"We were sitting on Jake's bus having a beer and listening to a Waylon Jennings album when his tour manager walked in and said, 'Ten minutes 'til show time!,'" J.T. tells The Boot. "And Jake jumps up and says, 'Hey, we should teach my band your song ('Love in America') and play it tonight!' I was totally surprised he knew the song, and I laughed and said, 'Oh man, I'm not sure that's a good idea!' But Jake says, 'Dude, this is what makes us men, doing spontaneous stuff that puts us to the test! Plus my fans will love seeing something that doesn't happen at every other show.'"
Jake's band listened to "Love in America" one time through, with the country star leading them on acoustic. Somehow they actually did learn the tune in just ten minutes, and midway through the show Jake surprised the crowd with the impromptu appearance by J.T. (who has also penned smash hits like "Smile" for Uncle Kracker and "Somewhere With You" for Kenny Chesney.)
"Halfway through the show, Jake said to the audience, 'Well, the Detroit Tigers are going to the World Series! And a Detroit boy named J.T. Harding co-wrote my song 'Alone With You.' But what people don't know is that J.T. also has his own badass song, so what better night than tonight to have him sing it!'"
The crowd of 2000 responded with wild applause as J.T. kicked into "Love In America" (which is the most-played song of the year on Sirius XM Hits One's channel and has sold over 200,000 downloads), and the two traded lines of the song as they stormed around the stage like wild men, whipping the D-town crowd into a frenzy.
"I was so pumped, I was running around the stage like a hummingbird on Red Bull! It was the coolest and most ego-less thing anyone has ever done for me. Jake's show is awesome by the way! Super high energy, no wonder he's killing it on the road," said J.T. about the night, which is just one of a string of sellouts Jake has been experiencing on his tour this fall.
J.T. has been experiencing even more success of his own these days. Along with his recent hit for Jake, he's the writer on tunes like the brand new Uncle Kracker single, "Nobody's Sad on a Saturday Night" and "Party People" on the upcoming new Florida Georgia Line CD.
Jake is already making history as the headliner on the current installment of the CMT tour, with the most consecutive sell-outs for the annual nationwide tour since it began eleven years ago. It kicked off with a bang Oct. 10 with sellouts in New York and Detroit, and has also sold out upcoming shows for Charlotte, Chicago, Des Moines, Minneapolis, Milwaukee, and St. Louis. It wraps in Jake's hometown of Vero Beach, Fla., on Dec. 15.
Watch Jake Owen Sing 'Alone With You' in Our Studio