In the not-so-distant past, Joshua Scott Jones and Meghan Linsey were working ho-hum jobs, hoping for their big break in the country music world.
He was parking cars, cooking and working in a furniture warehouse. She was hosting Karaoke nights at a Nashville bar.
All that changed last week when they won Season 2 of CMT's Can You Duet, earning a contract with Taylor Swift's label, Big Machine Records. Now, the duo known as Steel Magnolia is on the road promoting their debut single, Keep on Loving You. They open for Tracy Byrd on Friday at the Dallas Bull.
The couple started dating about three years ago and, shortly after, took the stage as a pair. Jones, 28, is from Charleston Ill.; Linsey, 23, is from Ponchatoula, La. They live in Nashville.
Tbt* caught up with the duo on Wednesday while they were driving from Jacksonville to West Palm Beach for radio appearances.
Josh, you've said that you were on the brink of giving up music. Why?
I was getting to the point where I needed money. I'd been doing this for over 10 years and never listened to anyone who said, 'Hey, get a real job.' People would always ask what is your backup plan? I just straight up told people I don't have a backup plan. If you have a backup plan, that means you're not really serious about what you're doing.
What's the story behind the name Steel Magnolia?
Linsey: Actually, we didn't have a name for a while. We were on our way to a do a show and we were like, 'We should have a name when we get there.' I threw out Steel Magnolia because I'm from Louisiana and love the movie. Josh was like, yeah, that sounds kind of cool. So we used it that night and it's grown on us. It makes sense to me. It's very fitting.
Did you spend any time with the Can You Duet judges Naomi Judd and Big Kenny?
Jones: The first one I saw was Naomi. I was walking down the hall and she kind of, I don't want to say cornered me, but she spotted me and I wanted to hide. I'm not used to hanging with celebrities. She's got a huge presence about her, and it seems like she can almost read your mind when she talks to you.
Both of you auditioned for American Idol. What happened?
Linsey: I didn't make it past the first round.
Jones: I didn't either. If I would have had a pogo stick and a ponytail or a purple wig ... (Laughs)
Linsey: Literally, the girl who went before me had green hair and she was on a pogo stick. She went through, so there you go.
Do people recognize you on the street?
Jones: They're starting to. We were in the airport in Jacksonville this morning and we had a fan come up and say they were rooting for us, and it was pretty cool. We got to sign an autograph.
Any bizarre fan encounters yet?
Jones: Well, I walked outside my apartment this morning and there was a gentleman hiding in the bushes.
Linsey: He's totally joking.
Jones: Yeah, I'm joking. None of that yet.