Singer/songwriter Ned LeDoux encourages listeners to “never forget where you came from” on his just-released third studio album, Buckskin, as he remembers and celebrates the legacy of his late father, Chris LeDoux, and his work as an artist.
“That’s one thing I’m very proud of. I’m carrying on a tradition, but I’m writing my own story,” Ned shared in a press release. “I’m very proud of my family and friends and there’s one piece of advice my mom gave me when we were kids: ‘Never forget where you came from and show respect to people no matter where you are.’”
“So with this album I hope to inspire and show people, ‘Hey this old cowboy isn’t changing for nobody.’ I want people to know they should never give up on a dream. There’s always time. Just keep on going,” Ned continued.
Ned wrote eight out of the twelve songs on his new project with the help of his friend and award-winning producer, Mac McAnally. Not only was McAnally a big part of the creative process on this album and all of Ned’s other projects, but he also worked with Ned’s dad, Chris, on three of his last records.
Among these original tracks are a few that are extra special, as they hold a connection to his late father. The first being “Upside Of The Ground,” which was actually first written by McAnally for his father. The second is “He Rides The Wild Horses,” a track that was recorded because it’s one of Ned’s “top five” favorite songs that his dad has ever written.
Chris was an artist that influenced many people around him including his son and country megastar Garth Brooks. Ned had the honor of opening for Brooks at the 125th Anniversary of Cheyenne Frontier Days, an event that celebrated the World Champion rodeo cowboy that his father was. Together, they helped in the unveiling of the bronze Chris LeDoux Memorial Statue that was titled “Just LeDoux It.” The event was also held on the 50th Anniversary of his dad’s self-released album, Songs of Rodeo Life.
On Friday, March 11, in celebration of his album release, LeDoux will step into the sacred Grand Ole Opry circle for a heartfelt performance that will include two tracks off Buckskin, “The Mountain” and “Upside of the Ground.” Mac MacAnally will also join him on stage for the performance.
LeDoux recently sat down with Music Mayhem to discuss his new album, Buckskin, his musical upbringing with the influence of his father, performing at the Cheyenne Frontier Days, and more. Read on to find out what Ned LeDoux has been up to in this exclusive Q&A.
Can you give a bit of insight into what kind of tracks we can expect to hear on your third album, Buckskin?
There are 12 tracks on this album. I wrote 8 of them. I always aim to write the majority of the material to tell my story and reflect on other’s influence on me. It’s pretty western with a variety of other topics.
Why did you choose “Buckskin” to be the forefront of the album?
I had written this poem, the buckskin, before I really dove into writing the songs. I just thought it’d make for a perfect title. I like the simplicity of it. Coming up with a title for an album is tough. Almost as hard as the songwriting.
Mac McAnally has had a hand in producing and writing music for both you and your dad. What does it mean to be working with him on this project?
It’s such an honor to work with Mac. He’s produced everything I’ve ever done. Three full albums now. The fact that he also produced Dads last three albums too makes for some good story telling around the studio. He’s the best.
It’s so wonderful you decided to keep your dad’s legacy alive in this record. How did it feel recording “He Rides The Wild Horses,” a song your dad wrote?
I’ve included one of Dads songs on every album I’ve put out as a tip of the hat. So on this album I was trying to think of what song of Dads would follow the buckskin poem the best. Because the poem is about Dad winning the bareback championship of the world at the National Finals Rodeo when it was held in Oklahoma City back in 1976. “He Rides the Wild Horses” in my opinion, is the perfect song to sum it up.
Is there a piece of advice your dad once told you that resonated with you so much so that you still carry it with you in your music career today?
Dad led by example. I learned a lot from him. But probably more from my Mom. They both taught us the value of hard work and to do yer best at whatever it might be. Live your life by the golden rule.
How special does it feel to be performing at the Opry on the night your album drops?
To be playing at the Opry is a huge honor. Knowing the history of the place and the people who have performed there, it’s a pretty cool feather in my hat.
Another exciting performance you had in the last year was when you opened for Garth Brooks at the 125th anniversary of the Cheyenne Frontier Days. What was this experience like considering the influence your dad had on Brooks’ career?
Cheyenne Frontier Days is to me the Grand Old Opry of the West. Dad thought of it the same way. So yeah, to be a part of the 125th annual was a big deal. Having my whole family there was very special. The CFD committee also put up a bronze statue of Dad that was created by Michael Thomas who’s from Buffalo, WY. Then to spend the day with Garth and his crew and open the show for him, doesn’t get any better than that.
This album is full of so many unique tracks. Is there one song on this project that resonates with you the most? Something that you feel really stands out among the others?
It’s hard to single out one song. I spent so much time with each one getting them to sound just right. I guess I’ll just have to say I’m proud of the whole group.
Buckskin Track List
1. “The Mountain”
2. “Open Road”
3. “Only Need One”
4. “Hey Hey”
5. “This Ain’t My First Rodeo”
6. “Upside of the Ground”
7. “Cards in San Antone”
8. “The Buckskin”
9. “He Rides the Wild Horses”
10. “Rodeo Dreams”
11. “Cowboy is His Name”
12. “Damn Good Cowboy”