There’ll likely be bit of an eerie shadow feeling yet an all refreshing glow when curtains open Saturday evening at Ottawa.
“For one night only, country singer Ned LeDoux, son of the legendary Chris LeDoux, will entertain for a show in the Ottawa Memorial Auditorium, September 2, 7 o’clock,” announced Tiffany Evans, auditorium director and show coordinator.
“In country music, a last name like LeDoux casts a big, storied and bittersweet shadow, but it’s one Ned LeDoux doesn’t mind standing in one bit,” Evans insisted.
Having been a drummer in his dad Chris’ band Western Underground since 1998, the younger LeDoux knew from an early age that he was going to play music.
“Once I got the taste of the road, and being in front of a crowd and just the sound of it was freedom,” Ned said.
When his dad passed away in 2005 from cancer, Ned continued to tour with his father’s band to keep the musical spirit of world champion rodeo cowboy-hit maker Chris LeDoux alive.
“This drove Ned to pick up the guitar and try his hand at some of his dad’s songs,” according to Evans.
“It started with ‘Rodeo Man,’ and before long Ned had a whole catalogue of his father’s early hits ready to play,” Evans said.
When the other band members heard Ned’s voice, he soon found himself front and center singing at the shows. Stepping out from behind the drums stirred something inside of Ned that he hadn’t felt before.
“It’s a different kind of rush, getting up with a guitar and standing behind a microphone…shoot I’m getting butterflies thinking about it right now,” Ned said.
The timing was right for Ned to pick up a guitar and belt out “Western Skies.” It’s now been 12 years since Chris LeDoux passed, and audiences always want to hear something new along with the traditional.
Ned LeDoux has boxes of song ideas his dad never finished and has dug through those for inspiration.
“I kind of stick with what dad used to do, but bring my own stuff to the table,” he said
In July 2015, Ned traveled to Nashville with some of those unfinished songs and met up with Mac McAnally to put that inspiration to work. “Mac produced Chris’ last two studio records and wrote his hit ‘Horsepower.’ So, the collaboration with Ned was a natural fit and lead to the first new Chris LeDoux co-write in nearly two decades,” Evans explained.
Ned’s latest song “Brother Highway” is about all the time he has spent on the road touring with various bands since his days in high school. “I don’t even need a road map anymore, the highway and I are like brothers,” he claimed.
“Desiring to write songs about what he knows, Ned wants to keep the themes simple and harken back to the sound of good ole country music, but with an edge,” Evans said.
Eventually, Ned LeDoux plans to release an album of new material and include a few of his dad’s songs re-recorded in his own style as a tribute.
Recently, Ned has been steadily touring and opening for acts like Toby Keith, Chris Janson and Randy Houser.
Yet, now that he is in front of the mic, Ned has a new goal. “There’s an age group who doesn’t know who Chris LeDoux is, and I just want to keep his name out there,” Ned said.
“I want to reintroduce Dad to people who’ve maybe heard of him, but didn’t know what he did. Just carry on his legacy and carry on his music and at the same time show them what I can do.”
At Ottawa, the audience is guaranteed to hear “This Cowboy’s Hat”, the song most requested by his fans and a request Ned says he’s most honored to oblige, according to Evans.
However, his personal favorite song to sing is “You Can’t Tell Me We Ain’t Got It All.” Evans said, “It’s the first original song Ned co-wrote with his dad and seems to pick up right where Chris left off.
“Thankfully there is more to come as the ‘new voice’ carries on the LeDoux sound,” Evans said.
Tickets and information for the show on September 2, at Ottawa, are available at ottawamunicipalauditorium.