When it comes to releasing new singles, Jerrod Niemann is like Patrick Swayze in Roadhouse: “Expect the unexpected.”
His previous five singles—“Drink to That All Night,” “Donkey,” “Buzz Back Girl,” “Blue Bandana” and “A Little More Love”—are as sonically and thematically varied as their success on the charts.
No, those aren’t your lucky lotto numbers today (although, feel free to bet them). The numbers actually represent the charting peaks of Jerrod’s aforementioned previous five singles on Billboard’s Country Airplay chart.
Jerrod’s most recent single, “A Little More Love,” which featured Lee Brice, was released in April 2016, but the groovin’ beach jam stalled on the chart at No. 28 and delayed the release of his sixth studio album. Undeterred—and rarely uninspired—Jerrod will drop a new single, “God Made a Woman,” this spring (“early March or late April”) as he gears up for the release of the new album, his first for Curb Records.
“In this world of branding, branding, branding, what people are saying is you need consistency so people recognize you in a world where there’s so many moving parts, but there are so many ways your mind and heart and soul can be pulled,” says Jerrod in a sit-down with Nash Country Daily. “For me, my consistency is my inconsistency. You look at the past, so many of our favorite artist in all genres have taken chances and challenged themselves in the studio, not only as people, but as artists. And I feel like there’s more pressure to be the same all the time in our business for branding reasons. It drives me crazy, ’cause I really do go into the studio with nothing but wholeheartedly wanting to create something that matters. To me, I can’t do that unless I’m inspired and challenging myself. I will always try to add different flavors, different colors to the music. Not only challenge me, but also maybe challenge someone listening to the music to open their mind a little bit. Everybody’s got to be somebody, so you might as well be yourself.”
If you’re trying to pigeonhole Jerrod’s sound, or you just wish he’d go back to the “Lover, Lover” well (his 2010 No. 1), you’re out of luck. Jerrod is making the music that he wants to make, and he’s been doing it since he released his first album, Long Hard Road, in 1999. Case in point, Jerrod’s upcoming single, “God Made a Woman,” is a ballad.
“In radio a lot of times, ‘ballad’ is a cussword,” says Jerrod. “And I get it, but it’s fun to visit all the history of country music and to think about all the beautiful love songs that exist and have changed so many people’s lives. Where we would be without those? I haven’t put out a ballad in five years just because I wanted people to come to shows and get their everyday grind off their minds. This song is just such a special message to me that there’s no other way I can go.
“A lot of us guys out there are pains in the butt, and swear off marriage, and look at it as a ‘we’re getting duped’ thing. It isn’t until you do find somebody that allows you to zoom out and see the broader picture of life that you become a better person, a better man. When I heard ‘God Made a Woman,’ I just knew. It’s very rare for me hear a song once—I have to live with a song a while to really fall in love with it. This was one of those first-listen songs. I knew immediately—since I was producing it—how I wanted to do it with an orchestra and a steel guitar and really break it down. Kinda like some of our older songs that made us all want to move to town. In my heart, I feel like it’s the best song I’ve ever recorded.”
If “God Made a Woman” climbs the charts and generates the momentum Jerrod is anticipating, he’s hoping to release his sixth studio album—which he has already completed—in late summer or early fall. In addition to the duo with Lee Brice on “A Little More Love,” the album also features a collaboration with Diamond Rio.
“I’m done with everything on the album,” says Jerrod. “Completely got it mixed, mastered, it’s so fun to even say that. I’m there for every note. You know, I love it. When you get it done, it feels so good. Finally got it weaned down to the right amount of songs, and after putting ‘God Made a Woman’ out, I would say [the album] will probably be late summer, early fall. We don’t have a date yet, since we just got it wrapped up. But we’re hoping the single connects with enough people that it takes on a life of its own.
“I felt like we used half of the instruments, but got twice the sound [on the album], and the notes that are there are just as important as the notes aren’t there. This album, it breathes. Not only was I lucky enough to collaborate with my good buddy Lee Brice, I reached out to Diamond Rio and they came in and sang on a song too—and just brought it to a whole new level.”