Jessica Simpson goes a little bit country

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Two years after embracing her inner Daisy Duke, Jessica Simpson still wants to scratch that country itch. The singer and sometime actress — who released A Public Affair to disappointing sales last year — is assembling a team of Nashville-based producers and songwriters for her fifth studio album. “It’s the best thing for her,” says a label source close to the singer. “A country record is what she absolutely needs to be doing now.”

She’s certainly playing the part: After presenting at Nov. 5’s ACE Awards in New York City, Simpson headed south to attend the CMA Awards and is expected to “start writing and recording right away.” Another Nashville insider says that Simpson will spend up to six months in a Music City studio beginning in January. Nashville is notorious for shunning outsiders — particularly pop stars trying to go country, but “Jessica is committed to doing this,” says the label source. “She’s gone back to her Southern roots and embedded herself in the Nashville community.”

addCredit(“Stephen Lovekin/WireImage.com”)

Indeed,
Simpson is already a fixture on the local shopping scene, having been
spotted regularly at the Perfect Pair, a shoe store operated by Ronnie
Dunn’s daughter, Whitney, and H. Aldry, a boutique owned by Hank
Williams Jr.’s daughter, Holly Williams, whom Simpson has “become close
with,” according to a Nashville source. 

And to further her country cred, Simpson will appear in her Dukes
costar Willie Nelson’s video for his new song, “You Don’t Think I’m
Funny Anymore,” in which she races lawn mowers — and wins — against
Owen Wilson, Woody Harrelson, and Dan Rather.

In other Simpson news, the third effort by Jessica’s younger sister
Ashlee Simpson — which was slated for release this month — has been
postponed until 2008. According to a source, Simpson wanted more time
to perfect the production, which includes collaborations with
Timbaland, the Neptunes’ Chad Hugo (Alicia Keys), and Butch Walker
(Pink).

Indeed,Simpson is already a fixture on the local shopping scene, having beenspotted regularly at the Perfect Pair, a shoe store operated by RonnieDunn’s daughter, Whitney, and H. Aldry, a boutique owned by HankWilliams Jr.’s daughter, Holly Williams, whom Simpson has “become closewith,” according to a Nashville source. 

And to further her country cred, Simpson will appear in her Dukescostar Willie Nelson’s video for his new song, “You Don’t Think I’mFunny Anymore,” in which she races lawn mowers — and wins — againstOwen Wilson, Woody Harrelson, and Dan Rather.

In other Simpson news, the third effort by Jessica’s younger sisterAshlee Simpson — which was slated for release this month — has beenpostponed until 2008. According to a source, Simpson wanted more timeto perfect the production, which includes collaborations withTimbaland, the Neptunes’ Chad Hugo (Alicia Keys), and Butch Walker(Pink).

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