Joshua Scott Jones didn’t expect much when he finally decided to audition alongside hundreds of others for the second season of “You Can Duet” with his girlfriend, Meghan Linsey.
In fact, he almost walked out.
“It was like, ‘OK, we’ll do it, and maybe we’ll get tickets and exposure, maybe a little TV time,’” Jones recalls. “And I remember specifically when I found out one of the judges was a record executive, I got up and left. You don’t want to feel judged by someone who holds all the power.”
Linsey, however, talked her now-fiance into giving the audition another shot. Judges were impressed. Soon, the country duo known as Steel Magnolia found themselves in the final four of the popular CMT Network show — and eventually walked away the season two winners.
It’s safe to say Jones doesn’t regret the audition now.
Today, Steel Magnolia tours alongside country music heavy hitters such as Brad Paisley and Blake Shelton. Its single, “Keep On Lovin’ You” (featured in the movie “Valentine’s Day”), was the highest-debuting single for a male/female duo in Billboard chart history.
“You know, coming from moving furniture and valeting cars to being on a flight sitting next to people you’ve been watching on TV for years for the Country Music Awards … it’s not something you can get used to right away,” Jones says. “We’re finally at a point now where we’re comfortable in our skin, where we feel received and welcomed.”
Steel Magnolia will come to the Landis Theater in Vineland for a special one-night holiday concert 8 p.m. Friday, Dec. 14.
Jones, who spoke by phone after finishing a rehearsal for the holiday show, says fans can expect an evening of seasonal songs “peppered in with our own, original stuff.”
Fans can expect to hear holiday classics such as “Away In A Manager,” “Oh! Holy Night” and “Silent Night,” as well as modern traditions including “I’ll Be Home for Christmas,” “Blue Christmas” and “Santa Claus Is Coming To Town.”
“It will be old, classic Christmas songs, and some of our own,” Jones says. “And it’s funny because we’re bringing a piano player, so we’re going to croon and break it down like that, in our own style.”
The holiday-themed show will be a first for the busy duo, who has spent the year both touring the country and working on its next album.
“Once you decide on a record … there is the building up to that point,” Jones says.
“We’re over halfway there. We’re going in to record some in January, and probably (release) an EP the first quarter of the year. We’re going to record five songs with a full band, and then another five acoustically, piano and vocals, and then release that,” Jones says.
In addition, both Jones and Linsey are busy working on solo projects, a task that Jones admits can be a daunting task at times.
“I’m finishing up a solo record right now,” Jones says. “It’s always … it’s kind of scary being in a duo and then releasing a solo record. So we’ll see.”
For Jones, the journey to country music success has been nothing short of a whirlwind. The fame is a sharp departure from playing open mic nights with Linsey at the Blue Bar in Nashville, he says.
“We were playing in Nashville … and this host friend of ours, Amanda Williams, she would have certain people come up every week, and it was kind of an underground following,” Jones says. “We’d get up there every Monday and do some songs. She knew the producers of the show, and they were asking her if she knew of any duos. She was like, ‘Hey, y’all have to try out for this show.’ And we kind of blew it off and blew it off. And she said, ‘Listen, get your butts up here and audition.’”
For Steel Magnolia, the rest was history.
“We weren’t expecting anything … and they liked us,” Jones says. “It’s one of those things you grow up thinking about. When they say dreams come true, they really can.”