orangeleader.com (Orange, Texas)

Entertainment

October 4, 2012

Jerrod Niemann takes new tack on 'Free the Music'

NASHVILLE, Tenn. —  

Some things have changed for Jerrod Niemann since he finally scored a couple of hit songs after years of disappointment. And some things haven't.

In the change category, the rising country singer-songwriter has been on the road constantly the last two years and has finally found the stardom he's been seeking. He even has the impulse buy to prove it.

"Well, I bought a car when I was drunk," Niemann acknowledged sheepishly when asked recently about celebrity moments. "I wanted a car. I didn't know what I was going to get and I didn't even see it. I was on eBay in my hotel room and I woke up and had bought one and had bid on another one. I was, 'Oh, please don't win!' Luckily, I didn't win the other one."

While that Dodge Charger has helped keep his lifestyle in fast forward, Niemann remains firmly rooted when it comes to his music. "Free the Music," out this week, is another re-imagining of what the modern country music album can be. He used humor and spoken-word interludes to subvert the form on his debut, "Judge Jerrod & the Hung Jury."

This time around he takes a more sober-minded, but no less interesting look at the history of country music. "Free the Music" has a few potential cuts that could be hits on country radio, but it's also got just as many songs that push the boundaries of what we've come to expect from the genre in the 21st century.

Using a unique tape-to-digital format, the 33-year-old native of Texas peppered the album with Dixieland clarinet, a horn section, swampy B3 Hammond organ, unconventional percussion and pre-steel guitar instrumentation, all mixed in with some of country's modern mainstays. Niemann said so often country performers pay tribute to the great songwriters of yesteryear. He came at it from a different direction.

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