Sea Gayle / Arista
"This album is my interpretation of how I feel about country right now," says the Kansas native, who will release the new set of tunes on Oct. 2. "It's a project honoring many different layers and colors that have appeared in the country genre since recorded music began."
The different layers of the project's recordings -- which involved Jerrod's road band instead of studio musicians -- include a horn section along with the usual fiddles and guitars. "Making an album with horns is definitely a risky step, but my favorite thing about it is that it gives my listeners a taste of something unique," Jerrod tells The Boot.
He goes on to explain that the pedal steel guitar wasn't always in the country music picture, even though it has since come to define the genre. His idea to include a horn section came from country music of the 1920s, when that was commonplace.
Jerrod co-produced Free the Music and co-wrote each of its 12 tracks, including the current hit single "Shinin' on Me." (See a full song list with songwriter credits below.) He also came up with the idea for the cover design (above), explaining that he wanted to be pictured opening doors, symbolizing letting the music out and inviting music lovers in.
"I have been watching people react to my music out on the road for years," he says, "and because I have the feeling that people are actually listening, it makes me more inspired to become a better musician, producer, songwriter, artist and really give them something different, and a sound that I love."
Jerrod Niemann, Free the Music Track List + Songwriters:
1-"Free The Music" (Jerrod Niemann)
2-"Whiskey Kind of Way" (Jerrod Niemann, Randy Boudreaux)
3-"Get On Up" (Jerrod Niemann, J.R. McCoy, Jesse Clingan)
4-"I'll Have to Kill the Pain" (Jerrod Niemann, J.R. McCoy, Arlos Smith)
5-"Only God Can Love You More" (Jerrod Niemann, Jon Stone, Lee Brice)
6-"Shinin' on Me" (Jerrod Niemann, Rob Hatch, Lee Brice, Lance Miller)
7-"Honky Tonk Fever" (Jerrod Niemann)
8-"Guessing Games" (Jerrod Niemann, J.R. McCoy)
9-"It Won't Matter Anymore" (Jerrod Niemann, Rob Hatch, Lance Miller)
10-"I'm All About You" [featuring Colbie Caillat] (Jerrod Niemann, Richie Brown)
11-"Real Women Drink Beer" (Jerrod Niemann, Houston Phillips)
12-"Fraction of a Man" (Jerrod Niemann)