George Ducas’s latest album is titled 4340, representing its run time. Ironically, the  16- year hiatus since his last full length release equates to about 8.5 million minutes.  The 12 tracks incorporate his trademark sound with some new influences.  The diverse themes range from  the devastatingly sad Amnesia  to the fun party anthem CowTown. We covered a lot of ground in this recent phone interview.


You are an accomplished songwriter. Do you prefer writing alone or the collaborative process

Alone is a challenge but it’s when the truth comes out. it’s kind of scary and lonely, but it’s ultimately more rewarding. Co-writing is fun. I like to get together with people I enjoy being with. Inevitably, styles mesh and each person takes away something from the other and they create something totally new and different. That’s how you grow and learn new things

You’ve had a hand in a lot of hits. Does commercial success ever drive your choice to put certain songs on a record or write to achieve chart position

No. I write a certain way anyway. I just have a commercial ear. I like melody and big choruses. I just like  what sounds good, so I  like radio records

What is your favorite song on this one

Probably  Amnesia from both a song and recording perspective. (Co-writer) Jason Matthews is a really great talent

How would you describe this album compared to your earlier work

I think it stands right up there with it. It’s a little more versatile and contemporary, but the whole landscape has changed so much since I was on Capitol. The onslaught of digital media has pushed it toward a singles focused industry. An album is more of a business card now for doing everything else. Very few go and have their song on a Dixie Chicks record like I did in 2000. It wasn’t a single, but it was on an album that sold 13 million copies. I had a Garth cut that was on an album that sold five million records. Nobody does that anymore. it’s over. It’s not all negative. Artists can pop based on one song. It may not last as long but they can capitalize on it, tour around it and  sell T-shirts. A true artist is going to continue to find a way to make things happen in their career over the long haul. Those that aren’t, won’t. Things have meshed together much better than 10-12 years ago.

Do you think you’ve taken any chances lyrically or musically on the record

Oh, big time. Incorporated a lot more of my rock influences. Listen to All Kinds of Crazy. It’s a pop rock record. The tracks are very driving and influenced by stuff I’ve been listening to; whether it’s old Vertical Horizon or a European band like The Fray. There’s also a lot more Texas influence, which is my birthplace. A lot of my earlier stuff was more West Coast/Bakersfield driven, which is another place I grew up.

How do you respond to the standard critique of contemporary country music being too closely associated with pop

It’s weird, some of the newer stuff feels like old school now. Some of it I like and some of it I don’t. It’s an ongoing debate. Look at it from a historical perspective. They used to say Elvis was stealing from the blues and it was the devil’s music. Then they said the same thing about Kiss. It’s really an ongoing fashion battle. Some of it’s too rap for my ear. I don’t listen to country in the truck. I listen to everything but because country is too close to what I am and what I do. I try and take influences from the rock and pop worlds because I’ve got two kids that listen to everything but country. In Christian music, there are a lot of great melodies. Even going back to rap there are some really cool records in that world, but If I’m going to listen to rap, I want to hear rap, not some country guy trying to do rap or hip hop. [mentions Dirt Road Anthem]That’s no slam on Colt Ford. He’s cool and he’s doing it his own way, but I’ve been around long enough that I’m going to say what I think and I don’t give a damn. But Colt’s cool and he’s doing his thing in a tough business. I’m happy for anyone who’s successful doing things his own way. As from a creative standpoint, I try and draw influences from rap but you’ll never hear me do rap on a record.

We were kind of stuck in a pretty small bubble in the 80s and 90s and even early 2000s. It was a tiny demographic on the radio landscape. Now, it’s much more of a pop influenced format and some of it’s been positive and probably even necessary. Now, if it’s great, people will hear it.  It will give you a shot, along with a million dollars, don’t forget about that part. But it better be great and a lot of it is

After such a hiatus, do you feel you need to reestablish your fan base

Definitely. A lot of pre orders on the record are people who have been following me and put me in the “where are you now” category but they’ve never lost touch. At radio, too, when I walk in, people will say “Lipstick Promises” is one of my favorite songs of all time! It’s really flattering and I’m surprised people remember it. Songs are pretty disposable but that one’s held up apparently.

How important a role does social media play in your career and the industry

It’s absolutely critical. If I could afford it, I would hire someone full time to manage it.

The album touches on some heavy themes(broken hearts, regret, etc.) are tracks like CowTown and Gimme Back My Honky Tonk  deliberately meant to lighten the mood

Absolutely and that’s a departure from my earlier days. It’s more of a let your hair down and kick your heels up kind of song. I hesitate to believe I would have been able to pull that off as a kid in my early 20s. I was a little more than a teenager and I was trying so hard to be taken seriously. I didn’t want anything too fun, upbeat or silly back then