Wilson County’s Lacy Jay Syler debuts country album at 14
Kitty Wells, Patsy Cline, Loretta Lynn, Tammy Wynette, Dolly Parton. Back in the day, they called ’em girl singers.
Of course, they were all women, but some of them really were girls: Brenda Lee, Tanya Tucker and LeAnne Rimes rocketed up the country charts as teenagers. And now Mt. Juliet’s Lacy Jay Syler, freshly turned 14, has notched No. 1 hits on CMG Radio charts with “That’s What Girls Do” and “Troublemaker.” (CMG Radio, based in Burkburnett, Texas, has 150 online stations, which play the songs of country singers on independent labels, and is associated with an international network of radio stations.)
With her debut album, “Livin’ My Life,” produced by Lebanon’s T. Jae Christian, just released on CD, Syler, a Wilson Central High School freshman, proves that she was born to sing country songs.
“Music has always been in my family. Since I couldn’t read, they taught me songs by singing them to me, and I was memorizing them when I was 2. It was pretty much mostly country,” said Syler, who lives on a Mt. Juliet farm.
The teenager inherited her flair for country music from her grandparents Buck and Connie McCarty, whom she calls “Oompa” and “Meemee.” The two performed as Buck McCarty and the Buckskins, along with Syler’s mother Jodi and her uncle Matthew (nicknamed “Uncle Bubba”) also playing in the band.
In mid-November, Syler performed three of the songs from her album at a songwriters’ roundup at the Commodore Grill at Holiday Inn Express in Nashville. “That was really great,” she recalled. “My uncle played the guitar for me since he wrote six of the songs on my album. . . . I am learning guitar. My Oompa and my brother and my Uncle Bubba and everybody is teaching me to play. T. Jae, my manager, gave me his guitar as my early Christmas present. It’s beautiful.”
Syler’s mother Jodi McCarty Woloszyn decided about three years ago that her youngster was earnest about wanting to pursue a musical career.
“She really, really loved to entertain and had shown interest in the family shows we did and picked songs and practiced. She said, ‘I really want to be a singer.’ When she was 13, T. Jae Christian with Universal Sounds had gotten a hold of my mom and dad and asked about her,” Woloszyn said.
“My brother had songs he had written a long time ago. Then he wrote ‘Country Boy’ and ’Dear John’ for Lacy. With Matthew’s writing ability and Lacy’s singing ability, there were no holds barred.”
Mom said her daughter’s voice is diffiicult to describe: “She’s got her own sound.” Syler added, “It’s original. It’s different than everybody… I’ve learned some stuff just comes to me. I don’t even try and it comes out, and it’s like, ‘Whoa,’ how did that come out? It’s really bred into me. I’ve got country roots.”