with Jordan Rowe
Cliches make Jameson Rodgers cringe.
But here goes.
“This is a dream come true,” he gushes of his debut album Bet You’re From a Small Town, a gritty, country music masterpiece that most certainly will have the soft-spoken yet edgy country traditionalist landing in superstar territory. “I can remember a time, not so long ago, when none of this was going on and it seemed like it would never happen. I mean, things like this don’t happen to guys like me.”
He speaks in somewhat hushed tones, as if speaking too loudly about all that he has already achieved might make it somehow all go away. But with the success of his Platinum-certified, No. 1 debut hit “Some Girls” and his follow-up Top 10 smash “Cold Beer Calling My Name,” Rodgers is in fact cementing his place amongst the future legends of the genre, finding that truth and toughness mixed in with a whole bunch of authenticity can form a career for even the most skeptical of artists.
“I’m a simple dude that likes simple things, and that’s about it,” the 33-year-old with the long stare and the slight smile says with a slight shrug of his shoulders. “I like writing songs and playing shows and making people feel something through my music. That’s about it. That’s who I am.”
You see, Rodgers is not the kind of guy who stays up to see the latest charts, praying for a spot amongst the greats. He’s not the guy who copies the latest trends or counts his social media followers.
Instead, he’s a hardworking man with a heart and soul that loves country music for what it is and doesn’t set out to make it any more than that. He's the kind of guy that can sell out a venue at night and go hunting in the morning.
That’s Jameson Rodgers.
A native of Batesville, Mississippi, Rodgers grew up not only on 90’s country music, but on the work ethic demonstrated during those days by the people who surrounded him and the artist who inspired him – artists such as Bruce Springsteen, Merle Haggard, and Eric Church.
“Sinners Like Me stayed in my truck for probably two straight years,” Rodgers laughs. “I was just getting started in music and just starting to take it seriously. I remember being struck by how his music was speaking to the guys even more than the girls. It just resonated with me.”
In 2010, Rodgers moved to Nashville and started laying the groundwork of his career at a myriad of open mic nights in Music City. Eventually, Rodgers laid down his first month of rent on a tiny apartment he found in the Bellevue neighborhood in Nashville and began to Google open mic nights in an effort to get some much-needed experience under his belt. It was at those open mic nights that he met people like Michael Hardy and Hunter Phelps and Brandon Lay, all who found themselves joining him in the trenches in pursuit of something more than what they had always known.
Soon, Rodgers’ talent as a songwriter began to get noticed, as he co-penned multi-Platinum-selling hits for Florida Georgia Line (Top 10 single “Talk You Out of It”) and Chris Lane (No. 1 standout “I Don’t Know About You”), along with “Camouflage Hat” on Jason Aldean’s most recent album 9 and the title track of Luke Bryan’s latest release Born Here Live Here Die Here.
But soon, it was his turn to shine under the spotlight.
Currently out on his 27-date headlining COLD BEER CALLING MY NAME TOUR 2021, Rodgers finds himself finally being about to relish in the reaction of the crowd to his monster hit “Some Girls,” a career-defining song that unbelievably gained much of its traction during the uneasy years of the ongoing pandemic. The song went on to earn more than 207 million on-demand streams and was ranked No. 17 on Billboard’s 2020 year-end Country Airplay Songs chart.
“It was like seven or eight months before I even got to play a show with a No. 1 under my belt,” says Rodgers, who might soon have another chart-topper to celebrate thanks to “Cold Beer Calling My Name.” “Now, I get chills every night on stage now that I can see and hear people knowing the songs. I'm not saying I didn't have fun in the early years playing when nobody knew who I was, but it is way more fun to get on stage when they do.”
And it’s this guy that has gone and established himself as one of country music’s most intriguing powerhouses as he releases his debut album Bet You’re from a Small Town, an album that came up out of the mess of the pandemic, destined to become one of the greats.
“I will never be as cool as Merle Haggard or John Mellencamp or any of those guys, but in a way, with the making of this record, I was trying to find a way to honor them for paving the way for guys like me.”
And like those he has spent a lifetime looking up to, Rodgers finds a way on Bet You’re from a Small Town to effortlessly travel both sonically and lyrically between love songs (“Porch with a View”) and breakup songs (“Girl with a Broken Heart”) and between party songs (“Cold Beer Calling my Name”) to songs that tell the story of his deepest of losses (“Good Dogs.”)
And as a co-writer on every song but one on this album, Rodgers goes and proves that he isn’t looking for quick hits without substance. He sings anthems without gimmicks and stays in his lane, and once he’s put a hard day of work in, he retreats to the people who made him who he is at his core.
“All these songs make me feel something. That’s the whole goal of music, isn’t it? I just feel like I'm writing the best songs I've written and I'm singing the best stuff I've ever said."
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