are running into buildings when everyone else is running out. So if you're gonna help somebody, why not help somebody that might help you one day?
You got together with Shooter Jennings for "Drinking Side of Country," but that doesn't seem like an obvious team. How did you guys become friends?
I really love collaborations when it's left and right field. I met Shooter six years ago. It was his birthday in Los Angeles out on Sunset Strip. He was doing a show, and I went up and met him, and we ended up getting hammered at somewhere like the Rainbow Room. I mean, 4 o'clock-in-the-morning kind of hammered. So we had a great time that night, and he's just as real as real can be. He's just a big-hearted guy, a wonderful person. What's right is right, and what's wrong is wrong, and if Shooter thinks it, he's gonna tell you. I thought that was the coolest thing in the world. So when I had this song, immediately I thought it would make a great duet and the first person I thought of was Shooter Jennings. I mean the song is very bluegrass/country/rockabilly with an Outlaw twist. And if you say "Outlaw," he's the first person I think of.
I thought your voices blended really well. Did you think so, too?
I really do, without a doubt. I'll be honest with you. I was producing the record, and I knew I wanted Shooter. But I sat back and I got to thinking about it, and by the time he hit about the fourth line, I was like, "Oh, yeah." 'Cause it needed some storytelling, and Shooter hit that part of it. Shooter can tell a story. He can almost talk a line, and that's what it needed.
The video is cool, too. Is it more fun with friends around like Shooter and Kellie Pickler?
It was. It turned into a very big project. As soon as we found out we were doing a Dukes of Hazzard-style video, immediately I thought, "You've gotta have a Daisy Duke. And that Daisy Duke has got to be Kellie Pickler. That's my only option." We've been friends for years now, so I wasn't worried about calling her to be in the video. I was worried about asking her to be Daisy Duke, though. You've got to show up in your skimpys, and not only do you gotta show up, but you gotta show up right. But when she showed up, she showed the hell up.