Meet AJ Woodworth: Country’s new Wildcard!!!
New Canadian country music sensation AJ Woodworth is not only playing the Wildcard on her debut 604 Records album: she is the “Wild Card.”
When you hear the explosive and passionate chorus of The 2011 British Columbia Country Music Awards’ Female Artist of the Year’s sparkling personal anthem “Wild Card,” you’re hearing the life story behind the ambitious turbo-powered voice:
“I’m a long shot/ You’re last bet/A dark horse till the bitter end/ I won’t step down/ Be your backup/Second guess not second best/ I can play your hand when it gets hard/Put it all on me and my heart/ I’m your Wild Card.”
“This song is my autobiography,” declares AJ, her eyes lighting with excitement as she talks about the song she co-wrote with long-time friend, the talented Jesse Tucker (Jessie Farrell, Melissa Rae Barrie).
“I am the ‘Dark Horse!’ I have been the long shot -- and I have worked really hard, overcome the odds and pushed through to where I am now.”
Where Canada’s newest country dynamo currently sits now is as a contender, jumping out of the gate with a superb rookie effort that offers attitude – and then some – with her remarkable 10-song debut album Wildcard, primarily recorded in Nashville produced in part by Chad Carlson (Taylor Swift.)
Here’s the good news: if you think “Wild Card” is great, there’s plenty more where that came from.
Hear a two-timing snake get on the wrong side of his soon-to-be-ex as AJ heartily takes him to task on the Josh Ramsay-produced “One-Minute Man.” Hear the exuberant escapism of a carefree night out on the town as AJ temporarily ditches her dead-end job for some much-needed Friday night fun in the boisterous “Little Black Dress.” Hear the burning intensity of the Hillary Lindsey ballad “Hide Your Matches” as AJ describes her passion for her lover. Hear the feverish aggression of “Lovin’ That I Like You” as AJ succumbs to some romantic spontaneity.
She even plays well with others, chiming in with The Higgins’ Kathleen Higgins for the heart-wrenching ballad “Good Time For A Goodbye;” heats up her frustration on the Jason Blaine-Tebey co-write “Cold,” and offers plenty of spunk on “Live It Up,” co written by Ramsay and Steve Marshall. With producers Chad Carlson, Josh Ramsay, Paul Shatto, David Wills and Ryan Stewart at the helm, AJ Woodworth’s captivating country cosmopolitan sound and real songs for real women come signed, sealed and delivered a with the declaration, “I’m ready!”
“Music has always been my first love,” the dazzling brunette declares, “While my girlfriends were more interested in boys, I always focused on finding my next chance to take to the stage. I’ve been singing since I was eight years old and I have been working and preparing for this opportunity my whole life”.
Mentored earlier in her career by Susan Jacks, her vocal coach Judith Rabinovitch and producer Bill Buckingham (Jaydee Bixby), AJ Woodworth pledged her allegiance to country music after a trip to Nashville inspired her to follow her true dream.
After recording an album, AJ signed with Jonathan Simkin and 604 Records.
“I got in touch with Jonathan and 604 about two years ago. I had recorded an independent album with Bill Buckingham in Nashville, and Jonathan was really supportive with getting back to me, and giving critiques.
“I respected Jonathan a lot for giving me his honest feedback. Then two years later we were going to actually sign with someone else, but my gut feeling was that I belonged on 604. I really like what they do and what they’ve done with Jessie Farrell.
“So just before I was about to sign, I e-mailed Jonathan and said, ‘I’ve got some new songs and I’d really love to play them for you.’
“I came in, he liked them, and we’ve been working together ever since.”
A Canadian Country Music Association New Artist Showcase Award winner, AJ Woodworth says there are a few things you should know about her.
She has two sisters, bowls, and owns a miniature “high-maintenance” hypoglycemic Dachshund Chihuahua named Oscar. Thanks to her father, she grew up on a diet of Brooks & Dunn, Elvis Presley and Roy Orbison and helps run a nursing home, which is the family business.
She’s also the Gold Heart spokesperson for Variety, the Children’s charity, a cause close to her heart.
“I once sold gold hearts from door to door,” Miss Woodworth recalls. “I think Variety teaches children at a young age how important it is to raise money for other children. Kids helping other less fortunate children is wonderful.”
She loves shoes (yeah, we’re talking to you, potential sponsors Christian Louboutin, Jimmy Choo and Badgley Mischka ) and wouldn’t be caught dead without her high heels on stage.
And she states that her Wildcard debut “ really reflects who I am.”
“This album has been a lot of years in the making. I’m grateful for the time I got to develop my sound carefully, song by song, that truly captured the essence of me.”
“There’s nothing else I’ve ever wanted to do,” AJ adds. “Music is the most important thing to me; it can make me feel better, and I have always wanted to affect someone like that through the songs that I write and my song selection.”
Most tellingly, AJ Woodworth knows that it’s important to make a good and memorable impact.
AJ Woodworth may think of herself as a “dark horse,” but once you hear Wildcard, you’ll know she’s something else:
A sure bet.
-- Nick Krewen