An Interview With B-Venturous Recording Artist/Songwriter Jules Rancourt
Rancourt Presents 'The New England Sound'
Artist: Jules Rancourt
Title (Single): "Let's Take a Walk"
Genre: New England Singer/Songwriter
I recently caught up with performing songwriter Jules Rancourt. Hailing from New Hampshire, Rancourt's approach to his music is simple and direct and it's how he approaches everything in life. Although he's been described as an "average Joe," it's not a connection that he seeks out but one that is very much a part of him. A self-employed builder, Rancourt loves working with his hands and enjoys making good solid things that will be around for a long time. He also chose long ago to live, work, and raise his family in rural New Hampshire.
Jules draws his inspiration from this idyllic lifestyle to create his music. He describes his life as "Positive.” It's based on hard work and simple prayer, and not necessarily in that order, and on having a great family and good friends. His positive attitude and love of life extends into his off time, as well. When he's not working, writing or performing (he performs regularly at local and county fairs and many of the region's best known clubs) the avid outdoorsman can usually be found in the back country near his home fishing, camping or snowboarding.
Jules made his first trip to Nashville in 1989 and became a regular visitor when time and money allowed. In the fall of 1997 Jules was introduced to fellow New Englander Wayne Warner by a mutual friend. Warner was in pre-production for his first album, produced by the legendary Harold Shed and veteran guitar player Troy Lancaster. Jules continued to work on his music, kept in contact with Warner and met Lancaster again a year later in a Nashville recording studio. The two became fast friends, both influenced by late ‘70s Rock and Roll and the New Country of the early '90s. At Wayne's suggestion, Troy and Jules began to work together in the studio. The two worked long hours to bring Jules vision to life and eventually dubbed their creation “The New England Sound.”
In the winter of 2002, Jules played the finished tracks for Wayne Warner who had recently released his own self titled album on the B-Venturous label, a label that he helped to create. Wayne played the tracks for the label staff and his manager, Chuck Thompson, and they all loved what they heard. They agreed that Jules and his New England sound would be a perfect addition to the label.
The first single, "That's What You're All About," was released in the fall of '03 to instant critical acclaim and chart success. Now, as the B-Venturous team prepares for the follow-up release "Let's Take a Walk," this "average Joe" has finally had the time to reflect on his success. “I've worked long and hard, but the greater the sacrifice, the greater the reward," and for Jules Rancourt the reward is finally here.
[Cindy Beth Gordon] Hi Jules. It's great to meet you. So you're currently promoting your new single, "Let's Take a Walk"?
Jules Rancourt Jules. Yes, we released it this year and it's been doing real well for us. It's called "Let's Take a Walk." Troy Lancaster produced it.
[Cindy Beth Gordon] And you're been doing a radio tour?
Jules Rancourt Yes. We've been on a radio tour. We hit 36 cities, 17 states and at all those radio stations I performed that song live with an acoustic on the air. We did that for about 4˝ weeks, and it was a great time! With B-Venturous we have a lot of good things happening. Performing songwriter Wayne Warner (also on B-Venturous Records) and I are setting up some tour dates, and we're in the process of purchasing a bus. We looked at it yesterday and picked out a color.
[Cindy Beth Gordon] Have you been performing much?
Jules Rancourt I played for years on the circuit, but we'd have to travel two to three hours to the clubs. I played cover and original songs. Then I played at country fairs, opening up for major acts including Billy Rae Cyrus, Ricky Van Shelton, Ricky Skaggs, Tammy Wynette, and Waylon Jennings. That was fun; it was a blast. We played all original music for that.
[Cindy Beth Gordon] Who are some of your favorite artists, bands and/or influences?
Jules Rancourt Paul McCartney and the Beatles. As far as songwriters, Willie Nelson is a genius. I love music in general. My country has a lot of late ‘70s rock n roll mixed in. We use the Hammond organ and some good, rockin' guitars. I love the new country scene because it's rock 'n roll we grew up with, with a country twang.
[Cindy Beth Gordon] Any big breaks for you?
Jules Rancourt I was offered deals from producers and record labels before, but I wanted to be myself. I love Nashville and the Nashville sound, but I believe there's enough of it out there and I have my own sound. I believe that we all have to be individuals. I took a long way around and did it on my own terms. B-Venturous lets me keep all my artists rights - I am who I am. They give me the opportunity to express my art. I love it!
[Cindy Beth Gordon] Do you co-write at all?
Jules Rancourt I really don't. When I sit down to write a song, that's what comes out. It's like a jukebox is playing in my head, and I have to write as fast as I can to keep up with the words. Most of my songs are written in 10 minutes or so, the basics anyway, because I'm not manufacturing them. It just happens that way. It's such a cool thing. As far as co-writing, it's hard to catch that. I did co-write one song with a good friend who passed away, and hopefully I'll get to record that song on my next album. It's called "19th Hole" and was co-written with Joe Barton from NJ. He was a great guy. That's the only song that I really co-wrote. I have my own style and I just want to keep it personal. I think it's the right thing for me to do at least for now.
[Cindy Beth Gordon] And what do you like to write about?
Jules Rancourt The celebration of love is a common theme in my songs. Whether its romantic love, love of family, love of nature - even loving the feeling you get when you have put in a good day's work. I have written so many love songs that my wife sometimes asks me, "Why are you always writing about love?" My answer is always the same - well name one thing better!
[Cindy Beth Gordon] And you play guitar?
Jules Rancourt Yes, I've been playing for years. I picked up my first guitar when I was 11 and was self-taught. That's how I got into music. I have two brothers who play drums and my whole family sings. I have two daughters: Jenna, who is an unbelievable singer, she's 17, and my other daughter, Katie, age 16, is a drummer. They play pop and have their own band. They do Avril Lavigne and Michele Branch. It's great stuff and Jenna's writing her own. It's pretty wild. I can't wait to see what happens with it.
[Cindy Beth Gordon] Any future plans you'd like to share?
Jules Rancourt We plan on releasing another song in the Summer and doing another radio tour. Wayne Warner and I will both go on tour. We've already started booking some dates.
[Cindy Beth Gordon] And where are you going to be performing?
Jules Rancourt Anywhere they want us! I'm just thankful to be where I am right now. It's been a long journey but a great experience.
[Cindy Beth Gordon] Well that's about all the time we have for now. Thanks Jules. We wish you much luck with your new single and look forward to hearing your upcoming CD!
Jules Rancourt Thank you very much, it was nice meeting you.
For more information on Jules Rancourt, contact:
Thompson Entertainment Group
P.O. Box 292252, Nashville, TN 37229
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