Highway 101 Biography

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Like the Monkees, Highway 101 is a manufactured US band. Chuck Morris, the manager of the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band and Lyle Lovett, wanted to form an outfit that would play ‘traditional country with a rock ‘n’ roll backbeat’. He recruited session man Scott ‘Cactus’ Moser (3 May 1957, Montrose, Colorado, USA) to help him. He worked with bass player Curtis Stone (b. 3 April 1950, North Hollywood, California, USA), the son of Cliffie Stone, in the movie Back To School, and then added session guitarist Jack Daniels (b. 27 October 1949). Morris then heard some demos by Paulette Carlson. She had previously had songs recorded by Gail Davies and Tammy Wynette and made a cameo role as a nightclub singer in the movie Twins. Their first single, ‘Some Find Love’, was not successful, but in 1987, they had their first US country hits with ‘The Bed You Made For Me’ (number 4), which Carlson wrote, and ‘Whiskey, If You Were A Woman’ (number 2). They topped the US country charts with ‘Somewhere Tonight’ with its songwriting credit of ‘old’ and ‘new’ country, Harlan Howard and Rodney Crowell. In 1988, they had further chart-toppers with ‘Cry, Cry, Cry’ (which was a new song and not a revival of the Johnny Cash hit), ‘If You Love Me, Just Say Yes’ (being based on the slogan of Nancy Reagan’s anti-drugs campaign, ‘Just say no’) and ‘Who’s Lonely Now’ in 1989. Carlson took a turn off the Highway in 1990, and Nikki Nelson (b. 3 January 1969, San Diego, California, USA) was recruited for Bing Bang Boom. The title track was an infectious and successful single, but the album failed to sell in the same quantities as before.

Daniels quit in 1992 and the group made a final album, The New Frontier, before disbanding. In 1995, Carlson initiated a reunion, missing only Moser from the line-up, and the band released a new album the following year. Carlson and Daniels were absent from the line-up that recorded 2000’s Big Sky, which features new singer Chrislynn Lee and songs by the returning Moser and the stalwart Stone.

Source: The Encyclopedia of Popular Music by Colin Larkin. Licensed from Muze.