More than six years passed between Ricky Lynn Gregg's second album, Get a Little Closer, and his third, Careful What You Wish For. The long gap wasn't due to a lack of offers from record companies, but more to the lack of an offer that felt right to Gregg. He knew what he was looking for, and the offers that came his way didn't have it. He'd been coaxed along in the early years of his career in country music by Jimmy Bowen of Liberty Records, a Nashville subsidiary of Capitol. During the early '90s, Bowen was clearly committed to Gregg's success. His support and backing, coupled with the young musician's talent and drive, led to Gregg's eponymous debut in 1992, a second album two years later, and six music videos, five of which hit the Top Ten on Country Music Television. Dance clubs in 1993 helped drive the success of singles like "If I Had a Cheatin' Heart," "Can You Feel It," and "Three Nickels and a Dime." Billboard magazine put him in the number four spot on its list of Top New Country Artists that same year, and Performance magazine honored him with a nomination for Best New Country Act. Unfortunately, Gregg's professional affiliation with Bowen and Liberty ended in 1995, when Bowen developed thyroid cancer, dropped out of the business, and traded his seat on Nashville's Music Row for the warm sand and blue waters of Hawaii. Gregg headed home to Texas.
It wasn't until 1997 that Gregg found another level of commitment to his music that was similar to Bowen's. Things started happening again for his career after he signed with manager Eddie Rhines, who also represented Confederate Railroad and George Jones. Rhines orchestrated a tour for his new client with Jones, and the shows helped Gregg build up his fan base once again. With Eddie Gore and Barry Beckett acting as producers, Gregg also started a new album. Beckett's production credits include albums for Hank Williams Jr., Lorrie Morgan, Aretha Franklin, Paul Simon, Michael Bolton, and Kenny Chesney, among others. An executive named George Collier promised Gregg a record deal, but his label wasn't yet up and running. The musician had faith in Collier's word, however, and went ahead with work on his album. His faith paid off when the executive established RMG Records, which released Gregg's ten-track Careful What You Wish For in 2001.
The musician was born in Longview, TX, to a family that already had four boys. When he was 19 years old, he set off for Dallas, where joined the rock group Savvy. His resumé also includes stints with outfits named Head East and the Ricky Lynn Project. His early career honors include nominations for Musician of the Year, Male Vocalist of the Year, and Entertainer of the Year in 1983 from the Texas Music Association, while a pair of his tunes were Song of the Year finalists. He counts Native Americans among his ancestors, and launched a charity called Trail of Hope, which has contributed a total of more than a million dollars' worth of goods and supplies to disadvantaged Cherokee, Choctaw, and Sioux. He also launched a golf tournament to benefit elderly Texas residents. He can be heard singing on the Save the Eagle project, and playing guitar on Hog Wild, an album from Williams Jr. ~ Linda Seida