With That’s Just Me, vocalist Teea Goans fuels the enthusiasm she first ignited with her 2010 debut album, The Way I Remember It. That treasury of traditional country tunes earned Goans four appearances on the Grand Ole Opry and a guest spot on the TV show that celebrated Bill Anderson’s 50th anniversary as an Opry member. In its glowing review of The Way I Remember It, Country Weekly magazine observed that the album “reminds us that country can be simple yet sophisticated and, sometimes, sublime.”
In addition, Goans’ music video for “Letter From God,” perhaps the most popular song on the album, was a finalist for a 2011 Regional Emmy Award in the arts category. Larry Gatlin & the Gatlin Brothers were so impressed by Goans’ music that they picked her to open their shows during their month-long run last fall at the Oak Ridge Boys Theater in Branson, Missouri.
(Teea Goans, by the way, is pronounced TEE-uh GO-uhnz.)
That’s Just Me fulfills every expectation that Goans’ first album inspired. Exquisitely balanced between new songs and old standards, That’s Just Met was produced by Terry Choate, the man who elevated The Time Jumpers from a wildly talented but playing-for-fun bar band to a multiple Grammy nominee.
Choate has presided as well over Goans’ musical blossoming. “In the last four or five years,” she says, “I’ve really broadened my spectrum of music without moving an inch away from country. One of the records that really changed how I look at things was Ray Charles’ [1962 album] Modern Sounds In Country & Western Music. When I heard that album, it made me realize that no matter how you interpret those songs, they’re still great songs. You can do them in any style you want, but the songs are there. They’re the foundation.”
Acting on that premise, Goans transforms on That’s Just Me four songs almost everyone knows: “Misty Blue,” a hit for Wilma Burgess, Eddy Arnold, Billie Jo Spears and pop singers Joe Simon and Dorothy Moore; “Nobody Wins,” the Kris Kristofferson tune immortalized by Brenda Lee and recorded by Kristofferson, Ray Price and Frank Sinatra, among many others; “I’ve Done Enough Dying Today,” a Top 10 weeper for Larry Gatlin in 1979; and “Over The Rainbow,” the theme of the 1939 film classic, The Wizard Of Oz, which Goans knew she had to record after witnessing the euphoric reaction of an audience of World War II veterans to her live performance of the song.
Equally exciting and wide-ranging are the new selections, chief among them “That’s Just Me Lovin’ You,” Goans’ high-spirited duet with Jamie Dailey of the prize-winning Dailey & Vincent bluegrass team. She imparts a cool, jazzy aura to “Love's In The Here And Now” but plays “The World’s Biggest Fool” for all the laughs inherent in such a loser’s lament. The peppy “Pour A Little Love On It” and soulful “Overboard” find Goans in an advice-giving mode about the best ways to maintain a relationship.
Because of its ominous, brooding overtones, Goans calls “The Big Hurt” her “departure” song, one that’s saturated with apprehensions she doesn’t usually feel. But you’d never guess that, listening to her moan. “Loving Proof” bounces and soars like a gospel tune, with Goans “testifying” to the solidity of her love. “Loving You Makes Leaving Easy” was obviously gestated in a roadhouse jukebox and wrapped in a tear-stained handkerchief after delivery. It’s easily the “countriest” sounding tune in the whole package. “Wake Up Dancing” is guaranteed to make you weep---unless you’re missing a heart. In singing it, Goans draws deeply on childhood memories of visiting her great-grandfather in a nursing home and meeting an old dandy there named “Cowboy Jack.”
Goans grew up in rural Missouri near the Kansas border. “We listened to an AM radio station that played classic country music,” she recalls. “When I started to school in the 1980s, I didn’t even know who Michael Jackson and Madonna were.” Although she was singing in church by the time she was three, it wasn’t until she turned eight that she got her big break. That’s when the producers of the nearby Truman Lake Opry spotted her wowing a crowd in a talent contest. With her mother’s cautious approval, Goans became a full-fledged member of the Opry a year later. She continued to perform there every week until she was 17, frequently opening for such Grand Ole Opry stars as Bill Anderson, Little Jimmy Dickens and Grandpa Jones. In 2002, she crossed her fingers and moved to Nashville.
“It was so much fun picking songs for this new album,” Goans muses. “Some I would hear and immediately say, ‘This has got me written all over it.’ And then there were those I’d take home and listen to over and over because I knew there was something there for me. Songs will change and start to grow on you as you listen to them. And once you home in on a song, it’s yours.”
That’s Just Me is abundant proof of that proposition.