Three and a half minutes of magic, that’s all it takes to change someone’s life. More specifically, that’s all it took to change George Ducas’ life.
It was November of 1994 when a young, fresh faced, semi-long haired, dare we say mulleted, George Ducas released the song “Lipstick Promises.” It was a time when country radio airwaves were clogged with superstars like Tim McGraw, Alan Jackson, Brooks & Dunn, George Strait and of course Garth. Still, the song cut a swath through the crowd and worked its way all the way up into the Top Ten.
As it turns out, “Lipstick Promises” berthed not one but two incredible careers. George’s co-writer on the song, a then unknown twenty-something named Tia Sillers would go on to write magical songs like “I Hope You Dance” and a litany of other hits, earning herself a nomination for the Songwriters Hall of Fame. For George, as his second bona fide hit, it not only solidified his career as an artist but launched a songwriting career as well. In the years that followed his stint with Liberty and Capitol Records, Ducas co-wrote songs like “Real Fine Place To Start” by Sara Evans, “Beer Run” by Garth & George Jones, “Just Call Me Lonesome” by Radney Foster as well as songs by The Chicks, Randy Rogers, Eli Young Band, Gary Allan and more.
Twenty-five years is a long time but then again, in some ways it isn’t. While Ducas is still an active artist, he thought it would be fun to celebrate the milestone by putting a fresh coat of lipstick on the tune and bringing forth a brand-new recording along with a fun new video.
“I thought it would be cool to kind of polish it up and do a commemorative edition of “Lipstick Promises,” muses Ducas. “At first 2020 was really setting up to be a nice year, but unfortunately my latest album Yellow Rose Motel came out right before the pandemic. So, I thought it’d be cool to put something out in the midst of all this while I’m at home writing for another record. I thought it was ideal and the fact that it was a rather big anniversary of the song, it was a great way to bring it back.”
With twenty-five years of playing it under his belt, the song got a subtle update in the studio. The new version now features a little more energy as George kicked the tempo up a couple of notches. It hasn’t changed per se, it just sounds a little more like he plays it when he’s live onstage.
The really fun re-work came in the form of the new video. Being as technology has made several thousand strides since the original hit CMT two and a half decades ago, George and company were able to have a lot of fun both revisiting and reinventing old times. Incorporating the old video into the new version as well as digitally bringing some long-gone establishments back to life, there are even instances in the new version where Ducas is singing alongside his younger self.
“I thought it was so cool that we could pull that off! I loved that we brought the old video back into the new video. We came across this new kind of digital projector where we could put an image inside of an old TV like we did. This thing can do all sorts of things like project the images on the couch, make Justina (his fiancé) disappear and come back, all kinds of things. It was pretty cool.
“I really enjoyed the outdoor portions of the video. We went back and shot outside the original bar where I got signed to my first publishing deal. It’s in Elliston Place, which is this historic area of Nashville. They call it the ‘rock block.’ Back then I was down there every Friday and Saturday night playing for $1 at the door, so it was kind of symbolic to have that in the new video. What was really cool was they were able to digitally change the name of the bar, which is now called The End but back when I played there it was called Amy’s and they served beer by the quart. It’s the same bar though. At the beginning of the video we motion track “Amy’s” on the marquee as well as my name in those little letters you can change out. Then at the end, it’s back to the current name, which is appropriately called The End.”
A fun run down memory lane, this 2.0 version of “Lipstick Promises” might be George’s present but it isn’t the base of his future. While George is always proud of his past, it’s the road ahead that he’s focused on which is lit up with a lot of great things. Already working with guitarist and producer extraordinaire Pete Anderson (Dwight Yoakam, Roy Orbison, Jackson Browne), Ducas is eyeing a new album in 2021.