Jason Michael Carroll to Release Third CD, Numbers, in July

3306483_com_jmc_2011_fullresizeJason Michael Carroll’s newest CD, Numbers, hits nearly 600 Cracker Barrel stores in 41 states on July 25.

It joins an illustrious list of artists such as Charlie Daniels, Sara Evans, Merle Haggard, Alison Krauss, Kenny Rogers, Josh Turner, and Wynonna, whose work has been released through Cracker Barrel’s 2003 partnership with country music.

Carroll’s Union with Cracker Barrel Is a Homecoming

Carroll’s history with the restaurant chain, though, is unique. He was once a waiter at the Henderson, N.C., location. Now it’s his turn to shine. And the chain stands behind him 100 percent. Carroll couldn’t be more thrilled at what feels like coming home.

“It’s exciting to be in that spot with them,” Carroll said in a recent phone interview with me.

Joining Cracker Barrel in that spot is Quarterback Records, which has also well-positioned itself with major recording artists and projects, including Sawyer Brown, Lorrie Morgan, Chely Wright, and Randy Travis’ #1 hit “Three Wooden Crosses.”

Songs Affect Our Everyday Lives

It is fitting that Carroll’s first single from the CD be the title track, “Numbers,” written by Patrick Davis and Rodney Clawson. “How often do numbers affect everyday life?” sums the singer to me. The same exact date one year may be symbolic of a happy occasion, such as an anniversary. Then, that exact date in another year may represent a tragedy. It’s a powerful concept.

Songs do have a powerful effect on Carroll. He revealed to me that he will never forget listening to his songs on his bus, especially the emotional chart-topper “Alyssa Lies,” in 2006 with close friend Brittany Coppedge. Little did he, or anyone, know at the time that the apparently healthy 19 year-old Brittany would be diagnosed with lung cancer a few short weeks later. In a few short months after that, she was gone.

Carroll likes to use his music to help people, and he couldn’t miss the opportunity to honor Brittany’s memory and help others at the same time. He had known Brittany since she was 9 years, and she was the daughter of his first guitarist.

A Charity for Brittany Is Born

Brittany’s mother, Tammy Coppedge, shared with me via email a bit about the formation of a charity for Brittany. “After she (Brittany) passed in December 2006, Jason approached my husband and me with the idea for Brittany’s Battle, an organization to raise funds for cancer research. Jason had just returned from a visit to St. Jude’s Children’s Hospital and wanted to find a way to help these families.”

Brittany’s Battle, Inc. was created in 2007, with Carroll as Honorary Chairman. Coppedge explains further to me, “We are run completely by volunteers and have supporters across the country. In addition to the ultimate goal of raising funds for cancer research, we work wtih families who have a child, spouse, or parent undergoing treatment. We assist with such things as travel expenses, utility bills, car repairs, special items needed while staying at the hospital, etc.” Brittany’s Battle has been a God-send for many families whose needs are so great, and those needs could be anything from fitting a child with special shoes for a trip to Disney to dental care for a chemo patient. “We try to step in and help, giving them at least a small bit of relief from the pressure so they can focus on the family instead.”

It’s Been a Long and Rewarding Road

Getting to a point where he feels his music can make a difference has been a long ride for Carroll that began when Rusty Harmon, manager for Hootie and the Blowfish, introduced him to producer Don Gehman, (Hootie and the Blowfish, R.E.M., John Mellencamp). Gehman only had to hear Carroll play once before he chimed, “Let’s go to Nashville and make a record.”

Nowadays, Carroll confided to me that he has simple goals. “I would love to still be playing music in 5-10, or even 20, years. To me, you have a successful career if people want to hear your music. It makes it all worth it.”

And, even through his heavy schedule, he still finds plenty of time to spend with his family, traveling back and forth between gigs to see his children.

Carroll Takes His Songs on the Road

Fans are also very important to Carroll, and he keeps in touch through tweets on his official website.

And he’s taking his act on the road. Fans can catch up with him on tour through the summer and into October. More information on the tour can be found on Carroll’s website.

His upcoming album will be available exclusively at Cracker Barrel nationwide and may also be ordered online at crackerbarrel.com.

Cheryl has been a freelance TV/film writer for more than 10 years. Simultaneously, she has worked in PR for Bon Jovi Productions in NYC, PolyGram Records (also in NYC), and Rogers & Cowan Public Relations. Cheryl has published articles at suite101.com, “Sci-Fi Entertainment” magazine, and “Soap Opera Weekly.” She was also a credited researcher for English author Denis Meikle’s JOHNNY DEPP: A KIND OF ILLUSION. Cheryl enjoys writing for the entertainment industry and meeting new people. She is also an animal lover.

Article originally posted at Suite101.