It’s a dubious honor, to be sure, yet it’s still worth celebrating Cale Tyson’s coronation of “Fool of the Year.” The twangy tune is the lead single from the young traditionalist’s upcoming album, Cheater’s Wine, arriving Oct. 28.
“When I was writing for the record, I was listening to a lot of classic cheating songs (Gary Stewart, Mel Street, etc.). I just couldn’t get enough of them,” Tyson tells CMT Edge. “Some have that humor and misery blend, and some are just plain devastating. I like ’em all. I think that definitely influenced the writing on ‘Fool of the Year.’”
Tyson confesses to being a self-deprecating guy, which adds a certain amount of charm to the music. He also notes that not everybody’s crazy about the new tune, which transitions from bright and happy to barroom weeper and back again.
“I was driving around listening to Buck Owens about a year and a-half ago, and the song ‘Before You Go’ came on,” Tyson recalls. “It had that straight 4/4 on the verses and waltz on the chorus. It totally blew my mind, so I immediately wrote a note to myself in my phone that just said, ‘Write a 4/4 to 3/4 song.’ Around six months later, I started writing ‘Fool,’ and it seemed like the right time to do it. I love it, but my dad isn’t a big fan because ‘it’s hard to dance to.’”
Finding a kindred spirit, at least musically speaking, Tyson enlisted Robert Ellis to play guitar and sing harmony on the track. Both guys are Texas natives who now reside in Nashville.
“Robert was great to have in the studio. He and my pedal steel player, Brett Resnick, wanted to get really technical with the guitar parts on the record,” Tyson says. “‘Fool of the Year’ was the first track we cut, and I think they probably spent a good hour and a-half working up that synchronized guitar/steel part at the beginning of the song. It has a very early Johnny Paycheck style, so I’m ecstatic with how it turned out. As for the harmony, I think Robert might have taken about five minutes to track that. Guy’s a pro.”
Check out the CMT Edge premiere of “Fool of the Year” below, or tip your hat at Cale Tyson’s official Americana Music Festival showcase on Friday night (Sept. 19) in Nashville.