Straight out of high school Jules went into the family trucking business and by age 18 was living the 18-wheeler life “laying down tread” as he vividly describes in his song, Cookin’ at Home Tonight. It was at the tender age of five though that he somehow knew he was going to be a singer and player. Jules played the required local venues and eventually landed appearances on the CBC Windsor’s Center Stage and The Jimmy Phair Show until one night, at the age of 27, he found himself standing under the bright lights of the Tommy Hunter Show stage performing his CMN top-5 hit, “A Place in the Shade.” You can see the video in the link The Performances. Produced by Larry Mercey, Jules’ RCA-distributed album “Jules” also spawned a top-3 hit with “Two Hearts,” which remained in the top-10 for 26 weeks eventually attaining Country Gold status.
In 1985, Jules was nominated for Country Music Association Top Male Vocalist and Outstanding New Canadian Artist of the Year. After being invited by the Johnson Sisters of Nashville to perform at Fan Fair, Jules packed up and headed south to Music City. With his beautiful wife Maggie, and mentor-guitarist and best friend, Billy Drouillard by his side, he went to work plugging himself into the Music Row business scene at the highest level. Among his first ‘insider fans’ were Amazing Rhythm Aces founding member, Byrd Burton, and hit songwriter, Jimmy Johnson, who both became great friends and contributed to Jules’ first Nashville recordings. It was a slow learning curve to finally discover that Nashville didn’t take kindly to fresh Canadian talent – even with the success Jules experienced back home. Although he had made many friends like the late songwriting legend Harlan Howard (“I Fall to Pieces” was one of his many hits), after seven years of non-stop networking he decided to head home and regroup. Jules then decided to contact fellow Canadian songwriter, Rick Beneteau, who had pitched him songs during the time his music was all over Canadian radio and who, by then, was making inroads as a songwriter in the U.S., and they decided to hunker down and write songs, eventually hitting the road back to Nashville in tandem to take another stab at establishing Jules’ career. It was 1993.
Working with top session players Jerry Kroon, Larry Paxton, Paul Franklin, Marc Castevens, Brent Rowan, Jim Horn and David Briggs under the watchful eye of hit songwriter, Gilles Godard, they laid down tracks for five of those songs in the iconic House of David Studios. The duo remained in town for several months before it finally sank in they were fighting a losing battle without having a multi-million dollar investment package in play. Sadly, a requirement that still exists today. In their last meeting, over dinner, Harlan, after hearing the songs on Legacy told Jules something he’ll never forget, “Kid, you’ve got a big heart and you’ve got three top-ten records here but they’ll never sign you in this town.” space
Discouraged by the politics and ruthlessness of the business, Jules wisely decided to return to Canada for good, electing to use his powerful and passionate baritone voice to help heal people in their time of grief. It wasn’t long before thousands of people had experienced the power of Jules’ gift at funerals. His mantra became, “Music to create an unforgettable celebration of life.” Giving of himself in service to families at the lowest possible times in their lives at the death of a loved one, Jules has become an institution in southern Ontario having become the exclusive soloist at the four locations of Families First Funeral Homes. Suffice it to say, there probably aren’t many families within 100 miles that haven’t been impacted by his larger-than-life presence. Jules’ deep friendship with the late motivational speaker, Charlie “Tremendous” Jones, led to his solo performance at the iconic Crystal Cathedral in 2002.
During these two decades Jules recorded two spiritual albums, two albums of his favorite hymns and a collection of old-style love songs called Rendezvous. BUT… those five Nashville songs lay dormant for 21 long years until Rick, now having co-founded a heavily-endorsed humanitarian non-profit on the Internet, gave Jules a call suggesting they use the new found power of social media to finally connect with the fans he so passionately wanted to reach over two decades ago. The new album starts off with those five Nashville tracks – digitally re-mastered – and includes two bonus tracks from sessions he recorded with those same players in the late 1980’s and concludes with Rick’s popular spoken-word recording, The Legacy You Leave. Jules has dubbed his new release, Legacy, “seven songs creating the seventh album with seven elite Nashville players.”
These days you’ll find Jules and Maggie either cruising around the county in a flamed-out ’56 International custom hot rod or laid back on their two-wheeled iron horse. At the end of the day, from two Muskoka chairs nestled on the grounds of their riverfront love nest, they’ll gaze at another glorious southern Ontario sunset and talk about the rest of the ride. Jules, in coming full circle, continues to walk his talk, or more appropriately, sing his song, and he is indeed leaving a truly inspiring legacy. In his own words…
“Currency achieved cannot ever compare to the legacy you leave.”
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