Colton James Drops New EP, America, Launches Land4Heroes, A Lodge For Veterans

by Preshias Harris / 13 days ago / Comments
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Partner in multimedia company RedSunset Entertainment

Colton James knows the power of connections.  How one connection can change your life and potentially help you change the lives of others.

Of course, there’s Colton’s connection with the love of his life, his wife Cassie who in turn brought joy to hundreds with the memorable meals she had prepared at her restaurant. 

Then there’s Colton’s long connection with songwriter Kim Tribble with whom he wrote “Ring On Her Finger,” the ultimate romantic wedding song, inspired by Colton’s first walk along the beach with Cassie in the Outer Banks of North Carolina. (See the official video for “Ring On Her Finger” here.)

Perhaps most surprising is the connection that Colton formed with the owner of a Kentucky Derby-winning thoroughbred that led to another iconic song and a long-term project that could enhance the lives of thousands of military veterans.

Our original plans to meet up for an interview were put on hold for a couple of years thanks to all the problems related to Covid. Interestingly, when we did get around to this interview, we found we were already in each other’s phones. We originally connected when we were introduced at The Local in Nashville by mutual friends, songwriters Greg Crowe (Montgomery Gentry’s “Lonely and Gone”) and Dave Gibson (Joe Diffie’s “Ships That Don’t Come In”).

Colton talked to me about these connections in his life and about the songs on his new EP, titled America.The seven-song project includes “Ring On Her Finger” that has bittersweet memories for Colton. (See the full track listing below.)

“’Ring On Her Finger’ was the very last song that me and Kim wrote together,” Colton recalled, “And it was the last time I saw him alive.  I told that story at his Celebration of Life and Kim’s wife Patti wanted me to play it. I think about him every day.  Not only were we writing buddies, we fished together, we hunted together, we hung out together. We talked almost every day for six years, I mean, we got really close. He was like family.”

It seems fitting that the last song that Kim Tribble wrote with Colton will live forever in the hearts of couples for whom it will become “their” song.

Colton’s connection with Rick Dawson is something that he sees as divine providence. Dawson is best known as the owner of Rich Strike, the 80-1 outsider that came from behind to win the 148th running of the Kentucky Derby. They come from different backgrounds, but both Colton and Rick share a steadfast patriotism for the country they love.

“I guess one of my favorite things about the new EP is writing ‘I Miss America’ with Rick Dawson and how that whole story came about,” Colton told me. Colton and Rick met by chance at a charity event for veterans. “What with Rick being the owner of the 2022 Kentucky Derby winner, and him never having written a song in his life, his passion for this country and how this whole thing came together and starting a record company and on and on.  But I tell everybody, there are crossroads in Life and God has definitely got his hands on it because we’re all doing this for a reason.”

Colton emphasized the point: “Things don’t happen that fast for just no reason at all.”

He is staying busy with these fast-moving events, including the record label he mentioned.  “RedSunset Entertainment is a label that we have formed and we have Aristo Media as our PR firm,” he explained.  “We are going to do some different things with our artists.  We’ve signed our very first artist, Janna Marie.  She’s been working with some great writers.  The steel guitar player Smith Curry has been setting her up with some great writes.”

RedSunset Entertainment is a multimedia company set to produce records, television and radio programming and more. Among the projects currently in development: Reel Water Cowboy, a show that will combine music, fishing and cuisine, as well as The Reel Water Cowboy Radio Show.  

In addition to RedSunset Entertainment, Colton and Rick are combining their energies and concern for the plight of military veterans in a project they have named Land4Heroes.  The passion is evident in Colton’s voice when he talks about this project.

“Land4Heroes is going to be a 15,000 square foot lodge, designed by Honest Abe Log Homes right there in Moss, Tennessee,” he explained.  “It’s going to be placed on 130 beautiful acres in southeast Virginia. It’s very close to a lot of military bases and it’s going to be a place only a few hours away from Walter Reed Hospital.”

Colton told me about the inspiration for the project.  

“Kind of how this whole thing started, we were taking these veterans hunting and fishing and getting them out, going up there and playing music for them and taking tee shirts for them at Walter Reed,” he said.  “I could see when they just got away from that hospital, nobody said anything about problems, nobody talked about any issues.  We had good food, we went fishing, we hung out, talked about kids and family and all that.  It was camaraderie and other veterans being around each other, sharing stories.  I said, well, there’s got to be something we can do on a bigger level where we can host this all the time and have a music aspect to it, where there’s no stress.”

