Highway 101

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Highway 101

Country band

For the Record

Selected discography


Country band Highway 101s songs strike a nice balance between the stand-by-your-man country tradition and punch-your-man-in-the-nose modern feminism, according to Ralph Novak of People. Composed of vocalist Paulette Carlson, drummer Cactus Moser, bass player Curtis Stone, and guitarist Jack Daniels, Highway 101 made a stunning impact on the country charts in 1987 with their first album. Aptly titled Highway 101, the disc spawned three hit singles Whiskey, If You Were a Woman, The Bed You Made for Me, and Somewhere Tonight, and received rave reviews from critics, including Michael Bane in Country Music, who declared that Carlson is the woman singer weve been waiting for, and shes backed by one of the most versatile and off-beat bands in country music.

As Patrick Carr reported in Country Music, Highway 101 is not a group of longtime friends who graduated to the recording studio and the concert circuit after years together in the honky tonks. It is in fact that supposedly most artificial and soulless of musical aggregates, a band which began as a businessmans

For the Record

Formed in Nashville, TN, in 1986; group consists of Paulette Carlson (vocals); Cactus Moser (real name Scott Moser) on drums; Curtis Stone (bass); and Jack Daniels (guitar).

Signed recording contract with Warner Bros. in 1986. Recording artists and concert performers, 1987.

Awards: Named vocal group of the year by the Country Music Association, 1987.

Addresses: Record company Warner Bros. Records, Inc., 3300 Warner Blvd., Burbank, CA 91505.

bright idea. Carlson, however, was the core around which Highway 101 formed. She had been a songwriter in Nashville, Tennessee, and even had her own singing contract with RCA, but she didnt have a manager. When she found oneChuck Morris, who also managed the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band and Lyle Lovetthe suggested that she try to make her mark as part of a group. Carlson had spent many years before coming to Nashville performing with various bands, and she was happily receptive to Morriss idea. Morris and Carlson rounded up a suitable drummer and bass playerMoser and Stoneand Stone contacted his friend Daniels. They got together to see how well they worked as a team, and everyone involved liked the results. The newly-formed band decided to take their name from a state highway that runs near Carlsons hometown, Winsted, Minnesota, and signed a recording contract with Warner Bros. in 1986.

The male members of Highway 101 had all come from a background of lots of studio work for other stars, and Stone confided to Carr about their initial recording sessions together: It was an interesting thing when we first went into the studio. From all our session work wed done each of us had learned to go in and play what we thought the producer would want to hear, cause thats the way it is in this business. But Paul Worley, Highway 101s producer, felt that the band should come up with its own, original sound. Apparently, it was a struggle. Carlson told Carr that the first tracks they created sounded sort of, well, country-pop. But when they went back to the studio, they decided to record one of Carlsons own compositions, The Bed You Made For Me. As Carlson announced to Carr, When we cut it, we knew we had the Highway 101 sound.

The Bed You Made For Me proved to be one of the debut albums hits. Reviewer Bane recalled: The first time I heard [the song] on the radio, I stopped dead in my tracks The Bed You Made For Me is about hurt and strength, and I for one like to hear those kinds of sentiments. Another of Highway 101 s hits was Whiskey, If You Were a Woman, which Bane praised as the hands-down best drinking song in years. He also particularly liked the albums third hit, Somewhere Tonight, which laments a lost lover.

The bands second album, 101 Squared, didnt fare as well with the critics, but did provide another big hit, Just Say Yes. Novak hailed Highway 101s 1989 release Paint the Town, however, as being full of lively, smart songs with intensity emotion and verve. Noteworthy cuts from Paint the Town include the hit Walkin, Talkin, Cryin, Barely Beatin Broken Heart, I Cant Love You, Baby, and the title track. Carr summed up the bands feelings about the album as accurately reflecting both the creative fire they had when they first found their sound and the creative growth since then.

Selected discography


Highway 101 (includes The Bed You Made For Me, Cry, Cry, Cry, Whiskey, If You Were a Woman, and Somewhere Tonight), Warner Bros., 1987.

101 Squared (includes Just Say Yes), Warner Bros., 1988.

Paint the Town (includes Paint the Town, Walkin, Talkin, Cryin, Barely Beatin Broken Heart, I Cant Love You, Baby, and Sweet Baby James), Warner Bros., 1989.


Country Music, September/October, 1987; November/December, 1988; November/December, 1989.

People, August 31, 1987; October 9, 1989.

Elizabeth Thomas