Region Eight Native Now National Recording Artist

July 1, 2003 - Posted at: 11:45 p.m. CDT

OSCEOLA, Ark. -- Buddy Jewell is a big buy from a small town. If you know country music, his life story is much like the one told in Toby Keith's song, "How Do You Like Me Now."

He's made it to a place most probably never thought he could. Now the Osceola native's music can be heard from Connecticut to California, and every state in between.

"We're really proud of him. We voted for him, and we're just really excited that he won," Osceola resident Kristie Jones said Tuesday.

Buddy Jewell's first CD is being released after he won USA network's "Nashville Star" contest in May.

His first single, titled "Help Pour Out the Rain", was released the week after his win. The song is the highest debut by a new country artist since 1990.

At a benefit concert in Osceola in April of this year, Buddy Jewell said, "(I'm) just glad to come back, and to give back to the community some. I've been blessed."

Osceola residents are excited about their hometown native making it big in Nashville.

"Him and my dad grew up; worked at South Wire Speciality," said Roy Ross.

"We know him real well, and our daughter went to school with him, and our son knew him real well too," said Nora Silverfield.

Buddy Jewell is scheduled to appear on Country Music Television at 7:00pm Wednesday night. He'll also be on CNN Headline News Thursday, and on "The View" on July 8, which airs here on KAIT.

He's also scheduled to perform at the Grand Ole Opry in Nashville on July 11 and 12.