While Jameson Rodgers may be a name many have only come across in the past 18 months, thanks to smash hit tracks Some Girls and Cold Beer Calling My Name (which featured Luke Combs), he left Batesville, Mississippi eleven years ago for Nashville with a dream. Fast forward to 2021 and Jameson Rodgers has a publishing deal; a record deal with Sony; has had a number one song (which also went platinum); toured with Luke Combs; has writing credits for the likes of Florida Georgia Line and Jason Aldean; and even co-wrote the title track for Luke Bryan’s album Born Here Live Here Die Here. It’s been a long road for Jameson, and we couldn’t wait to chat with him to find out more about his journey in the ten year town.
At the end of April, the singer-songwriter Jameson released his most recent EP, and first with Sony, In It For The Money. The 7 track EP, which co-wrote 6 tracks of, is proving to be a favourite of many in Nashville and has let to Jameson having his face on a billboard and recognition from Garth Brooks “It’s so weird, I can’t believe they put my ugly face on a billboard in Nashville. The last day the billboard was up, I get a text from Garth Brooks and was like – Hey man, saw you on a billboard downtown! Looking good bro! – and I was like, oh my god, what is happening right now. What is actually happening in my life? I had a poster of Garth on my bedroom wall when I was a kid. I don’t know how I’m getting to do all this cool stuff – it’s unreal.”
Despite appearing on his 2018 self-titled EP, Jameson couldn’t not include Some Girls again this time around, especially as the platinum track has more than 180 million on-demand audio streams. “The journey of that song is mad. I’ve been such a fan of that song since 2016 or so. 3 of my best friends wrote the song and I had the demo somehow, so I always told them if nobody ever cuts it then I am cutting it. They let me do it, before I even had a record deal offer. I knew it was special as soon as I put it out as first of all I never got tired of listening to the demo in my truck, so I always thought that was a good sign. Within a week or two of it being out, people were singing it. I was like, this one’s special. That song has opened a thousand doors for me, and I just got surprised that it went platinum a month ago. It’s nuts. They owe me more than a drink for sure!” Despite having the gold and platinum plaques for it now, Some Girls wasn’t all plain sailing for Jameson “My publisher was helping me put stuff out and when Some Girls was put out to the world my name was spelt wrong. On iTunes it said Jameson Roges. I was like great; this is so lame. Some Girls came into the world with a misspelt name.
In recent years, one artist has had a big impact on the rise of Jameson Rodgers, having taken him out on a headline tour and featured on his recent single Cold Beer Calling My Name – Luke Combs. “He was my first and only choice. When I wrote the song, I had no intention of it being a duet. Around the time I was going in to record it was just going to be a song for me but was also when Luke asked me to go on tour and do 60 arenas with him. It didn’t take much convincing. I always thought it would be awesome to have a feature on a song in my career and early on especially. It just made sense to ask him. I was expecting him to say no as he’s never featured on anything; he’s done me more favours than I can ever repay him for. He had just invited me on tour, I had no record deal - so he was already sticking his neck out enough - and I’m there asking for one more thing while you’re at it.
As an acclaimed song-writer, it is never going be to easy for Jameson to choose which tracks to include on any of his releases, and this was no different. His 2020 release, Grew Up In The Country may not have made the cut this time round, but fear not as it isn’t long till fans will see it on an album “The plan is to put out a full record here in 3 monthsish and it’ll be on the full record. I wanted to put out a record, but everyone told me to put out an EP first and then a record. The EP has to have at least 5 news songs, I didn’t want 7 songs on an EP and only 3 or 4 that no one had heard, which I guess is the artist in me. I held it back and was probably over thinking it, but it’ll be on the record. The songs on the EP are over a year old and I’ve listened to them over and over in my truck so you go with your gut and figure which to save for a record and which you can’t wait to release.” As covid restrictions begin to ease across America, Jameson is back on the road is ready to take in every moment and certainly won’t be taking it for granted. “I played my first show at the weekend and opened up for Jon Pardi. I was proud I didn’t fall off the stage and forget how to do it! It was a blast! It felt good to be back with the band as I’m like brothers with them, and it’s so good to be back on the bus. It is a whole new energy, like I’ve never played a show before. It takes me back to when I just started out and you’re all excited, as when you get in the grove playing 3 or 4 shows a week you can go through the motions, still giving 100%, but you are used to it as that’s your life. When it get’s taken away from you, you realise you took it for granted, but I am very thankful to be back. You could tell they knew Some Girls and Cold Beer Called My Name. People have been loving When You Think of Mississippi. It’s one of my favourites, but I didn’t think people that aren’t from Mississippi would relate to it but I’ve been wrong for sure. When you hear a crowd sing along it’s such a drug and I could do it forever. Tour dates started coming in back in January, February as you plan months in advance for the summertime. After a year, it was kind of hard to get your hopes up and you were scared to as you worried they will keep getting delayed and delayed. Starting around March, April time we started feeling good about it and the rest of the year looks solid – fingers crossed. With the exception of one or two weekends for the rest of the year, we are booked. You start sprinkling in some midweek radio shows means it’s going to be a crazy year but I’m so ready.”
