Buddy Jewell was crowned the winner of Season 1 of Nashville Star in 2003, beating out Miranda Lambert in the process. His debut single, "Help Pour Out the Rain (Lacey's Song)," and "Sweet Southern Comfort," from his self-titled debut album, both landed in the Top 5. Now, the Arkansas native has signed a new record deal and is planning an album of classic country songs.

Jewell recently signed with Lamon Records, after he met the label's CEO, Dave Moody, at a recent performance. He says that it's a match made in heaven.

“When Dave first approached me, it was like he was reading my mind ... it was meant to be,” Jewell says. “I’d been toying with the idea of doing a classic country cover project and had actually begun picking out material in advance. One of the tunes I was strongly considering was George Hamilton IV’s "Abilene," written by songwriting legend J.D. Loudermilk. I’ve ALWAYS loved that tune. While talking to Dave, I became aware of Mr. Hamilton’s and Mr. Loudermilk’s friendship with the Moodys and Lamon Records. That helped to seal the deal for me."

Adds Moody, "Buddy has always been one of my favorite country vocalists. And he’s such a great guy, too. We’re really looking forward to working together."

Jewell says that he is especially honored to join such a reputable company.

"I am especially excited to be part of the Lamon family because we share the same basic values: God, country and family. Lamon has a fantastic track record and, more importantly to me, a great reputation inside the music industry," Jewell explains. "I am extremely proud to be affiliated with them, and I look forward to our initial release and to the beginning of what I hope to be a long and lasting friendship.”

The 53-year-old Jewell was dropped from his record label after his sophomore album, Times Like These, failed to produce any big hits. But while Jewell admits that he was once bothered by the way his career unfolded, he insists that he no longer has any hard feelings.

“As it is with Nashville, you’re only as good as your last project,” he says. “I've actually had to pray to God to give me the willingness to forgive some people for making some bad decisions about my career.

“It was an experience ... only people who win those kinds of shows get to have that experience,” Jewell adds. “To go from walking in Walmart and nobody cares, to walking in and your kid says, ‘Dad, there’s a lady who’s been following us for six aisles!’ It’s a weird thing. It’s cool, I mean, it definitely fed my ego. I’d be a liar if I said it didn't.”

Jewell's new project is scheduled to be released by June. Updates will be available on his website.