NASHVILLE, Tenn. —
"I want to pay homage to certain instrumentation," Niemann said. "The pedal steel guitar wasn't invented until '48, so there was horns in country music for 20 years before the pedal steel guitar was even invented. When we think of horns first and foremost, you don't think of traditional country music."
That clarinet grabs your attention on the jazzy "Honky Tonk Fever," which swings unlike any song you've heard with honky-tonk in the title. The muted horns add to the Caribbean vibe on "I'll Have to Kill the Pain," what might otherwise be a conventional country take on drinking away woman troubles. And that rolling B3 adds a funky J.J. Cale vibe to "Guessing Games." Tuba and French horn are buried in the mix as well.
"Jerrod has definitely put himself in that category: Not your average Nashville artist," said close friend Lee Brice, who co-wrote two songs on the album. "... Now, he's a country boy at heart and he's a huge country music fan. But also the other types of music in him come out. When he sits down to write, he just wants to write a song he loves and he wants that song to be him. So sometimes he loves the horns and sometimes he loves some percussion and things that aren't necessarily on a country record."
Niemann wants those sounds and ideas to resonate with listeners — and the other musicians who follow the muse.
"Hopefully someday down the road — even if it's just one person — maybe it will inspire someone else to do their own thing," Niemann said.