Like every artist around the world, Jameson didn’t know what was coming when the pandemic shut down the industry last March. “I can remember my dad coming to see my house and was hanging out. We just started the Grew Up In The Country tour, which was going great and we were doing some clubs and he was saying covid is getting serious and was coming. I didn’t think it was and would be blown over, but man was I wrong. When it first started, we thought we would be off for a month and come back 1st May. Then everything was pushed back to the fall before realising we weren’t playing this year. This time last year sucked. It was scary and sucked but there are better days ahead.” Having grafted his way up through the Nashville music scene, Jameson made sure to do what he could to keep the industry alive post pandemic with his Jameson Rodgers and Friends show at The Listening Room, with 100% of ticket proceeds going to Music Venue Alliance - Nashville “Without the small, independent venue around town I wouldn’t have known where to start. When I first moved to Nashville, I can remember going to places like Douglas Corner and The Blue Bird. Unfortunately, Douglas Corner didn’t survive the pandemic which is such a shame. I feel like I’m put on this earth to help people, that’s the reason why we are all here in my opinion, so anytime you can give back like that is better than anything. We had Carly Pearce, Jordan Davis, Jimmy Allen and Tenille Townes - it was an absolute blast. Jimmy is a blast, I had to follow Tenille all night and it is so hard to follow Tenille in an acoustic setting. Jordan and Carly are smashing it right now and I’m lucky to call them all friends. I probably got lucky that everyone wasn’t out touring as it would have been hard to get those guys without a pandemic.”
Like many, Jameson moved to Nashville with a dream of being a star, but he forged his roots as a songwriter. “When I moved to town, I thought I’d be an artist and get a big record deal but at the back of my mind I thought it’d be cool to write, sit at home, write songs and play golf! It was four years of writing songs before I even got a publishing deal, it’s hard to have any success before you have a publisher in town as a songwriter. It took me four years to get to the starting line. You put your head down after that and work even harder. It’s been fun having some songs recorded by my best friends that I’ve come up in Nashville with.”
He has though been able to make some highlights for himself in recent years “I’ve played pretty much every bucket list venue on the Combs tour except Madison Square Garden. I’ve played Red Rocks, my hometown arena, Bridgestone Arena here in Nashville, The Opry – any time I play The Opry I feel like I’m living in a dream. A number one song, all is good right now!”
Amongst all the writing credits, there are a few that stand out for Jameson, including Chris Lane’s I Don’t Know “I wrote that song with Hardy, Hunter Phelps and Ashley. We all knew the song was special and cool but as soon as the song was out, Chris started posting videos of huge crowds singing it, which is crazy. It was an easy song to write and exceeded the expectations.”
But does it get much better than writing Luke Bryans title track? “It’s just mind-blowing. I can remember Luke coming out when I was in college. I’ve been a fan of his forever, is there a bigger name in the format right now? Arguably no.”
In a position now, with a platinum song and a Sony record deal, is there any song he would take back to keep for himself? “Speaking of Luke Bryan, maybe that one. It’s easy to say now, but rewind three years ago when Luke loved the song and wanted to record it, I definitely didn’t have a hit song, a song on the radio or a record deal. When you don’t have a ton going on an artist it’s hard to tell Luke Bryan I’m going to keep this one just in case my artist stuff happens. It’s a cool talking point that Luke recorded a song of mine, which is good.”
They call Nashville a ten year town. Jameson is now 11 years into his life in Nashville, so how does he assess his time so far? I think I’m doing alright. You’ve got to take it one day at a time. So many stars have to align to have any success in this town. It really is unbelievable how many people it takes, you’ve got to keep your head down, work hard, surround yourself with the right people and whatever happens happens.
With many of Jameson's artist friends being regular visitors to these shores we had to know if he was coming... “I’ve never been to England, ever. I’m very due. I’m hoping I’ll get to come to C2C next year. It’s mind-blowing to me that I have people who know who I am, let alone people know my songs. I’m just a dude from Batesville, Mississippi that moved to Nashville with a big dream. I’m so thankful for everybody that’s coming onboard and listening to the music. I can’t wait to come over there and play some songs for you all.”
There are many reasons why he was nominated by iHeartRadio for Best New Country Artist and was ranked number 4 on Billboard’s 2020 Top New Country Artists, but it is clear to see that the sky is the limit Rodgers and we can’t wait to see what this next chapter of his blossoming career in Nashville brings