Jonathan Terrell
Greg Giannukos

Rooted in Country: Jonathan Terrell on Dwight Yoakam's 'A Thousand Miles From Nowhere'

Texas singer-songwriter Jonathan Terrell can still vividly remember the first time he saw Dwight Yoakam's "A Thousand Miles from Nowhere" video on CMT. He instantly knew he was watching something different, something dangerous and, in many ways, something almost forbidden.

"MTV and CMT were actually banned at the time in my hometown of Longview, Texas so you had to have a friend with a satellite dish," Terrell tells Wide Open Country. "Dwight looked so damn cool riding an empty train through the heart of the desert while wearing tight pants and his hat super low. I was at a family friend's house and my buddy's older sisters got all steamed up watching him in this video. That kind of mystery was so powerful. It sounded tough, cool, traditional, but also futuristic. I loved everything about it. My youth had already been washed in the blood of the radio with all the Garth, George Strait, Reba and Brooks & Dunn I could handle, but this was different. It was dangerous."

That kind of sensuality inflused with a wink and a smile is something Terrell carried with him into his own music.

"A good song is a good song is a good song and I'll tell ya, I love to rock n roll but I think I've always been attracted to sexy music," Terrell says. "And that means all kinds, landing on the sonic runways of everything from Prince, Conway Twitty to Ann Peebles. I'm a pretty passionate guy and I think a lot of what Dwight was writing and putting out, especially in that '90s era, always made people feel dangerous and sexy. I don't think I'm some sort of country Barry White by any means, but when I see people dancing close together to one of my songs, I hope they put the sensual in consensual. I hope the night goes alright for them."

Terrell will release his new EP A Couple, 2, 3 ("the [title] comes from an old saying I've heard along the way for when you don't wanna say how many drinks you've had," Terrell explains) on Sept. 9 via Range Music.

"It could translate into a myriad of other variations but this specific collection of six songs, all of which I'm crazy proud of, really capture the broad stroke of how I want my music to begin to be defined," Terrell says of the EP. "Most of my regular road band, Simon Page on steel and guitar, Doug Day on drums and Scott Lee Davis on bass plays on it, in addition to my producer Beau Bedford on keys/ guitar, and co-wrote 'Better for You' with me.

Jess Carson of Midland co-wrote 'Texas' and 'Samantha' with me and my good pal Luke Cutchen, who also plays guitar in Midland, jumps in for a scorcher of a solo on 'I Know.' I'm playing some good guitar and harmonica and singing my ass off. The all hands on deck approach from the band and team helps to really make this sucker absolutely top notch . Although I've been at this for many years, I firmly believe every artist should reinvent themselves as we roll along. This EP is experimenting with new sounds, new styles of songwriting, collaborative writers and my first label release...To say I'm excited to share these songs with the world is an understatement. It's certainly not going to be anything you'll expect."

'A Couple, 2, 3' Tracklist:


I Know

Paint By Lightning


Place Out Back

Better For You


READ MORE: Rooted in Country: Vandoliers on Dwight Yoakam's 'Turn it On, Turn it Up, Turn Me Loose'