"I moved to Nashville in 1998 as a songwriter," Jason tells The Boot. "I signed a record deal with Capitol Records in 2000 and got dropped about a year later from the label and then just went back to writing songs. I kept trying to get another record deal. In 2003, my oldest daughter was born. I was still writing songs, still trying to get a deal and then got dropped from my publishing deal. So the way I was making money at the time was writing songs, and then I didn't have that deal anymore, and it was pretty tough time. I wasn't making any money. I was broke and had a brand new kid at home, so it was frustrating. I had to sit down and reassess what was going on. Was I going to stay there and ride it out to the end, or was I going to throw in the towel and move home and do something else? Fortunately, my wife talked me into staying ... [she] basically said, 'I gotta live with you, and you're not going to be happy until you see this thing to the end ... Let's stick it out for a while. We'll make it work, and we'll see what happens.' And sure enough, a couple months later, I got a new publishing deal, got offered my record deal, started working on my album in 2004 and the single came out in 2005, and just went from there."
Still, knowing he had a family to care for gave Jason a whole new set of challenges.
"Everybody has their stories," he reflects, "and I think the biggest thing was, if I had been living here by myself, it would have been a lot easier. I could go buy some bologna and a loaf of bread and that would be my dinner for a week, but when my kid was born, it was a different ball game. So then it becomes more about family, and I wanted to be able to make a good life for my kids. At the time, being broke was not a good start. My wife was working for SunTrust Bank so she was working, paying off bills and I was kind of the husband/dad at the time without a job. But when it all kind of shook out in the end, I feel [good] things come to those who wait. I learned how to have a lot of patience which was something I didn't have a lot of before. And I learned that sometimes the more you wait, it's a good thing. Things happen for a reason."
Jason is currently on the road with his Wide Open tour. He's set to join Brooks & Dunn for their Last Rodeo beginning in April.