Cledus T. Judd
“I am a funnyman or so I’ve been told,” is the opening line of Cledus T. Judd’s brand new studio album, which is the 10th of his career. The opening line is certainly dead on, and it’s also the entrance to Cledus’ first Country music project since his recent and very successful stint as a morning air personality in major market radio. In the liner notes on the new project, Cledus proclaims “thanks for firing me, otherwise I would have not been able to sing with Kix and Ronnie!” He’s alluding to a song on the new album, “Garth Must Be Busy,” which is a great duet with Brooks and Dunn.
What Cledus is referring to with the radio line, is his departure from Clear Channel’s Atlanta Country station WUBL (The Bull). Cledus manned the morning show there for almost a year to the day, leaving in November 2008. He took the Atlanta gig to be closer to his family, especially his mom, who has been ailing the last few years. Prior to the Atlanta move Cledus had a very successful run in Tampa, Florida on one of America’s premier radio stations, WQYK, which is owned by CBS. The show, Cledus T. Party, had big ratings and notoriety, and not surprisingly the station wanted to solidify that Cledus would stick around, offering him a very lucrative contract.
“What they offered me was what more than I ever dreamed of, but nothing’s worth more than my family and they needed me,” explains Cledus. The nucleus of Cledus’ family is his wife Amy, daughter Caitlyn and step-son CJ. “I took the contract they offered me, drove home to think about it and wrote these words on the document before placing it in my daughter Caitlyn’s drawer….you are worth more than this contract. And that is exactly where it sits today.”
Radio’s loss, even if it’s just a temporary one, is our gain because it gave Cledus the opportunity to create Polyrically Uncorrect. And once again, some of Country music’s leading stars have showed up to join the party. “I am so blessed that people like Brooks & Dunn, Ashton Shepherd, The Grascals, Daryle Singletary, and Colt Ford think enough of me to lend a hand to the album. To this day it honestly overwhelms me with humility.”
Stand out tracks on the album include the title song, where Ashton Shepherd sings and shines. “She’s a friend and one of the best Country singers I have ever heard,” beams Cledus. “Waitin’ On Obama,” is a take-off of Brad Paisley’s ‘Waiting On A Woman,” which was written during the campaign season and hits home, especially in today’s financial climate.
Country hip-hopper, Colt Ford, hooks up with Cledus for the thunderous and rollicking, “Tailgate,” while Jamie Johnson and Terry Eldredge of the Grascals join up for some irreverent fun on “(If I Had) Kellie Pickler’s Boobs,” and Daryle Singletary exchanges tonque-in-cheek lines with Judd about the music industry on the hilarious, “Merger On Music Row.” There are even two cuts for the next Christmas season as the album closes with “Dang It I’m Vixen,” and the sobering “Christmas in Rehab.”
It somehow makes total sense that Cledus has a knack for mixing comedy and seriousness. After all, the man proudly gave us, Bipolar and Proud, just a couple of years ago. “I am at a point in my life where I’d like to be known for being more than a comic. I want people to think of me as compassionate, a good friend and of course a good dad.”
Cledus isn’t one of these people who brags about his life or incredible career. Consider his humble roots. He lived with his mom in a double-wide in Marietta, Georgia before driving to Music City in a 1979 Toyota with barely any money in his pocket. So, he’s not going to tell you, but he’s one hell of a songwriter. Joe Don Rooney of Rascal Flatts thinks enough of his writing skills to have Cledus under the umbrella of his publishing company. Ask Cledus about it and he veers away, choosing to give all the credit to his partner in crime, writing partner and producer Chris Clark. “He’s my Bernie Taupin,” declares Cledus. And he thinks so much of Chris Clark that on the liner notes for the new album Cledus says, “What little I have is because of you my friend.”
As the new songs from, Polyrically Uncorrect, start getting into people’s iPods and blasted over the air-waves, be on the lookout for Cledus. The former star of VH-1’s Celebrity Fit Club will no doubt be popping up on television, especially since the videos he creates for these songs are hilarious and very entertaining and are fan favorites for CMT and GAC. You might even see him rolling into town with a Country headliner or two. “I may get back on the bus with Toby Keith as that would be a lot of fun.” Fun is the key word, because whatever this talented, complicated guy chooses to do, it’s going to be fun for all of us. And just how in the world does ole Cledus manage such a wide range in his career from radio personality, onstage emcee/comedian, songwriter, singer and video star?
“I just want to do it all!! I have been an overachiever my whole life and will continue to outsmart those who don’t believe in me, while continuing to embrace those who do. I have never been afraid of failure….just afraid of not trying!”