Colton said that the vision that he and Rick Dawson share is a place where veterans can sit   around a campfire or go into one of the game rooms; simply relax with no pressure.

“Kind of whatever you want to do is going to be the focus of this place,” he said. “A place to unwind, be yourself, bring your family.  There’s not one place in the country built like this.  Everything was designed by veterans for veterans who were wounded. Everything from twenty-four-inch receptacles up off the floor to tiled, heated showers that veterans can get in there real easy with their track chairs and wheel chairs, get up on the ledges and so on.  This place is going to be unreal!”

I noted that the teaser video for Land4Heroes shows Colton and Cassie holding the street sign that will be placed at the entrance to the property. It reads: 11-11 VET’S PLACE, a reference to the date of Veterans Day, November 11, every year.

“It was Rick Dawson’s idea to name the road going into it 11-11 VET’S PLACE,” said Colton.  “Rick’s brother was a Vietnam veteran and I believe he was a purple heart recipient.” Watch the teaser video for Land4Heroes here.

Colton points out that the first Land4Heroes will serve veterans and first responders in and around Southeast Virginia and Northeast North Carolina but they expect that the project will expand from there.

“Our goal is to get this first one built, our mothership,” as he described it.  “Then over the next ten years, we want to build three more in key locations around the country. We’ve already kinda road-mapped our locations where we’re thinking about.  Imagine having four of these facilities up that go year-round!”

Music will definitely be part of Land4Heroes and there are plans for a stage with a state-of-the-art sound system. “I haven’t seen one veteran that didn’t like music!” he noted.

I asked Colton if he had any special plans for St. Valentine’s Day.

Spoiler Alert! Cassie, if you’re reading this, look away now!!

“I’ve been thinking of taking her somewhere for a really nice dinner,” he revealed. “Then surprise her with just her and me dancing to that song [“Ring On Her Finger”], have a DJ play it and say, ‘This is for Colton’s wife’.”

Colton couldn’t resist adding a note about the woman he describes as his backbone and his best friend. “You know what her nickname is? It’s ‘Big Buck Mama’!  She’s killed bigger deer than most men! She’s a heck of a bow hunter,” he added proudly.

Thinking about his new music, the RedSunset project and Land4Heroes all happening in parallel, Colton said, “It just all happened so fast but you know what? When it’s on God’s time, it’s going to happen. God has definitely got His hands on it because we’re all doing this for a reason.”

Follow Colton James on InstagramFacebook, Tik Tok, and find his music on Spotify. Find music, news, videos and more at Colton’s website.   

Track Listing for Colton James new EP America:

  1. “I Miss America” - Colton James and Rick Dawson
  2. “Ring On Her Finger” - Colton James and Kim Tribble
  3. “47 Acre Farm” - Kendall Marvel, Greg Bates, and Shelly Skidmore
  4. “Richest Man Alive” - Colton James, Austin James, Rick Dawson, and Greg Crowe
  5. “Take This Country Back” - Colton James and Kim Tribble
  6. “Brave Men” - Colton James and John Banagas
  7. “American Farmer” - Colton James and Kim Tribble

 

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About Preshias Harris

Preshias Harris Journalist

Preshias Harris is a music journalist who has interviewed everyone from Alabama to ZZ Top for articles and stories published in numerous music magazines. She is the author of longest-running monthly country music column in America and authored The College of Songology™ 101: The Singer/Songwriter’s ‘Need To Know’ Reference Handbook. As a music career development consultant with special emphasis on emerging and aspiring artists and songwriters, she focuses on ‘chasing the dream’ while understanding the realities of the music industry. She maintains a writers’ room on Music Row – named The Sangtuary – for her clients and their co-writers. She is a member of ASCAP (as a publisher), BMI, The Country Music Association (CMA), The Recording Academy, The National Association of Talent Directors (NATD) and a life member of Nashville Songwriters Association International (NSAI).

You can find out more about Preshias at https://www.collegeofsongology.com and find her blog at www.nashvillemusicline.com