Billy Sherrill has produced hits for some of the biggest names in country music. This year, he turned up recording New Wave Brit Elvis Costello, cutting some rollicking rock by Lacy J. Dalton and introducing a new all-female group called Calamity Jane. We sent Bob Allen to ask for an accounting.
We've heard of crossover, but isn't it weird for you to produce Elvis Costello?
It is weird, but we just did a one-shot deal. It was one week out of his life and one week out of mine. It was an experiment that worked. We had fun, but I may never see him again. But I hope I do; he's a nice guy.
Why did you do it?
He asked me. You know, he's probably more of a country fan than I am. He really loves George Jones. Me, I like to go home and listen to Johann Strauss. Anyway, we did the album. I didn't understand a lot of it because he is so radical in his phrasing; he probably knows some thing I don't know. But I had a ball.
Do you think he could ever be a great country singer?
Anybody can have a country hit if he really nails something properly. But I don't see him as a, um, mainstream-country act.