Country star John Rich sings to support Tim James
"This is different for me because I don't live here," he said.
Rich, a solo artist, songwriter, producer and half of the music duo Big & Rich, performed at a private fundraiser for Tim James, a Republican candidate for governor. He played five songs in the packed Cloverdale house of Tami and Stinson Slawson.
Rich, a Texas native who lives in Nashville, said he met with James, who he said has what people in entertainment call the "X factor," an intangible quality that people cannot pinpoint.
"You just know it's real," he said. "When I met with Tim James, he had that. ... If I lived in Alabama, I'd want him to be my governor."
While he does not live in Alabama, Rich said people should support great leaders regardless of where they live.
The star said he appreciates James' backbone, believing he would stand up for values and against mandates from Washington.
"You stand for what I stand for," Rich said to James before playing.
Rich played five songs, beginning with Johnny Cash's "I Walk the Line" and ending with "Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer," which he played for the children sitting on their knees watching him play. He also played his own hits, "Save a Horse (Ride a Cowboy)" and "Lost in this Moment."
He played his acoustic guitar, with rhinestones and his lifetime National Rifle Association membership sticker on it, and sang as he stood next to a towering Christmas tree.
James, who lost in the Republican primary for governor in 2002, had other special guests at the event, his parents. Former Gov. Fob James and his wife, Bobbie, stood feet from Rich and listened to him perform.
Tickets to attend the fundraiser were $125 a person. Members of the host committee paid $500 each. There were more than 100 people on the host committee.
When asked how many people were there, James said "hundreds."
Many notable people attended the fundraiser including former Alabama Supreme Court Chief Justice Perry Hooper, Sr.
James said the country is in a recession, but fundraising is going well and his campaign will be ready to go in 2010.
Rich and James agree the 2010 election is crucial.
"The 2010 election cycle is the most important election cycle in the history of this country," James said.
He encouraged the crowd to elect conservatives from "top to bottom."
Rich, between songs, criticized the administration of President Barack Obama. He was a vocal supporter of U.S. Sen. John McCain, who lost to Obama a year ago.
James said Rich is a patriot, a friend and a supporter. He said Rich using his star power to help his candidacy is humbling.
James, a Greenville businessman, said some people have questioned his sanity during his campaign. For more than a generation, "good people didn't get involved," he said.
People, James said, need to stand up and get involved or the nation will "go the way of Europe and Rome."
-- posted by Sebastian Kitchen